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August 16, 1972 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1972-08-16

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page Eight


Wednesday, August 16, 1972

Page Eight THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, August 16, 1972

Forest fires bn
more tan tres
IWia Fre Gam
beer hall
ballads, and-
banjo, guitar,
and concertina


Underground press alive and well

By The Associated Press
With less emphasis on bomb-
making and more on day-to-day
community problems, under-
ground newspapers continue to
grow in numbers and influence.
There are at least 400 of these
journals published weekly com-
pared to about 200 a few years
ago. Underground editors s a y
their total readership is about
20 million.
At the same time that under-
ground papers have folded in ma-
jor cities like New York and
San Francisco, they are taking
root in such unlikely turf as
Apopka, Fla.; Anniston, Ala.;
and McConnelsburg, Pa.
"There isn't a town with a
population of more than 50,000
that doesn't have an underground
paper," says Max Scherr, found-
er and editor of the Berkeley

Since their major mushrooming
in the late '60's, the papers have
been changing to reflect the new
moods of the youth movement.
Where once the pages promoted
urban guerrilla warfare, n o w
they delve into local problems
and issues of interest to a wide
range of citizens.
"The underground press re-
presented the vanguard of t h e
revolutionary struggle," *s a y s
Tom Forcade, a Zippie, Wash-
ington correspondent for t h e
Underground Press Syndicate
and self-styled authority on the
underground scene.
"But what did all those kids
living in hippie pads care about
bombs? Now the papers are be-
coming much more relevant and
realistic. They write about the
alternative institutions of t h e
community like day care centers,
the food co-ops, the health clin-

The papers still speak to the
generation that created the coun-
ter-culture. They are antiestab-
lishment, enduringly antiwar and
anti-Nixon. Revolutionary rhetor-
ic and scatalogical phrases spice
the editorials. Marijuana smoke-
ins make headlines. The ads sell
sandals and water beds and in-
Many underground papers have
begun aiming at a broader aud-
ience, adding book and movie re-
views, activities, meetings and
demonstrations that aren't cov-
ered as daily fare in traditional
papers. "The tourists buy our
paper to find out what's really
happening in town," says A rt
Kunkin of the LA Free Press.
The Press is the oldest and
largest of the underground pap-
ers, now eight years old with a
circulation of 90,000. Kunkin cre-
dits the paper's longevity to its

have borrowed from the content
and method of the underground
press. Max Scherr of the Berke-
ley Barb says, "We're probably
less underground than b e f o r e
because the straight press has
co-opted a lot of our material."
Some of the papers rotate their
staff duties in order to prevent
"ego tripping", they say, and to
counteract charges of sexism in
the newsroom. Over the last few
years, women have demanded a
larger share of editorial duties at
underground papers, sometimes
resorting to revolutionary meth-
ods for control.
"The underground press h as
great job opportunities for wo-
men," said one female Zippie.
"Where else can a woman be-
come an editor in one day by
simply taking over the paper?"
Today, there is an underground
feminist paper put out exclusive-
ly by women in almost every
state, like Pandora in Seattle and


DI2Hr r.rrr 9IMG t.

'But what did all those kids living in hippie
pads care about bombs? Now the papers are
becoming much more relevant and realistic.
They write about the alternative institutions
of the community like day care centers, the
food co-ops, the health clinics.'

CO-.RFJVU -"A r i iIT WA 11\ "In the beginning, we were bo-
hemian and cultural, but over the
years our audience has changed
SUN. AT 8:30 and now we've become political.
,A M We try to be sensitive to the de-
n Wveloping social movements,"
says Kunskin.
Boston After Dark began in
1966 to cover the arts and enter-
I tainment scene. "As we watched
' r fthe changing attitudes in t h e
country, we saw a responsibility
to become more involved in soc-
io-political issues - the antiwar
ON.-TUES.AT 9 00 movement, segregation, consum-
er affairs," says publisher Step-
Cma CkNd 1fgWithhen Mindich.
d Wnderground papers have not
only popularized everything in
the counter-culture from drugs to
dropping out, they have also aid-
ed the momentum of causes like
ecology, women's liberation and
Some activists say the
Ann Arbor Sun was helpful in
electing radicals to the C it y
Council and in lowering fines for
marijuana smokers. Boston After
Dark claims its investigative
stories were instrumental in halt-
ing construction of the P a r k
Plaza urban renewal project that
217 S ASH J ;.: 2 PM. 2AM many felt threatened the com-
Some underground editors
claim that the traditional papers
r~ SA LE!4

Velvet Glove in Livermore, Calif.
Financial difficulties and staff
dissension are primarily to
blame for the burial of some un-
derground papers. But many that
fail do so simply for lack of en-
"I think the time for this kind
of paper is over," said editor
Thomas D'Antoni in May upon
the death of Harry, two and a
half years old in Baltimore.
"There was no energy to keep
the paper going," said Alan
Copeland, a former staffer for
the Berkeley Tribe. "All the peo-
ple who used to spend all week
on the paper are now into other
things, like working at free clin-
ics or studying radical psychia-
"There's definitely been a wat-
ering down of the spirit, maybe
because our point of view is ,e-
coming more accepted in t h e
straight community," says Max
Scherr. "There's less excite-
ment in talking about something
acceptable than having a battle
about it."
But Scherr and other under-
ground editors have few doults
about the survival of an alterna-
tive press in the years ahead.
"Someone has to prick the con-
science of the establishment,"
says Scherr.

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