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May 13, 1978 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-05-13

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Page 10-Saturday, May 13, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Schell tells
of Brown 's
life story
Brown, by Orville Schell. Random House, N.Y. 307
pp., $10.
By Joshua Peck
P OLITICAL OBSERVERS have posted many
contradictory views about Jerry Brown. The
only thing they all agree on, i.t seems, is that he is
quite an enigma.
Through his tenure as governor of California, and
during his run for the Democratic nomination in
1976, he has committed himself, through both sub-
stance and style to ideas that appeal variously to
partisans at virtually every point on the political
For the liberals, Brown selected United Farm
workers leader Cesar Chavez, a symbol of the
downtrodden if ever there was one, to nominate
him at the Democratic convention in New York.
For the conservative element, he has made some

And they're off!

By Judy Rakowsky
A GIRL with long brown hair and wearing blue jeans,
runs toward a line of khaki-clad military police with
closely-cropped hair. She flings her arms around the com-
mander, and squeals, "Oh, it's the Marine MP's. Hiya
boys!?" The startled men break up with embarrassment and
laughter. From a nearby roof another officer bellows down,
"What the hell is goin' on down there?"
A heavily-jowled man perched on an ice chest sips a mint
julep, (apparently not his first) though it's only 10:30 a.m.
He studies a program and then consults his newspaper.
A baldish gambler grins as he rakes in the pot after win-
ning a hand of poker. The players sit cross-legged using a
blanket asa make-shift table and slurp beers.
A man with a raincoat draped over his arm bumps into
another man in a crowded corridor. He deftly lifts a wallet
from the pocket of the unknowing victim and walks swiftly
away, dropping the denuded billfold into a nearby trashcan.
IT'S THE 104th running of the Kentucky Derby in
Louisville. By the time the last pony will have stumbled
over the finish line, lakes of mint juleps and beers will have
been consumed, along with acres of fried chicken and hot
dogs. Every rooming establishment and campground in the
vicinity will have accommodated Derbygoers in far less
cushy fashion than the horses that attract them.
Purveyors of every commodity from T-shirts to Billy
beer and parking slots circulate through the crowd. Tots
are on the streets with cardboard signs before dawn selling
parking spaces for prices ranging from $3 to $10 depending
on the distance from the racetrack. Buffet luncheons adorn
porches; yards and gardens are destroyed for parking
Photographers snap shots and give their subjects the
choice of ordering the pictures ... for a price. T-shirts
display the Derby in every light from horse heads and roses
to messages like "let's get naked." Newspaper prices are
almost doubled at the track. Grimy little girls offer to tran-
sport ice chests and belongings the distance to the gates on
little red wagons for a nominal fee.
Attendants at the mint julep stands yell, "This is what
you need to get you high". A roving mint julep vendor con-
fesses, "The race means nothing to me, I don't care who
wins, I don't bet and I don't even know the names of the hor-
ses." The Derby attraction for this man is that "I have one

., 4

genuine inroads into bureaucracy in education, on-
ce impertinently asking why administrators are et-
ter paid than their subordinates, since after all,
"the schools' purpose is education."
FOR THE disco set, he is casually involved with
pop singer Linda Ronstadt, and is sometimes seen
"stepping out" at Sacramento bars.
For the straight-laced, he has eschewed the com-
forts of Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial mansion in
favor of a small, moderately-priced apartment not
far from the Capitol.
If any writer could be expected to crack the Brown
enigma Orville Schell could. Harvard educated, his
social and political portraits of the Peoples'
Republic of China for the New Yorker and in~books
broadened many Americans' understanding of that
exotic people to an appreciable degree.
But Schell seems to resign himself to the
monumental difficulty of his task before he even
gets the Narrative going:
Brown has a confidence that impresses people. At
the same time that he wants the Presidency, he
radiates something akin to indifference to it,
which-whether real or unreal-has an appeal.
Sometimes it seems as if Brown s. . . charisma
and magnetism grew directly out of that part of him-
self which he has held aloof from the insatiab"' ap-
petite of the public ...
See SCIIELL'S, Page 14

4O dC
day to make $150 and I do everything but hold a gun to
people when I hustle this crowd."
HE EXPLAINS that he keeps a $2 tip every time he
changes a $20 bill and $1 for tens. "I found a woman's purse
one year and the reward was so small for returning it that it
wasn't worth it, so I don't even return wallets anymore," he
says. "If I don't have fun, the hell with it. I'm just an
egotistical exhibitionist and I'm wanted in every state in
the union - I'm also a liar," the man says with a gleam in
his eye, refusing to be identified. Then he lifts his cap and
reveals a crop of silver hair and with a wide smile asserts
that he is only 35 years old.
People come from as far away as Alaska, New York,
Arizona, and Alabama to the Derby. Their reasons vary as
much as the people themselves, but commonalities are
found in the pursuit of drunkenness, wealth, excitement and
just the experience. Their expectations are not always
fulfilled, perhaps because the event is built up too much or
because few go away actually making money.
"I was stationed in Lexington in 1944 when I was in the
army, but this is the first year I've been back," says James
Wylde, now a Chicagoan. "But I wish I hadn't come - we
parked ten blocks from here and had to walk a mile to the-
track," he complains. "I'm with someone'who had never,


This is the famous Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky
pre-Derby event, the Kentucky Oaks.
seen a horse race so I wanted to come back to Kentucky."
The jowly julep-sipper also let a lot of time slip by befor(
returning to the Derby. "This is the first track I've been t(
in 13 years - I used to play the horses, but I lost so I quit,
Carl Colwell, a native of Ferndale, Michigan, recalls. "I
came to see the girls, go to the bars and have a good time,
he says as his glassy eyes light up. "I like the friendly
Southern hospitality." Colwell admits that Louisville is the
furthest south he has ever been.
A BLOND SPORTS buff notes, "I've seen the Super Bowl,
the World Series, the NBA (National Basketbal
Association) championships and the NCAA (National
Collegiate Athletic Association) basketball championship.
and I just wanted to be here." However, he laments, "I)
looks so smooth on T.V. but it's not as nice as it looks." He
sips his vodka punch and adds, "It's a tourist attraction,
just a bunch of gimmicks and you can't even see the race.
A stylishly dressed couple walk to the fence by the track.
"I want to get up there,' demands the woman as she points
to the reserved box seats. "I came from New York and I'rs
sorry I did, you can't even see the race," she snaps.
"Where's all this southern hospitality, let's go back to the
hotel and watch it on TV.," she says. Her date talks her in-
to a mint julep to cool off her temper.
THERE IS no secret about what attracts all the college
students hailing from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky,
Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, and New York. They came tc
party and they waste no time, most of them are still drunk
from the night before. Some of them bet, but few can afford
to lose much since the $10 gate price, the alcohol and the
food make the trip costly enough already before they even
get to the betting windows.
Antics go along with college students. One husky group
from Toledo amused the crowd between races by forming a
human pyramid.
The inevitable outcome of all the beverages consumed in
the 75' sun results in agonizingly long lines for the
bathrooms, especially the women's bathroom.
Desperate women step up to the front of the lines with
feeble liesabout bladder infections and nausea. Few get by,

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