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June 23, 1976 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-06-23

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SEr i Wednesday, June 23,;1976 Page Five

Jeffrey Selbst -.
I hear
o e America

written about the Bicen-
tennial, and as this is my last
column before the grand Event
itself, a Bicentennial Fourth, I
thought perhaps I would devote
today's dribbling to a discussion
of that Happening.
Discussion, hah. Celebration. I
am going to positively wax slop-
py over this. This is it, folks,
and you won't see it again.
Peter DeVries, that writer who
so often has his finger on the
pluse of the times (and will
be remembered for that alone
if nothing else) has come out
with a new book, coyly timed
to hit its greatest audience
right about now. I haven't read
it yet, but the title, from a poem
by Walt Whitman, is one I con-
sider appropriate for what
HIALEAH, Fla. UIP) - Hail
the Pirates, a six-year-old thor-
oughbredownedby Danny Gal-
breath president of the Pits-
burgh Pirates, seems to run
better on dirt than on the
grass. The son of Hail to Rea-
son recently won the Seminole
Handicap at Hialeah.
Hail the Pirates raced in
England and Ireland but the
Kentucky bred was brought
back to the United States last
fall. He couldn't do as well on
the turf here as in Europe. But
last November, at New York's
Aqueduct track, the Galbreath
color-bearer won the Queens
County Handicap. Since then,
trainer Lou Rondinello has
planned to keep his racer on
dirt tracks.
WORCESTER, Mass. (A) - A
Bicentennial exhibition entitled
"The Early Republic: Consolida-
ion of Revolutionary Goals" is
being shown through June 30
at the Worcester Art Museum.
The show covers the period
from the signing of the Declara-
tion of Independence July 4,
1776, to July 4, 1826.
i Day
Color Print Service
20% discount on
Kodak processing
3180 Packard
I blk E of Platt
Hours: 8:30-9:00 M & F
8:30-5:30 T, W, T, S

should be the spirit of this time,
if no other.
I Hear America Swinging.
WHAT A SOUND, what a feel,
what a smell! This country is
so alive, and even its most cyni-
cal critics, of which crime I am
occasionally accused, cannot
help but recognize that the Unit-
ed States is brimming with vi-
The most seemly thing for me
to do would be to discuss Ameri-
can art from the beginning un-
til now, and indeed this is so
much of what makes America.
The most popular thing to do
would be to discuss the com-
mercialization of the country's
birthday party. But that's terri-
bly overdone. And no one wants
to hear it.
But the commercialization and
the culture, all this is combined
in the celebration, as it should
be. What characterizes America
so much as its emphasis on
size? And if we're having a
birthday party, why not the big-
gest one in the world?
have Gershwin, and Thomas
Hart Benton, Emily Dickinson,
Dorothy Parker supplying the
entertainment. Everyone would
be allowed to come, regardless
of whether they owned land or
their grandfathers would have
had the right to come.
Because the chief problem

with those who would criticize
a national exuberance is this:
a country is not continually de-
fined only by what it has been,
rather by what it is in the pro-
cess of becoming. In the Thir-
ties, there was every reason
to moan. But Cole Porter said
There ain't gonna be no sorrow
and George Gershwin said
Clap yo hands!
Stamp ye feet!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Everybody come along and
join the jamboree!
Wisecracking is a native Amer-
ican art, a sassy development
of the European snide aside. So
is square dancing native. Loose,
free-formed movement, thought,
dance, sound-Martha Graham,
Joseph Papp - all belong to our
part of this continent. A cul-
tural imperialism, for which the
U.S. has been pilloried, is de-
plorable; a cultural offering, of
so much, is inevitable.
And now, to the other part:
it is true, that you cannot go
down the street without encoun-
tering everything from red-
white-and-blue birthday candles
to Dr. Scholl's Bicentennial Bun-
ion Pads. But that is not ridicu-
lous! That is us!
What would a dignified cele-
bration be to a country that has
taken a long hard road, strug-
gling to keep socially abreast
of itself through some incredibly
forgettable times, always work-
ing on improvement, even when
it couldn't see the light at the
end of the proverbial tunnel?
What would a stiff-lipped, "rath-
er pleasant" celebration be to
the republic that should last 'til

the end of time? Considering
the track record of organized
nations, we're lucky to have
kept it together.
me on July 5th and we'll be
talking about kitsch and stupidi-
ty again. But as much as the
fiend Nixon ripped us apart
while mouthing nonsense about
bringing us together, and while
critics have talked about the
meaninglessness of the Event,
it isn't and it ain't.
Why? Because it has reunited
the people in a lot of ways. It
has forced us to think, no mat-
ter how painfully, about our
origins, and take a serious, non-
mauldlin, noncompromising look
at ourselves, and see what
we've accomplished.
Now, I may not enjoy walk-
ing into a bar and hearing coun-
try-western on the jukebox, and
I may not get into paint-by-
numbers velvet wall hangings,
but I don't buy them. And that's
the point of the Event. That's
what's going to make America
and that's what we're celebrat-
ing. I light a cigarette with
a match that has Paul Revere's
birthdate on it, and I have to

laugh. Because it's silly, and it's
in bad taste (whatever that is),
but damn it, it's funny. And
I'd rather use that matchbook
than one from, say, the Rama-
da Inn, because I don't happen
to like the monolithic side of
the nation.
The nation is people, singing
and/or dancing, reading, talk-
ing, competing, eating, slaving,
crying. And when it gets up,
it goes. And it goes.
What has America contributed
to the world? If I were to be
trite, I would say spirit. If I
were scientific, I'd start nam-
ing things. If I were polemic,
I would say democracy, though
we really just borrowed an old,
old idea. Lilliam Iellman has
spunk. Dorothy Parker has in-
tellectual honesty. Cole Porter
had style. Isadora Duncan had
courage. We have a legacy.
You'll hear no piety here,
America did contribute some-
thing to the world: raw, unparal-
leled energy. And it rings, from
the Victrolas to the stages of
off-off-Broadway, there is a
sound, gathering, growing, and
it isn't going to stop.
I hear America swinging.
Can you feel it?

Barber, billiards, bowling,
pinball and stand
Open regular hours
during study, exams, and break.

(' / "We ha to-hle coso fast\
we could only ab two sze sofde. .here the are
Se ves I tarved,/ S ves III Starved
Seryes II ungry ernes IV Hungry
Serv s III ibblers ,# Serves V Nibblers
heese Only $2 Cheese 0n4) $3.50
heese & One OIher ',$2.75Ch es & One Other $4.2
ny More hing ยง$ .2each Any ore Things $.25 each
Please 'l
Allpw 20-25 Minutes.---
2800 Jac -,(-n Foad

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