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December 12, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-12

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I

OPINION

0

Page 4

Friday, December 12, 1980

losi
It was about 1 a.m. Monday night. I was sit-
ting silently with a pair of fellow Daily staffers
in the apartment of one of us. Though we
possessed at least a six-pack apiece between
us, the atmosphere was that of a stunned,
reclusive requiem. Eventually, one of my com-
panions broke the stillness.
"Next to my family and friends, there wasn't
anyone who seemed more like a part of me," he
asserted, almost tearfully. "There just wasn't
anyone else."
AFTER A PAUSE my other friend, misty-
eyed, mused aloud: "I just can't believe he's
not still out there, makin' love and Makin' life."
Coming
Apartk
By Christopher Potter
It seemed my turn to lend passionate assent
to their grief. In chronological terms, the mur-
der of John Lennon should have affected me
much more than it did the sufferers flanking
me. After all, I was a privileged elder among
callow youth; I was old enough to remember
the Beatles not only in their heyday but all the
way back to their beginnings - when many of
today's mourners weren't yet old enough to
talk. I was there. I saw, I heard-the first
American 'tour, the Sullivan Show, the original,
tumultuous orgy of Beatlemania. It was the
dawn of creation and I was present: Let there
be light. I looked the other way.
To this day I regret it. I understand, I forgive
myself, but I cannot forget.
The world weeps at the taking of this man,
who with his three collaborators evoked a
music that sliced through every intellectual,
political, and class barrier known to man.
Their 'gospel was love and their music was a
,N. acle-a new communication that seemed

t

adolescence

almost as universal as religion.
It was more than an artistic revolution: It was
an evocation of spirit which managed to touch
residents of every nation on this planet. If those
four saintly figures really believed all you
needed was love-well, maybe it was true.
I WISH I COULD have believed along with
the rest. Even at its peak, the Beatle era passed
over me like a soft, summer rain cloud-stop-
ping, pondering briefly whether to deposit its
riches, then drifting off toward an anonymous
horizon. I was left lonely and untouched.
Monday night's agony raised memories long
since buried, few of them pleasant. Though I
,grew up in the Beatle era, I was never a part of
it. Rock n' Roll? I hated it. It roared and
grated; it was noise, pure and simple. Mick
Jagger? revolting. Buddy Holly-who the hell
was he? I was raised for better stuff.
So while my peers danced to the beat, I hid
away with Ravel and Prokofiev, occasionally
interspersed with the Chad Mitchell Trio if I
were feeling risque. While the others partied, I
consoled myself with books and late night
movies on TV, methodically mastering the en-
tire cinematic catalogue of the MGM and War-
ner libraries. One day I discovered I'd become
an inadvertent trivia expert. If other kids
didn't understand me, surely Spencer Tracy
would.
I MOLDED A safe, sparse existence. Kids
taunted me in school while my parents taunted
each other at home; the double-barreled effect
made retreat seem a prerequisite for survival.
Yet always the presence of rock permeated my
cover like a thousand laser beams-it blared
from nearby stereos, from transistor radios,
from auto dashboards.
The music became far more than an an-
noyance-it celebrated my isolation, my
sterility, my inability to initiate relationships.
Here was music everyone, else loved and I
didn't. The rockers were in and I was out. They
had mutual communion and I remai-ned lonely.
I hated them and I hated their songs. I hated
every rock singer in the world, and in natural

deference to the Beatles' reigning status, I
grew to hate them most of all. They frolicked
and the people frolicked with them-I could
not. I was a walking cripple. They lent warmth,
but I was cold, agonizingly cold. I was Mark
Chapman, in spirit if not in deed.
Mercifully, time eases hurt. Years later,
three colleges and a half-dozen shock treat-
ments removed, I changed. As I grew older, I
became more adaptive instead of more intran-
sigent. I progressively mastered the art of
tolerating myself and so, astoundingly, did
others; my friends began to multiply to the
point where I could contemplate not living out
my life in solitary-a future I had long ago
deemed inevitable.
THE WORLD WAS not a chilled, frightful
place. I gradually learned to enjoy things I
used to shrink from-I even grew to like the
Beatles, now a decade removed from each
other's company.
- And yet something has been lost forever. A
pedant might call it the joy of youth, the ec-
stasy of discovery, yet even in his banality he
would be right. Rapture and wisdom are rarely
a match; naive, rough-hewn, Lennon and his
friends nonetheless led those who were willing
to listen into untrodden land, through a maze of
strange and glistening kingdoms. Which is why
millions now sob unashamedly over this
man-a man whose death affected me as
detachedly as did the death of Marshall Tito or
the prime minister of Portugal. I never
listened.
I mourn for John Lennon, who had
everything to live for and harmed no one. I
mourn for those whose lives he touched and are
diminished by his loss. And I mourn for those
like myself, for their lost adolescence, for
never having known the secrets those who did
know clasped so fiercely. May he, and all of us,
find peace.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Friday.

John Lennon

a Ii

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCI, No. 82422 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent amajority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

The carillon bells may sound no mores

'I

RelaxN! In ten years,. you,
won't even, remember it

To the Daily:
How can Ann Arbor accept the
abominable news (Ann Arbor
Observer, December 1980) that
the University's resident
carilloneur, Hudson Ladd, will be
let go in June? What a shock that
he is to be cut out of his chosen
profession in his prime!
Since the poet of the 68-ton bells
arrived in 1970, he has made him-
self indispensible. He alone sets
the campus mood with robust
tones that fill the listener's
heart. He alone possesses the ar-

tistry to create the chiming im-
provisations that charm our
jaded ears. If this irreplaceable
teacher (who founded the
Carillon Curriculum) leaves, I
fear that from the 9th floor of
Burton Tower to the top of the
tiny bells, "the lamp of learning"
will go out:
The collective loss of spiritual
uplift to Ann Arborites from the
well-played carillon would be
immense. The bells broadcast the
essence of daily life. How many
heard "America",played in a

COUNT ON IT: Some graduate is go-
ing to come up to you and say, "In
ten years, who's going to remember
the grade, anyway?"
That's the advice former students
now tucked safely away in their
respective careers love to give us as
we struggle through study days and
finals.
After all,-they didn't stay up all last
night typing the 30-page term paper
that was due today; they don't have
three days to read all 15 required books
for the history final on Monday.
Now removed from academia, these
individuals have no memory of the
Herculean tasks that confront us-or
the doom that looms over our heads if
we don't fulfill these demands.

They don't understand that a C-
minus means the end of the,
world-well, maybe not the end of the
world, but well it could mean the end of
your life-er, that's not exactly right
either. But a C-minus precludes any
possibility of any sort of professional
career-they'll probably put you on
academic probation, or worse yet,
drop you from the University-put you
up for public ridicule. Imagine, being
stoned by a group of angry professors
on the Diag for getting a C-minus.
That's what happens when you get a
bad grade.
Right?
Relax and take your finals. In ten
years,-you won't even remember your
C-minus.

WCBN director apologizes

To the Daily:-
On December 9, a WCBN an-
nouncer made a questionable
remark regarding JohnLennon's
death. One listener, outraged by
his lack of sensitivity, called the
station to complfin, only to
receive further abuse from the
DJ. The incident was related in a
letter printed in the Daily on
December 11.
Although the DJ's remark was
not overtly tasteless, in the wake
of Lennon's death, it is under-
standable that a listener would be
upset about it. The DJ's behavior

on the phone however, was inex-
cusable. The DJ should have ac-
cepted the fact that the caller was
upset and should not have con-
tinued to disturb her in such a
hostile fashion. WCBN apologizes
to all listeners who were offended
by the remark, and sincerely
regrets the inconsiderate
behavior of one of our staff mem-
bers.
-Ken Freedman,
Program Director,
WCBN
December 11

minor key on the night that the
Iranian hostage rescue failed or
"Hail to the Chief" right after
President Nixon resigned? Songs
relating to every holiday are
beautifully rendered. Innovative
concerts include the 1978 and 1979
University Dance Department-
Carillon world-premiere perfor-
mances and the ringing "Carols
Around the Carillon." Without
Hudson's pep, will football Satur-
days ever be the same?
Many have accepted the chan-
ce to take the tower-top tour to
witness the bells being played
from the cabin room. Concert and
theater audiences are warmed
before entering the auditorium
by music that spills from Burton
Tower. Even persons merely
opening-their doors to let out the
dog are taken aback by the lovely
sounds conveyed through the air!
In Hudson Ladd's words, the
instrument "is playable, but no
longer musical." The carillon has
been scheduled for renovation
since 1973. Because altered
technique was required in order
to overcome the carillon's state-
of disrepair, all of last summer's
weekly concerts were performed
by the resident carilloneur. In
previous years, guests had been
invited.
The Charles Baird Carillon was
dedicated 44 years ago, on
December 4, 1936. Could it be
that the quality of" Ann Arbor life
will insidiously slip owing to the
disuse of a musical gift inadver-

tently accepted by us through
busy years? When the Baird
Carillon no-longer richly rings out
its peace, we will still hear the
campus air rent by storm sired
tests and wailing ambulances
and police cars. The unavoidable
noise pollution will continu\ *to
receive support. But where is
monetary support for Ann Ar
bor's traditional symbol, which i'
about to become a mere shell of
its donor's generous intentions?'
Granted, the University is ex-
periencing severe budgetary
problems. Notwithstanding, the
music school is laying off its
lowest-paid instructor while
raising other salaries. Perhaps a
re-evaluation of priorities and of
the carilloneur's contribution- to
our much-loved community will
encourage funding from a new
source. What are the resources of
this above-average city and its
organizations?
Our unique tower has been
lauded by National Poet,
Laureate Robert Frost, who,
when in residence here, alluded
to it in his poem entitled
"Acquainted With The Night,"
which I understand was read at
President John' F. Kennedy's
Inauguration.
Yes, I am one who loves the
sound of the carillon. However, I
am thankful that the new siren is
sounding an alarm. Wake Up, Ann
Arbor!
-Doris Datsko
Class of 1946
December 10
w worthless
recognize the tripping of these
actors as perhaps a problem of
either the director's incompeten-
ce, the stage scenery, or even the
costume design.
It is a dilemma for actors in our
world of media that the critic
always delights in his/her final
word. Well, here's one for those
defenseless souls on the other
side of the lights: To call
Musket's performance high-
schoolish is perhaps justified
enough, but after reading such a
worthless review, let's all realize
which pot is calling the kettle
black!

Reducing import reliance

To the Daily:
The arguments against auto
import restrictions given by
Walter Adams (Daily, December.
4) are familiar in that they
neglect the major role of gover-
nment and, thus,' the public at
large 'in America's overlong
devotion to the large car. Big
cars were popular because they
are well-suited to many
situations found in the U.S. (long
trips on good roads with
relatively easy parking in most of
the country). Until recently there
was little economic advantage to
owning a small car. Indeed, when
the manufacturers produced
small cars (remember the Henry
J?) few people bought them;
they needed refinement, cer-
tainly, but manufacturers were
reluctant to do extended
development and engineering on
them when the public clamored
for the bigger ones. So people who
wanted a small car turned to.

States. German industry then
began to turn out cars, many of,
them -far smaller than the VW
Beetle, that were assured of large
sales because the German gover-
nment hadruled out U.S. com-
petition. The tax and insurance
rates depended so strongly on the
size of the engine that the owner
of a 3000 cc Mercedes would pay
four times the rate charged for a
1600 cc VW Beetle and ten times
the rate charged for a tiny 250 cc
BMW Isetta. And the governmen-
tally-imposed costs of the Isetta
for its German owner were, in
turn, far more than an American
would pay in, say, Kansas for his
7500 cc Oldsmobile.
So the current products of
companies like Volkswagen are
now well engineered because
they were produced for many
years under governmental
protection that kept the U.S. out
while the German small cars un-
derwent development. This

,e
r
i
i
f-
.
1
t

'Dolly' revie

To the Daily:
I was glancing through my
Michigan Daily early Saturday
morning after spending the
previous evening as an audience
member of UAC's production
"Hello Dolly!" As a theater
major perhaps I have been
trained with a more expansive
insight into stage criticism, but I
fourd Julie Selbst's "review "
(Daily, December 6) of the Soph
Show utterly simplistic, naive,
and to say the least, sophomoric.
The fact that her main focus was
on counting the times actors ac-
cidentally tripped on stage leads
us to understand that she is not
skilled enough to deal with true

-Elizabeth Gordon
ilnnnhnr 6

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