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October 05, 1980 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-05

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SUNDAY
Sunday, October 5, 1980

Pagie6

The Michigan Daily

Cousteau:1Byland, sea,

an

By Patricia Hagen
T HE VIKINGS were the first.
Then the, Spanish, the Portu-
gese, the French, and the Brit-
ish. Navigating their ships, they all
sailed the St. Lawrence waterway to
penetrate the continent of North
America. Over the centuries they
discovered, and spread word of what
they saw.
On a balmy afternoon last week
thousands of people lined the Detroit
'River, awaiting another in this historic
procession of explorers.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, captain of
thge ship Calypso, stepped from his
helicopter, followed by his son, under-
sea explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau.
The people roared their approval, for
the man his reputation. They knew all
about the Frenchman and the adven-
tures of the Calypso. Through the
television cameras of the Cousteau
team they had travelled the world.
They had learned of the romance and
danger of undersea exploration, ship-
wrecks, and exotic places.
Through the Calypso and her captain
they had become explorers, too.-
"We are the heirs. We inherit it, this
legacy of discovery and the spirit of the
pioneers who have discovered this land,
animating you people here," said the
70-year-old diver-cinematographer in
a heavy French accent.
A jazz band played and Mayor
Coleman Young welcomed the adven-
turer, and awarded him a key to the
city. This guru of waterlife enthusiasts
charmed his Motor City audience. "I
am particularly happy to have the key
of Detroit from your mayor. I will put it
in my safe along with a key to the city of
Atlantis."
Three weeks earlier the Calypso had
passed through the Detroit-Windsor
channel for the first time, enroute north
to Lake Superior. The 26-member
Cousteau team and a contingent of
visiting scientists explored shipwrecks
and assessed the ecology of the lakes.
At the waterfront celebration back in
Detroit the crowds plied father and son
Patricia Hagen says she grew
up on Jacques Cousteau T. V. spe-
ials. She is The Daily's City Editor.

with questions about the Lake Superior
trip, eager for a preview of the next
series of Cousteau documentaries that
had been filmed during the expedition.
Two Cousteau crew members were
the first humans to see the sunken
remains of a freighter whose fatal 1975
expedition is immortalized in a
poignant ballad by Gordon Lightfoot,
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Twenty-nine seamen died when the ore
carrier went down in one of Lake
Superior's tragic November storms.
ne two men saw the wreck from a
minisubmarine, the only way to obser-
ve the wreckage resting 520 feet below
the surface. Jean-Michel said the
divers confirmed U.S. Coast Guard
reports of the sinking and assured the
crowd that a film of the wreck would be
in the documentaries to be released
next year.
N THE McGarvey Shoal near
Roscoff, Ontario, Cousteau,
divers also found the 195-foot
wreck of the Gunilda, which rests in 250
feet of icy Lake Superior water. The
younger Cousteau said that although
the luxury yacht sank in 1911, the divers
found it "in perfect condition. The
masts are still up, the riggers are still
in place." He said the gold paint on the
sculptures decorating the craft are still
visible..
Clad in a red wool seaman's cap,
work shirt, and blue pants, the elder,
Frenchman spoke of the rich historical
legacy of the area, current environ-
mental problems, and the importance
of technology and environmental care
for the future.
"The reason we came here, as we
have been in other freshwater areas
like Lake Tanganyika in Africa, along
the River Nile, and soon along the
Amazon river, is because there is only
one body of water on this planet,
whether it is fresh or salty. And we are
concerned, the citizens of the world are
concerned, about the health of the
water system, whether it is ice, snow,
rain, river, lakes, seas or oceans. And it
is all the same thing, the blood of our
planet, the same blood that flows in our
own veins and arteries.

man in the brown shirt yelled to the.
delight of the crowd, who moved to let
him reach the platform.
The small energetic man enjoyed
answering the questions posed by his
fans.
"Have you ever ridden a whale,"
asked one of the younger ones. "I have
... and that's no fish story," he replied,
grinning.
In a more serious response to the
question aout the condition of the lakes,
Cousteau said some parts of the Great
Lakes system are almost "void of life."
"I don't know exactly the reason ...
but we are working on it." The mariner
speculated that the lack of life in the
lakes may be due to pollution, over-
fishing, and an invasion of lamprey.
Lamprey is a primitive eel-like fish
which feeds on other fish. Continual
chemical programs are required to
control the parasite.
Although he has shown the public the
idiosyncrasies of aquatic life, the diver
does not claim to be a scientist, ex,
plained Susan Richards of the Cousteau
Society office in New York. His prime
role is spokesperson for the environ-
ment. On Calypso expeditions the crew
assists the scientists and researchers
doing marine biology experiments.
University Diving Safety Coordinator
Lee Somers, himself a diver who has
participated in mini-submarine ex-
ploration of Lake Michigan, said that
although Cousteau is not an academic
scientist the explorer is a "world-wide
institution." Cousteau has "done more
to develop a world-wide awareness of
the oceans, more than the others collec-
tively combined."
Cousteau is credited with
popularizing sport diving through
development of diving techniques such
as the Aqua Lung and. the minisub-
marine, Somers, a lecturer in
meterorology and oceanography said.
"He's made the whole thing work."
Cousteau's aquatic work has spanned
nearly half a century. Taking a leave
from the French navy to start his ex-
ploration work on a full time basis after
World War II, Cousteau hasbdevoted his
life to teaching. the public. The
Cousteau family, including Madame
Simone Cousteau has lived on board the
Calypso for almost 30 years.
But theglamour of exploration, and
travel; and television-has-been pun-
ctuated by tragedy and danger that
might have subdued the efforts of a less
dedicated team. Cousteau's younger
son Phillippe died last year at age 39 in
an accident on the amphibious aircraft
which is used in exploration. And diver-
electrician Remy Galliano died Sept. 4
off Kingston in Lake Ontario during a
dive.

I air
A green fire boat signaled the arrivol
of the Calypso with a six hose spray of
water that blurred the Windsor shore
whre several thousand more people
had gathered. As the Calypso passed,
the seaman spoke of transitions:
To the people of Detroit he refetred
hopefully to changes in the automdbile
industry including the new small ears
introduced this month by the auto com-
panies. "I want to say again the faith'I
have in the capacity for invention of the
technicians of this city. Their only
mistake is not to have listened to or
warning early enough. The switch
from the comfortable old automobile
has not been made early enough. But it
will be made .... this can be overcome."
TRANSITION in the Cousteau'
Society's mode of travel is also
forseeable. The Calypso, a
converted minesweeper built during
the Second World War in Seattle, is to
be replaced by "a new ship that will use
mostly wind to propel itself, and which
will be completely clean," Cousteau
said.
"This ship, of course, however we dse
it, is already obsolete from the len
vironmental care standpoint. It is not
clean ship. It is also a waste of energy
because the motors we use and tle
propellers we use are obsolete,'
Cousteau explained.
"But we need also to be inventive aid
this ship that will be propelled by wind
is not going to use sails, it is not goingto
use windmills. It is going to foster a new
way of using the wind for propulsion
We are working now in wind tunnels
... and we have already results that
prove it is feasible to save 75 percenit'of
the fuel for modern large vessels. And
this will not be done by going back to
the way windships were propelled irt the
16th or 17th centuries. This will be using
the latest advances in aviati'oh
technology."
te.Cousteau said he hoped to have
designs for the new craft completed by
sometime in 1981.
An armada of small pleasure crafts
bobbed around the' bigger boat in the
channel. The crew waved to the people
on shore focusing binoculars and
cameras. The romantic Calypso cruised
toward the Ambassador bridge on the
way to exploring several more ship-
wrecks in Lake Ovtario; before. cpn-
tinuing on to,,Mqntreal where they will
stay until the ice settles in.
The people cheered as the Cousteau
helicopter lifted off from the riverfront
plaza. The whirring bird swooped down
in a salute to the crowd before meeting
up with the passing ship. But where
ever Cousteau- goes these landlocked
adventurers will follow.

. J77'%d ."
Daily Photo by MAUREEN O'MALLEY
Preparing for takeoff: A salute to the masses

the future, an offer of hope for their en-
vironment.
"To protect our planet it is not good to
reach back to candles and to caves. We
are here to use science and technology,
for the benefit of all. This science and
technology has in the past been used
carelessly. But if it is used the proper
way it can be used to counter the
damage wehaye done, to correct it, and
to make this planet a beautiful thing to
pass on to future generations. I appeal
to you to help us in this task."
The people said they shared his con-
cern to protect their environment, the
beautiful silent world they saw only on
their television screens-The Undersea
World of Jacques Cousteau.
Since Epave (which means "sunken
ships"), the first Cousteau film in 1944,
the Cousteau diving and film crew has
passed on their discoveries of exotic
creatures, colors, and plants to rapt
armchair adventurers: a televised con-
frontation with animals that should
only exist in a science fiction film.
On one of the first expeditions of the
newly-formed Cousteau Society, a non-
'profit research organization launched
in the early 1950s, the divers became
friends with a hideous overgrown
grouper and named him Ulysses. The
60-pound spotted fish lived in a coral
crevice off Assumption, the souther-
nmost island of the Aldabras. The
friendly fish became a movie star in
The Silent World televised a few years
later.
From their living rooms, Cousteau
groupies have also marveled at a
flickering wall of 20,000 dolphins cour-
sing through the Indian Ocean and blue
whales in the Mediterranean Sea; they
have peered into the terrifying black
depths of sea floor abysses and watched
divers grope through schools of
flourescent fish.
"We would ship out with Cousteau if

we had the chance," Sharon Block from
Trenton exclaimed. She said she and
her daughter watched every episide of
the weekly Cousteau series and every
Cousteau special. The animals, the
knowledge, that's why they watched.
"He's seen places on earth most people
will never go."
E THINK it's very good for
the boys," explained Roy-
al Oak resid'ern Alice Oles
who was standing on the crowded
Detroit plaza with her two sons.
Louis agreed. "I like Jacques Cousteau
because he can pet the sharks with-
out them biting him."
"Give me your autograph. I've been
watching you for a million years," the

0

Doily Photo by MAUREEN O'MALLEY
Heirs to the pioneer spirit: Admiring an institution

Daily Photo by MAUREEN O'MALIEY
Cousteau, with his son and fellow explorer Jean-Michel, and Detroit Mayor Coleman Young: Accepting a key to the city
of Detroit

i

I

'Firestarter':

King's latest fizzles out

:0
N
"'.4

By Christopher Potter
JF STEPHEN KING would ever decide to
allow his literary sensibilities to match
his imagination, we might have a truly
ngerous writer on our hands. The author's
darkside meditations have already established
with a lightning swiftness his credentials as
America's modal inheritor of the legacy of
diabolics carved by Poe, Lovecraft, and Bloch.
Totally unknown five years ago, King now
perches like a haughty gargoyle astride not
just our domestic horror genre, but atop
popular fiction in general. His new novels
automatically shoot to the top of the bestseller
list, and each new book carries a guaranteed

of a secret, pitiless government agency run
wild.
King is a master at meshing the familiar.
with the unthinkable, of thrusting ordinary
protagonists into hideously unordinary
situations. His horrors are far less likely to
evolve in drafty dungeons or Transylvanian
graveyards than right on Main Street, U.S.A.
The author sees menace not only in our social
institutions (political movements, religious
sects) but in our simplest technology; thus a
lawnmower or a dry cleaning machine can take
on the trappings of a monster on the rampage.
We've already perfected so many actualized
methods of doing in the human race-who's to
believe King's grotesque whimsies might not
turn into tomorrow's weaponry to further im-

coutrements endemic to bestseller fiction: A
meandering, pseudo-epic storyline, a cast of
thousands, and a kind of patronizing lowbrow
verbiage geared toward the masses. The
author may stylistically worship at the altar
of Poe, yet in the realm of organization and plot
progression, he all too often prays slavishly to
Sidney Sheldon.
ING HAS NOW churned out six novels
in as many years, none of them short,
two of them tumescent. Such prolifer-
ation in itself betokens a literary big-money
formula at work, perennially betraying the
~flfl(W%~t

subplots, sub-subplots, flashbacks, and flash-
forwards, all machinated by so many charac-
ters, that Tolstoy would seem the epitome of
simplicity in comparison. King's wordiness
gets so excessive that the story turns banal and
tedious, as does his longest work, The Stand,.
Only in The Shining-ironically his most con-
ventional, least typical novel to date-does
King carry his vision all the way through. The
novel is a sustained masterwork of modern
horror, the kind of book that makes you feel
you're taking a genunine risk just by turning to
the next page. It remains the nefarious beacon
of King's short career, confirming what a
lightning-rod talent this writer can be when he
doesn't compromise himself.
Alas, as the royalties pour in, compromise

latest, Firestarter, has now hit the displ4'
windows, and about the most one can say for;it
is that it's at least proceedurally superior o
The Dead Zone.
King has tightened his structural ship con-
siderably: His protagonists are sharrpy
reduced in number, his rambling subplots are
held to an almost non-existent minimum, hls
flashbacks stick admirably to the point and ale
inserted into his narrative with a strateg'e,
suspense-building artfulness. Yet for all th4t,
there is a weary quality to Firestarter, a once-
too-often-to-the-well staleness which smacks-f
a fatigued magician running through his 'an-
cient bag of tricks too many times.
Firestarter elucidates two of King's d-
sessive themes-the horror of telekinesis (i..,

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