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November 03, 1983 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ARTS
Thursday, November 3, 1983

6oej.

The Michigan Daily
n gory glory and
other histronic cliches

More than 48 fun hoursi

HJOSTILITY. It flows in the air
like some thick, virulent com-
municable disease; everybody has it,
but the organism is as yet uniden-
tified. Tempers are short, sighs are
long. Everyone suspects the other of
being a carrier, but each can easily
justify his own actions. Peace-
keeping force, indeed.
A pleasant Monday afternoon walk
on the campus of The University of
Michigan, circa Halloween. The wind
is a bit chilly, but we have clear sun, a
warm jacket, and lunch already
digested. In the Diag, Stoney gives
the Marines hell ("What are those
damn medical students doing down
there anyway? You know they're not
going to stay'there, that's for sure.").
The audience is amiable, amused, not
hostile. Now and then an adult throws
a suspicious glance. A skeleton mask
walks by.
A few steps further, out of the
Carribean, out of the 20th century:
onto the battlefield of Concord and in-
to the William L. Clements Library.
Director John C. Dann hold up
General Thomas Gage's actual quilled
order to send troops to a small town in
eastern Massachussetts. Visitors

icrowd around the yellowed parch-
ment, now encased in plastic. There
is a sense of great import; a war
begins, hostility translates into
'bullets.
SAnd there's more. Dann beams as
he displays a priceless coded
,manuscript wherein Benedict Arnold
betrays his friends, or another spy's
detailed map of Valley Forge, one
which proved instrumental in the
restoration of that site 200 years later.
In an original tract from 1777, General
Burgoyne takes several pages to alert
military superiors to his capitulation
'it Saratoga; victory is swift, defeat a
ti e oquacious.
- The audience, a group of about 10
visiting dignitaries from around the
Big 10 and beyond, is amiable, in-
terested, not hostile. This is stark
history, in all its glory.
TheClements Library is filled with
such history, from the solid antique
chairs and great wooden tables to the
close to 90,000 musky books, maps,
and manuscripts dating from 100 to
500 years agao. Though world-
renowned for its collection of rare
materials, especially of colonial and
revolutionary times, the library is
seldom frequented by students, out-
side of graduate-level researchers
who actually use the sources. The
bulk of non-scholarly visitors are
older non-students, often monied per-
sons whom the University hopes to
impress.
Why the relative paucity of un-
dergrads? Because history, while not
necessarily bunk, is boring, especially
when considered next to the Pistons'
new season or the upcoming Fixx
concert. The library's impressive
facade makes for a cheerful visual.
pause, situated as it is between the
UGLi and the House of Harold, but
few presume to look further. A
definite hostility to things dead or
hand-bound persists.
Most students probably don't even
realize that their tuition and tax
dollars support the upkeep and ex-
pansion of a building they may never
enter. The library's long-term con-
tract requires that the University
provide at least $15,000 annually for
new purchases; students also help
pay Dann's $34,000 salary, as well as
that of his staff.
How valuable is it to maintain a
prestigious institution during these
times of financial distress and
preclusively high tuition? Why com-
pete with some snooty Eastern
colleges and the rest of the private
sector?

Consider first that the lion's share
of library income comes not from the
University but from private support.
Although large endowments - those
on the scale of that made by William
L. Clements himself for the building's
construction back in 1922 - are rare,
the library still manages to raise
enough money to support a $100,000
annual purchasing budget. The most
expensive acquisition to date, an ex-
tremely rare 17th centruy map collec-
tion of the West Coast of South
America which sold for $200,000, was
made possible only through a highly
succesful public fund-raising cam-
paign. The manuscript was hand-
printed around 1690 by William Hack
in London, based on illustrated charts
pirated from Spanish vessels.
Consider further that the library
does serve a definite scholarly fun-
ction, in addition to a social one.
Clements boasts about five to six hun-
dred serious users yearly: about half
from the University and Southeast
Michigan, the rest from all over the
nation and the world. Director Dann
himself has published several
scholarly works, the latest being a
very successful volume entitled The
Revolution Remembered: Eyewit-
ness Acounts of the War for Indepen-
dence.
Also, the library does serve as an
attractive visiting site. The quiet
unhurried atmosphere of the place
has a decidedly calming effect, on
persons looking for an afternoon study
spot as much as on tourists. The
University uses the spacious main
hall for special lectures, teas, and
receptions; the resources are made
use of.
The defense of history, of course,
goes far beyond tea ceremonies. The
distinctive nature of the Clements
collection lies not only in the scarcity
of value of its holdings - from
Christopher Columbus' newsletter
announcement of his first voyage to
the certification of George
Washington's death - but in the kind
of history collected. Rather than con-
centrate on analyses or "history
books," the library has focused on
primary accounts: old newspapers,
correspondence, and other first hand
material. These are records made
with history, instead of afterwards.
Thus, we have a letter from Sarah
Orne Revere telling Paul not to come
back to town for a few days, lest he be
imprisoned. The irony of that bit of
history arises from the fact that the
messenger poor Mrs. Revere en-
trusted her cautionary note to was a
Dr. Beard, yet another British spy.
Another mail service victory.
Ultimately, though, the highest
value of history lies not in the past but
in its present relevance. Lessons to be
learned, and all that. And the:
truth is that the American Revolution,
and the motivations behind it, are of-
ten viewed these days in terms of
cliches, which is probably why so
many students find it tedious. Cer-
tainly, philosophic comparisons bet-
ween the founding fathers' foresight
and current conflicts are tolerated by
even the most liberal observers with a
touch of sarcasm.
But, then, hostility has become a
kind of cliche, and, like all cliches,
there's a certain fascination in
repeating it. Maybe by glancing at
the inscrutable twists of forgotten
faces we can recognize the different
expressions staring back today.
Support your local library.

By Brad Parks
L ET'S FACE IT - movies about politics are dull and
boring. They're the kind of thing people from East Quad
watch while they smoke dope and talk about Marxism. So
you can just be thankful that the new "political" movie in
town, Under Fire, isn't like that. Sure, there's politics (what
do you expect - it takes place in Nicaragua), but the politics
are just a thin ploy to get you into the swiftest, coolest,
meanest action-adventure picture since 48 Hours.
The reason this movie works is simple - it stars Nick
Nolte. If you haven't seen 48 Hours or Who'll Stop the Rain or
North Dallas Forty you've been missing the acting sensation
of the decade. Nolte doesn't act, he is.
In this latest flick he plays Russel Price, an American
photojournalist covering the Sandinista uprising against dic-
tator Anton Somoza. Like every role he plays, Nolte makes
being a photojournalist look like it's the coolest job apthinking,
breathing human being could ever have.
For convienience, there's a plot (after all, some people -
the infidels! - might not be satisfied with just frame upon

Nick Nolte
... Nicaraguan photojournalist

Record:.
Mick Fleetwood - 'I'm No
Me' (RCA)
Mick Fleetwood is an archetypal
band organizer - as a drummer who
doesn't sing he has to be - and he's at it
again.
Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood
Mac, has not forsaken the band that has
made him famous, but is simply
following in the shoes of Fleetwood Mac
vocalists Lindsey Buckingham an
Stevie Nicks, both of whom have had
successful solo albums recently.
I'm Not Me, though, is not really a
solo project - he has formed a new
band, Mick Fleetwood's Zoo.
Gathering guitarists Billy Burnette and
Steve Ross and bassist George
Hawkins, Fleetwood has found a power
ful instrumental lineup. Along with
their instrumental expertise, all o
these three can sing, which gives the
band a smorgasbord of vocalists - a la
Fleetwood Mac - to mix and match 01
different songs.
The band is releasing an MTV vide
for "I Want You Back," written by Ros

t and Buckingham. Reminiscent at the
same time of Fleetwood Mac's recent
hit "Hold Me" and Buckingham's own
" Trouble," the song should do well on
the charts, but it doesn't really reflect
the album.
The title track seems more to
showcase the band at its best. Written
by Burdette, it has a paradoxical loose,
almost raunchy, sound, yet is basically
a very controlled song. If "I Want You
Back" does well enough on the charts,
"I'm Not Me" could turn into a very
successful follow up.
Some other tracks worthy of note are
a surprisingly enjoyable cover of the
N Beach Boys "Angel Come Home," also
sung by Burdette, and Hawkin's best
contribution to the album, "Tonight,"
e another song with that loose feeling in
- the midst of great control.
h The album tries to do a lot of different
things but, save a few good songs, it
e doesn't come up with much. Many of
a the songs have a tired feeling as if theyr
n hadsbeen done before, and others seem
so over-controlled as to become almost
o lifeless.
S Joseph Kraus

It
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frame of our man Nick). Nolte and his fellow reporter.
(Joanna Cassidy - JoJo on T.V.'s "Buffallo Bill") stumble"
onto the big "secret" that could determine the outcome oftht
revolution. Of course they have to decide what they're going
to do with that secret, and ultimately, their own lives (one,
guess as to whether or not Nick chooses right over wrong .
From that point on the war becomes a steadily closing jet,,
and it takes all the dexterity and toughness a person has just
to get out alive.
Of course this is not to say that the movie doesn't have a
political or thematic axe to grind. After all, these are the,
huddled masses (The Good Guys) being oppressed by the un-i
caring military government (The Bad Guys) with the help.of
the CIA (us). And you can have a field day with the theme o'"
photographic images vs. "the real thing," and journalitic:
objectivity in war vs. being a thinking, caring human being.:
But who has the time? Bombs are exploding, people are
flying up in the air, and Nick Nolte is acting. ("Whose side-
are you on?" a peasant asks. "I don't take sides," Nolte:
says, "I take pictures." Too cool.)

We ekends
The indispensable Kahlua <.-''
Duffle bag: take it on a weekend
aboard a plane or to the health
club. Brown with white lettering. f.
Top zipper closure, heavy M ...
canvas handles. 19" x 1.*' y ,.*..{
$22.95each, postpaid.t
The Kahlua Purse: smaller
version that's big on style. 13"x 8 r ~
$11.95 each, postpaid.
Why ordering two is .
better than ordering one: ,S fry..4
4{ . , ..... f- . f~ t. . {..;?9: .. "*<' .6 . .'

I

i

1'

Stanley H. Kaplan
The Smart
MOVE!
' Q

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