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September 05, 1991 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 15

The Norton Book of Modern War
t Edited by Paul Fussell
W. W. Norton & Co./ hardback
When you think about it, it's not strange at all that warfare has become
,the embodiment of ultimate suffering. Despair undermines courage, death
ends the quest for honor, and pain and hatred make all victories pyrrhic. For
,those who reject Hemingway when he pleads, "Never think that war, no
s matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime," reading the col-
ected works of The Norton Book of Modern War will probably change
your minds.
The collected stories, poems, and personal narratives which fill this
book span the globe, 75 years and four major conflicts (the two World
IWars, the Spanish Civil War, and Vietnam). If some of the works are not of
the same literary excellence as others, there are very few pieces which leave
the reader unaffected. "Never such innocence again," said Philip Larkin,
- thinking of the doomed ranks of youth who had marched off to die in the
trenches of Flanders with sugerplum visions of glory dancing in their
heads. The terrible irrationality of that war is a stigma which marks every
story in the collection. The chaos of war is reflected in the riotous confu-
sion of the Spanish Civil War, where no one was quite sure who was fight-
sing whom, and an ally of yesterday was likely to betray you to the modern-
;ized guillotines of the Revolutionary tribunals tomorrow. A generation
later and half a world away, the same violent injustice reigned in the inno-
scent little Vietnamese hamlet into which Lieutenant Calley (subject of a
recent, forgiving People magazine profile) led his men. They vented their
fanger and bullets on the Viet Cong, a massacre which continued until hun-
dreds of unarmed women and children lay strewn, dead and dying, in the
mud and ditches of My Lai.
The death and suffering portrayed is not merely unjust, but inhumane as
well. Beginning with a wretchedly dry, official bulletin on how to deal
with putrefying and unburiable corpses, and continuing over the comman-
der of Auschwitz's account of pitching screaming babies into the gas chain-
- bers before returning home to bathe and play with his own children, the
climax of the horror was reached, for me, in an account of the murder of a
VC sympathizer. Troops gathered to "watch the fun" as the woman was
tied and subdued, a fire hose's "tarnished brass nozzle forced between her
legs, forced against the resilient folds of flesh... A scream started from her
throat, a sound unlike any other! Red and pink and brown and white and
green, a torrent of mixed flesh and high pressure steam... " The evil of the
Nazis is well known - less well publicized is the darker side of troops
fighting for the "right" side, like these American Green Berets.
Editor Paul Fussell writes that the publication of the truth about war
is an ironic victory, "ironic" because it relies upon past horrors for inspira-
tion, but a "victory" in that it fights against future wars. It is harder for
governments to recruit or compel warm bodies to fight and die when those
bodies have minds. When soldiers know that "being all they can be" means
being figures in a casualty count or paraplegics in a VA ward until they die,
waging war becomes difficult. As some dreamer once said, "What if we
gave a war and nobody came?" "The truth will set you free," said another,
and certainly the Norton collection does a good job of breaking the bonds
of ignorance which allow war's horrors to continue.
Jonathan Harrison

Continued from page 13
who just want to listen to different
cultures and ideas, remember 88.3.
"How to listen to WCBN?"
asks Mattson of himself. "It's kind
of like New England weather - if
you wait five minutes it will
change. We're not saying that you
have to like everything that we play.
We're not trying to appeal to every-
one. We're just trying to do excel-
lent, diverse radio."
Continued from page 11
ery other Monday, the Nectarine
played host to such rock illuminar-
ies as Soul Asylum, Johnny Winter,
Husker Dii, and later a solo Bob
Mould. "Those shows, I'm done
with those. Too many problems, too
many crazy people. Just not worth
it," says Bender.
If there are shows, they will be
more expensive and with a different
attitude. "Like a show before we'd
get say, 700, 800 people at around
$12 a ticket, okay? Now say you'd
get 350 people so you'd have to get
double the ticket price to get the
same act. So that's how it would be
possible.... It could be a nice space
for that, where you could have an in-

One of WBCN-FM's famous disc jocks spins a tune you probably won't hear on most other radio stations.
That's why their tao line claims "Radio Free Ann Arbor

timate show and a good show, but it....,gn ........
would be for somebody that The Nectarine was a focus for not targeting students per se. The Nectarine Ballroom regardless, un-
wouldn't mind paying $24 or $30 a some students' extracurricular ac- one thing I do know, it'll take a lot der any circumstances because that
ticket, you know. It wouldn't be tivities before the renovation. Now, less to make it go, to keep it alive would've been extended much past
like before where you're jam packed Bender says, students are not likely than it did before. And by being 21, where it was. So I mean, if it goes, at
and you know, it would be a lot to be the main audience. "We're it'll be a lot less problems. It least this gives it a fair change to
nicer," explains Bender. more or less on campus, but we're wasn't going to last as the make a go ...," says Bender.

Continued from page 13
adds that, "support for kids is much
greater when they are involved in
sports.... We provide a supportive
environment for them to compete in
the arts."
Controversy often accompanies
the visual art scene, but Chamberlin
feels that AAAA has not had prob-
lems with censorship. "About eight
years ago a print called, St. Francis
and the Rape of Japan offended
someone, and their church group
wrote all sorts of letters to
protest," laughs Chamberlin. She
stands behind an ideal for signifi-
cance within art, however: "I like
pieces that communicate beyond
their technology." An abstract piece
must speak to her in order for her to
consider its worth. That's why

AAAA encourages its artists to de-
scribe their intent and their creative
processes for their exhibits. "You
almost never walk out of an orches-
tra concert and hear someone say,
'My kid can do that."' Chamberlin
says. She wants to give viewers of
visual art at the Association a
chance to be educated before they
brush off an experimental concept.
Chamberlin's predictions for
coming trends in the art world is in
unique compositions for furniture.
Artists are making chairs and tables
out of anything from demolished
cars to nerf balls. "You recognize
the parts," she explains "but then
see them transformed into a whole
new concept." This makes the art ac-
cessible, because one can see its pro-
cess, but also an aesthetic and chal-
lenging experience. And that con-
cept is really what the Art
Association is all about.


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