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June 17, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1984-06-17

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Page 14 - The Michigan Daily - Sunday, June 17, 1984

'MX' film
By Martha Brown
WE'VE ALL heard of wiping away
the polite veneer of society. We'll
get ready, America: From Hitler to the
MX works like turpentine. It stinks and
stings as only a documentary on
nuclear arms could do, smearing the
case for arms build-up through ninety
minutes of provocative, firsthand
testimonies into the gruesome reality of
U.S. "defense" policies.
Working like a sly detective, director
Joan arvey brings on witness after wit-
ness of nuclear destructive capability.
Some of the more actively opposed to
the arms race such as minority leaders,
social activists and union organizers,
while others are inactivated by mental
anguish or the physical effects of
radiation in uranium mines and nuclear
testing sites.
The opening theme is one of the post-WW
II red scare. Supported and
disseminated by the U.S. government,
the scare was used as a weapon to
drown out "Communist" peacemakers.
The result was the blazing spread of the
once unilateral arms race.
The second major theme unites the
shocking hypocricies of U.S. corporate
interests in Hitler's weapons' industries
with big money and nuclear weapons
development today. Unfortunately,
direct substantiation of this idea is
scarce. One begins to feel a part of an
earnest yet unprofitable argument with
a nuclear fanatic. Unfortunately, this
opposing view is never voiced and the
resulting diatribe is perhaps weaker
than a dialogue would have been. A
small complaint, however, for a
provocative theme that is woven
throughout the film.
One undeniable disclosure, however,
is of the thoughtless and aggressive tac-
tics behind the U.S. nuclear war policy
as it stands. From Carter to Reagan,
U.S. defense policy has been chartered
to wage an offensive nuclear war. The
victors of such a war, similar to Hitler's
racially pure and superior Aryan
warriors, would be of the
technologically superior nation. Those
defeated, inimical to their enemy's
profit-making motives, would be lost
The emphasis is left off the
probability of veritable armaggadon.
All communications would be as
useless as rearraging deck chairs on
the Titantic.
The ultimate message of the film is
coherent and persuasive. The mass
hypnosis imparted by the Nazis and
supported by U.S. capital was a
historical lesson from which we can
learn a great deal. Big business leaders
live in the luxury of complacent disin-
terestedness, but we, as conscientious
citizens, must live by the knowledge
that the danger is real, and here with us

All in tihe fam ilyAssociated Prgss
In town for the London premier of 'Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom' are (L-R) its producer George Lucas, co-stars
Date Capshaw and Ke Huy Quan and director Steven Spielberg. Lucas and Spielberg edited one minute of violence from
the film in order to receive a general release in Great Britain. Also at the premiere were Prince Charles and Princess

A Conscience Place
By Joyce Thompson
Doubleday, 240 p.p., $13.95
Warning: If you have read 1984 or
Brave New World then you might
dismiss A Conscience Place by Joyce
Thompson as flagrant plagiarism after
the first five chapters.
Warning: If you stop after five chap-
ters you will not experience what turns
out to be a well-orchestrated weaving of
various and distinct themes which sets
this novel apart from the previously
stated dystopian-style novels.
Conclusion: If the warnings are
followed, a satisfying but slightly
troubling reading awaits.
I was thoroughly disgusted at the out-
set of this 240-page work, seeing only
the watered down similarities between
it and the earlier works by Orwell and
Huxley. Thompson's Fathers have the
same aura as Big Brother in secrecy
and covert control. The society is
space-aged to the point of sci-fi as in A
Brave New World, and the atmosphere
is equally serene.
The author's point of reference is
from the eyes of the ignorant inhabitan-
ts of The Place, seemingly in
duplication of Orwell's Winston. These
obvious similarities, combinedwith the
blurbs on the book's cover (which only
seemed concerned with the author's
sensitivity) made me think that this
dry-minded, English-major type might
pull at our heart strings using a tired
theme of hopeless and ignorant cap-
The reader cannot help but feel that
same captivity as page after page
passes without any explanation of the
enigmatic Fathers or of the nature of
the captive population of The Place it-
self, except that all inhabitants are
deformed in some way and need
technological wonders to function in

this synthetic society.
One handy escape is to close the book
and forget it, which I did several times
but along about the twelfth chapter, the
veil is lifted and the mysterious Fathers
turn out to be a group of scientists in
20th century United States.
This change from the Or-
wellian/Huxley prototype saves the
reader. Instead of restructuring all of
reality, with strange hierarchies of
authority Thompson makes the
greatest danger to The Place our own
cruel system and ruthlessly budget-
cutting administration.
Although not revealed until this point
in the book, The Place is a top-secret
experimental biosphere for the defor-
med offspring of people involved in
nuclear accidents.
Chillingly believeable, The Place had
been constructed by the best people in a
variety of academic fields. Sociologists,
psychologists, experts in the fields of
communication and linguistics all
utilized the best theories at their
disposal to minimize conflict and ten-
sion. These people became the Fathers,
which began during the administration
of JFK.
The societal aims of The Place are all
artisitc and humanistic, (owing this
impetus to liberal arts educated
Fathers). Art and its creation in every
form is practiced for the enjoyment of
the whole. The limbless mutants paint
with brushes in their mouths. Neutral
language is used within The Place (using
only male pronouns and such) and egos
are exclusively collective. No sex is
taught or practiced. Masturbation is
called the Excitment and meant to be
done alone.
The Place extracts its funding from a
variety 6f agencies which don't know
where the money goes and don't want
trouble. But as a consequence of
today's austerity program The Place

must contact the real world and prove
its worth. The economic unfeasibility of
utopia is the most obvious theme.
This structure is a clever disguise for
other deeper, more troubling and
thought producing plots such as the
plight of the feminists under
Reaganomics and U.S. society in
general. The perfect society (The
Place) has no sexual distinction.
Although the Fathers are male and
female, the males are the ones to em-
brace the idea of heartlessly ex-
perimenting with The Place and its
inhabitants (The People) to test for
post-nuclear war' mutations which
might aid survival.
One of the women Fathers champions
the Peoples causes. Here the socialist
and feminist themes intertwine to un-
seat my affluent, male identity.
Feminism also becomes the unifying
theme between the perfect Place and
the imperfect outside world. The
messenger who implores a rock concert
crowd to believe his words is Bar-
tholomew, a hermaphrodite. An in-
teresting appendage to this theme is the
pop-psych theory of vaginal envy,
projected to further define the real lines
of conflict.
In the end, the outside population
screams for a return to the capitalistic,
male-dominated cynicism. The People
are indeed experimented upon by a free
and democratic society. A society from
which spring prayers for a way out of
the perfect place.
If the description above is too com-
plex for you or too unsettling to your
reality (which it nearly was to mine)
then disregard the opening warnings
and dismiss this book as weak
plagiarism. But if the conclusion
described is a desired one, then, by all
means, read on.
- Gary Peitsch




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