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February 18, 1931 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1931-02-18

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THE I HI AN- DAILY

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EDITORIAL STAFF
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MANAGING EDITOR
Chairman Editorial Board
HENRY MERRY
FRANK E. COOPER, City Editor
News, Editor ..............Gurney Williams
Editorial Director.........Walter '. Wilds
Sports Editor ............. Joseph A. Russell
W~cmen's Editor..........Mary L. IBehymer
Music. Drama, Books.........rWin.j Gorman
Assistant City Editor....... Harold C. Warren
Assistant News Editor. Charles R. Sprow
Telegraph Editor.........George A. Stauter
Copy Editor ................. Win. F. Pypef
NIGHT EDITORS
S. Beach Conger John D. Reindel
Carl S. Forsythe Richard L. Tobin
David M. Nichol Harold O. Warre4
SPORTS ASSISTANTS
Sheldon C. Fullerton J. Cullen Kennedy
Robert Townsend
REPORTERS

I

operation this fall. Yale will there-
by meet Harvard and Princeton on
a l t e r n a t e years, Princeton will
schedule one of its two leading
rivals, and so on. This system will
give any super-heated rivalry a
c h a n c e to cool between game
spasms. In other words, the "Big
Three" intend to prevent a perma-
nent schism which would mean the
downfall of a traditional eastern
prestige which decades have built
up.
The only trouble with the new
athletic system which has been in-
stalled is that this extra game ne-
cessitates running the season be-
yond Thanksgiving. This may, how-
ever, be remedied with the prog-
ression of the rotation plan into
further channels of accord between
the two warring factions. It is cer-
tainly relieving, however, to see
that such progress has been made
toward mending the break whichI
was, in the first place, unwarranted
even on the face of circumstances
controlled largely by the emotion
of several football crescendos.
Campus Opinion
Contributors ai- asked to be brief,
confining themseh es to less thai. 300
words if possible. Anonymous com-
munications will be disregarded. The
names of communicants will, however,
be regarded as confidential, upon re-
quest. Letters published should not be
construed as expressing the editorial
opinion of The Daily.

MUSIC AND DRAMA

11

TONIGHT: In Orchestra Hall, De-
troit, beginning at 8:30, Mary Wig-
man famous German dancer and
pedagogue, will give the only mid.
Western recital in her very signifi -
cant tour of America.
COMEDY CLUB TO PRODUCE
"THE STRAIT-JACKET."

About Books
HECTIC PATHOLOGY
A JEW IN LOVE: by Ben Hecht:
Covici-Friede, New York: Review
of Slater's Book Store.
The press seems to have satisfied
itself that Ben Hecht is just force-
fully raiiing at himself in a novel
the validity of which lies only in

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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18,:

1931

Night Editor-JOHN D. REINDEL
THE TABLES TURNED.
Probably Gerald P. Nye, radical
Republican senator from North Da-I
kota, won't be so vociferous in hisl
somewhat idiotic exposes of cam-
paign expenditures of other sena-
tors when the present investigation
of his own expenses is all cleared
up.
Senator Nye provided the news-
papers and. magazines with quite a
bit of copy during the summer of
1930 with his very detailed detec-,
tive work on campaign expendi-
tOres and was quite vehement in
his attacks on those candidates who
were apparently foolishly wasting
the taxpayers' money. Now, how-
ever, his would-be victims are hav-
ing a nice hearty laugh over his,
plight which seems to be just the'
same as theirs if not worse.
Lately, it has come to light that
"Snoopy," as he is so fondly called
by his contemporaries, has spent"
not a little of the oppressed tax-
payers' money himself. Numerous
trips to the middle west last sum-
mer, many of which reached sur-
prisingly high costs for such short
daunts, not to mention a yacht tript
to Florida which went under the
hear of official business, have con-
tributed to this sum.
Nye has defended himself, ratherk
lamely, to say the least, by sayingX
that the more than $100,000 whicht
he has spent in the last year hasc
all been under the authority of thei
government and that it was all le-.
gitimate. We take his excuses fors
what, they1 are worth but feel surev
that when all the detective workt
has cleared away, this certain gen-
tleman will not be so diligent andf
conscientious in his attacks on oth-
ers, that is, if he makes any at all.t
HARVARD AND PRINCETON
Several weeks ago news dispatch- i
es from the East told of the chance i
of a renewal of athletic relation- i
ships between Harvard and Prince- i
ton Universities after five years ofo
strained feeling following severalfh
"rough" football games and slurring t t
remarks by both student bodies be- t
tween 1921 and 1926. The final t
break came when the Harvard i
Lampoon published a cover con- a
cerning two pigs in a sty, with a f
catchy sub-title, "Come, brother, d

FOOTBALL
On the subject of football numer-
ous articles have appeared. In the
following I have endeavored to give.
resumes of some of the most inter-
esting ones.
According to the Nation of De-
cember 5, 1928, only 10 per cent of
the students of Yale attended a
football rally for the Yale-Harvard
game in 1928. In that connection
the question is asked whether un-
dergraduates are beginning to rea-
lize the unimportance of being ear-
nest about a football victory. Kick-
ing a football has nothing to do
with the Yale spirit.
The Great God Football is the
title of an article in Harper's Mag-
azine of November, 1928: As the
most sports-loving nation in the
world we have no use for the los-
ers. The teams are a rough and
ready lot who do not allow lectures
and study to interfere with foot-
ball. Nevertheless they get their
degrees ... Judging from the space
given to football in the newspapers
and the crowds of 80,000 or more
one is justified in concluding that
football is the King of American'
Sports and our national religion.
The stadia have become the modern,
Mecca. To what extent even a
I teacher of religion may be carriedI
away by the football craze may be
seen from the following: "The only-'
true religiousspirit to be discerned
among large bodies of undergradu-
ates today is in the football stadia.
One of the deepest spiritual experi-
ences I ever had was one Saturday
afternoon a few years ago in the?
Harvard Stadium. It is just that
spirit which transforms football
from a form of athletics to a re-
ligion, which our universities mustf
diffuse through wider channels."
(Dean Willard Sperry of the Har-
vard Theological School). Connect-n
ed with football there is a com-
plete hierarchy of officials, some ofr
whom have their nest well feath-
ered. Man's natural hunger for rit-e
ual also finds its place here: pepr
meetings, band music, f o o t b a 11
songs, undergraduates swarming
across the campus in the dark, etc.e
On the Game Day the bands parader
to the field in uniform with their.
drum majors, the freshmanbring-
ing up the rear. Each year adds
some new marvel of display to ther
traditional rites. The f r e n z i e d
shouts form part of the perform-f
ance. Of course football is a good
business for the town. Result: foot-V
ball has become a first-class octo-
pus which is strangling many of i
the legitimate pursuits of the edu-i
cational institutions. The following l
is by the late President Wilson:b
"The side shows are so numerous,a
so diverting, so important if youa
will-that they have swallowed uph
the circus, and those who performb
in the main tent must often whistle f
for their audience, discouraged and t
humiliated." The greatest objection 1
to football is that it cultivates in s
the undergraduate a sense of false w
values-makes him think that sham a
is as good as substance. Football C
is an hysterical appeal to the emo- s
ions. Far from being fun, football b
s a very serious sport. This is what
one of the players is reported as
having said: "We've been told about
he courage and the carefree atti- g
ude of men going into battle in r
he Great War, but this Yale gameH
s so important we can't even smile Z
a, week beforehand." What makes o
ootball what it is is also largely c
ue to the attitude of the alumni t

Comedy Club is to be congratu-
lated for having chosen as its next
production Professor John Brumm's
play, The Strait-Jacket. At last the
oldest dramatic organization on the
campus is taking a step toward the
encouragement of the playwrights
in our midst. We shall approach
the ideal conditions for those in-
terested in the drama here at Mich-
igan only when the playwrights,
the actors, and the producers are
working together in the same or-
ganization. In the coming produc-
tion the serious efforts of Comedy
Club are being turned to the sup-
port of a serious effort to write a
play.
The Strait-Jacket was written for
the National Drama-League Play-
writing Contest. In the national
contest it was given first place by
one of the three judges and second
by the other two. The play was not
produced by the League because
the writer refused to modify the
tragic finale. He did not wish to
tamper with what seemed to him
to be an inevitable denouement
merely to satisfy a sentimental
taste. The play will be presented
by Comedy Club in its original
form.
Professor Brumm has written a
play of unusual merit. The dra-
matic forces have been clothed in
just characterizations with con-
vincing attitudes, and the action
moves forward easily and surely to
an ending that while not foreseen
is in retrospect the logical one.
Many unsuccessful attempts have
been made to bend the college en-
vironment to the needs of fiction
and drama but the problem of the
tragic fate of Professor Peter Snell-
ing, who does not fit easily into the
academic mold, arises naturally, al-
most inevitably, out of the normal
conditions of university life.
It is not often that he who wishes
to write about a play can turn to
the creator of it for an answer to
his questions. When I asked Pro-
fessor Brumm as to his intention in
writing this play, he answered as
follows: "In The Strait-Jacket I
have attempted a sympathetic
study of a thwarted personality of1
a superior sort. The 'strait-jacket'
is a symbol of the adverse biologi-
cal traits and social and cultural
influences that may defeat a highlyI
sensitive and intelligent person.1
Personality is a compound of phys-1
ical traits, mentality, and emotion-
al attitudes as conditioned by a1
social environment. Viewed in a1
vacuum, an individual might be1
measured by his physique, mentali-
ty, emotions, feelings, volitions, and '
temperament, without reference to
his social environment. But the
moment the individual is studied inp
his group relationships, he had as
many 'selves' as there are persons
who react upon him. A person pos-
sesses as many kinds of behavior
reactions as there are different
kinds of people who have it in their
power to influence him. It is thef
easy possibility for tragic conflict
here that I have tried to objectify
in my play."i
Clearly The Strait-Jacket is a se-s
rious play. Anent tragedy, I am
reminded of Sybil Thorndike's brief'
foreword in the little volume ofa
Prize Plays of "John O' London'sp
Weekly" Competition. I quote:E
"'The heart of the British Publica
is sound, the British Public likesR
to laugh.' . . . Certainly we like to i
laugh; as a nation we enjoy thef
best of all laughs - the laugh T
against ourselves-but that is only i
a half of our nature. The other B
half of the 'sound heart' wants to I

be stirred to its depths-to pity-to I
feel-even intolerably to feel." And s
this is true of all Publics, British e
r other, because to wish "to be F
tirred to the depths" is all one
with the desire always to be fully b
aware of oneself. Not to have this v
desire is as Pater says, ". . . on this s
hort day of frost and sun, to sleep d
before evening."
In
ORGAN RECITAL
Palmer Christian, University or- o
anist, will appear in his weekly u
ecital at 4:15 this afternoon in wu
[ill Auditorium in place of William at
euch whose appearance as guest B
rganist has been postponed be- w
ause of illness. The program for R
his afternoon follows: fo

logic case history (exaggerated but
not very complicated dementia pre-
cox the New Republic suggests).
Meanwhile printings of the novel
continue. There have been eight1
so far.
The material of the novel is cur-
ious and promising. Jo Boshere,
New York millionaire, had passed
through a "pathologic Jew-consci-
ous" adolescence which early rotted
all possible ideals and left him a
blatant egoist to whom "the woes
of humanity are no more than
someone else's belly-ache." In one
of his more eloquent moments he
(says "The true progress of man in
our keeping.. We develop ourselves
... we sensitize ourselves more and
more ... all we do is to feel and
more... all we do is to feel and
analyze our feelings." The novel
. .. .,
is taken up with his attempts to
"bosherize" (impose, or rather im-
print, his ego on) several people;
and finally with his tremendously
complex effort to "create a love in
Tillie (a dancer) she herself found
impossible to evolve." The Bosher-
ian tragedy is that Tillie, for some
pretty sound and rather nasty sex-
ual reasons has "a soul, gentle and
acquiescent to a deceptive degree,
but yet of that stubborn texture
which clings to itself." Tillie, whom
he is trying to bosherize turns out
to be a greater sexual liar than he
is, despite his insanely civilised ac-
tor-sensibility which is especially
adept in affecting the emotions of
love. After two hundred sinewy
analytic pages he finds that all
along she has been inextricably at-
tached to a cheap, silly Hollywood
director with a Puritan conscience.
The perception of his magnificent
failure nearly drives him mad.
As the New York Times suggests,
Proust's Swann in Love lurks be-
hind these pages of Hecht's Bos-
here has, in his own fashion, an
enormous sensibility; at least he
has a potentiality for almost every
type of reaction to a given situa-
tion or a given person. It is by this
very potentiality that he is vic-
timized. He is a great actor gone
mad in the torture of playing roles,
cheating and tormenting himself
with dishonesties. He is a typical
Proustian character engaged in the
weighty attept to capture his ego,
to know it. He is so much less sig-
nificant, and thus merely of patho-
logic interest, because, unlike a
Proustian charactor, he has no in-
tegrity about the search, because
his "pathologic Jew-consciousness"
forces him into terrible dishonesty
about himself. In Hecht's words.
"Boshere was too nimbly trained
in transforming fact into more
palatable unfact, in editing events,
in cheating himself of all honest
knowledge of what and who he
was."
The character has interest (the
flyleaf asks us to recall Stendhal's
Sorel). And Hecht knows the char-
acter in a very vital sense (it be-
ing probably an amalgam of him-
self and his friend Bodenheim .
But unfortunately he hates Bos-
here, hates him with that malicious
and quite complete hatred borne
probably of sneaking admiration.
Because of this hatred he tunes his
analysis of Boshere to the rather
oathsome note of his sexual prom-
scuity and dishonesty; so that the
feminine reviewer in the Herald
Tribune is almost justified in call-
ng the novel "grotesquely nasty."

By confining his discussion of his ,
leading character to treatment of
his sex-life and ignoring the per-
sistence of his attitudes in other
equally fundamental contexts,
Hecht writes a savage caricature.
Thus the novel becomes badly
balanced, and is very violently, ner-
vously written. At any rate on
strictly literary premises, it doesn't
leserve very much attention.
But America produces so many
iovels that it is in badly need of
writers capable of writing good
>nes. Ben Hecht has so much gen-
tine talent both of sensitivity and
writing that in the light of past
achievements {Erik Born, Count
3ruga, and even The Front Page
vhich some will remember Lennox
Zobinson praised as an American
olk-play} that his admirers, I

Dial 22194

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