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November 08, 1938 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1938-11-08

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

IN

THE

WORLD

OF

BOOKS

FOB. DETROIT

.

A New Presentation Of
Modern Industrialism

POWER Inclusive Study Of Regionalism
In America Proves Valuable'

).B DETROIT Wessel Smitter.
HIarper & Brothers Publishers, N.Y.,
938. $2.50.
FO.B. Detroit, the first novel of a
w Harper "find," Wessel Smitter,
serves the attention of many of us
Ann Arbor for several reasons. The
thor is a graduate of the Univer-
y, Lft. '22. The locale of the story
so close to Ann Arbor that consid-
ible pleasure lies in the recogni-
n of places and institutions. Yet
e actual narrative is so remote from
e existence of most of us in the
iversity, that there is little pos-
ility of boredom resulting from
miliarity. And more important
an all these reasons, it is an ex-
Fmely readable novel.
'hrough the simple, narrative pre-
ntation of a brief portion of the life

tons of hot steel. But changes in
production eliminated the necessity
of Russ' work, and he found himself
transferred to the assembly line.
The discipline, the intense mechan-
ization, the complete defeat of the
worker as anything other than part'
of the giant machine are all present-
ed in the complete picture of the
operation of the Holt system. Russ'
reaction to this is best given in his
own words, his most eloquent in the
book:

a young man and his struggle to
e happily in a factory town, the au-
>r arrives at a severe criticism of
e contemporary industrial civiliza-
n. Russ, a romantic individualist,
attracted to Detroit, and Mr. Holt's
ctory by the high wages. His plan
o work for a short while, and return
his outdoor life with enough mon-
to establish himself in a small
siness, "clamming." During his
st day, waiting outside the employ-
mnt gate of Mr. Holt's factory, Russ
:ked up with Bennie, a product of
troit and the Holt system, and the
o chief characters, totally different
their backgrounds, psychologies,
d attitudes, remain together
roughout the book. Russ' first
, at the controls of a huge, der-
k-like, manipulator of steel bars,
tisfied him. He knew and liked
g machines, enjoyed the thrill of
in, I master over loads of several

"I'm not sentimental," he said
in his quiet way. "At least, I
don't think I am. I see things for
what they are worth to me. When
I was in the drop forge I had a
man's job and did a man's work.
It was fun. Remember how I
used to stay after the bell rang
and try to workout ideas for get-
ting the work done faster, better?
I had a chance to use the brains
I was born with. Old Betsy, here,
gave me a chance to get the most
out of myself. When a job was
done, I looked it over. Took
some of the credit, if it was good.
Took some of the blame if it was
not. Tried to figure out how to
do it better the next time. Old
Betsy was geared to my brain-
did what I wanted it to do. Gave
its strength to my hand, gave its
power to my will. I was the boss.
"But in the motor assembly,
Bennie, it's different. There the
machine is the boss. The machine
does the nice work-the hard
work-the part that takes skill.
The machine's everything and
gets credit for the work done.
You're nothing until you've
learned to be a gear-a small
part of the big machine-until
there's nothing left of you but a
very small cog without any will.
You start and stop when the ma-

chine's ready-go slow or fast as
the machine tells you. The ma-
chine counts-you don't. And
why should you? You don't fur-
nish the brains. You don't fur- 1
nish the skill. All you do is fas-
ten a nut, put on a washer, stamp
on a number. The machine does
the real job. It's the big boss
standing over your head-grind-
ing you down-wasting your
strength-whittling away at your
brain. Making you a small part
of its dead, mechanical self." 1
The reader will remember Of Mice
and Men, and George and Lennie's
constant dream of ,their own farm,
and realize that Russ' dream of re-
turning to the open air and of his
"clamming," is another piece of the
same escape mechanism. In Of Mice
and Men, however, it was a person-;
ality flaw which defeated the dream,
while in F.O.B. Detroit, it is the sys-
tem. The vivid descriptions of the,
factory will remind many of Modern
Times, and again there is a major
difference. Charlie, through his in-
ability to fit into the industrial sys-
tem, became a pathetic figure. Russ,
through his defeat by the system,
emerges as a tragic figure of consid-
erable contemporary significance.
It is interesting that the publisher
comments on the book-jacket, "But
don't get the idea that F.O.B. Detroit
is another 'proletarian novel. This
is precisely what it is not." It is not,
if you consider that Marxian vocabu-
lary, much labor union activity, and
the inevitable indication of the fu-
ture, glorious day for labor, are es-
sential trappings of the proletarian.
novel, for this novel possesses none
of these. Very possibly it is super-
ior to the biggest bulk of it, in its!
basic honesty, and sheer readability,
but it still is proletarian literature.

Sterling North Praises
Bertrand Russell's
NewWork

POWER, A NEW SOCIAL ANALYSIS A cool measured calm usually7
by Bertrand Russell. Norton, New marks the receptiondwhich the read-1
York., $3.00. ing public a ccords to academic}
Y $studies. Why such admirable re-
By STERLING NORTH straint - which has greeted even thei
(from the Chicago Daily News) major work of Boas, Cooley Veblen,j
Books these days are usually dated
stre.gem to know concerning "leadersi
before they can reach the book stores.ndm foows, c the biology of
Here is a splendid analysis of power crganizations," the forms of power,,
by our distinguished guest, Bertrand their uses and, historically speaking,
Russell, which, however, contains this their end results.
quaint reminder of the days when Russell maintains that just as "en-+
England was a first-class power: ergy" is the lowest common demon-l
"Liberals disliked the Czar and inator in any study of the physical:
Conservatives dislike Stalin; but universe, so is "power" in any study:
neither Sir E. Grey nor Mr. Eden of society. He analyzes for us priest-+
could permit such matters of taste ly power, kingly power, revolutionary
to interfere with the pursuit of Brit- power, economic and military power,
ish interest." the power of propaganda, the ethics
Since that sentence was written a of power and, finally, how we can
Tory banker has thoroughly dis- tame the beast.
proved Mr.. Russell's contention that Bertrand Russell's program for
class interests in modern England avoiding "naked" power is somewhat
never come before those of the em- Utopian. It includes raising the stan-
pire. Democracy has been sold fort dard of living even in the Orient to
30 pieces of political silver. England that of the United States in 1929, the,
has lost a world war. And a clique of complete elimination of war, state
gangsters who believe in what Ber- ownership of land and large-scale in-
trand Russell calls "naked" power dustry, with democratic control over
has reduced the European democra- these forms of wealth.
cies to a kennel of whipped curs. But the conclusion the reader is
It is, in fact, a great tragedy that likely to read between the lines is
Neville Chamberlain did nct read and that power-hungry man never will be
commit to memory this book by Ber- satisfied until he has destroyed his
trand Russell. It would, for instance, own species as the ultimate gesture
have told him so much he doesn't )f his megalomania.

AMERICAN REGIONALISM by
0. Odum and H. E. Moore. He
Holt, New York. $5.00
By STANLEY LEBERGOTT

H.
inry

Parrington -should be shattered byf
the publication of American Region-'
alism is not at first apparent. For the
book is long, unconscionably long.
Its paragraphs have the competent
spineless vigor of most academic1
work. And even when concise, the
thought is too often lost in green
jungles of scholarly phrase. But if
any study of our time has justified
immoderate rejoicing, this is it.dIt
must permanently slant the reader's
thoughts towards the theory and
practice of regionalism, however
little he remembers of that torrent
of fact and definition. For American
Regionalism has solid substance. And
its reaching implications, can give
new directions to the analysis and
discussion of all the studies of man.
Skillfully walking around the sub-
ject "with millions of words, in the
parade of the life of the mind" (as
D. H. Lawrence once wrote), Odum
and Moore arrive at definition of re-
gionalism; : the study and utilization
areas that are: 1. of roughly uniform
character, and 2. constitute units in
a larger whole. The first chapters
outline geographic regions (the Hud-
son river valley, the corn belt),
m e t r o p o l i t a n cultural regions
(Greater New York, Chicago, and
other city states), literary regions
(the South, the West), and several
other varieties of social-geographic
grouping.
From these regions, and with the
aid of 700 indices, (500 measures
were employed merely to determine

whether Maryland was more a
Northern than a Southern state) the
authors construct sixxregions for
future social planning; Northeast
and west, Southeast and west, to-
gether with the middle and far West.
Each of these is presented in a long
and detailed chapter that typically
wavers in amazing. fashion between
statistics from dry-as-dust mono-
graphes, and lists of cities, 'whose
sounding beauty of name recalls
Lanier and Whitman.
Concluding pages outline the "Pro-
blems and Strategy of Regional
Development Towards National In-
tegration." First, there is an honest
review of America's balance sheet,
a weighting of the underprivileged
one third of a nation, the empty-eyed
line of the unemployed, against the
rivers, the forests and the whole of
our natural wealth. Second, ampicture
of the way in which the America
that is ours has grown against the
dark patterns of the past.
In this work we find a demanding
exhortation to see the continuity of
the new regionalism with the old.
Great festival is made for such con-
nection and for the value of the older
social techniques, while shrewd in-
sight of Justice Holmes is overlooked:
"Continuity with the past is a necess-
ity, not a duty." And finally, a
wizened little social "plan" is offered.
Unfortunately 'it is based primarily
on the data of this study, which was
necessarily restricted in scope, and
oyerlooks other facts than those of
regionalism; overlooks, for example,
economic groupings, which are every
whit as significant as real, regional
ones. This program is rather unfor-
Stunate, but-the two outstanding ac-
complishments of American Region-
alism remain.

KNOTS YOU ALL AR If
HAVE SEN SEE THIS WEEK'S POST
h2HAVEoSEEDT'
Z ptige 145
I. The foor-Knob Knot 2 the Pee-Wee 'Kat 3 Tre Pump-Handle ft4 The Skmwgee Knot 5 The Arrow Knot.

;

. , ..

[)AILY OFFICIAL
BULLETIN

A Reply To Professor Jones,
Or Is It As Bad As All That?

(Continued from Page 4) By JOSEPH IES
r- I don't know whether modern fic-
ieet in Room 122 Chemistry Build- tion needs any apology or not, es-
g at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. pecially from me. Sometimes I like it
Professor L. d. Brockway will speak, and sometimes I don't, and I suppose
n "Electron diffraction in gases, V' "
_that some of it is good and some of it
Graduate Chemistry Reception. An isn't. But it seems to me that it has
formal reception for all graduate had more than its share of abuse
;udents and faculty in pure and ap- 'from one angle. This occurred to me
lied chemistry will be held in the after reading an article by Mr. How-
[orace H. Rackham Building on ard Mumford Jones in The Atlantic
ednesday evening, Nov. 9, from 8 to Monthly, entitled Relief From Mur-
0 p.m. Wives of faculty and stu- Ider. As a matter of fact I really read
ents are cordially invited. Exhibits the article in its condensed form in
nd novelties have been arranged. Re- 1The Reader's Digest, because I hard-
reshments will be served. ly over read The Atlantic Monthly
anyway, but the gist of it was there,

1J

E

The Engish Journal Club will meet. if the Reader's Digest editors are'
in the West Conference Room of the doing their job in as creditable a man-
Rackham Building Thursday eve- ner as we are entitled to expect from
ping, Nov. 10, at eight o'clock. Dr. them.
John Arthos, of the English depart- Mr. Jones, who migrated from
ment, will discuss "The Relation of Michigan to Harvard three years ago,
Poetic Diction to Scientific Lan- is a professor of literature by voca-
guage." Faculty members and Grad- tion and a book reviewer by avocation.
unte students are invited to attend. In his article he says that he is tired
of reading books compounded of
Association Fireside: Dr. Isaac Rab- "cruelty, rape, seduction, incest,
inowitz of Hillel Foundation will lynching, murder and general hellish-
speak on "Judaism in Transition" at tness . . . I long to be introduced to a
Lane Hall, Wednesday, 8' p.m. cultured human being in a story, to
enter an ordinary home, to read some
Graduate Luncheon Wednesday, merely civilized conversation." He de-
Nov. 9, at 12 noon in the Russian clares that he says these things simp-
Tea Room of the Michigan League. ly in his capacity as a reader of books,
Cafeteria style. Professor Preston E. that he wants a new deal in novels
James of the Geography Department merely because the current crop is
will speak on "Fascism in Brazil." boring him.
He denies that he is saying these
Graduate Students in Education: things because he is "a hopeless Vic-,
Election. of representatives to the torian or a college professor or a bour-
Graduate Council will be held on geois or an upholder of a particular
Thursday, Nov. 10, at 4:45 p.m.,-in moral code." Maybe not, but-a little1
the Elementary School Library. later on Mr. Jones is vigorously deny-I
ing that modern novelists are por-1
P iwhalat Club:Importantraying real American life. "It is the

Gothic romance of the eighteenth
century, which he says was also com-
posed of "violence, horror, seduction,
murder, incest, adultery." He won-
ders "why they are in the one case
dismissed as romantic hocus-pocus
and in the other are considered seri-
ously as a disillusioned report on life."
7rom these and similar statements I
-ather that Mr. Jones is not being
,uite accurate when he says he is
simply "no longer entertained" by the
modern novelists. He appears also to
doubt that the realistic novel is really
realistic.
And right there is where I think
Mr. Jones is doubly at fault. Of
course the percentage of crime and
violence is higher in fiction than in
everyday life. This is nothing new.
It always has been. I can't think of
a single novel, romantic or realistic
or what-not, in which there isn't
more than the ordinary lifetime's al-
lotment of- these pleasantries in the
career of the hero or heroine. Are
there as many murders and seduc-
tions in Faulkner and Hemingway
as there are in Dumas and Hugo? I
haven't any figures handy, but I'll bet
Angell Hall against the corner drug
store in Cambridge that there aren't.
And if Mr. Jones is prepared to allow
Zola and Dostoievsky to enter the
lists, all his poor modern protagonists
of sex and hell are going to be
shoved completely off the boards.
I have recently read a no ; el by
Henry James called The Ameriran,
which would cause a cigar-store In-
dian to yawn with ennui. And yet even
the thoroughly Victorian Mr. James
enlivens his book with a couple of
violent deaths, one of the cold-blood-
ed murder of a sick man by his wife
and the other the lingering demise of
a man who finished runner-up in a
duel.
Likewise, there are quite a few peo-
ple killed in a feud in Huckleberry
Finn, there is a man buried alive in
Tom Sawyer, while all sorts of mur-
derers and madmen rush through the
pages of Poe. Jude the Obscure is
punctuated by a double murder and
suicide of a 10 year old child, while
others of Hardy's works are similarly
embellished. But why go on? The
point is proved as far as I am con-
cerned and if anyone thinks it isn't
he can go back to his Atlantic Month-
ly.
But why, the cagy reader will in-
quire, if this is all true, does Mr.
Jones object to the horror and vio-

raraiisyc u gy vu LL XUI!
business meeting 8 p.m. Thursday in'
the West Lecture Room of the Rack-
ham Building, after which Dr. Gre-
ville will describe the "ESP round
table" held recently in Columbus andkj
Mr. Kossack wil report on the work
of Hans Bender, German parapsy-
chologist. Anyone interested will be
wecome.
Phi Delta Kappa: The November
meeting of Omega Chapter will be
held in the alcove off the Men's
Lounge in the Horace H. Rackham

pleasing delusion of every literary
movement that it, and it alone, has
got at the truth at last, but I see no
reason to suppose that the reigning
fashion in fiction is any nearer ulti-
mate reality than any earlier literary
fashion." He then draws a compari-
son between current fiction and the
Lecture Series
Tickets On Sale

I
;,
y
'J
a

Building on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at j
7:30' Dr. Van Zeeland Scheduled
Beethoven Quiz: The Art Cinema For Tuesday Address
League, in connection with the show-
ing of "The Life of Beethoven" Nov. Tickets for the lecture next Tues-
17-19, is conducting a quiz on Beeth- day by Dr. Paul Van Zeeland, former
oven's music. Prime Minister of Belgium and au-
thor of the Report on World Trade,
Newcomer's Section of the Faculty' are now on sale at Wahr's bookstore,
Women's Club will have a tea Wed- the University Oratorical Association
nesday, Nov. 9 from 2:30 to 5:30 in announced yesterday. It was also

lance of modern literature?

I think

I have the answer ready. The trouole
with modern literature is that its
hcrror and violence are not cloaked
behind the elegant language of the
old masters. They are set forth in
simple, ordinary, everyday language
of the sort that most people speak,
Mnd therefore the images conveyed

i

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