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May 03, 1949 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1949-05-03

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

)RATHER BE RIGHT:
Modern Fantasy

By SAMUEL GRAFTON
HAVE BEEN reading JohnP. Marquand's
"Point of No Return"-very good, and
what hit me hardest in it is the long section
describing the spring and summer of 1929.
Mr. Marquand touches off that fantastic
year very well, getting its woozy, dreamy
quality down on paper-the absolute con-
fidence so many had that nothing could go
wrong, and the simple, childlike wonder with
which the stock market crash was greeted
in the fall.
The odd thing is that while I was read-
ing the novel, I had, at times, the feeling
that it was about the present. I think
I know why, too. That strange, pervasive
optimism, that refuses to look at very
many facts, that is relatively unperturbed
by deep social problems, that builds its
world on a hope, though it can't quite
explain the hope-haven't we had some-
think like that lately?
Wasn't the election campaign of last year,
with the feeling that Dewey was sure to
win, that liberalism was no longer an im-
portant force, that the people didn't care
any more about sweeping social reforms,
something like the bull market of 1929?
Election Day certainly came as a kind of
Black Tuesday for a number of people, and
thle sense of wonder with which the voting
returns were greeted was remarkably like
the sense of wonder with which the great
Wall Street crash was received in '29.
I sense here a kind of wave-motion, a
pattern of conservative over-confidence
that seems to repeat itself. As I am very
fond of saying, I don't think we yet under-
Editorials published in The Michigan Daily
are written by members of The Daily staff
and represent the views of the writers only.
NIGHT EDITOR: MARY STEIN

stand the full meaning of Truman's "mir-
aculous" election victory, and I don't
think we can understand our country un-
til we do. But one catches at least at the
edge of the truth when one senses that
the election was basically a story of con-
servative over-confidence, not justified by
the facts, a story of wishful thinking, a
sort of fantasy. It is this which links the
election with the crash of twenty years
ago, and makes it part of a picture, and
keeps it from being an isolated thing that
just sort of happened, all by itself.
And is the story finished? Or is the same
curious kind of over-confidence showing. up
again-as in Congress, in which one sees
attempts to put one social reform after
another off until some future time? The
extension of social security, it is said, may
have to wait until next year; compulsory
health insurance is not conceded a chance;
federal sharing of relief costs with the states
is disregarded. Again, in this Congress dom-
inated by the Republican-Southern Demo-
cratic coalition, there is that same bland
emergence of conservative confidence, the
feeling that there is not much reality in the
social problems being pressed for considera-
tion, the feeling that nothing much has to
be done now, just as nothing much had to
be done in the summer of 1929, and not
very much, it was thought, to win the elec-
tion last year.
And this kind of confidence is a very
pervasive thing; it becomes in the end, as
we have seen, the only reality for those
who share in it, so that reality itself,
when it finally turns up, is received with
wonder and not easily recognized. But
reality will turn up, and the people will
have the reforms they need.
Here is a pattern. It does not have to do
with stocks and bonds this year, as it did
twenty years ago. But now as then, it
does have to do with disregard of reality,
and the piling up of consequences.
(Copyright, 1949, New York Post Corporation)

MATTER OF FACT:
Tenno Mak
By STEWART ALSOP
TOKYO-The only really cogent objection
to a fundamental change in the way we
govern Japan is that General of the Army
Douglas MacArthur would leave. It is a
perfectly valid objection.
An off-the-record talk with this curious
and complex man is one of the "musts" for
the visiting fireman in Tokyo, like seeing
Mount Fuji.
The most surprising thing about MacAr-
thur is that he does not look like Mac-
Arthur. It is amazing that a gold-braided
hat could so transform a man's appearance.
When the cap is not there, the stern-jawed,
eagle-eyed MacArthur of the Sunday sup-
plements is not there either. Instead, there
is an elderly man with a very long head, an
interesting, intensely mobile face, and a
paternal, rather old-fashioned courtesy of
manner.
It would be easy to make fun of Mac-
Arthur. Yet merely to make fun of Mac-
Arthur would be to miss the whole point
of the man. Certainly there is something
of the ham actor in him. There is some-
thing, too, of the old-fashioned politician,
the kind that loved bombast for its own
sake.
But beneath the bad theatre and the
bombast, there is shrewdness, a great if very
special ability, and an intense patriotism.
This patriotism, like General Charles de
Gaulle's, has a curiously personal, rather
archaic flavor. But it is perfectly genuine.
MacArthur is certainly a man who has loved
his country. And after his fashion he has
served it well.
He has served it well in this closing chap-
ter of his career, the American occupation of
Japan. Even those who are most deeply con-
vinced that the occupation is now beginning
to go dangerously sour, agree that MacAr-
thur's peculiar personality has been the
occupation's greatest intangible asset. For
it has undoubtedly held a special magic for
the Japanese. The country people call him
"Tenno Mak," in respectful reference to one
of their best loved pre-meiji rulers, and no
Japanese, however privately critical of the
occupation, will criticize MacArthur.
In view of his political reputation at
home, MacArthur's policies here provide, in
fact, one of the major mysteries of the
occupation. It is true that occupation policy
has recently shifted scharply to the Right.
But this has been largely the consequence
of pressure from the United States. And
it is difficult to understand how those pol-
icies which have stemmed directly from
MacArthur himself-land reform, civil lib-
erties, Zaibatsu dissolution, the creation of
a large labor movement-can have endeared
MacArthur to such men as Colonel Robert
R. McCormick.
The fact is that a lot of hard work,
enthusiasm, intelligence and even idealism
have gone into the occupation. The further
fact is that the occupation has been a
success, as military occupations go. But
it is time it went.
The enthusiasm and idealism have already
gone. Almost all that is left is a vast, cum-
brous military bureaucracy, feeding like all
bureaucracies on itself, strangling in its
own red tape, continuing to function only
through inertia, awakening more and more
both the ridicule and the resentment of the
Japanese.
One wonders whether MacArthur himself
has not sensed that the time has come for
a change. For it is clear that what has
been the climax of a remarkable career is
now moving over into anticlimax, as the
Army's government of Japan bogs down. It
is also perfectly clear, whether one likes
the man or not, that when change comes,
MacArthur will be hard to*replace.
(Copyright, 1949, New York Herald Tribune, Inc.)
6 II

Coo peration

PRESIDENT TRUMAN finds himself in an
awkward position.t
Having campaigned during last fall's pres-
idential race for prompt repeal of the Taft-
Hartley labor law, he quite naturally wants
to do all that he possibly can to live up
to his campaign promise.
However, in his desire to impress Con-
gress with the need for prompt enact-
ment of his own brand of labor legisla-
tion, the President has exercised question-
able judgment in his choice of persuasive
methods.
Mr. Truman has indicated that Demo-
cratic Senators and Representatives who
do not vote according to his desires on
labor legislation will have ilttle to say
about patronage plums. ,
Naturally, perennial Democratic Congress-
men from the solid South rose up in anger
at the President's verbal barb.
Mr. Truman can hardly hope to gain.
public approval from the use of such tactics.
The very thought that our Congressmen
should decide how to vote on the basis of
the job patronage they command is dis-
tasteful to the whole tradition of American
political thinking.
Aside from the ethical flaws in the Pres-
ident's methods, their effectiveness is ex-
tremely doubtful.
So far, President Truman has had little
more cooperation from the 81st Congress
than he had from the 80th Congress, due
to the rather regrettable alliance between

the southern Democrats and the Repub-
licans.
By threatening to withhold patronage
from recalcitrant Democrats, the President
is rubbing salt in the wounds which his
program has already opened in conserva-
tive Democratic hides.
He must have the cooperation of these
conservative Democrats if his program is
to have any success in Congress, and such
activity is hardly conducive to cooperation.
Moreover, the custom of "Senatorial cour-
tesy," which means that the Senate will
not confirm presidential appointments un-
less the President secures the approval of
a state's senior Senator on appointments
made in that state, is likely to be invoked
with embarrassing results should Mr. Tru-
man carry out his threat.
At a time when the welfare of the nation
depends upon intelligent cooperation be-
tween the President and Congress, it would
seem best that the President do all possible
to promote this cooperation.
However, cooperation is a two-way prop-
osition. Presidential tact and diplomacy
are not enough-the Congress must indi-
cate that it is willing to give Presidential
proposals its intelligent consideration.
Such an attitude on the part of Congress
might well eliminate the temptation on the
part of the President to resort to such
drastic methods of persuasion as Mr. Tru-
man has threatened to use.
-Paul S. Brentlinger.

Unenviable Spot

THE BIGGEST DEVELOPMENT in tele-
vision since its invention, Westing-
house's new stratovision, awaits a decision of
the Federal Communications Commission,
according to George B. Saviers, Divisional
Representative for the Company. Because of
ft

iI

LookingBack

40 YEARS AGO:
A meeting of the underclass tug-of-war
committee took place to formulate contest
rules. Provisions were made to give the
lightweights of each class an opportunity to
participate in special tug-of-war events.
After playing one inning in a snow storm
the Michigan-Notre Dame baseball game
was called when the storm turned into a
blizzard.
25 YEARS AGO:
President Coolidge announced to White
House callers his endorsement of the pro-
posal that immigrants ineligible to citizen-
ship be excluded from the U.S.
10 YEARS AGO:
College men were severely reprimanded
for going bareheaded. "Hats are generally
important in a college man's wardrobe," read
a heated editorial, "he sets the style for
the rest of America."
-From the Pages of The Daily.

the vast monopolistic powers which would be
given by a decision favorable to Westing-
house the FCC has postponed action on the
case for further study.
If granted the request, Westinghouse
would open a coast to coast television net-
work by use of eight giant B-29's spread
across the U.S. Each plane would serve a
dual purpose of broadcasting programs to
the adjacent area for a radius of 200 miles
and relaying the program to the next plane
until it reached the West Coast. Nine dif-
ferent FM or television programs could be
transmitted simultaneously in this manner.
Elaborate tests carried out by the company
have proven the idea not only feasible but
practical.
The FCC is in the unenviable position
of having to decide whether it is better to
allow this monopoly, in the interest of
rapid development of television, or retain
the present inferior and far more expensive
method of relay by coaxial cable, in the
interest of competition and free enter-
prise.
-Denton Fitzgerald.
THE EVOLUTION of the meaning of words
is a fascinating study. It mirrors social
customs, attitudes and values. Take, for
example, the word "bachelor." In the sense
that pertains to marriage, it originally
meant "a man who has not married."
Then the phrase "bachelor girl" was
coined, embodying the evolving attitude
that women, like men, might not marry

--
OLD ROCKIN' CHAIR hasn't got Louis
Armstrong yet, and if we can judge by
his performances at the Michigan theatre
yesterday afternoon and evening, "Satchmo"
is showing little signs of wear.
Louis will be celebrating his 49th birth-
day come July, but it seemed to be the
general consensus of those who were for-
tunate enough tor hear him, that he has
a few good years to go.
The Armstrong outfit featured four of
the greatest exponents of dixieland jazz
today: Louis himself, trumpet, Jack Tea-
garden, trombonist, Barney Bigard, clar-
inetest, and Earl "Fatha" Hines, pianist.
They were accompanied by two members
of the younger generation of dixie cast:
bassist Arvell Shaw, and George Jenkins, a
drummer formerly with the Charlie Barnet
band. Velma Middleton, blues shouter and
vocalist "at large", completed the parade
of stars.
We've nevr heard Louis play better; his
solos were clean and imaginative, dis-
tinguished not infrequently by his won-
derful sense of humor.
Big T is no longer the trombonist that he
was five years ago, but the inimitable Tea-
garden style rocked the audience in spite
of his occasional faulty execution.
The rhythm section, composed of piano,

J#433

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