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November 06, 1951 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1951-11-06

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The Legion of Decency

N A RECENT letter to the editor Marc La-
framboise defends the right of the Legion
of Decency to condemn movies that "do
little else than appeal to the baser emo-
He is certainly justified.
But Mr. Laframboise and the Legion of
Decency fail to distinguish between art
and pornography. Art is an "imitation
of life"; poronography is obscenity meant
only to stimulate "the baser emotions."
Many early movies were blatantly and of-
fensively pornographic. Large multitudes of
people recognized their indecency and re-
acted with disgust, but without organiza-
tion such protests as were made were in-
The Legion of Decency was organized to
do something about the filth. One of its
chief purposes was to protect the young and
adolescent who were flocking to the movies.
and were obviously much influenced by
* * *
HIS WAS a splendid, positive idea, but
like many fine ideas, it was abominally
executed. Instead of purifying or elevating
the movies, the specious code of the Legion
of Decency only gave a veneer of respectibil-
ity to a new kind of ill-disguised pornogra-
phy and stifled the expression of real art.
In deference to the Legion's recognized
power, the letter of the code was followed
scrupulously, but it's spirit was, and is,
mocked. Examples come by the dozens
to every American city every month. We
have all seen at least one "wholesome"
picture starring that pure representative
of American womanhood, Betty Grable,
who can do the bumps and grinds, titillate
the sexual appetites of a host of drooling
swains, fill her speech with innuendo and
thinly-covered smut, flirt even with incest,
and all is approved, if she marries the
good guy in the end in accordance with
the Legion's shallow ethical code.
The Legion of Decency is right about the
influence movies have on the young. In fact
whether the churches like it or not, we all,
young and old, get our morality largely
from popular "art", not from the pulpit or
mother and dad. Mr. Lafromboise, himself,
Editorials published in The Michigan Daily
are written by members of The Daily staff
and represent the views of the writers only.

says, "The movie today is one of the most
devastating of mediums for the corruption
of youth whose religious beliefs are too often
nil." Right, Mr. Laframboise, and other me-
dums of popular "art" in America-the
comic strip, TV, radio soap operas-share
the same kind of mock-prudery that makes
the movies so corrupting.
More Americans go to church now than
ever before. But our letter of the law tax
collectors, our Olympic stars and West
Point cadets have learned from the mo-
vies that, Sunday sermons to the contrary
the show's the thing, the principle mean-
The Legion of Decency has stripped movie
making of the force of life by trying to make
it spiritually pure. Instead it has produced
a moral abortion, and, as a consequence,
we are all constantly subject to a phony
set of values, a technique for living loosely
"within the law," and a set of illusions that
make us meat for the psychiatrist's couch
by the time we're ready to have our first
,* * *
T HE LEGION of Decency is, of course,
not solely responsible for the low state of
our art, but it HAS perverted it while stamp-
ing it with a pseudo-moral imprimatur.
Because of it we are a generation too con-
fused to know the difference between moral
dignity and moral degeneracy.
It is to be feared that an attack on the
solidly entrenched Legion, such as Cal
Samra made on this page some time ago,
will only stiffen Catholic resistance and
produce defenders in the faith who are
not now supporters of the Legion. Against
a "cause" reason will be useless and pre-
judice on both sides will make general
improvement impossible.
The best hope lies in supporting liberal!
Catholics who see the discrepancy between
decency and the glossed-over pornography
of movies approved by the Legion of Decen-
cy, Catholics who see that evil and the
"baser' emotions" presented in imitation of
life will draw fewer votaries than licentious-
ness disguised as being within the law,
Catholics who see that immorality and theI
priggish unreality of the movies are obverse
sides of the same sheckle-coin minted in
hypocrisy and passed for gold in our mor-
ally unsophisticated land. Catholics so ori-
ented could put honest decency into the Le-
gion of Decency and make it a force for
moral conversion rather than moral perver-
-John Briley

Peace Offensive
Associated Press News Analyst
THE UNITED STATES and her Allies are
preparing to launch a "peace counter-
offensive" against Russia as the United Na-
tions General Assembly gets under way in
France's Foreign Minister Schuman
says the Allied proposals will "make a
sensation." But advance notices from Paris
and Washington suggest that, again, they
will be more in the nature of a reply to
Russia tactics than a new approach.
frhe United States is expected to propose a
world-wide census of arms, including Atomic
weapons, as a preliminary to some sort of
disarmament plan. She is also expected to
support sub-committee proposals for a mer-
ger of the UN committees which have been
studying the possibilities of a conventional
arms agreement, on the one hand, and ato-
mic control on the other.
Actually, Russia has proposed a census
and disarmament several times-as a part of
her peace offensive and always without
agreeing to methods of verification and in-
spection which would make them acceptable
to the Western powers.
Now the West is planning to nail down
the fact that Russia, without putting aside
any of her imperialistic aims, is merely
playing games with the world's hopes for

I *
B ~ 4

"You Keep Digging, Too"

The Daily welcomes communications from its readers on matters of
general interest, and will publish all letters which are signed by the writer
and in good taste. Letters exceeding 300 words in length. defamatory or
libelous letters, and letters which for any reason are not in good taste will
be condensed, edited or withheld from publication at the discretion of the




Washington Merry-Go-Round

President Truman is preparing to fire the
opening gun of the counter-offensive Wed-
nesday, and is expected to be followed Thurs-
day by Secretary Acheson with proposals be-
fore the UN.
One U.S. proposal which may produce
more than a mere propaganda effect is ex-
pected to involve a tightening of the bonds,
within the UN organization, of the various
regional groupings for mutual defense. This
may include some UN program for retalia-
tion against aggression and a new drive for
establishment of a true international mili-
tary force.
A difficulty has been to define aggres-
sion. The Yugoslavs came up with one
plan. It would require any nation involved
in a military incident to announce within
24 hours its readiness for a cease-fire and
UN intervention. The party failing to do
so would be considered an aggressor.
This was considered too rigid, possibly de-
laying UN action and giving the aggressor
time to overrun his victim.
The search for some such formula, how-
ever, seems likely to be renewed.
As for the main "peace counter-offensive,"
it seems likely to blow itself out in the first
few days of the session, as have the Russian
moves of this type in the past.

Free Theolog to go to college or find a job has
never bothered most of the stu-
'o the Editor: dents at the University of Michi-
gan. But the problem that faced
ANY NATION (such as the So- Goldstein's immigrant family was
viet Union) which finds it a real one in terms of their lives,
necessary to prevent ideals other and especially of the time (the
han its own from penetrating the depression years) that they were
minds of its people is obviously in- living in. We were all too young in
ecure and afraid that such ideals the dark days of the '30s to realize
would arouse the minds of its peo- how many potentially brilliant
le and perhaps diminish the pow- minds have gone to waste in the
r of the State. factories and in business.
Any theology which finds it Must all of our modern art deal
necessary to prohibit beliefs other with "subtle," hidden themes in-
han its own from being exposed telligible only to the esoteric few?
o its members is also insecure and Are homosexuality, the "metamor-
s afraid that exposure to such be- phosis" of man into insect, and in-
iefs will diminish the power of the cestuous desires the major prob-
Church. lems facing the people of the
God and morals have nothing to world today? Is the issue of eco-
do with the problem, for there are nomic security, which permeated
as many beliefs concerning what is the entire play, a "trivial" one, as
God and what is morally right as Mr. Wiegand puts it?
there are versions on how a gov- I think not. The excellence of
ernment should be run, the play lies greatly in the logical
The United States and other reformation of the parents in their
free countries do not hesitate to attitude towards their daughter's
expose themselves to the ideals of educational aspirations. T h e i r
other nations. (At least, we are great desire for the daughter to
permitted to read about them and start making money and eventual-
listen to them and perhaps see ly marry into wealth stemmed, as
them on the screen.) For the Uni- we all know, from their own eco-
ted States is an internally secure nomic insecurity in the "old coun-
nation and believes that the more try" and in America. The change
its citizens are exposed to foreign of attitude of the parents does not
ideas, the more strongly will they come about simply by deep con-
feel that their own ideals are the templation on their part, but is
best. also the result of a severe trauma-
-Arnold M. Rodgers tic experience in which the brutish,
* * pecuniary attitude of the mother's
The Moral State wealthy sister is exposed. This sis-
The oralStat ...ter's action in refusing to pay for
an operation which might have
To the Editor: saved her elderly brother's legs
THE DEBATE in your pages be- was certainly the crisis of the play.
tween the "Catholics" and the Thus the parents were able to see
"democrats" is curious. It is like a the sheer inhumanity which the
struggle between whales and lions; lust for money breeds.
neither knows how to fight in Of course, no one believes that
the other's element. Each side tries we can "live on air." Both the re-
to pulverize the other with a pre- ceipt of a scholarship by the
conception not everywhere accept- daughter and the acquisition.of a
ed. The result is rather fatuous, "steady part-time" job by her
God and democracy being hurled young brother were sufficiently
at each other with merciless, tangible factors in allowing the
breath-taking ferocity. Yet, as the daughter's dreams to be fulfilled.
cannonade subsides, the seeker af- Certainly the revolt of youth
ter peace and quiet is upset to ob- against the older generation is a
serve that not even one of the con- theme that never can be overdone.
testants has dropped dead, The It is a continual process in the his-
constitution remains untorn, and tory of mankind. And when youth
He too remains pretty much intact. can be so successful as to orient
To my mind the Catholic posi- their parents with fresh attitudes
tion in this squabble is actually the towards life, as was done success-
sound one, but it would be more fully in Goldstein's play, we are
intelligently defended against the presented with a phenomena that
humanists if the strugge were car- certainly bespeaks of originality
ried directly over into their terri- -Sol Plafkin
tory and if God were allowed to


WASHINGTON-The propaganda of the
Taft forces, that General Dwight D.
Eisenhower is not a Republican, and is really
more likely to take the Democratic nomina-
tion, is tainted at the source. The fact is
that if President Truman had waited one
more month to offer the general the com-
mand in Europe, he would have enrolled him-
self as a Republican in New York State.
Acting with General Eisenhower's knowledge,
his friends at that time had already sought
to arrange his enrollment in Kansas, only
to find that Kansas State law forbade it.
On the other hand, the fact must also
be faced that the relation between Presi-
dent Truman, as Commander-in-Chief,
and General Eisenhower, as an American
soldier in uniform, can easily constitute
one of the most serious impediments of
the draft-Eisenhower movement.
It is on the public record that in 1945,$
while General Eisenhower was still com-
manding in Germany, the President offered
to support the General for any office he
might desire, including the Presidency. What
is not on record, but appears to be well au-
thenticated, is that the President renewed
this offer to General Eisenhower not long be-
fore the 1948 election. At that time an Eisen-
hower candidacy was being much discussed
by both parties, and President Truman was
himself actively preparing to make the fight
to succeed himself.
In short there was all the difference in
the world between this reported second Tru-
man offer, and the first one, made when
the President still had the habit of telling all
and sundry that he did not want to be in the
White House and wishes to goodness he were
anywhere else.
* * *
IF ONE CONSIDERS for a moment the im-
pact of such an offer, coming from the
President and Commander-in-Chief to a'
soldier and man of honor, it is easy to see
why the Truman-Eisenhower relationship
may be a stumbling block to the Eisenhower

backers. The General's natural impulse must
have been to match the President's genero-
sity. There was only one way to do this-by
saying that he would not consider entering
the lists against his former chief. No one
can doubt the President's sincerity in mak-
ing his offer, for he is anything but a trick-
ster. But it is also true that he would have
had to sit up all night thinking- of a better
way to make sure General Eisenhower would
not run.
In the present case, of course, there is no
reason whatever to believe that the Presi-
dent will say again what he said before.
It would be extreme and distorted if he did
so. But those close to him are frank to ad-
mit that even although the General may
wish to keep the discussion strictly to mili-
tary questions, the President may be ex-
pected to bring up their common political
problem. What they think the President
will say is that he regards General Eisen-
hower as entirely free to make his own
choice as to the political problem in his
own good time, only allowing the President
the chance to find a successor for himn if
need be.
If the President does say this, there is
again no doubt that he will be speaking sin-
cerely. He is a party man, but he is also a
man of strong personal feeling whose loyal-
ties govern his political behavior, sometimes
to his own grave disadvantage. On that he
is wholly free to make his own choice, it is
again true that this will be another exhibi-
tion of generosity, once more by implication
demanding somehow to be matched.
BESIDES THIS difficulty with his Com-
mander-in-Chief, those who should
know assert that there are two other factors
tending to hold General Eisenhower back.
The first is his known conviction that it is
wrong to make the direct transition from
service in uniform to the political struggle.
The second is the often-repeated argument
that the progress of Western rearmament
depends upon General Eisenhower's contin-
uance in Europe.
These are strong influences, but they
ought to be completely nullified by the
great change that has come over the situ-
ation since 1948. On the one hand, in
1948, whatever else you might say, the
President was successfully and even bril-
liantly carrying forward the foreign and
defense policies of the United States. For
many reasons, that has ceased to be the
On the other hand, there is the crying


S UNDAY NIGHT'S concert of the Cleve-
land Symphony was a repetition of last
year's unfortunate scheduling, whereby me-
diocre but striving Cleveland Symphony fol-
lows superior and thriving Boston Sym-
phony with scarcely two weeks intervention.
The Cleveland Orchestra was again the vic-
tim of the inevitable comparison.
It was a performance which, granted
three diversified, interesting selections,
should have resulted in a worthwhile eve-
ning by virtue of the ambitious program-
ming alone. To a certain extent, this was
true. The Bartok Divertimento, for ex-
ample, was executed with a rhythmic
soundness and a technical competence
which conveyed the masterpiece, undilut-
ed, to the listeners' ears
But the combined efforts of orchestra
and conductor almost never exceeded this
minimum, unimaginative level. In the first
and second movements of the Divertimento,
which Bartok probably intended to be a full
exploitation of the musical possibilities of
the string section, Szell failed to present a
single instance of climatic intensity. The
third movement, offering several lilting,
dance-like passages, was handled with more
vitality and was somewhat of an improve-
Probably the greatest handicap the
orchestra had to overcome Sunday night
was the dismal impression it left with the
opening selection-Brahms "Tragic" Over-
ture. Little of the program showed strik-
ing originality on Szell's part, but the
Brahms showed none at all. Character-
ized by a hollow sonority throughout, it
suffered chiefly because of the lack of
sufficient variety in dynamics and tempo.
"Ein Heldenleben," the last of Strauss'
immense tone poems, was given the most
meritable performance of the evening. The
concert master and most of the instrumen-
talists handled their virtuoso passages cap-
ably, and three stealthy trumpeters made
the most of a "distant trumpets" effect.
With a little more technical polish and a
lot more musical inventiveness, the Cleve-
land Symphony could live up to the favor-
able impression its energetic programming
has made.
-Virginia Voss
New Boo ksat the Library

WASHINGTON-How worried Harry Truman has always been over
General Eisenhower's running for president was first indicated by
a conversation which Truman had with some of his closest advisers inr
June, 1948 when a move was on to draft Eisenhower on the Demo-
cratic ticket.
The conerence took place on the newly built $15,000 White r
House "back porch," then under Republican fire, and the most
important adviser present was White House jester George Allen,
who happened to be a good friend both of the President and
General Eisenhower.1
Truman was worried sick over the prospect of Ike's running, andt
he made little attempt to disguise his worry from those sitting with himt
in the cool of the June evening.c
He knew, from political soundings throughout the country, thatE
Ike could take the Democratic convention easily if he announced. SuchC
assorted Democratic leaders as Jimmy Roosevelt in California, Mayork
Hague in New Jersey. Senator Olin Johnston of California, Senator-{
to-be Paul Douglas in Chicago, Carl Rice of Kansas and Mayort
O'Dwyer in New York had made their views all too clear.
So Mr. Truman, determined not to be a political "accident" t
and determined to vindicate himself at the polls, stewed mentally
over means of taking Eisenhower out of the race.1
George Allen was optimistic. He agreed to leave the next day for
New York, promised to come back with a letter from the General1
guaranteeing that he would not run. Allen did not think there would
be much trouble about it.
Others present were not so optimistic. Finally it was agreed to
telephone Milton Eisenhower, then President of Kansas State
University, now President of Penn State, and formerly an ad- r
viser in the Truman administration.7
This was done. Milton assured the President's emissary that his
brother was not going to run. Immediately thereafter, George Allen
confirmed this by getting a definite public statement from the General.
* * * *
TODAY, HOWEVER, Milton Eisenhower has not given the Demo-,
crats a similar assurance. On the contrary he has privately told
Senator Jim Duff of Pennsylvania, chief Eisenhower booster, that his
brother will run-and on the Republican ticket.
President Truman has known this for some time. One way he
knew it was an indication from his friend and Ike's friend George
Allen. For early last summer, the President invited George aboard
the Presidential yatch Williamsburg and had a friendly talk about
the world picture and Eisenhower.
Among other things, Truman told Allen that he considered the
North Atlantic Pact one of the most important cornerstones for world
peace, and that Eisenhower's leadership was essential to it. In fact, he
praised Eisenhower as one of the most constructive forces in Europe.
But he added that he was worried by Republican statements
that they had assurances Ike was available aror the GOP nomi-
nation; and he felt that both the United States and our Allies
should know whether Ike was running the North Atlantic Pact
or running for president.
Truman suggested that the two were not compatible and that
every move the General made in Paris would become a political issue
back home if people felt he was a candidate.
HOWEVER, IF EISENHOWER reaaly wanted to be President, Tru-
man told George Allen that he would be much more at home in
the Democratic party than with the Republicans. In that event, the
President indicated that he would not have to run openly, but could
be "summoned" to the Presidency. In fact, Truman even hinted that he
might like to make the nominating speech himself.
The President then suggested that George Allen fly to Paris
and have a heart-to-heart talk with Eisenhower. Allen in turn
suggested that Mr. Truman write a friendly note in his own hand-
writing, summarizing his views.
George Allen delivered the note in Paris, and when he returned,
reported at the White House that Eisenhower would not quit the
North Atlantic Pact in the near future to run for President; but that
since the NATO job would be completed by next spring, he would have
plenty of time to decide whether he was interested in politics.
In any event, Eisenhower definitely promised to talk to Truman
before he did anything.
* * *

convalesce in peace behind the
lines, for a while at least.
The "humanists" or "democrats"
-call them what you will-still
believe rational man equal to the
task of deciding on all questions
in a free market of ideas. In this
proceeding the Church should not
exercise undue pressure.
But in the world at large there is
not much respect for man as a
purely rational being, and the view
of the majority is often unheeded
or bypassed. For better or worse
our democracy does not look like
an areopagus of assembled objecti-
vity, but to a greater extent like
a battleground for rival groups and
lobbies who are more and more
seeking to enact regulatory meas-
ures in the interests of the group,
not of the whole community. And
can a "democrat" say that typi-
cal minority pressure groups like
the NAM, the PAC, the American
Legion, the American Medical As-
sociation, the Prohibitionists, and
various farm and silver interests
have made their appeal primarily
to majority opinion in an open
court of ideas? Haven't they, in
fact, attempted almost invariably
to subvert any such court and cir-
cumvent majority opinion through
underhanded coercion of elected
government officials, business men,
publishers, journalists, film and
play producers, etc?
Then certainly the Church, sanc-
tioned by its founder to interfere
in human affairs, shouldn't sit
still and become a sterile spectator
of the passing scene. And even if
"democrats" dislike this influence
of the Church in public affairs,
they might at least grant it the
"right of pressure" as long as it is
ungrudgingly granted to other
much less savory organizations.
-Brenton Smith
An Original Theme...
To the Editor:
ONE OF THE main flaws of Ken-
neth Goldstein's "Live on Air,"
according to The Daily reviewer
Bill Wiegand, was the fact that it
was insufficiently "subtle" and did
not deal with sufficiently "com-
plex" characters. Perhaps the issue
of whether it was more important

T HE TROUBLE with present-
day education is that it covers
the ground without cultivating
anything in it.
-Dr. E. N. Ferris



LIE CAN travel around the
world and back again while
truth is lacing up its boots.
-Mark Twain

ir ig tn i y


Sixty-Second Year
Edited and managed by students of
the University of Michigan under the
authority of the Board of Control of
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
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The Dirty

SINCE THE Vatican appointment, many politica3 observers are now
swinging round to the view that Truman does not want to run for
a third term.. . . .This observer has always said that Truman did not
want to run-unless Taft was the GOP candidate, in which case he
would be sorely tempted. Truman's first choice to be Democratic
nominee long has been Cheif Justice Vinsqn, a man with a wealth of
executive experience.
(Copyright, 1951, by The Bell Syndicate, Inc.)

IT IS NOW fashionable to call anybody
with whom you disagree a Communist
or a fellow-traveler....
One who criticizes the foreign policy of
the United States, or the draft, or the
Atlantic Pact, or who beileves that our
military establishment is too expensive
can be called a fellow-traveler, for the
Russians are of the same opinion. One


it must be a comet, Barnaby. Your
old Fairy Godfather knows a great

I suffered a mishap that year.
While practicing outside loops

M'boy, ! lYey! Whatever that is1
WAS the uIn there. Mr.CJa~alIIy-

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