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March 07, 1953 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1953-03-07

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I________________________________________________________________________________ I


OEDIPUS REX of Sophocles, presented by
the Arts Theater Club.
CERTAINLY this is one of the Club's
most ambitious undertakings, and it is
to their credit that they have attempted it.
On the whole the production is at least
faithful to Sophocles, which with a play
of this nature is enough to make itrworth
seeing. The presentation of Greek tragedy
is a feat which is and has been a challenge
to ,ontemporary dramatic groups, and the
problems of transferring it successfully have
been more or less overcome in this case.
Perhaps the most forbidding barrier is
to give the modern audience something
of the experience of the early Greeks with-
out going into detailed explanations of
customs and theologies. The solution of-
fered by the Arts Theater is rather bi-
zarre; they have converted Oedipus into
a tribal chieftain-which he may well
have been but which Sophocles did not
consider him. He and the other chief
members of the cast are made to wear
animal skins, and for a setting only a
group of boxes - supposedly suggesting
something like Stonehenge - is used.
This does enable the audience to accept
the strong reliance on fate and gods to
account for the unique series of events,.
but unfortunately makes unnecessary
changes in character which tend to les-
sen the effectiveness of the whole play.
Oedipus is essentially a noble figure, of
almost godlike stature, and the problems
arising from his acts can be felt fully only
in association with the complex society
Sophocles painted. Neither of these fac-
tors is made clear enough in this pro-
duction. I
The chorus itself forms another difficulty
for the modern director; it is a tradition
which is by this time alien, to the stage, and
only an extraordinary willingness by the
audience will make it fully acceptable. The
Club has chosen to let the chorus dance the
odes as it was done in fifth century Athens,

but has had the odes themselves recorded
to be played during the dance. The con-
ception was well formed, but in practice it
does not really work. The choreography is a
loose combination of modern dance and
what appears to be plain extemporization,
which conveys the mood of the odes well
enough, but the lines themselves are muffled
by either the recording or the means of
reproduction; as a result rather than acting
as bridges or extensions from scene to scene
they appear to be breaks.
Len Rosenson as Oedipus brings as
much to the role as the leopard-skin con-
ception of the play would allow. His pre-
sentation of Oedipus' tragic flaw is as
violent as could ever be desired, and all
the doubt and confidence which the king
experiences are beautifully brought out.
It is only disappointing to consider what
he might have done had he been permit-
ted to play Oedipus with the nobility of
Sophocles' creation. Beth-Sheva Laikin
is once again well-suited to her role-she
seems to be able to achieve something akin
to mastery in anything she is asked to do
-but even she suffers from a lack ofj
grandeur. She is a marvelous wife-and-
mother, but is not a queen.
The rest of the cast lends fine support to
these two, particularly Gerald Richards,
who portrayed Oedipus' brother-in-law
Creon. He of the leads was best able to
maintain the stature of the original play,
and does much to stabilize the whole pro-
With the really excellent acting which
these performers displayed the Arts Theater
quite adequately meets the test of produc-j
ing a classical tragedy. The faulty concep-
tion of the play itself does detract from the
overall impression which might have been
conveyed, but it remains a Sophoclean
--Tom Arp

The Sign of Jonas.

THE SIGN OF JONAS by Thomas Mer-
ton. Harcourt, Brace and Company.
"97jHE SEVEN Storey Mountain" was
Thomas Merton's account of his tor-
mented search for truth and identity. That
torment was partially resolved when he was
converted to Roman Catholicism and further
resolved when he became a novice in the
Trappist monastery at Gethsemani, Ken-
tucky. "The Mountain" attracted much at-
tention at its appearance in 1948, since
Cardinal Newman's "Apologia Pro Vita Sua"
of 1864 was the most recent autobiography
to which it could be compared. The two
books have little in common since the cir-
cumstance motivating the men to writing
were so dissimilar.
"The Sign of Jonas," a five-year jour-
nal, is Merton's latest book and in it his
great torment is reconciled if not resolved.
Merton also shows how much he has grown
in the past few years. He has matured
spiritually and he has grown in his ability
as a writer. There were things in "The
Mountain" that could have remained be-
tween a man and his God, simply on the
basis of good taste, without injury to the
book. Good taste is a characteristic of this
Anyone who cannot for any reason accept
as sincere Merton's belief in and practice of
Roman Catholicism shouldn't read "The
Sign of Jonas." Ofie need not believe all that
Merton believes, or any of it, but one can-
not doubt Merton's sincerity. The reader who
cannot make more or less complete doctrinal
identification with Merton must make a
"wiltng suspension of disbelief." The read-
er unable to suspend disbelief will find the
book incomprehensible, or meaningless, or
perhaps both.
The journal begins when Merton has
been at the monastery five years. Although
he has passed through several lesser ord-
ers, he has not yet become Father Louis.
He comes to realize, contrary to his ex-
pectations, that the priesthood is not *he
end of his search, but the real beginning.
His major obstacle is reconciling his de-
sire for the contemplative life, since he
believes only that life will yield him com-
plete identity with his continuing author-
ship, which is both a natural expression
he can never quite escape or sublimate and
a matter of obeying his superiors.
Thomas Merton, or perhaps the ghost of
him, seems pleased at his success as an
author. Father Louis, however, finds this
worldly and very materialistic success some-
what in conflict with Saint Benedict's Rule,
THE SAME VOICE that was heard at the
Guildhall at the end of the war, then
again in London urging Europe to unite,
spoke from Capitol Hill on Inauguration

by which Trappists live, and with his own
desire for other worldiness. He is not troub-
led with profits, since the monastery is his
beneficiary. But new buildings, new General
Motors trucks, and his fan-mail give him fair
Father Louis finds being a Trappist
priest and a successful author akin to
being a duck in a chicken coop, "And he
(Father Louis) would give anything in the
world to be a chicken instead of a duck."
After "Seeds of Contemplation" appeared
in 1949, he wrote:
"Every book that comes out under my
name is a new problem. To begin with, each
one brings with it a searching examination
of conscience. I always open the final,
printed Job, with a faint hope of finding
myself agreeable, and I never do . .. a book
club is taking it and advertising it as a
"streamlined 'Imitation of Christ'." God for-
give me. It is more like Swift than Thomas
a Kempis."
In the eyes of Merton's superiors, how-
ever, the major obstacle facing him during
the years of this journal was less the one
he was aware of and more a matter of time
-time iii which he would learn to be pa-
tient and wait for further blessings; time
in which he would learn to be Father Louis.
As one reads, Father Louis comes to recon-
ciliation by accepting his paradoxical posi-
*tion. It was a very real triumph for Father
Louis who sees that the contemplative life
for him will be a matter of being an author
and the best-known Trappist alive, Saint
Benedict's Rule not withstanding. He writes
in his prologue:
"The sign Jesus promised to the gen-
eration that did notunderstand Him was
the "sign of Jonas the prophet"-that is,
the sign of His own resurrection. I feel
that my own life is especially sealed with
this great sign, which baptism and mon- v
astic profession and priestly ordination
have burned into the roots of my being,
because like Jonas himself I find myself
travelling toward my destiny in the belly
of a paradox."
The sights, encounters, and observations
recorded during a busy life make "The Sign
of Jonas" more than the record of a spiritual
struggle and give the book charm. Litera-
ture, music, fine arts, nature, philosophy,
death-all these and many more things
come into Merton's ken. His comments on
literary figures cover nearly everyone who
can be considered of contemporary import-
ance, from Joyce to Stein, D. H. Lawrence
to Evelyn Waugh, T. S. Eliot to Robert Low-
ell. He comments on and quotes many older
authors; for example, he draws a parallel
between the asceticism of Thoreau and that
of Saint John of the Cross. An interesting,
if not wholly valid, parallel, and probably
one not previously n'ade.

W ASHINGTON-Roman history is prob-
ably the Free World's best guide to
what must be currently happening in the
Kremlin. There was the time, for instance,
when the Emperor Tiberius was dying. At
the end, his coma simulated death.
Being deceived, Caligula put on the
Emperor's ring and accepted congratu-
lations as the new wearer of the purple.
Then the terrible old man roused him-
self and called out. The terrified courtiers
scattered like hens in a hawk's shadow.
And the trembling Caligula saved him-
self and won the empire by helping to
strangle Tiberius in his bed.
For the reasons implied by this episode,
most American diplomats familiar with the
Soviet Union assumed that Josef Stalin
was dead already, as soon as they heard
the announcement of his illness. It is not
wise to say that tyrants are dead, or even
dying, until it is certain they will not live to
resent any jumping to premature con-
clusions. But the question our diplomats
found hard to answer was the question,
"Who's Caligula?"
As to the succession to Stalin, there are
two schools of thought, deriving from two
different interpretations of the recent
changes in the structure of the Soviet gov-
ernment. The first and ,more dramatic
theory emanates from the Moscow Em-
bassy, and is understood to be tentatively
accepted by former Ambassador George F.
Kennan. If this theory was correct, a mor-
tal struggle for the succession to Stalin
had already broken out, and was already
convulsing Soviet society, even before his
weakened heart failed the Russian dictator.
In brief, those who hold this theory
think that the Soviet Politburo was
sharply divided, for a period of several
years, over the crucial problem of staff-
ing the Communist party Secretariat.
This body in effect controls all patronage
in the Soviet Union. Stalin himself won
power through the Secretariat, by placing
his own men in key posts. More recently,
the Secretariat has been the strong-
hold of Stalin's grim favorite, Malen-
The issue before the Politburo, it is arg-
ued, was whether the long-delayed post-
war reorganization of the Communist
party should confirm Malenkov's control
of the Secretariat. On this issue, it is be-
lieved, Molotov and all the other senior
members of the Politburo stood firm in op-
position. Because of the split in the Polit-
buro, it is further asserted, the official
Communist Party Congress was put off
from year to year, until only a few months
Three things happened at the Party Con-
gress. The Politburo itself was dissolved; or
rather it was melted into a new and much
larger body, the Presidium. And besides abol-
ishing the Politburo and creating the Presi-
dium, the Congress approved a reorganized
Secretariat, including only three former
Politburo members, Stalin, Malenkov and
Khruschev, plus a group of obscure officials
allegedly drawn from the Malenkov faction.
This seeming victory for Malenkov
(which incidentally headed a split be-
tween him and his former partner, Beria)
is not considered truly final, according to
the theory above quoted. If this theory is
correct, Stalin only seemed to be con-
firming Malenkov's power, but was in fact
inaugurating another war to the death
between the Party factions. This was the
pattern of the period after Lenin's death,
when Stalin encouraged each rival group
to kill another until only Stalin was left.
This interpretation of course suggests
that Stalin's death will be the signal for an
intensified struggle for power. But an op-

posite view finds stronger support in the
State Department. According to this view,
the recent Party Congress instead marked
the conclusion of the struggle for power, and
the final triumph of Malenkov. Those who
hold this opinion consider the new purge
a sort of blood sacrifice to celebrate Malen-
kov's success. They point out that the great
purges of the thirties only started after
Stalin had gained absolute power, and were
Stalin's hecatomb of victory.
In any case, whether or no there is a
contest for power in the Kremlin, the re-
moval of Stalin's influence is likely to
prove a grim event. Wicked and sinister he
might be. Yet Stalin was at least cautious,
and at least acquainted with the Western
World. The old man who thought Balzac
was the best novelist and had rather con-
servative views about the education of the
young, has now been replaced by others
whose knowledge of the West is drawn
entirely from, Soviet demonology. Be-
lievers in demonology are unpredictable
Nor can one forget the rules that seem
to govern the succession of tyrants Estab-
lishers of tyrannies quite often possess a cer-
tain beneficence. But an Augustus is suc-
ceeded by a Tiberius; Lenin by Stalin; the
beneficent tyrant by the tyrant who is cruel,
efficient and stern. And as Tiberius was fol-
lowed by Caligula, so the next heir to the
full-blown tyranny tends to be a madman.

Spring Will Be. A Little Late This Year
4.p4... -
w~ ~ rw:. . 1 ..: +,


WASHINGTON-Winston Churchill may have had uncanny om-
niscience when he sent a confidential-message to President Eisen-
hower by Foreigp Minister Anthony Eden that the chances of war
had increased in the last 30 days.
Churchill could not have foreseen the death of Joseph Stalin, and
of course based his diagnosis on other factors. However, the fact is
that the exit of Stalin from the most powerful position in the world
today could well lead to one of the following alternatives:
1. World Peace-If Russia becomes so absorbed with her own
problems, if she becomes torn with civil war over Stalin's succes-
sor, then the rest of the world could settle down to peace.
2. World War-Should the Red leaders face too much up-
heaval at home; or should they need an excuse to quiet unrest,
then war might be one way out.
Reporting from the edge of the Iron Curtain at Berlin last month,
I cabled the following diagnosis of what was happening inside the
vast area called Soviet Russia:
"SOME PARTS of the overexpanded Soviet Union are gorged from
too much conquest and are on the brink of revolt. Various other
areas in the Soviet orbit are seething with unrest, and the Red leaders
in the Kremlin need scapegoats. Hence the purges and the pogroms.
"On the face of things, Russia Is a long way from war and is
in no position to wage it. However, dictators sometimes start war
to divert attention from their own failures. That is the greatest
danger in Europe today.
"To understand what is happening in the Soviet Union you have
to remember that there are only about 45,000,000 Russians in the
U.S.S.R. and the over-all policy of the Kremlin is to operate and to
control the other parts of the Soviet Zones-from Mongolia to Czech-
oslovakia and from Turkestan to Poland-for the sole benefit of these
45,000,000 Russians.
"Thus, while the 45,000,000 around Moscow have never had it
so good, the other diverse and nationally minded millions-who
are expected to raise more crops, to build more factories, to lay
more railroad lines and to support the Soviet war machine-
are restless and rebellious. That is why a new word has been coined
and added to the already long list of isms and for which one can
now be tried for treason-nationalism... .
"Today the greatest danger spot for revolt in the far-flung Soviet
orbit is Poland. Peasants are seething over crop quotas and collective
farms. . . . Other areas in which this restlessness is most apparent
are the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Georgia (birthplace of Stalin), Ar-
menia and Turkestan... .
(Copyright, 1953, by the Bell syndicate)

Backhaut ... .
To the Editor:
THE time is certainly ripe for1
a rational and objective an-
alysis of the Bernie Backhaut sit-
uation. During the past several
weeks Bernie has forthrightly stat-
ed his opinions, despite the ob-
durate and insatiable attempts of1
certain political factions to dra-]
goon him into altering his poli-
tical beliefs to conform to their
own mundane philosophies. When,1
however, Bernie "called 'em as he
saw 'em," several notoriety seek-
ing individuals lost in a megalo-
mania that has been the foun-
tainhead of petty political intrigue
and reaction, have spewed forth
a number of irrational and sub-
jective diatribes which serve neith-
er to answer nor to clarify the is-
sues which Mr. Backhaut has so
cogently and efficaciously set1
In order to evaluate the Back-
haut experiences and their up-
shots in the proper perspective
(which, thusfar, have been con-
scienciously avoided by all con-
cerned) we must begin to assign
the proper weights to all the var-
iables and let the scales balance
as they may. Those guilty of as-
persing, belittling, assailing, lam-
pooning, defaming, libeling, be-
spattering, traducing, calumniat-
ing, vilifying, vituperating, and for
all practical purposes criticizing
Bernie without regard for the real
and important attitudes which he
has tended, should be arraigned,
adjudicated and punished in the
minds and hearts of those most
sensitive to the misgivings and ne-
fariousness of expatiating men-
But from the Engine Arch to the
Arcade, from Romance Languages
to the Arboretum, to those of us
who have been regularly reading
Bernie's missives to The Daily with
avid interest it is all but self
evident that throughout the whole
"stinking mess" Bernie has re-
mained a bulwark of political in-
tegrity, a ubiquitous critic of party
loyalty and a staunch Apostle of
progressive thought.
-Norman Starr, '55
Jerome E. Singer, '55E
Jerome D. Neifach, '55E
Gershwin Concert ..
To the Editor:
SWAS certainly glad to see that
the review of the Gershwin
concert was not put under the
heading of "music" but "concert."
It certainly didn't qualify in the
former category. Perhaps we can
excuse Miss Young's eulogy of a
very poor orchestra (if twenty-
five pieces can be termed an or-
chestra and not a chamber group)
if she were to issue a statement
saying she was very tired when
she heard it or something similar
to that. However, on second
thought, I can see no excuse for
calling an orchestra "charming"
whose volume, was extremely thin
in every piece except those in
which the soloists performed
(there they managed to pull them-
selves together enough to drown
out the performers) and whose
general tone was as poor as this
orchestra's was.
As far as Mr. Maazel goes, he
may have been "imminently pow-
erful as chief co-ordinator," but
he didn't seem to be functioning
too well Monday night.
To conclude, I might suggest to
Miss Young that the next time she
turns her hand to writing a music
review, she tries criticizing the
performance instead of discussing
the compositions played.
-Mary Rudolph
* * *
Gershwin Concert ...
To the Editor:
I FEEL that the behavior of the
audience at the Gershwin

-Phyllis Shaw
':'HE CURRENT danger arises
largely from fear of Commu-
nism. It can be counteracted by
assurance to the public that every
vigilance is being exercised under
the law. This assurance may be
provided by vigorous investigation,
exposure and disclosure; by vig-
orous prosecution when its need is
shown; by steady and inteIsive
education to the effect that con-
spiratorial subversion differs from
ideological dissent, and that civil
liberty depends as much on the
suppression of conspiratorial sub-
version as on the protection of
ideological dissent."
-C. P. Ives,
Associate Editor,
The Baltimore Sun

Orchestra concert should be called
to public attention. I am referring
to the fact that the majority of.
the audience lacked the common
courtesy and decency to applaud
even long enough for the perform-
ers to leave the stage. The crowd
was even more rude at the close
of the concert when many people
began leaving before the bows and
handshaking were completed.
Personally I enjoyed the con-
cert immensely. There may have
been flaws in the performance of
which I was unaware, since I am
not a music 'critic but merely a
music lover. However, any per-
former, in my opinion, deserves
more respect than this group re-
ceived regardless of the quality of
their performance. 'Perhaps the
listeners did not like Gershwin's
music, but in that case why would
they attend an entire Gershwin
program? It was humiliating to me
to be a member of such an un-
appreciative audience and I was
extremely sorry for the artists
who were subjected to this em-
barrassment. It was also a shock to
me because Ann Arbor audiences
are usually enthusiastic. What
was wrong? -
11-_Yuis !MY_ _a


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 goo# taste will
be condensed, edited or withheld from publication at the discretion of the




Sixty-Third Yea?
Ed ed and managed, by students of
the university of Michigan under the
authority of the Board in Control of
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
Crawford Young......Managing EditOr
Barnes Connable.........City Editor
Cal Samra.........Editorial Director
Zander Hollander ......Feature Editor
Sid Klaus. ......,Associate City Editor
Harland Britz........Associate Editor
Donna Hendleman.....Associate Editor
Ed Whipple..............Sports Editor
John Jenks......Associate Sports Editor
Dick Sewell..Associate Sports Editor
Lorraine Butler......women's Editor
Mary Jane Mills, Assoc. women's Editor
Don Campbell .... Chief Photographer
Business Staff
Al Green..........Business Manager
Milt Goetz....... Advertising Manager
Diane Johnston ...Assoc. Business Mgr.
Judy Loehnberg......Finance Manager
Harlean Hankin, .. .Circulation Manager
Telephone 23-24-1
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The Associated Press is exclusively
entitled to the use for republication of
all news dispatches credited to it or
otherwise credited to this newspaper.
All rights of republication of all other
matters herein are also reserved.
Entered at the Post Office at Ann
Arbor. Michigan, as second-class mail
Subscription during regular school
year: by carrier, $6.00;« by mail $7.00.






The Daily Official Bulletin is an
official publication of the University
of Michigan for which the Michigan
Daily assumes no editorial responsi-
bility. Publication in it is construc-
tive notice to all members of the
University. Notices should be sent in
TYPEWRITTEN form to Room 2552
Administration Building before 3 p.m.
the day preceding publication (before
11 a.m. on Saturday.)
Vol. LXII, No. 105
May Festival Single Concert Tickets
will be placed on sale beginning at nine
o'clock, Tuesday morning, Mar. 10, at
the offices of the University Musical
Society, Burton Memorial Tower, at
$1.50, $2.00, and $2.50 each. It will be
appreciated if those in line will expe-
dite matters by arranging in advance,
insofar as possible; to have the cor-
rect payment amount available. By pur-
chasing season tickets, a limited num-
ber of which are available, particularly
in the lower-priced brackets, a consid-
erable savings in costs may be made.
Alice Crocker Lloyd Fellowship of $750
Is offered for the academic year 1953-54.
This award is open to women graduates
of an accredited college or university.
It may be used by a University of
Michigan graduate for work at any
college or university, but a graduate
of another university will be required

Computer), Prof. Harry Huskey, Wayne
University Computation Laboratory, on
leave from the Institute for Numerical
Analysis, National Bureau of Standards,
Los Angeles.
Events Today
Canterbury Club. Informal work par-
ty at 2 p.m., with free supper at 6 p.m.
All Episcopalian students are cordially
invited to join in the work and fun.
Roger Williams Guild. Bible Study
Retreat with Prof. Rodney Branton, pro-
fessor of New Testiment History at
Colgate-Rochester. Meet at the Guild
House, Saturday, at 1 p.m. to go with
the Ypsi group to the retreat. Wear
slacks-dress warmly. Bring notebooks,
Bible, pencils, etc. There will be a small
charge to cover our supper.
Faculty Sports Night. I.M. Building,
at 7:30 p.m. All equipment will be
available to faculty families. Call Mrs.
Dixon for further information, 25-8975.
Hillel Saturday morningservices will
be held at 9 *00 a.m. at the Hillel
Saturday Lunch at Lane, Hail. "Do
You Agree?" a student-led discussion
of Mrs. Barbara Ward Jackson's views.
Time, 12 noon.
Coming Events


by Dick Bibler

x'q '. 1
~ /




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