Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 7, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Jumiry I, THI lITMiilDOl HIMLD Book Reviews Doug Walker Will everyone live by Walden Pond? "The Greening of America" by Chtrles A. Reich (Bantam Book, 433 pages, "The Con HI Controversy: The Grilles Look at the Greening of America" edited by Philip Mobile (Pocket Book, 273 pages, CO much was written about The Greening of America a few months ago when it was at the top of the bestseller list that I thought I knew its sub- stance without having to read it. Then feeling dishonest about affecting to know what the book was about without havijig read it I picked up the paper- back edition and got honest. Greening Is the testament of a middle-aged law professor about Ms faith in the youth rev- olution as the wave of the fu- ture. Like Sara in Graham Greene's novel, The End of the Affair, after her conversion, Reich believes "the whole bag of tricks" he digs the dress, the drugs, the loud music, the detachment, Ire hatred of hypocrisy, the mystic feel, the elevation of love. In his book, Eeich articulates the new con- sciousness by contrasting it with its despised predecessors. Consciousness I is all that eoes with rugged individualism. Consciousness II is the outlook of corporate man, leftist and rightist. Revolutionary Con- sciousness III is destined to pervade the whole scene ill due course and then wars will cease, people will be freed from the domination of ma- chines, and everyone will live by Walden Pond. The sale of a million copies of a book such as this must mean something. But what? Is it attributable to the foolish- ness of faddism? Did Con- sclousneu I and II types hope to reach an understanding of the new generation? Can it be interpreted as an indication of a secret yearning for a differ' ent way of'life? Nobody knows. In the face of the generally critical reception of the book as found in the 42 essays col- lected in The Con III Con- troversey, the mystery of its popularity deepens. One has to be naive or bemused to read Greening without reservations and rejections. Reich is accused of ignoring Wheels of time -Photo by Walter Kvrber Rabbit: stopped running, merely rolls "Rabbit Redux" by John Updike (Alfred A. Knopf, 407 pages, SS.50, distributed by Random House of Canada JJEDUX, according to the dictionary definition pro- vided on the dust jacket, means "led specifically In the sense of being returned to health after disease. If the word did not have the specific sense indicated and simply meant Harry "Rabbit" Ang- strom was being returned so that readers could have another look at him, it would not be so puzzling. What is the nature of the restoration implied? Only John Updike knows! In the earlier (1960) novel, Rabbit Run, the non-hero -was last seen running away from the scene of his infant daugh- ter's burial. The child had drowned while her mother, Janice, was in an alcoholic haze and her father was in a state of desertion, shacked-up with a prostitute. Reintro- duced, Harry (the nickname. Rabbit, has fallen largely into disuse) has long ago returned home and is muddling along with Janice and their 13-year- old son Nelson in a suburb of a Pennsylvania city called Brewer. Harry Is a linotype operator in the same shop as his father. Janice works in her father's Toyota agency where she is having an affair with one of the salesmen. This time it is Janice who runs away. Harry apparently hasn't been sexually very ex- citing or excited since his re- turn. When he learns of Jan- ice's affair, a fire seems to be lighted in him but despite a demonstration of potency he is unable to keep his wife at home. It doesn't seem to upset him much. He is prepared to take what comes. What conies is an 18-year-old girl, runaway from a rich home, whom he meets in a black bar to which he had been invited by a fellow worker. In her wake follows some flotsam called Skeeter, a black veteran of the Vietnam war, full of hate and cynicism. Jill, seeking hev freedom, falls into terrible en- slavement. She is used sexually by the two men, cruelly made dependant on drugs by Skeeter, and abandoned to death when uptight neighbors set fire to the bouse. In the end Janice wants to come beck to her husband and son. Her lover has grown tired of her. She Initiates proceed- ings for the reunion and pro- poses they go to bed in a mo- tel. But once in bed, Rabbit is impotent aa he was in the beginning when she left him. What's the meaning of all that? Is Updike trying to tell this sexually supersaturated age that making sex the be-all and end-all of life is the disease and that Rabbit was cured of it? Well, maybe. Near the end of the book Rabbit bewails the incessant sexual activity in- volving them all: "It's what makes everything so hard to run." She: "You don't think it's what makes things He: "There must be something else." That was the message that may have been intended in a previous novel, Couples. Maybe by lingering over sex at length and in great anatomical Good Canadian review, but... "Canadian Annnal Review for 1970" edited by John Say- well and Donald Forsttr (University of Toronto Prtss, 618 pages, PUBLISHED annually since 1960, the Canadian Annual Review it is claimed on the dust jacket is the work most frequently consulted by li- brarians, public speakers, busi- nessmen, economists, political experts, news analysts, histo- rians and political scientists. I have no doubt that this claim is true since the book is pack- ed with useful information about Canada. This latest volume begins, naturally, with Quebec and de- voles 150 pages to the crisis created by the FLQ kidnapping of James Cross and murder of Pierre Laporte. AD the impor- tant communiques, statements, acts ajtd arguments can be consulted in this fine resume. Following 50 pages given lo Parliament fiiiu federal jwUiii-s there are surveys of the prov- inces which fill 100 pages. Exter- nal affairs and defence get 60 pages as docs the national eco- nomy. Life and leisure, which covers education, health, wel- fare, science, religion, mass media, drama, music, art and sport, Is packed Into 130 pages. At the beginning of the book there Is a Canadian calendar and at the end a list of obit- uaries. Lethbridge figures only three times as far as I was able to determine. Under federal pro- vincial relations there is brief mention of the One Prairie Province conference. Cleo Mowers, the publisher of The Lethbridge Herald, is unfor- tunately transformed into someone called Theo Moyer In the account. Later, under edu- cation, there is a one-sentence reference to Mrs. Mary Pharis' achievement of graduating witli a B.Ed. degree from the Uni- versity of Lelhbridge at the age of eighty, Finally, In the obituaries, there is information gleaned !rom the Montreal Star about the death of Gen- eral John Smith Stewart. I guess we shouldn't feel badly about that since the Informa- tion about Francis Philip Gal- bralth, editor of the Red Deer Advocate, Is not attributed to his own paper. Newspapers are quoted with surprising frequency in the book. Thoiie outside Toronto and Montreal arc seldom cited, with the exception of the Winnipeg Free Press. This lat- ter honor is tarnished some- what by a couple of editorial Judgments passed on the pa- per. In the section on NATO it is reported that before the white paper on foreign policy was published there wu sus- picion that Canada would pull out of NATO entirely and the observation is made that "the Winnipeg Free Press was most paranoid on this score." The other comment appears in, the section on Vietnam and Cam- bodia where several newspa- pers arc cited in reaction to the Cambodian action and the Free Press Is described as "the eve r-militant Winnipeg Free Press." Such comments liven the text which is readable throughout. The index puzzles me. Mary Pharis rates Inclusion but not Cleo Mowers, alias Theo Moyor. The Edmonton Journal is listed with one reference but the Toronto Globe and Mall, which is quoted with great fre- quency, Is not listed at and neither is the Winnipeg Free Press. Another thing that puzzles me is that two sections are printed in French: the review of Quebec and a section called Ls Theatre DC Langue Fran- cais. If readers are expected to be fully bilingual why are only 30 pages printed in French? Valuable as Uus book is, It la still a bit of a shock to tee the price of that is charged for it. The costs Involved In gathering the material must be very high. That almost guaran- tees a limited sale to librirta only, which b regratUble. detail Updike may succeed in making it so repulsive that peo- ple become .turned off and ef- fectively curb the sexploslon! There is another possibility that of Rabbit's redemption in some meaning of the term. A hope that the empty exist- ence of the Angstroms (Nelson, for instance, "has not been raised to believe in anything higher than his father's might be filled with purpose is stirred early in the book. Harry reflects on his son s lack of enthusiasm for Lhir.gi. He thinks he should try to get him in something. "Any- thing, just to put something there, some buss, to live on la- ter for a while. If he goes emp- ty now he won't last at all, be- cause we get emptier." But nothing really develops. Wlrere- as in the earlier book, Rabbit runs from things, in this book he merely rolls with them. When the mother of Nelson's friend tries to arouse a little outrage in Harry over Janice leaving him, he merely says, "She has to live too." Peggy: "Who'll hold families together, jf everybody has to live? Liv- ing is a compromise, between doing what you want and do- ing what other people want." He: "What about what poor old God Harry, of course, has no idea of what he wants, let alone what God wants. Near the end of the book when Harry has no job, no house, no wife, and no thoughts about the future, his sister Mini says, "Why don't you tend your own garden instead of hopping around nibbling at other peo- He: "I have no garden." She: "Because you didn't tend it at all. Everybody else has a life they try to fence in with some jiiles." Harry's usual ap- proach to behavior had been to ask, why not? The chief ques- tion facing these troubled times, he once reflected, is Why not? John Updike Is a very skilled writer. There may be some point in using his great talent to portray such a pathetic per- son as Harry Angstrom but it is disappointing to follow him through two books and find no- thing redeeming in the presen- tation. Perhaps if the render was not led to expect a positive tini in the life of Rabbit some redeeming value might remain with him In the backhand way of revulsion for the empti- ness of a life like that. This would be comparable to Luth- er's profound insight about wrath being the strange work of the scaly underside of human beings. Even the new culture has a seamy side: the motor- cyle boys, the beach rats, the groups like the Manion gang. As Emlle Capoya says, "The culture Reich is discussing i dark side that he is loath to recognize, one that makes the New Jerusalem look like the Old Babylon." The notion that conversion of individuals is all that Is required to change sys- tems is Utopian (it sounds far too like Billy Graham, says Mi- Eschewing pow- er, as Reich and his kind do, means that control goes by de- fault to anti- or unrevolution- ary forces. One critic charges that the confidence the new consciousness will seep through society is pernicious because it diverts effort from the real avenues of change. What It amounts to is a massive cop- out. Reich sees the technological and materialistic culture as something to decry but it is doubtful if the idyllic life he envisages for the future could result in anything except a re- turn to the primitive which Thomas Hobbes long ago ac- curately described as "nasty, mean, brutish, and short." Any- way, as Samuel McCracken points out, if III is going to be able to groove to sound over 200-watt amplifiers he will need 1 and II to operate the tech- nology that makes it possible. The irony of it all is that Reich really "sets his sights on an Ideal past of Individual freedom and self-control as inappropri- ate today as is Consciousness I" (Isaac A good deal of skepticism has been expressed by critics about the extent of conversion to the -new consciousness. Some think R is both peripheral and passing. I suspect they under- estimate the influence of the new consciousness. Society is not likely to be inundated by it but it has already been altered to some degree, perhaps per- manently. Those critics, such as Andrew Greeley, who see Reich's book as essentially one of religious vision (Greeley makes some clever connections with the vision of St. John the Divine) are probably close to the truth. The message of hope is the kernel that survives af- ter the chaff has been blown away, even as In the New Testament book. Reich declined to contribute a reply to the critics. He said, "My present feeling is that nothing of distinction has yet been written about my book the good and thoughtful stuff is yet to come." Perhaps so, but the unwillingness to enter into dialogue, as one writer puts it. arouses the same kind of sus- picion as the cancer quack who refuses to have his nostrum tested by Food and Drug. The arrogance or defensiveness 01- whatever It is does not help much in commending the new consciousness. Books in brief "A Century of College Hu- mor" edited by Din Garlin- sky (Random House, 223 pagei, 'TWERE is only one word for college humor: pathetic. The samples of it as found in this collection suggest that stu- dents are easily amused or that the editors of campus magazines and papers have been guilty of grossly under- estimating their peers. It is astounding how dull and la- bored college humor has been over the past century. Why the editor bothered to assemble this collection and who tin publisher expected to buy it have to be major mysteries. "Maigrct and the Killer" by Georges Slraenon (Har- court Brace Jovanovkh, 165 pages, 16.50, distributed by Longman Canada TNSPECTOR Maigret solves this murder case very quickly. It is the explanation of why the murder was com- mitted that is left till the end of this book in the apparently endless Maigret series. "On Being Different: ffnat It Means to Be A Homosex- unl" by Merte Miller (Ran- dom Howe. 65 pages, little book puts another firm nail into the platform of those who ire working for reform of societal attitudes to- ward homosexuals. Journalist and novelist Merle Miller re- vealed that he is a homosexual in an article published in the January 17, 1971, Issue of the New York Times Magazine. That article is reproduced In this book as well as an After- word in which Mr. Miller tells 'of some of the nasty reactions but also his pleasant surprise at how well it and he were ac- cepted by the majority. Just how misguided and cruel the usual judgments against homo- sexuals are become) appamt to Uw reading of thli book. The Voice Of One .By Dl. FRANK S. MORIFT What is morality? VOUTH is in a state of ethical confu- sion without guidelines or definite moral concepts, a dreadful state of amoral- ity such as has hardly existed from the beginning of the world. In Judaism and Christianity there was'an ethical centrality which maintained that men were to re- semble God, "Be ye holy for I the Lord your God am holy." Not rites, not ritual, not sacrifice and not culture were cental but rather an inner rectitude, decency, a fixation of the will on fulfilling the pur- poses of God. One finds this in prophets like Amos and Micah who abhorred the temple ceremonial which lacked spiritual dedication. "What doth the Lord require of thee but to do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." The author of the Deuteronoinic code spelled out ethi- cal behavior and sexual deviation or in- cest and perversion were punishable by death. The Ten Commandments were spe- cific in condemning killing, adultery, steal- Ing, and breaking the Sabbath day. But this was not enough, one had to have the (pint of true holiness. There Is a sickness abroad today, how- ever, which justifies aU immorality and makes a man's ethics his own private af- fair. For this the phrase "situation ethics" is greatly to blame. It holds that there are no absolutes, indeed no unbreakable rules, but that at certain times and under cer- tain conditions, covetousness, killing, adultery, and stealing could be justifiable. There are no laws of God any more. The only law Is the law of love which is de- scribed In such vagueness that anything may be done as long as one has a benign, vacuous emotion like the grin on a Cheshire cat. This new morality is very closely related to the "God is dead" theol- ogy. This phrase "love alone" discards jus- tice, moral responsibility, social relation- snips and all that men have held to be virtuous and decent and is downright dis- honest and hypocritical. "Situation ethics" leaves a young per- lon or any person, for that matter, witti- nut any moral guidelines whatever and all kinds of devilish excuses can be Invented to justify any act. Now 'there is nothing new in this immorality. It is as old as the ancient Romans or, for that matter, the Garden of Eden. The devil with Eve that the fruit of'the tree was good "good for food and it was pleasant to the eye, and the tree to be desired to make one wise." BO naturally "she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat." It was the first attempt of man to write his own Ten Commandment. It Wai a tragic failure that drove man from the Garden of Eden and will always drive him out of his gardens as history has proved. This "new morality" is a relativistic ethici of total toleration In which everything goes In the disgusting, aberrational name of love. people when they say "I love you" mean "I love me and I want you" and they love in the same way that one loves oranges sucking the juice and throwing the skin away. Bishop Bobinson says that love has "a built-in moral compass, enabling it to home intuitively upon the deepest needs of the but this is simply not true because the human heart, as the Bible tells us, is deceitful above all things and very cunning at justifying itj devilry. Our civilization Is being destroyed be- cause of its lack of principle, its failure to have sense of direction and dedication to high ideals and ultimate objectives. His- torians looking back will see how this civilization destroyed itself with ite bestial- ity, the licence given to homosexuality, the endorsation of abortion, the casual attitude to adultery, the acceptance of lying in politics and cheating in business, and the disappearance of moral Indignation. Moral indignation is considered out of date to- day and every abomination Is tolerated, therefore. It is bad form to criticize any- body or any nation because everybody and all nations do similarly evil things. Our boasted Temple of Modern Civilization covers ghastly corruption, inhumanity and injustices, such as have never been per- petrated in the history of man, the rea- son being that science has made available more fearful ways of destruction and tor- ture. One day historians will write the obituary of this civilization, "It laughed at the Ten Commandments." ERIC NICOL Druidism-a good bet? fHURCH attendance is picking up again, after the Christmas lay-off. After last Sunday's service I talked to a businessman acquaintance over coffee in the church hall. He said: "This is the tune of year when I get the optimum yield from religion between the end of pro football and the start of golf." "We had a good, hard-hitting sermon to- I said. "The minister was up for this one." "He audibled hymn 362. It was a good call." "You worship here I asked. "I'm into churches of several different said the businessman. "I like to diversify my investment in salvation." "You have a portfolio of "Let's face whole list of creeds Is going through a period of instability. The little man has become wary of dog- ma." I was glad to have this opinion confirm- ed by somebody close to the market. I said: "There's no way of knowing whether you should buy soul or sell." "Could gs up, or you could go nodded the businessman. He spoke with the knowledgeabih'ty of the executive win reads Time magazine's section on religion, to be completely up-to- date with the immutable. "I've been dabbling in Christian Dynam- I said. (I was fishing.) "It's not very big now, but they say it could catch fire." "Nothing wrong with Christian Dynam- said the businessman, but from the way he said it I inferred that he knew something about it that I didn't. "On die other I mid, "the Han Krishna people axe said to be moving up to the blue chips. They have a lot going for them, especially for a man who Is los- ing his hair." "You could do a lot worse than Hare Krishna." said the businessman. He was playing his Urot cards very close to his vest, I could tell that He hadn't got to where he was, namely with me, by blab- bing a good thing to every tinhorn with a little credulity to splurge. I said, "t person may be tempted by the growth potential of one of the Am- erican subsidiaries, like the California Four Square Gospel of Canada, Incor- porated." "You should never Ignore the Southern agreed the businessman, "if you want to take the plunge." He was toying with me now. He had the key to paradise In his pocket but all could glimpse was the chain. Perhaps moved by the disappointment in my face, the businessman looked around to see that we were not overheard, put nil mouth close to my ear and whispered: "Now that Britain is in Hie European Common Market, the word "Ssh. Don't noise It around, or your mistletoe will cost you a leg." With the businessman walked tway. Was be having me on? I shouldn't care to say. But if you own a white ox you were thinking of selling, I suggest that you hold off till Easter. You never can tell. The minimum wage mystique The Wall Street Journal all of the arguments muster- However, ft adds, "if one accepts the logic that the minimum wage makes the unem- ployment rate higher for some groups than It would otherwise be, then why not go all the way and the legal minimum In the real political world, that develop- ment is unlikely, to put it mildly. Nonethe- less, National City suggests that lawmak- ers who really want to help the poor ought to listen to advice such as that James Tobln, former member of the Coun- cil of Economic Advisers under President Kennedy: "People who lick the capacity to earn decent living should be helped, but they will not be helped by laws, trade-union pressures or other devices which seek to compel employers to pay more than their wtrk Is worth. The likely ed by economists of varied political persuasion. Congress once again seems about to raise the minimum wage in the mistaken notion that the action will help the nation's poor. "While it is true that those who remain employed receive higher wages, fewer are in fact said New York's First National City Bank in a recent Monthly Letter. "The higher minimum leads em- ployers to replace unskilled labor with ma- chines and skilled workers, thus increasing the unemployment of the most disadvon- taged portion of the labor force and in- creasing employment opportunities for the more mobile, skilled sector." The Nixon administration obviously fours that the results of i new minimum wage increase would be the same as the effects of all previous Increases. So the adminis- tration is puslung for a lower rate for workers 18 and imcler. As National City cays, tuch differen- tial would be helpful to teen-age workers. of such regulitioni is that the in- tended beneficiaries m not employed at The minimum wage mystique, despite Its political appeal, cruelly deludes those It profeaet to help.