Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 25, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Herald staff writers Saturday, September 25, 1971 THE LETHBRIDGE HHWIO S A collection of short book reviews "THE White Dawn" by James Houston (Longman, 275 pages, npHE past couple of years have A have seen a number of mi- thors coming up with hooks about Indians and Eskimos. They all have a different ap- proach, and all point out Hie unfortunate influence the white man has had on the crumbling culture of these people. James Houston lived on Baffin Island for several years after the Second World War, most of the time as a civil servant. His observations, and his abil- ity to adapt Eskimo legends provided him with the back- ground for this novel. One such story about which his book re- volves concerned a whaling ship out of Massachusetts in 1896. Six men in a small boat harpooned a whale which tow- ed them away from the ship into a pea-soup fog. Three of the men died before the other three were found, near death, by Eskimos who nursed them back to health in their own community. It takes a while for the men to adjust to the rugged and to them, primitive way of life. But they eventually catch on and soon eat the food, hunt with the men, and sleep with the girls with native-like appreciation. Woven into the story are the conflicts which naturally arise when two cultures meet in such circumstances. This is a good book and relates Eskimo living with a zest which keeps the reader thumbing through the pages in a hurry to see what's going to happen next. MARGARET LUCKHURST. "Broadway's Greatest Hits" by Abe Lanfc (Funk and Wagnalls, 481 pages, with illustrations. S12. distributed by Longman Canada A" must for every fan of ma- sical plays, Professor Abe Laufe's volume is a reference book with pizazz. Not stuffy enough for a bookend and too filled with facts to absorb at straight sittings, it studies those musical dramas and comedies, operettas, burles- ques and revues which ran 500 performances or more on Broad- wav. The subjects range from the earliest known hit, of 1884, Adonis, with the heavily-mus- lached Henry E. Dixey, to Hair the controversial 1968 Ameri- can tribal-rock musical, with its only-mustached young cast. Items include financial back- grounds of plays, backstage chatter, personalities of com- posers and directors, and Laufe's personal evaluation of stars and plots. What makes the book enter- taining, besides its subject, is the revelation of how extensive are the Broadway backgrounds of many TV performers, no- tably Nanette Fabray. A comedienne who occasion- ally appears on the Carol Burn- ett show, Miss Fabray was in hit after hit in the 1940s. 1950s and early 1960s. I didn't know that. JOAN BOWMAN. a statue to his name has been erected in a major park. Mr. Bowsfield's book stirs up ques- tions, but doesn't really solve the mystery. MARGARET LUCKHURST. "I Would Ilallipr be a Tur- nip" by Vcra and Bill Cleaver (J. B. Lippincott Company, distributed by McClelland and Stewart Limited, 159 pages, "T Would Rather be a Tur- nip" is rather pathetic. Supposedly a children's book, Turnip tells the story of a 12- year old girl whose bastard ne- phew comes to live with her family. Because of this she is forbidden to associate with her friends (by their writes several aborted books, and finally saves the life of her cousin. The Cleavers seem to be try- ing to grasp some of the magic of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. But they've fail- ed. The book lacks the impact and rea'ism of Mockingbird. JUDI WALKER. "The Potboiler Quiz" by Robert Kilbride (Longman Canada Ltd., 190 pages, the quiz fiend who fears he's cracking up, here's a book to turn the suspicion into a sure thing. Sandwiching witty, if sometimes idiotic, per- sonal comments between the quiz items, the book bears mainly on entertainment, his- tory and word games. There's no math to be found. What promises to send the reader to funnyville is the insane diffi- culty of many of the problems. Aside from having to know the name of Jack London's dog in the Call of the Wild, the reader is expected to pick out archi- tects from among lists of dan- cers and military types. It's terrible for the ego; great as a Christmas gift to mothers-in- law and omniscient undergrad- uates. JOAN BOWMAN. International Dissent disap- pointing. There is an unfortu- nate lack of critical analysis of the propositions, or even a se- rious consideration of their im- plications, or of the difficulty of achieving the goals desired. In short, International Dis- sent is more nearly a political polemic than a scholarly analy- JOHNSON. The Narrative Unity of the Cursor Mundi" by Ernest G. Mardon (William MacLcl- lan, 221 fURSOR MUKDI is a twen- ty-five thousand line reli- glish. It is thought to have been composed in the Lowlands of Scotland in about the year 1300, which makes it the first work of its kind in the English lan- guage. The title of the poem means surveyor of the world. In his composition, the author drew on a number1 of English, French, and Latin sources, in- cluding myths and legends, to present a history of roan's sal- vation. Dr Ernest Mardon, assistant professor of English at the Uni- versity of Lethbridge, made an intensive study of this poem hi his doctoral, program. He has concluded, contrary to some other students of the poem. that it is skillfully constructed so that the diverse material forms a unity. Although I have religious and antiquarian interests I cannot say that I was aroused to want to I'ead the long poem or even the extracts that are re- produced (in the 14th century style) in the book. There is lit- tle likelihood that the poem- or Dr. Mardon's book about it enjoy a wide readership. This is acknowledged in the note on the dust jacket about "Embryo Books" (published by William Ma cL ell an) which states that they ate for the spe- cialist reader. DOUG WALKER. Focus on the University D. i vif ticu By J. W. FISHBOURNS In, clarification again "Louis Rid: The Rebel and the Hero" by Hartwcll Bows- field (Oxford Press, S3.50, 160 WHEN it comes to making a decision on Louis Kiel, people usually decide pretty firmly that he was either a hero or a traitor nothing in be- tween to give reason to the ac- tions the man took in his Red River uprisings. Mr. Bowsfield, former archi- vist of the province of Manitoba had about the best sources of information at Ws fingertips when he researched this biog- raphy on a very controversial personality. He has written an in-depth study of Ricl, but his account seems to try to please both the man's friends as well as his enemies. In fact the reader can take what he likes from it pretty well, which doesn't solve the question of how Riel, in history will be viewed. Certainly Riel was an influ- ence. He brought the attention of Ottawa to injustices being served upon minority ethnic groups in the west. But carried away by his own enthusiasm and his lack of expertise in politics he goofed almost all along the line. Nevertheless Manitobans haven't shoved him exactly into the proverbial skel- eton's closet. A large building has been named after him, and "King in Hell: A novel of Bolhwell and Mary Qnecn of Scots" hy Beverly Balin, (Longman, 508 pages, TVEXT to Richard the Third and the story of the Prin- cess in the Tower, probably no other history of a royal person- age has caught the imagination of so many writers and histor- ians as Mary Queen of Scots. There must be books on poor Mary, and I've read a number. This one gives a new slant to the character of Mary's third husband, the Earl of Both well. Heretofore tradi- tionally regarded as a monster, one given to murdering, includ- ing Mary's second hus- band Darnley, Bothwell comes out of tliis latest weighty tome on the subject almost as clean cut and clean living as a Queen scout. According to the dust jacket, the author spent years on col- lating her facts which she hopes will subdue forever the notion that Bothwell was evil. He loved Scotland, she claims, he loved Mary, and was sim- ply a victim of political and palace intrigue. It's a sympathetic book and well written. Whether or not it will do much to reverse the years of opinion on Bothwell's character is debatable. But it should be read, particularly by those who are enthusiastic and sympathetic followers of Mary stories. MARGARET LUCKHURST. "International Dissent" hy William 0. Douglas (Random House, 155 pages. S5.95) TT is hard to disagree with the spirit of the proposals set forth in International Dis- sent. William 0. Douglas, the most liberal of the United States Su- preme Court Justices, would like to see a world ruled by international law. To this end, he lists six pro- positions as important steps to world peace: an end to all mil- itary alliances, an end to colo- nialism, recognition of Commu- nist China and her admittance to the UN, an international body to control the use of the ocean floor, help for developing nations entering the technologi- cal age, and establishment of rules of law governing interna- tional relations. Despite the appeal of these proposals in principle, I found Once a month, on page five, The Herald will feature the best photo submitted by persons not on the staff of the paper There is no set subject. Entries should be unmounted black-and-white prints 5x7 in. or larger. On the back of each print should be the photographer's name, address and proposed title for the picture as well as any ex- planatory information that might be needed Ten dollars will bo paid the monthly winner. Entries should be sent to the Editorial Page Editor by the end of the third week of the month. Non-winning entries can be left with The Herald for competition in succeeding months or can bo recovered by enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope of suitable size. A panel from The Herald staff will do the judging. Beauty at its best PEOPLE are indeed queer, and you, gentle reader, are about as queer as they come. At least that is the impres- sion I get from your reaction to last week's column. Three things strike me as strange. The first of these is the remarkable number of people who read that particular col- umn and took the trouble to tell me so. It must have been a pretty dull weekend. The second tiling that seems strange to me is people's odd sense of proportion. In the last couple of years, this particular column has dealt with quite a variety oE topics (not infrequently taking some lib- erties with the somewhat restrictive Some of these topics have been of impor- tance. (Now don't get me wrong. Read the words property. I said the topics were important, and made no claims about the significance of my own observations.) Normally, the reaction to columns on im- portant matters is decidedly not spectacu- lar. If I happen to be with someone, and we are trapped into going beyond discuss- ing the weather, occasionally there will be a comment, but seldom more than that. I am a little surprised, therefore, that tins particular column, which deals with a mat- ter which I consider almost trivial, should provoke such a large number of people into writing, telephoning or button-holing me in the halls, to express their views. As I say, people have strange notions as to what is important. The third point, and strangest of the lot, is the remarkable persistence of the ab- surd notion that I am some kind of a spo- kesman for the university, or for some group within it. This is triple- distilled nonsense. I have said this, or ver- sions of it, with what seems to me to have been monotonous regularity ever since I started writing this column. How- cver, let's have it once more. Point 1: Only in a very limited sense does a university have a spokesman (or need If it must speak as an entity, it's voice is that of the president, and no- one else. From time to time, various offi- cers make announcements on official mat- ters coming within their jurisdiction, and items of general information are publish- ed by the information officer. I have none of these capacities. no official an- nouncements and distribute no official in- formation. Point 2: Consensus or general agree- ment on anything of significance rarely occurs at a university. By and large, peo- ple who inhabit universities think for them- selves, and feel under no obligation to ad- just their opinions to conform to those of others; generally they say what they think about anything. Should that rare occasion arise in which there is a consensus within these particular halls on any point whatso- ever, I will not be the one to make the announcement. (Probably I won't even ba aware of it.) Point 3: I did not dream up the title to this column. (To the parochially minded there may be only one university, but some of us think in terms of there being several.) Point 4; What I have said in this col- umn in the past, and anything I intend to say in the future, will have no official sanction or significance; it will be or reflect rr.y own, personal opinion, and no-one else's. And with the little bit of space I have left, let me mention one other thing that surprises me. I find it quite surprising that anyone capable of believing that my viewi could be those of the university is able to read. (Thai's my own, personal opinion, of course.) The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY The name of the game Photo of the month by Frank Vidmar, Lethbridge. Taken near Lakes Notional Pork. Horror in a Siberian penal camp "Magadan" by Michael Solomon; foreword by Irving Layton (Chateau Books, 232 TJOMANIAN journalist Solo- mon, now a resident of Canada, fought with the British forces in the Middle East and Africa during the Second World A graduate lawyer, he made the terrible mistake of returning to Bucharest after the war where he had a news- piper job. He was ecstatically happy for a few months, until the fateful morning of Feb. 7, 1948 when he was arrested by the secret police, charged with espionage and other crimes against the state. The death sentence was commuted to 25 years labor in the penal work- ing camps of the Siberian ex- treme north. No right of appeal. Magadan is the terrible ac- count' of Solomon's eight years in Soviet detention. (The re- mainder of the 17 years which he spent in Iron Curtain camps were eked out in Romanian cus- tody, an experience which will probably be the subject of an- olher He says the last nine years were worse than the first eight. It is impossible. If this account is true down to the last detail, and there is little reason to believe it isn't, how did this mai survive? Per- haps it is his tendency to see a little humor in the worst of situations, perhaps it is the in- bor. tendency in some humans to survive come what may no one can tell. It is a docu- mentary of degradation, of filth, of torture, almost beyond be- lief, but it has the ring of truth. Those inclined to dismiss tales of persecution ought to read it. Frankly, I found it so scaring, so cruel, so sickei ing, I couldn't complete it detail by detail. Page after pngc of torture, re- fined or brutal, page after page of Kafknosquc horrors only found elsewhere in nightmares of the maddened. Hoar what happened to the white-haired wife of the great Russian com- poser Prokofiev, or of how the sensitive fingers of the young virtuouso violinist David Zeller were used for separating ore from stones as the carts emerg- ed from a lead mine. Worn to the bone, literally, no longer able even to hold a bow. Or perhaps you would like to know the tragic talc of Camilla Horn, the famous German actress, whose courage availed her nothing except an untimely and hideous death at the hands of her to.-mentors. And why should any reader torture himself by reading this a-count of Siberian horror? Let Solomon answer that. The pro- test grows and grows, and in the end it will engulf Russia m a blaze which, from its underground hideout will some day embrace the whole of the Soviet Union." JANE HUCKVALE. Unusual autobiography "Beneath the Underdog" hy Charles Minglis (Random House of Canada Lid., .168 pages, pHARLES M1NGUS is an unusual person a man torn between conflicting de- sires, his life a delicate balance between opposing impulses. On one hand he fantasizes about a iife in which he would be the world's most successful pimp, rich enough to "buy his way out of a decaying society" and with no involvement in music or women. But only a few pages further on he looks longingly at the lives led by members of a white classical string quartet solid competent musi- cians respected in their pro- fession and by society. Mingus is a jazz musician and composer. He is black. For much of his life lie has been the victim of prejudice and economic exploitation by white society. He is the sensitive artist, at odds with his environment. If it weren't for his fierce individ- uality he would come close to being a stock figure the typi- cal "oddball" artist forever searching for his own niche in society. But Mingus is far from being a stereotype; he is nn extreme- ly talented musician with his own personal musical state- ments. He does his own thing well enough that he has long been regarded as one of the top bassists and composers in jazz. He placed well up in the bass, composer and "hall of fame" sections of this years critics poll by Downbeat maga- zine. His problem is that critical acclaim won't pay the bills. Mingus has never managed to break through and achieve pop- ular success. His music is too tough, too uncompromising. Plagued by financial prob- lems, he has spent many of what could have been his most productive years pimping for a living. He's also had trouble keeping his head straight and once committed himself to Bellevue Hospital's mental ward. Near the end of his chronicle he describes his state of af- fairs playing in a small club in New York's warehouse dis- trict, a psychiatrist "in charge of his head" and women his es- cape from reality. It's an unusual autobiog- raphy, written in the third per- son with Mingus always de- scribing himself from the view- point of a detached observer. _ There's also enough explicit sex in it to make Masters and Johnson look like a kindergar- ten. HERB JOHNSON. NAME of the game is name-calling. It isn't necessary to prove that a man has wrong ideas, it is only necessary to give him a bad label. Thus to call a man a Pharisee is to label him as a hard-hearted hypocrite, although the Pharisees actually were the bravest defenders of their faith in history, as well as being extremely kind in personal relationships and one person from whom aid could be sought confidently by poor and needy. To call a man a Puritan is to label him as a hard-hearted toll-joy, despite the fact that the Puritans were the real founders of liberty and democracy and certainly got great joy out of life as well as creating most that is good in our culture. One shudders to think how little there would be in American culture or political faith without the Puritans. But name-calling is not only a feature of life among the communists, but a feature of life among us. So the Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland indulge in a bloody bout of name-calling. They do not resolve their problems according to rea- son, but fight by their labels. The tradi- tions of haired run back for centuries and are almost impossible to eradicate. Chris- tian charity is a very scarce commodity. Then Miss Devlin says that it is not a war of Protestant against Roman Catholic or Roman Catholic against Protestant but a war of the haves against the have-nots and the rebellions in Ireland represent a strug- gle of the underdog to be free and share in the world's goods. In this area. also there surely is much name-calling and very little reason. One finds this horrible feature in the plight of white and black on this continent. Many white people have con- tempt for and hatred of the black merely because he is black. It works the other way too. Rap Brown said, "The white taught us violence. Violence is a part of American culture the only answer to slaughter is slaughter we hate the white because he has always hated us a black cannot love himself unless he hates the white." Stokely Carmichael sim- ilarly said, "The white exploits people; he must be crushed violence is the only way to destroy the American capitalism that opprefses us." Despite the fact that violence creates nothing good but spawns all kinds of evil and destroys much that it has taken men centuries to build, one finds many in the Christian camp who be- lieve in it as a way of life. Thus Father Maillard says, "All life is a struggle. Life itself is violent. And it is in struggling that we realize ourselves. Every action is nec- essarily imperfect and impure we are caught in a terrible machine which can thrust us Into situations of violence in spite of ourselves. Ut us distrust the tem- tations to purity." Father Maillard be- lieves that the rich man is not our brother, but our enemy and the important tiling is to eliminate him. Such simplifiers are dangerous but one must admit that it Is hard to see a solution to the problems of Latin America, Greece, Spain and Portu- gal without violence, although violent solutions carry the seeds of their own de- struction and can never carry the Chris- tian label. The violence of name-calling is not by any means confined to such spectacular areas of world conflict. It enters the very substance of life all around us. Thus a former premier of Alberta astonished and dismayed admirers by an excursion into name-calling and a desertion of logical argument. The premier of British Colum. bia recently met the arguments of a highly intelligent member of parliament and a former member of his own party by calling him "an extreme rightist." Dr. William Barclay was depressed by Comp- ton Mackenzie who labelled the New Eng- lish Bible as "one more nail in the coffin of English prose." He said it would never be on a book shelf of his. His quarrel with it was that it did not sound as beautiful as the King James version. Barclay points out that the intent of the Bible is not sound. The New English Bible must more accurate than the authorized version since the authorized version's Greek text is mainly the text which Erasmus pro- duced between 1521 and 1S26. Erasmus pos- sessed only about three Greek manu- scripts, none earlier than the tenth cen- tury. Today, says Barclay, we can count our manuscripts by the hundreds and even by the thousands, and we fcave manuscripts which go back to the third century and even a little piece of John which may ba as early as A.D. 130. Thus modern trans- lators have manuscripts which are seven hundred years older than those available to the translators of the authorized King James version. Now Compton Mackenzie ought to take this into account. Neverthe- less he has a right to the King James ver- sion for surely no translation since that time has the incomparable beauty of lan- guage that the King James version has. All this name-calling is a sickness of so- ciety and a substitution for hard thought. It creates the imreasoning violence which destroys everything and builds nothing. Certainly there are times when we must use hard words as Jesus did and call a thief a thief, a liar a liar. On the other hand one wonders too if it wouldn't possible to use more words of praise and encouragement. As Margol Asquith in her autobiography relates the words of a fam- ous actress, "I've no particular use for criticism of me. I'll seltle at any time for fulsome Haltery." Or, as Abraham Lincoln pul it, "Everybody likes a compliment." When Saint Paul was speaking about the mental virtues, the things about which wo slxiuld be thinking, he included the words, "If there be any praise, think on these tilings." Why do not denominations try to sec the good in one another? Why must they always be name-calling instead of looking for those virtues which are in every faiUi? We can all learn from another if we are humble Mid receptiva enough.