Saturday, 31 December 2011

Downbeat at 75


Blue Champagne/Glenn Miller
"The Great Jazz Interviews: A 75th Anniversary Anthology” (Hal Leonard Books,2009). Basically it’s reprint of the best essays. This magazine was my post-Catholic Bible as I adjusted to secular life after being expelled from Sacred Heart Seminary (by Rector Henry Donnelly for secretly smoking after midnight in the Gothic Tower with my pal Jim Van Slambrouck).

Glenn Miller’s Chesterfield broadcasts every evening at 7 p.m. started my obsessive transition from Gregorian Chant. And at my new public school, Edwin Denby High, aspiring jazz drummer, Gil Kamen, introduced me to my new Church, the Paradise Theater in midtown Detroit, where “colored” bands played an unending series of weekly stints. We cut class to get the cheap afternoon tickets, sweating out boring “B” movies and idiosyncratic gigs like Pegleg Bates’ mix of corny humor and vivid dancing. Summers, it was nearby Eastwood Gardens for the great white dance bands. We were happily bipolar.

When I took my dead brother’s ashes “home” from Philadelphia where he died, I was in a sentimental mood—seeking out the Paradise, sadly to find it closed by an excess of rock music, with a city bicentennial explanation of the building’s provenience. After World War I, when the Grosse Pointe auto execs were first getting a “Culture” fix, they imported a pianist-conductor from Poland to form a symphony orchestra. Alas, then forced them to perform in the acoustical equivalent of a junior high cafeteria. The Polish director laid down his demand: create a decent place, or I’m off to Warsaw. What they delivered was described by no less an ear than Pablo Casals as the greatest acoustical space in North America.

But when during the Second World War, Southern blacks abandoning the cotton fields where gins were making then superogative, flocked to Detroit’s defense factories. Their housing surrounded the Paradise. The white suburbans fled, building another symphony hall along the Detroit River. The “Paradise” was born. It lay empty during the rock music boom, until an obsessed oboist in the Detroit Symphony raised $23 million dollars to retrieve the old venue. When I gave in to nostalgia to test the ”new” hall, I teased the oboist that he had destroyed my Youth! He yelled that they has a jazz concert every Saturday. A doubly satisfying outcome a battered city really needed.

When I came to New York on a Ford grant in 1955, I was eager to meet the king of jazz criticism, Marshall Stearns, the Hunter medieval lit specialist. If he could teach medieval lit and simultaneously be America’s leading jazz critic, then my combo of American Lit and TV was not schizophrenic. That night he invited me to his Greenwich Village flat, with Nat Hentoff the other guest, was the highlight of my New York year. They were discussing the Newport Jazz Festival’s founder George Wein’s idea of starting an annual Jazz Critic Symposium at Newport. (George was making money; now he wanted to make a difference.) They invited me to the first symposium in 1958, when I was a University of Pennsylvania teacher. I drove from Philly and got to the Festival Viking Hotel just as the dining room was closing! I ordered the last chicken. But before I was served, Mahalia Jackson arrived. I gave her my bird!

I’ll never forget how the symposium ended, the semanticist who was the chair saw her at the back of the auditorium, and believing everyone should be heard, asked, ”What do you make of our discussions, Mahalia.” There was an awkward pause as she made up a response. “I shore don’t knows what youse bin talking about.” Short pause. “But I shore do love jazz.”

I sure loved spending an hour together, munching dinner. By the way, my mentor Studs Terkel interviewed her, and his respect for her wanting to keep her churchly provenience away from nightclubs is pure Terkel. (I won’t forget either my room adjoining Miles Davis, for his all night physical abuse of his girl friend has haunted me ever since for not complaining.)

I’m amazed at the catholicity of this collection. Everybody important has his day in the court of jazz criticism. Except for Bobby Dorough, currently of Mt, Bethel, PA. On a visit to Paris, my girl friend had just had a noisy baby. So I chose to spend the night at a no-star hotel opposite the train station in Ivry-sur Seine—the Commie suburb. I was way trying to use Bach on France Musique radio to put me to sleep. Alas, after the eleven p.m. newsbreak, there followed a jazz concert from Paris Disneyland featuring one young sounding Bobbie Dureau (as my Francophone ear rendered it). I was wide awake after he played a short history of reeds in jazz, beginning with Sidney Bechet, and ending with Charlie Parker. WOW! I called my friend the next morning to ask for a date that night to dance at Disneyland. Were we ever surprised.

First it’s Bob (he hates being Bobbied!) Dorough, a seventyish cracker from Hope, Arkansas, who studied jazz at North Texas U at Denton. His piano is superb jazz, his homemade lyrics, pure poetry, and his quartet was as satisfying as any I’ve ever danced to. (Try “Sunday at Iridium”, ARCO, 1935 if you’re skeptical). His audiences of this New York club contains many fans from the several years he used a rock music TV series to develop mature teenagers. I think the jazz purists may have blackballed him for that openness. His daughter plays in the Houston Symphony. Financing her musical education was one motive for the rock series.

In any case, everybody else important is here, including of course the finest jazz critics of the last century. It’s rare that a popular magazine can dominate a field like “Downbeat” did—and still does. This is a jazz addict’s lifetime companion. The only equally priceless access to great jazz is my wife’s discovery two days ago of an internet service, ”Pure Jazz Radio,” that broadcasts internationally from New York. The same network plays NPR 24 hours a day! I just celebrated a turkeyless Thanksgiving with Terry Gross’s superb interview of the new Muppets. Her chops are still as fresh as ever! I’m vicariously back in Philly. YIPPEE!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Hazard

Hazard taught high school in East Lansing (1952-55) to finance his Ph.D. in American Civilization. Motivated by reading McLuhan in graduate school, he assigned new TV playwrights like Paddy Chayefsky and Rod Serling to his tenth graders and Maurice Evans as Macbeth to his twelfth graders.

When Michigan State opened a TV channel, his students aired a program on teenage leisure."Everyman Is a Critic" there each week. This led to a Ford Foundation grant in New York to deploy national resources for English teachers confronting the new medium of television. He became radio-TV editor of "Scholastic Teacher" and schmoozed with Marshall McLuhan, that year a visiting professor at TC, Columbia. A talk at the 4C's convention on "The Future of Cultural Criticism" led to his first college job at Trenton State(1956-57)where he finished his dissertation.

In 1957 Penn awarded him a Carnegie Postdoctoral grant to create a new course on Mass Culture, after which he became Gilbert Seldes' gofer in the founding of the Annenberg School where he taught media history.In !960 he was appointed the first director of the Institute of American Studies at the newly created East-West Center.

He quit after one year when he discovered his No.2 had been in the CIA for the last ten years. He became English chair and full professor at Arcadia University in 1961 where he devised an International English curriculum, teaching in their London program. His involvement in secular media is summarized on the website of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (www.broadstreetreview.com) under the rubric "Hazard in Luceland".

When his mother died in 1982, he resigned on Walt Whitman's birthday to become a roving international alternative journalist, using an inheritance to explore all the continents but Antarctica (brrr!) to deepen his control of International English as the humanities curriculum of the future. He has continued this quest in Weimar, where the spirit of Goethe energizes his quest. (G lived at Seifengasse 1, Hazard at 10.)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Post-Text-Scholarship

On Post-Text-Scholarship

I got a Carnegie Post Doctoral Fellowship at Penn in 1957 to create a Mass Culture course for their American Civilization department. First Semester,Mass Communication:Print,Graphics,Broadcasting; Second Semester, Industrial Design, Architecture, and Urban Planning.

I went on to help organize the new Annenberg School of Communications, teaching the History of Communication--from Cave Painting to Comic Strip. Left Annenberg to organize the new Institute of American Studies at the East West Center in Honolulu, until I discovered my No.2 had been in the CIA for the ten years since his Iowa Ph.D.

I returned to the mainland to chair English at Arcadia U where I tried to globalize International English. In refereeing the Epstein/Cassuto scrimmage in a comment, I proposed the rationale On Internationalizing English Ph.D. with a prelim in either a neglected foreign language translation or media expertise. For how I got there, see my piece (10/11/11) in www.broadstreetreview.com, "My TIME, LIFE, and FORTUNE in Luceland."

These strategies grew out of trials that worked, not the mystifying mistiphysics of the polysyllabic French/German "thinkers" who waylaid English studies for two or more decades. I walked away from tenure after thirty years concluding I could teach better as an alternative journalist than as a hounded academic. I was right!

Patrick D. Hazard.
Weimar, Germany.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Playing the Game

Heh, Smerk. Don't play dumb. The 28 year old was afraid he'd lose his first step rung on the Penn State ladder of success: that is the true horror of the Cashocracy we've let take over: There's no sense of community ethics. Save my ass: don't risk failure by "tattling" on a superior raping a 10 year old.

Dr.Patrick D. Hazard, Weimar, Germany

Monday, 26 December 2011

Anti Anti-scientism

On A Better Rationale for Science Literacy:

With an American Studies Ph.D. (1957), I increasingly resent the unacknowledged anti-scientism of my humanities professors, except Mortimer Kadish who wiped out my medieval Catholicism philosophy major in one semester.

The Good Books syndrome is essentially a covert Theologism. Scientific method is essential to a humane technolgical society (which ours is far from being) given the greenhouse gas lies our Cashocratic oil tycoons fund, and the crass fallout of semi-barbarous boobs like Rush Lamebow, shooting off his mouth as "Excellence in Broadcasting". Ugh.

The Occupy Wall Street novices must understand that our commercial greed has foundered a dysfunctional society in which instantly "satisfying" goodies outflank sound nutrition and pervasively infantile media make a playpen of Modern America. It's going to be a long, painful haul back to mass sanity.

But scientific literacy must prevail in all aspects of this mangled culture. Alas, at 84, I'll never see such a renewal, but pray for it, as only an ex-Catholic atheist can.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Frank Furness

I commend George Wilhelm for his praise of Frank Furness’s Gothic funkiness. I, long a Louis Sullivan buff, was delighted to learn, however belatedly, that Furness nurtured that innovator’s muse.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Nobel Laureates

My first encounter with a Nobel laureate was receiving my filmmaker son Michael’s gift of “The Half-Finished Heaven: The Best Poems of Tomas Tranströmer” (translated by Robert Bly”, Graywolf Press, 2001). (Michael had just made a documentary film of Bly’s career as a poet.) But I'll save this latest Laureate till last.

My first Nobel serendipity occurred in summer 1967. When teaching in London, I wanted to expand my International English course with the lively poets of Northern Ireland. So I organized a class trip to the Belfast Festival. Since all the students couldn’t afford the trip, I asked the BF management if they could ask a Belfast poet to recite a chrestomathy of their new writers so I could tape the reading for the students back in London. “Sure, no problem,” he promised.

The next day, a rural-looking handsome man (with cow shit still on his boots?) introduced himself as “Seamus Heaney”, Faith and Begorrah, an Irish enough name. He started reading his peers’ stuff, Paul Muldoon, James Simmons et al. Good enough, but not worth a trip to Belfast; then Seamus read his own “Digging” about his grandfather’s and father’s skill with spades, working the peat of their land, concluding that he would emulate his forebears with his pen. It remains to this day my favorite lyric in all of English lit!

Heaney spoke later about invitations to America he had received from Harvard and UC, Berkeley. I asked him to let me take him on a weeklong romp along the Eastern coast. He vaguely promised, and I forgot about our scheme until 1970 when the National Council of Teachers of English was holding it annual convention in Atlanta. He decided to come!

First I had him read at Trenton State, a blue collar commuter school where I had first taught in college, 1956-7, because three Trenton English professors liked my 4C’s talk, ”Liberace and the Future of Cultural Criticism”, a rant about confronting Pop Cult in the English classroom instead of whining about. They loved it, assuring me that’s the way they already did it at Trenton. When I got a Penn Carnegie grant in 1957 to create a new course in Popular Culture in their department of American Civilization, I talked them into hiring a Mick from Rhode Island, Fred Kiley, as my successor. Seamus and Fred hit it off from their first minute together, from Fred's experiences in the Battle of the Bulge to their shared working class aspirations to upward cultural mobility.

The next day, after showing him the high spots of Philly, we went to the Jewish Cultural Center downtown to see a TV documentary from Belfast which featured his ambivalent posture in the Troubles between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. He had been too busy writing to see it at home. The next day we took the train to Washington so he could sign in at the Poetry Center at the Library of Congress. Next door was the Supreme Court where, dazzled by the coffered ceiling, he whispered like an altar boy in the sacristy,”Is this where they made that decision about segregation? “Yes, Seamus. This is that place!”, my eyes watering.

The next day we flew to Columbia, S.C, because he wanted to socialize with visiting poet James Dickey. James was a dick that day, and wouldn’t be seen! No matter, Morse Peckham, a former colleague of mine at Penn, gathered together the mostly gay English Department of the University of South Carolina, for an unforgettable evening. Nah,nah, James Dickey!

Finally, we bused to Atlanta where I put him up at the fanciest hotel in town. He loved it. And though the audience for this “unheard of Poet” was disgracefully small, he flew off to Berkeley after three days of NCTE. And I’ve been a fan of his ever after, especially when was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995.

My second Nobel Prize encounter was not so Noble. When Gunter Grass visited Weimar shortly after the controversy over his Nazi affiliation in World War Two, I had just come back from Göttingen (where his publisher is based) after shooting pictures of his art on display there, he agreeably committed to an interview the next day. I met him for breakfast coming down the stairs of the Hotel Elefant where all the celebs wrangle for the Goethe suite! He canceled breakfast on the spot due to unforeseen complications and booked for the next day. Alas, he left a no show note at the front desk and asked me to call on the morrow.

No way! I mimeoed a rap on his knuckles for manners unworthy of a Nobel Laureate and (humourously) conceded I better understood the fascist accusations he was currently encountering. We are both 84. At 17, we both joined the war, me in the U.S.Navy as a radar technician, and he in Wehrmacht, as a grumbler in training. I just noticed with a sneer that he grumbled in a Berlin speech that abolishing the volunteer Army was a bad political move. (Some hotshots never learn!)

So my record on Nobel encounters: one elegant win; one messy fumble. Heh, could be worse. Seamus could have had a cold that day in Belfast, and canceled! No Wild Week along the Atlantic Coast. And then there is Tranströmer! A winner in many ways.

Heh, you think Philip Roth’s got the waits for that illusive Swedish Coronation? Think of this year’s winner, a sweet Swede named Tomas Tranströmer, a 80 year old who lost his speech and gifted pianist’s right hand in 1990 through a stroke. (He is so endearing to his fans that several Swedish composers blessed him by writing pieces for his left hand!) Meanwhile his wife fielded the traditional Nobel press hoopla.

My interest there is very special. My son Michael made one of his first films about the Minneapolis poet Robert Bly who is the most important translator of Tranströmer’s poetry into English, “The Half-Finished Heaven” (Graywolf Press, 2001.) Therein Bly contends “Tomas Tranströmer has a strange genius for the image; images rise seemingly without effort on his part. The wide space we feel in his poems perhaps occurs because the four or five main images in each poem come from widely separated sources in the psyche. His poems are sort of a railway station where trains that have come enormous distances stand briefly in the same building. One train may have some Russian snow on the undercarriage, and another may have Mediterranean flowers fresh in the compartments, and Ruhr soot on the roofs.”(p.ix.)
One such poem has tourists from all over the world relishing the graces of a “simple” Romanesque church.

Romanesque Arches
Tourists have crowded into the half-dark of the enormous
Romanesque church.
Vault opening behind vault and no perpective.
A few candle flames flickered.
An angel whose face I couldn’t see embraced me
And his whisper went all through my body.
“Don’t be ashamed to be a human being, be proud!
Inside you one vault after another opens endlessly.
You’ll never be complete, and that’s as it should be:”
Tears blinded me
As we were herded out into the fiercely sunlit plaza.
together with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Herr Tanaka and Signora
Sabatini.
within each of them vault after vault opened endlessly. (p-xxi.)

It’s no surprise to learn that the man who here juxtaposes infinity with humdrum tourism was a psychiatrist whose career was counseling imprisoned juvenile delinquents. Once at a public reading someone asked him if his work had influenced his poetry. He replied that he prefers to be asked if his poetry influenced his work! Scuttlebutt had it that he was very compassionate with his charges.

I liked “April and Silence” (p.95) for its ambiguous reactions to spring.

Spring lies abandoned.
A ditch the color of dark violet
Moves alongside me
Giving no images back.

The thing that shine
Are some yellow flowers.

I am carried inside
My own shadow like a violin
In its black case.

The only thing I want to say
Hovers just out of reach
Like the family silver
At the pawnbrokers.

“Black Postcards” consider the doleful.(p.83.)

I
The calendar all booked up, the future unknown.
The cable silently hums some folk song
but lacks a country. Snow falls in the gray sea. Shadows
fight out on the dock.
II
Halfway through your life, death turns up
And takes your pertinent measurements. We forget
The visit. Life goes on. But someone is sewing
the suit in the silence.

This Nobel literary casino plagues the wishes of the literati. Tranströmer is the first Swede to get it since 1974. In the last ten years there have been 8 Europeans. American potentials often grumble about the leftist slant of the Committee. 103 candidates have made the grade since the literary prize began in 1901. Maybe a Swedish graduate student will do a political analysis!

(If Bly’s translating skills appeals to you, you can order the film about him at www.thecie.org.)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Vegans

Vegans of the world, get lost. The mice of the world are after your fat butts.

Carriage

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

Dear Bauhauslerin:

Your return of my piece on the Design shows now on in London and Weil am Rhein without a word is the kind of uncivilized response you’d expect from a spoiled American teenager. And your refusal to respond to my request to be put on your press list (I left a long note to the black guard when I “stumbled” on your excellent show on Paul Raacke on my way back from reviewing Klimt in Liverpool)) is disgracefully unprofessional.

O.K. I realize now the Bauhaus Sinecuriat recognizes I’m condemning all of you for corrupting Gropius’ moral meliorism of good design for the working classes, as Nicholas Pevsner wrote, after your ancestors chased him out of England for being a Jew. What your Sinecuriat is doing now is cultural fascism—agglomerating trivia like Siebenbrodt has been doing and then pleading for a bigger museum. The Bauhaus Sinecuriat needs bigger, truer ideas, not more money for museums. And Seemann with his obsessive concentration on upper middle class Tourism mocks even the entire tradition of Goethe (who is blasphemously worshipped in Weimar, but not read!)

The only credible idea he has proposed for the phoney, baloney 90th anniversary is mass education for children in architecture and design, which Louis Kahn’s heir Ricky Wurman pioneered in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, and the London Design Museum has already begun in England. The only member of the Sinecuriat who is faithful to Gropius is Omar Ahkbar. The Gropian vision of better design for the working classes is not in your hands but with Omar, Alice Rawsthorn, Cameron Sinclair, and Millard Fuller. And I betcha you don’t even know who Fuller is.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Eames

On "Eames: The Architect and the Painter": This creative couple at Eliel Saarinen’s Cranbrook outside Detroit actually did what the German Bauhaus merely promised to do. Oddly, two penniless German immigrants, neither of whom could afford to finish high school, never mind architecture school, Albert Kahn (Detroit) and Timothy Pflueger (San Francisco) became the architectural innovators parallel to the Eames pioneering in industrial design.

That we mostly don’t know this can be blamed on Philip C. Johnson who spent too long a career corrupting American architectural discourse with his phoney branding of “the International Style” for New York’s MOMA. The Cleveland parvenu Johnson argued only Art mattered in architecture, ignoring the client’s needs. He mocked his Harvard teacher Walter Gropius in private letters for being obsessed with building for the “working classes.” Barry Bergdoll is discovering that PCJ’s error.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

German Architectural Hagiography: A Nazi Heritage

Philip C. Johnson (1906-2005) when he finally started studying architecture (1942!)at Harvard under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, German refugees from Nazism, plenty of water had flowed under his idiosyncratic bridge. Although very bright,during his first tenure at Harvard (1923-30) he was crippled by his emerging gayness and spent several trips to Europe, especially Germany (his German nanny had made him fluent, and 1920’s Berlin was a prime place to find his own new gayness).

The son of a rich parvenu U.S.Steel lawyer in Cleveland, he was obsessed by the “A” as in the Art of architecture. As Andrew Saint wrote in his Guardian obituary (January 29,2005, p.25), the one constant in his long career was “about architecture and style. Forget function, ignore social responsibility—just make things as beautiful as you can and spend all the money you can get your hands on.”

When he returned to America in the early thirties, Johnson brought the baggage of a quick Fascist conversion. He had praised Hitler, and now turned to promote Huey Long until the Louisiana threat to FDR was assassinated. He then turned to Father Coughlin, the Catholic radio priest near Detroit, who preached that Roosevelt was promoting “a Jew Deal”. My University of Detroit sociology professor, Father John Coogan,S.J., soon fought Coughlin to an Episcopal draw, and Johnson returned to his corruption of American architectural attitudes.

As the best architect to ever come out of the Bauhaus, (Class 1933) Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg put it this way to me. PCJ corrupted the dialogue about that art throughout the twentieth century. (By the way, it attests to the blind German architectural hagiography that the Bauhaus brass and its inheritors have never honored Goldberg with an exhibition, even though he was the only one I know who steadfastingly stuck by the original working class idealism throughout his career.) Johnson used to write slanderous letters about his teacher Gropius’ obsession with the working class.

It was through New York/MOMA that he spread his corrupting influence, even up to the 2010 appointment of Barry Bergdoll as the new MOMA director. In 1926, both Johnson and Alfred Barr,Jr, MOMA’s first director designate, were cruising Europe for ideas for their museum’s first exhibitions in 1929. Johnson phoned Barr excitedly in 1926 from Dessau where he was enthusing that the new Bauhaus HQ was the greatest modern building he had seen yet! (A pity he didn’t ask the professors and students who froze in the winter and sweltered in the summer from excessive glass.) What I call the Crystal Palace Syndrome was the first fluke of early Modernism. Black and White photos from that decade’s new hand-held Leicas made for great international publicity. But the leaking flat roofs and too much glass were the mortal sins of the new “International” style (to use their new coinage.)

Johnson was also a Mies nut at first. When he made the first modern house in Houston TX for the DeMenil duo, then the greatest American collectors of modern art, he tried to Mies them. When he insisted that they use Mies’ furniture (really the work of his ignored lover Lillian Reich’s)deployed the way Mies would have, they told him to scram, and allegedly never spoke to him again! Their kids thought the roofers repairing his leaky roof so often was the architect! More glass is less architecture. Mies repeated this flop when he made a weekend house for his Chicago sweetheart, Dr. Farnsworth in 1950. She sued him for excess energy costs! (She lost the case, but Mies lost a girlfriend!) For five decades they have tried to sell that house—to no avail!

A few years ago they gave up—and made it into a Visitors Center, dedicated no less than to celebrating the architectural genius of Mies! Huh?

Not to be outdone, PCJ made his Glass House in Connecticut in 1970. He and Mies were no longer a mutual praise each other society. Mies cruelly sniffed that at night that it looked like a hotdog stand! Ouch! And when Johnson died, it became another VC! Except the entrance fee is $150 per. Ditto, the Frank Lloyd Wright “Falling Water” in Bear Run, PA. (My favorite building in all the world.) I got in there free as a journalist.

I made my third visit last week to Mies’s first big project, the Weissenhof Siedlung (1927)outside Stuttgart. 17 modern architects in search of an international reputation for Mies. It is not holding up well. Concrete doesn’t “age”; it decays. It’s patinaphobic. Across the street are the apartments named after the Weimar Republic’s first president, Friedrich Ebert, sponsored by the Social Democratic party. They tried to get Mies to work together with them on common problems like water and garbage. He told them to piss off!

Mies was the son of a mason from Aachen, and when the greatest 20th century architect, AEG polymath Peter Behrens, had three assistants in 1910, Gropius, Mies, and Corbu, Mies bitterly resented having to report to the upperclass Gropius. He wanted to dump his psychic burden of being “lower class” by creating ART. But then he ran into the greatest German feminist of her era, Dr. Marie Elisabeth Lüders, the first woman to get a doctorate (in politics in 1912), manager of women's work in the First World War when the men were off fighting and also in charge of children’s problems because so many mothers were away from home working. She was elected to the Reichstag from Dusseldorf where she directed a female academy. Hitler threw her in jail for mouthing off. Still her autobiography is entitled “Never Fear!”!

I have a game I play with architects and architectural students. After warming them up with my rhetoric, I ask them if they knew the world of Lüders. Who? Patriarchal societies are rough on women. The greatest artist in the Bauhaus, Marianne Brandt, had never had an exhibition until the Swiss Miss Jaeggi took over the Berlin Bauhaus a few years ago, and that was about her minor genre of experimental photography. Well the Germans are doing better. Recently the Bundestag named their new library after Frau Lüders!

Well they might, for she wrote a brilliant essay in 1927 on Mies’ Weissenhof apartments in “Form”, the journal of the Deutsche Werkbund—from the point of view of a woman: no room for wet clothes, open the door of the kitchen and the wind blows out the flame, small children get pneumonia from crawling on the windy floors (too much glass! much too much!!), the external stairs have openings between the steps too large for climbing infants, and so on.

This visit, a kindly woman invited me in to take pictures. Too dinky! The “balcony” is so tiny you would suffocate trying to cuddle your pal up there. And so on. Mies wasn’t trying to make a habitation, but rather a work of art. Boo! Another generous soul let me shoot in Hans Sharoun’s apartment. Bingo. Great design. Sweetly inhabitable! The two Corbu apartments have been commandeered as a Bauhaus Museum. Unloveable! Top floor vistas are O.K. especially when the cold concrete is “humanized” with plantings. Otherwise unlivable! (Corbu was to be Mies’s prize catch!) It’s one step above a Visitors Center. And so it goes!

By the way, when I went to the Tagung in Dessau honoring the 75th anniversary of the Nazi’s closing the Bauhaus in 1933, Dr.Peter Hahn, former director of the Berlin Bauhaus, gave us a lot of blather about Mies’ tenure there. Bertrand Goldberg who was in the last class told me what really went on in our last visit in 1985. Mies’ first big work was a cemetery Denkmal(1926) for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg, the founders of the Communist Party in Germany. So he had to try to convince Alfred Rosenberg that he had changed his mind. And he sucked up to Albert Speer, unsuccessfully, until 1937, when Gropius got him a commission from a millionaire in Wyoming. He was no hero. He was a Nice Nazi!

Which brings me to poor old groping Gropius. I came to Weimar more than a decade ago because as a homeless boy in Depression Detroit I read about his working class ideals in Graduate School. Was I ever disappointed. There wasn’t an architecture course until 1928! And he turned that course (and the school) over to Hannas Meyer, a Swiss Communist, who was fired after two years because Dessau was drifting rightward towards Nazism.

Gropius had his own Denkmal problem—he had created one in the Weimar Cemetery for the victims of the Kapp Putsch, those right wing soldiers who wiped out lefties. His wife, Alma Mahler, chided him for not having the balls to attend the dedication. And he had great ideas, but too little follow through. For example in 1923 he decreed that every staff member make a photorecord of their work. In 1995, the janitors for the now named Bauhaus Uni found several hundreds of those photos abandoned in the attic!

In 1928 he was being hassled by a Dessau editor who contended Pius was double dippimg his income, his director’s salary and money for advising the builders of Törten, the Junker worker suburb, a natural condition for a consulting architect. He was so honorable a man he didn’t know how to fight so dirty! And his “Masters” who had fought off successfully his medieval ploy to become real “Professors” wouldn’t take a 10% salary reduction. Gossip also had it that Hebert Bayer was moving on his second wife, Ilse. So off he fled with Marianne Brandt to create Siemenstadt in Berlin. He was never a fighter.

And he really wasn’t much of an architect either. He used to complain bitterly to his mother that he couldn’t draw. I think he dreamed of being as good as his great uncle, Martin Gropius, the last, high class, pre-modern Berlin architect. And he wasn’t very practical. When he and his associate founded the General Panel Corporation in America to build prefab housing,they set up their office on Park Avenue in New York, an unnecessary and impractical drain on their tight finance; and they rented an empty aircraft factory in LA, where the biggest problem was shipping components across the whole country. A nice guy, with a big heart, but not practical.

So there was no dearth of outstanding modern architects in Germany. Peter Behrens, Paul Bonartz, Ernst Meyer, Max Berg, et al. It’s just that the Bauhaus publicity machine tempted post Nazi Germans to ignore their work and create implausible myths about the Bauhaus. From the perspective of history, it was a colossal flop. And to worship at its unworthy altars is to go blindfolded into the future. Building museums to honor a failure is silly and unworthy of the really creative. Hagiography is an outmoded medieval response. We should be honoring the idealism of Gropius by building sound architecture for the world’s poor and homeless billions. That is a challenge worthy of the Bauhaus.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Foreign Names

On global thinking:

Did I tell you Hazard is an Arabic name? French soldiers fighting the Moors in Southern Spain learned a new dice game in a Moorish castle El Azard. When they returned to Normandy they exclaimed, "Laissons-nous jouer HAZARD!" I'm Irish-Arabic!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Great Museum You've Never Heard of

How timely the “discovery” of LaSalle’s great secret. It used to be my favorite “must see,” after stumbling upon its wonders in the ’60s.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Black Box


Temporary Theatre, Weimar as European Cultural Capital, 1999

Monday, 12 December 2011

More on Mormons

On The Book of Mormon:

I wish I had had a high school history teacher as clear and coherent as Dan in his summing up of the Mormons.

As regular as clockwork, once a month or so I run into a pair of elegantly attired Mormons on missionary duty in Weimar. Occasionally we engage in a brief theological conversation. They seem as distant from being polygamous freaks as tickets to their Broadway musical are to my theater budget.

Yet the implications of this religious phenomenon for our current presidential farce are very obscure, unless Dan means to mock a half-ass Christianity the other candidates seem to represent.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany
November 23, 2011

Sunday, 11 December 2011

"Hot Dogs" as a Way of Speaking

One of the complexities of being the only English speaker in a very civilized family (nine doctors at last count!) is that they turn to me, confused, when something American doesn’t make sense to them. Take , for instance, Tante Ursula, a retired anesthetist who has a huge back yard of growing edibles—to stoke her passion as the family’s best cook.

At a recent family dinner celebrating my wife’s 45 birthday, Aunt U was dispensing her fabulous pumpkin soup adorned with finely sliced frankfurters. “What is a hot dog, Patrick? Where does the name come from?” Tricky question! No idea! So I Googled it. (The 21st century’s Eleventh Commandment: When in doubt, thou shalt Google.) So we did—for dessert, I and Hildegard’s brother, Martin, a university bookstore manager. He in German, me in English. The results were simply astonishing!

You have to begin in Germany! Frankfurterwurstschens (little Wursts) is obvious, but not so obvious as a pork sausage served in a bun similar to hot dogs as far back as the 13th century. The buns replaced white gloves dispensed to protect the customers against the heat of the cooked sausages. Tourists grew so fond of these gloves that they stole too many as souvenirs! Thereafter the plain bun ruled. Starting with the coronation of Maximilian II , Holy Roman Emperor as King the “franks” were given to the people to celebrate the occasion. The weenie I learned derived from Wien (Vienna) where a sausage of pork and beef thrived. Hamburger comes from the famous German port.

Around 1870 a German immigrant Charles Feltman started selling selling sausages in rolls at Coney Island. The notion of a hot dog on a bun is ascribed to the wife of one Antonoine Feushtwanger, A Bavarian sausage seller who utilized the traditional white glove for the World Fairs in Chicago in 1893 and St. Louis in 1904. The connection between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with one Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who not only owned the St.Louis Browns but an amusement park as well. Harry M. Stevens Inc. (1889) serviced various sports venues to become known as “the King of Sports Concessions” in the U.S.

In 1916, the celebrities Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante persuaded a German employee named Nathan Handwerker to sell his hot dogs for 5 cents instead of his boss’s 10! When food regulation became a problem (Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle” had just appeared!), Nathan saw to it that his hot dog pushers at the ball park wore surgeon’s smocks to reassure customers!

The use of “dog” as a synonym for sausage dates from 1884 amid accusations that since 1845 dog meat was used. In the early 20th century dog meat was common in Germany. According to folklore, “hot” dog was coined by the newspaper cartoonist Thomas Aloysius Dorgan around 1900 alluding to the sale of franks at a New York Giants game. (Are you listening, German relatives? An Irish cartoonist started that custom: it was the era of Finley Peter Dunne, whose Dooley the Irish barkeep kept newspaper readers in stitches at the time).

The earliest known use of “hot dog” was found in the Patterson (N.J.) Press for December 31,1892. It was in a story about a local traveling vendor Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, aka “Hot Dog Morris”.

Somehow or other a frankfurter and a roll seem to go right to the spot where the void is felt the most. The small boy has got on such familiar terms with this sort of lunch that he now refers to it as “hot dog.” “Hey, Mister, give me a hot dog quick,” was the startling order that a rosy-cheeked gamin hurled at the man as a Press reporter stood close by last night. The “hot dog” was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the “dog” with a piece of whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled. (Germans devised and the Irish supervised!)

Hot dogs traditionally use pork and beef. Less expensive brands use chicken and turkey, using low cost mechanically separated poultry. The genre has a high sodium, fat and nitrite contents, linked to health problems. Hot dogs mix meats, spices, binders and fillers in vats with fast moving blades that grind and mix in the same operation. This mix is forced into skin cases for cooking. Most U.S. dogs are skinless. The small intestine of sheep provide most casing. They are precooked before packaging Because an unopened, packaged hot dog can have listeriosis bacteria, it is safer to heat them, especially for pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems. (Indeed, I’m happy I’m reading this history and sociology of the hot dog when I’m 84 instead of 14!)

Parents with small children, beware. A U.S. study found that 17% of food-related asphyxiations among children younger than 10 were caused by hot dogs. So cut the HD in small pieces because emergency doctors say it is almost impossible to dislodge bigger ones from a child’s windpipe. 7-Eleven (for my German readers, those of the hours of the shop’s A.M. opening and P.M. closing) sell the most grilled hot dogs in North America, 100 million yearly. That’s a lot of dog. By the way when a young person shows off in sports or personal relations, we call him/her a hot dog. Hot dogging is mainly an immature pain in the neighbors who must suffer it!

As for Condiments, the U.S. based National Sausage and Hot Dog Council in 2005 found mustard to be the favorite treat (32 percent) ketchup (23), chili con carne (17),relish (9)onions (7). I’m a mustard man: defective ketchup at Holy Rosary Academy wrecked my tongue for good on ketchup.

Outside the U.S. hot dawgs ain’t what they used to be: In New Zealand, it refers to a battered sausage, often on a stick. Our version is called “an American hot dog”. Where there’s a Guinness, there’s a way to shoot for the moon. The world’s longest HD was 179 feet long in a 198 foot bun, prepared by the Shizuoka Meat Producers for the All Japan Bread Association.

This super, un-American HD was the centre piece of a media event in the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, on the 50th Anniversary of their Bread Association. Not to be outdone at its own game, Joe Calderone made a $69 HD for his beloved Trudy Tant, assembling truffle oil, duck foie gras, and truffle butter. No report of their full blown romance. (Joe was hot dogging it big that night!)

By the way, Tante U’s dessert was superb—a cake adorned with her homegrown strawberries.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011

Quid Pro Quo

Re: A Band of Gentle Occupiers:

Isn't it about time many rich, guilty suits finish their education behind bars? There are two (even three) sets of justice in America. Black sellers of drugs go to jail. Their white customers go Scot free.

Take the bad example of George Bush who set a new record for executions in Texas. The first of his illegalities were multiple DUIs. No punishment.

Then we paid a million dollars to train him as a jet pilot who ended up in the Champagne Squadron, a scam to keep rich folks from going to Vietnam. Then he went AWOL to Alabama to help a friend in an election. No punishment. Then as the most incompetent business man ever to become President, he flopped four times, the final time selling his worthless stock in insider trading.

The SEC slapped him on the wrist instead of putting him in handcuffs. And with that loot became a Texas Ranger millionaire, with the city paying for his ballpark.

Our double (even triple) justice system began with black slavery and red genocide. If we don't learn the meaning about our "equal justice under law clause" we ought to become the latest third world country. Sad but true.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Man of Letters

Regarding Release of Hemingway's Letters Casts Author in New Light:

Your fascinating Hemingway report reminds me of Joseph Epstein's rapping the knucleheads he blames for the disappearing English major. Please let a professor who escalated from a Carnegie Foundation Postdoctoral grant at Penn (1957-9) to create a new course on how to cope humanistically with Mass Culture to full professor/ English chair in 1962, but walked away from tenure in 1982 because I thought (correctly) that I could serve the Humanities better as an alternative journalist, "Hazard-at-Large" in Philly, than watch my colleagues stumble before the threats of a trivialized culture instead of building mature trends within it. I note that it wasn't an Ivy college which is marvelously revealing the real Hemingway, but Penn State, long mocked as a Cow College.

Recall that in 1927 (my birth year!) Vernon Parrington gave us the first coherent overview of our newly emerging American Lit--at Washington State, another innovative Cow College. The Ivies were still playing Matthew Arnold to pre-vernaculars. That was the era when NCTE was founded to link scholarship with our public schools, which MLAers were too snooty to stoop to.Their Great Books was the theology of the newly secular. They were striving for Biblical certainties rather than aiding flourishing virtue in the undereducated.

I was teaching for 20 years before I learned accidentally from the marvelously eloquent working class Brit Richard Hoggart that the essential final clause of Arnoldian criticism was to bring the best that was thought and said "to solve the problems of the new industrial societies." The Humanities, intimidated by the rising intellectual respectability of the sciences, at first just decided to perish while publishing tenure-needed books for their peers, followed by the disgraceful decades of trying to replace literacy with European mystiphysics. The Cassuto/Epstein spat is essentially a bumbling to extricate ourselves from those two wasted decades of trying to compete with the sciences instead of teaching mass man to think for himself. The sad outcome so far is a society of kindergartners who think Russ Limbaugh and Glenn Beck really think.

In my final years I found satisfaction in futurizing my American Lit course into International English, first adding AfroAm writers, then Appalachian whites, Caribbean writers (the BBC made that possible and productive),pairing British and American writers (Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins; Whitman and Arnold.usw.when I taught several summers in London), expanding to Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and India--whose reps met my classes there. International English Lit is future-oriented: Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe are more important than minor American writers.

And the Ph.D.must also be updated: translating to English from Chinese (or any other significant modern language) might be one required Prelim field. If not linguistic, than media oriented--mastering radio or TV in explaining the Humanities. I found doing radio and TV in Hawaii, for example, taught me very effectively how Asians regarded Americans, an understanding essential as they more and more share our global cultures. We will always cherish Shakespeare. But it's the diverse cultures interacting today we must civilize.

The wranglings of Epstein, however true his complaints often are, seem too old man grumpy for an openeyed Humanism.The past at its best is not always pertinent to our humane agenda today. Let's keep our eye on the ball:millions in Africa are dying of starvation and curable diseases. Millions of Americans, due to the fiscal shenanigans of Ivy economists who chose to side with the Cashocracy, are sinking into both fiscal and cultural poverty. How do you remain humane under such circumstance?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mural

Diego Rivera's mural takes on Ford's River Rouge were my first modern enthusiasm at the Detroit Institute of Arts. And I loved that the traders at the San Francisco Stock Exchange had to risk a weak stomach on their way to lunch when they looked at his murals there.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

Truth Telling

On Telling the truth about the Minnesota Historical Society:

American Exceptionalism is a myth made believable to US natives only because so much popular historiography is exceptionally mendacious when discussing our Original Sins of Red Genocide and Black Slavery. The idiotic fantasies of the Tea Party twits are their way of avoiding the painful truths about American History.

As a Ph.D in American Civilization, I doubt if we will ever stop lying to ourselves. Unless we listen to Truth Tellers like Michael Moore, Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, and Bill Moyers, we will continue to stumble through the 21st century, enfeebled by the lies of American benevolence.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Old-School Learning

On books and bikes, side by side.

While the Cultivated wrangle over zillions for their esoteric pleasures, Rasheed and his Tree House peers show what being civilized really means. Bless them.

Patrick D. Hazard, Weimar, Germany.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Surf

As a Lake Huron/Tawas City summer kid (1938-49), where there was no rideable surf, I envy Ingram’s fierce refusal to lay off.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany

Monday, 28 November 2011

Two-State Solutions

Re “The two-state solution meets the elephant in the room,” by Dan Rottenberg

Having watched Benjamin Netanyahu debate the two state solution with Charlie Rose for an hour on Bloomberg TV last night, I’m convinced Netanyahu intends to “settle” once and for all that Palestinians will be persuaded to move out of Israel as more and more Jewish “settlements” make their “one state of Israel” less and less accessible and/or tolerable to Palestinians.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany

Sunday, 27 November 2011

On John Logan’s Red

Re Dan Rottenberg’s review of Red

Oi vey! Our editor reveals a suppressed hunger to suddenly become an art critic with balls.

Mishigoss, I learned just now from the Urban Dictionary, is “a complex, annoying, stressful problem, made all the more frustrating in that it could have been prevented if certain people had just used their brains before.”

Yeah, for example, the allegedly great architect Philip C. Johnson, who corrupted our architectural discourse over a too-long life with his nouveau riche anxieties. Like Mies, Johnson was obsessed with the “A” in architecture, ironically creating uninhabitable buildings.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany
October 24, 2011

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Samuel Who?: A Poetic Embarassment

A regular reader of the London “Guardian”, I was astonished to find in the August 23rd edition an Obit for one 85 year old American poet Samuel Menashe, who won the Poetry Foundation’s 2004 Neglected Masters Award ($50,000). Who, he? Imagine the panic of having taught poetry for over sixty years and never even heard the name! It turns out I was not the only lyric ignoramus.

Dana Gioia, arguably the best (only good?) appointment of George W. Bush, as director of the National Endowment of the Arts, 2003-2009 commented: "The public career of Samuel Menashe demonstrates how a serious poet of singular talent , power and originality can be utterly ignored in our literary culture.” And Stephen Spender declaimed in the New York Review of Books (1971) that there was nothing more remarkable than “the fact that his poetry goes so little remarked.”

Sam was not humble about the $50G’s awarded in 2004. “When one gets what one deserves, it’s a wonderful thing.” But he was less positive in an interview with “Contemporary Authors” in 1984. He complained that “the poetry editor is invariably the house poet or a person who is working with the interlocking directorate of established poets. . .”

He growled that you weren’t sent to Siberia (his parents were Russian Jewish immigrants to Brooklyn), but that “you are just kept out of print.” The British poet Kathleen Raines helped him get his first book published—in Great Britain, by a major publisher, Victor Gollancz in 1961, at age 36. A minor American firm, October House, published him ten years later. He sought out Robert Graves in Mallorca, who exclaimed,”Young man,you are a true poet,” the greeting Thomas Hardy made a generation earlier! But except for brief stints at Bard College and C.W.Post College, he was shut out of the creative writing faculties that now dominate the genre.

But his troubles started after one year at Queens College, He joined the Army at 17, and was soon in the infantry fighting the Battle of the Bulge. All but 29 of his company of 190 were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. When he returned to America, his mates all spoke of what they would do next summer. “I was amazed that they could talk of next summer. As a result I lived in the day.

For the first next few years, it was the last day. Then it changed. It was the only day.” NYTimes 8/23/11. C.W.Post College fired him for passing all his students eligible for the Korean Draft! He took odd jobs as a Gray Line guide, a French tutor, a lecturer on cruise ships. He sold his first poem to the Yale Review in 1956, moved into a Thompson Street walk up and stayed there till the day he died.

But let him continue his own story, poetically.

Autobiography

Who is mother
Of more than one
Is not the same
As the mother of an only son
Who never became
Anyone’s father—
Still only a son
As an old man—
What I have not done
Made me who I am.
Or, Biographer
Authorized,booked
By my steadfast prose
The dead I ghost write
Shed shadows that shine
With hindsight, hearsay—
The last word is mine.

Rue
For what I did
And did not do
And do without
In my old age
Rue, not rage
Against that night
We go into,
Sets me straight
On what to do
Before I die—
Sit in the shade,
Look at the sky

Salt and Pepper
Here and there
White hairs appear
On my chest—
Age seasons me
Gives me zest—
I am a sage
In the making
Sprinkled, shaking

A pot poured out
Fulfills its spout
(NO TITLE! Think about it, the cryptic poems his careless readers scorned.)
I think I like most his bird poems. Here’s a few to round off your visit:

Lust puffs up
The Peacock—
Taut tail strut
Fan of fire—
Lust
Shakes a Sire


The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper
Scampers over sand
Advances,withdraws
As breakers disband

Each wave undergoes
The bead of his eye
He pecks what it tows
Keeps himself dry

Sudden Shadow
Crow I scorn you
Caw everywhere
You’ll not subdue
This blue air

One imaginative idea in "Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems" edited by Christopher Hicks (Broad Axe Books,2008), with DVD by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, was to include a DVD of the poet reading. This film is a flop, but such DVD’s should become standard in poetry published. Praise for a good try.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Michael's More

On Amy Goodman's interview with Michael Moore:

I have long admired Michael Moore's committed idealism, but have known little of his slowly sliding into media. I grew up in Detroit (1930-50) and worked in three different factories to finance a PhD in American Literature. I taught college for almost 30 years then became a freelance media critic where I could do more to change opinion.

The most salient point of the interview is the analysis of Reagan's deliberate deindustrialization of America through his Acapulco secret meetings. First, auto execs shifted production from Michigan to the union free South, then Mexico, then anywhere cheaper.

This was an egregious treachery which we must report to the American people like this Goodman interview does.

From "Every American can be President" to the sleazy shift from workers making a decent wage to Bushed-up execs becoming millionaires.

Chris Hedges has pointed out how Ike's fear of the military industrial complex has come true with America having almost 800 bases around the world and a military budget more than the entire rest of the world.

Bless Michael for digging in up to Northern Michigan (where I spent grand summers) before Reaganism deindustrialized the state.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Holocaust Hustler

Dear Editor, It’s about time someone pulled Jerry Boris’ sleazy chain. I’m no fan of Professor Edward S. Herman. Indeed I have had better public debate with him, but to use the scumbag rhetoric Boris uses in his “Not-So-Fast, Eddie” simply demeans Boris himself in the judgment of all serious and fair persons. Boris, by the way, has written that I am an anti-Semite and Nazi for having the temerity to criticize Jews and Israeli foreign policy in an essay I wrote two years ago. He has recently repeated this baseless slander, if he does it again in print, he’d better get himself a good libel lawyer. Intellectual punks seem to fear to no lighter sanctions.
 
His mindless anti-anti-Semitism is evident in his puerile sneering at a man with a distinguished intellectual reputation as “Eddie.” Later, he somehow confuses Herman with the German Ph.D.’s who collaborated with Nazism. And because Norman Podhoretz (with his own very well-known axes to grind) says, “It takes an academic to really get things screwed up,” we are to assume that Herman is such a screw-up. Boris badly needs an introductory course in logic.

“Herman strongly suggests,” Boris goes on—and I do mean goes on, “that the U.S. politicians protect Israel. Yet we only have to consider the hostility of the Bush Administration to Israel in its effort to appease the Arabs.” Since about August 2, thick-headed one. When it has appeared that U.S. foreign policy and Israel strategic interests might not coincide for a while. That proves Herman’s very point: when some American has the temerity to diverge from Israel interests he’s dubbed an Israeli basher. It won’t wash, Mr. Boris. You prove the very opposite of what you intend with your loose cannon logic.
 
“Herman also incorrectly indicates that ‘U.S. editors are sympathetic’ to Israel. To refute this obvious truth, Boris alleges that the Inquirer is anti-Israel. Alleges, midget mind, is not proving. This Narbeth Nincompoop deserves some kind of Logic Chopping Award. If he wants evidence of Pro-Israel bias in the American media, let him start with the Katzenjammer Kids of U.S. journalism. William Safire and A.M. Rosenthal, and work on down. We’re biased in favor of Israel, schmuck, because we love her and want her to survive, but not at the expense of the Palestinians or anyone else that gets in Yitzak Shamir’s way. But that means we have to try all the harder to give the Palestinians a fair shake in the American media, skewed as they have been since Ben Gurion’s days, in favor of the country of the Diaspora.

But Holocaust Hustlers like you don’t understand that, you’d rather score cheap debating points off a man who has done more to reveal the systemic biases of the official American media than anyone else in the world today. His and Noam Chomsky’s content analysis of major American media coverage of the Polish priest’s murder by security forces compared with how they covered up by omitting coverage of the savaging of El Salvador priests and peasants by right-wing U.S. funded fascists is a classic of contemporary press criticism.
 
But I suppose it’s too much to ask you to read anything beyond the agit prop slogans you periodically rearrange in your obsessive letter writing to the press. What we want from the rest of you, to answer your hokey rhetorical question to Professor Herman, is a minimum of civility in political discourse and a cessation of your equating Israel’s passing set of predicaments with world humanism. I’d tell you to go to Tel Aviv to help build Israel with real deeds not phony words like those you dump on Herman and me.
 
But I infer form the shabbiness of your discourse that you’re just a Big Mouth who gets off on sounding off. Israel I fear would be worse off if you migrated there. They’ve already got nutty rabbis who attribute the Holocaust to too many Jews eating pork. Well, on second thought, you might really get along with such an idiot. In any event, Sir, stop bothering your intellectual betters with trash like your letter of December 28. Israel’s got enough real enemies; it doesn’t need stupid “friends” like you.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Healing and History, discussed

Re: Healing and history

“Healing and history,” Patrick Hazard’s account of the benign multiculturalism of the new Europe, leaves this reader a little skeptical.
To be sure, Europe has a lot of history to digest, and the experiment of creating a united continent out of long-warring nations has a long and perhaps rocky way to go. But the current spectacle of Germany and France ganging up to squeeze Greece to the pips over its debt (a debt German and French banks quietly colluded in) is as ugly in its way as the former traditions of military aggression were.
Those good German taxpayers who resist a bailout of the Greeks because of their alleged moral turpitude are the same ones who funded the Nazis when they flew the swastika over the Parthenon. Which sin was really the more grievous?
The current North-South divide over the crisis of the euro is economic warfare, and the losers will find themselves occupied territory, perhaps for generations. The Turks are probably thanking their lucky stars they didn’t get invited to join the Club of Europe. The Greeks might well think hard about the desirability of leaving it.
Robert Zaller
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
October 26, 2011

Patrick Hazard replies: The Greeks’ tax-avoiding, bloated state amenities are a potential fatal drag on the euro, not to forget Greece itself. Give me the stolid German sturdiness any day.

Robert Zaller replies: The extent to which the Greeks are responsible for their own woes is debatable, but the Greek work week is one of the longest in Europe, and the vast majority of Greeks are the victims rather than the beneficiaries of the corruptions and redundancies that beset their economic system. I have seen this at first hand.

Patrick Hazard replies: Your take on the Germans “reoccupying” contemporary Greece as in Nazi Germany is about as relevant as their occupying Lorraine in 1871. They will be paying the most, after all, for Greek improvidence and pervasive tax avoidance. It is my considered opinion after a decade of close observation that the Germans have almost entirely absolved themselves from your absurd implication they remain the same old Nazis, however nice.

Robert Zaller replies: Your spirited defense of your second country clashed with my defense of mine. I don’t know how virtuous contemporary Germans are, but I wouldn’t want the burden of living with the Nazi past. There is a line that connects Bismarck and Hitler— that of German history. Bismarck built a great country, however perilous its foundations, and Hitler destroyed it along with much else. That the Germans were able to rebuild themselves materially is much to their credit, but the job of moral repair is simply a longer task. I wish them well with it, and I certainly don’t mean to suggest that people who want others to pay their bills are neo-Nazis, whatever their flag. But there is a certain amount of insensitivity, not to mention bullying, in the way the Greek situation has been handled.

I was enjoying Patrick Hazard’s article about healing among countries, but, darn it, remembered that I can’t trust myself. I’m a bit slow, and I thank him for reminding me, but am I semi-literate because I’m monolingual? Or, comparing trilingual to monolingual, am I tertio-literate?
Oh, I just got it: I’m semi-literate because I’m an American, right. Or, wait, is it because I’m an American who hasn’t moved to Germany? You see how difficult this is for me to figure out.
Kile Smith
Fox Chase/ Philadelphia
October 26, 2011

Patrick Hazard replies: I chide intellectually lazy Americans because I deplore their imminent loss of a great country. I’m living in Germany because I fell in love with a German woman. As a retired professor of American literature, I’m ashamed of my countrymen’s fatal ignorance of their great writers. Incidentally, the Germans are retrieving their culture from the dead end of Nazism: business executives here worry about their workers, defend unions, strive to give the young the skills that will support their industries.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Healing and History

As I enter my thirteenth year as a “visitor” to Weimar, I’m finally comprehending the splendid woods of Europe instead of gawking at its disparate trees! Take today’s little story in BILD (10/19/11,p.2 col.8) about the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl just getting the Polish decoration (The Golden Bridge of Dialogues) for his work in reconciling the two countries after World War Two. The triangle staffs of adjacent Germany, France, and Poland are constantly organizing conferences, exhibitions and awards under their corporate title “Die Drei Ecke” (The Three Corners). Serious Europeans are obsessed with avoiding a repetition of their destructive twentieth century. And Germans are still regretting the scandal of Nazism, long after they have adopted more civilized habits.

Take the new exhibit in the Weimarer Kunsthalle on Goetheplatz, ”Kampf und Leid” (Battle and Grief), of 110 items(out of 50,000)from the Museum of the First World War in the tiny French village of Peronne near Amiens. I asked their director at the press opening why so small a place would have such a large collection. The answer was simple: their proximity to the Battle of the Somme, that most destructive event, analogous to the Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War. Paintings and drawings, posters and engravings, soldier to soldier weapons, a helmet with artillery damage, an American gas mask!

(My then twenty-eight year old father was a captain in the American Expeditionary Force, and he was gassed in that war. He abandoned his family when I was three, a victim of Paris whorehouses returned to marry a Catholic virgin, so I never talked to him about the war, until aged 45, I made a surprise Las Vegas visit where he had become a millionaire selling real estate.)

The diverse imagery touts the Germans as fighters, and losers. Ditto the French. No one wins in such carnage. That is an insight more significant than the current spat over the Euro. Americans could emulate them by communicating with Cannucks to the North and Mexis to the South, not to forget all of Central and South America almost all of whom have at one time or another felt the baton of our Marines and the perfidy of our banks. And inside America we could stop the pseudohistory of Civil War battles and really join US into one nation, with liberty and just us for all!

The exhibition was borrowed from France by a new Weimar “Club” called “Rendezvous with History” which will hold a conference during the exhibition on the “meaning” of the War. Not to be confused with an idiotic recent replaying of Napoleon’s battle here in 1806, an event repeated every five years! By the way, the French sent “soldiers” to make this farce more “real”. Incidentally our greatest writer Goethe didn’t have the balls to counter the French when they tried to break into his house. But his blue collar mistress stood up to the Frogs! Real history is ambiguous.

A mere 30 minutes by fast train from Weimar lies the medieval city of Naumburg , now simultaneously exhibiting the architecture and sculpture of the Naumburg Master. (He identity is unknown—I call him the Mystery Meister—because the legal papers on his thirteenth century work burned.) In the first two weeks, 150,000 visitors have crowded into these ecclesiastical grounds to savor a complex presentation. This most expensive exhibition is cofunded by the German chancellor and the French president—a current investment against future follies. A most touching minifilm (there are many such visual aids replacing traditional captions) concerns the German military’s joy at having destroyed Reims cathedral at the beginning of World War I, the place where French kings were crowned!

I have just spent two days exploring their explanations of how German medieval cathedral builders learned how to do it, like the Naumburg Master, by apprenticing at Reims and other innovative French churches. But the two-volume catalog (a steal at 50Euros)is so physically heavy and metaphysically complex, you may get a hernia from the first and have to retire to comprehend the second. However, the captions are trilingual (German, French and English)and there are splendid simplified and cheaper brochures to tantalize you over the medieval exchanges between the cultures who later would try to destroy each other (and inadvertently themselves.) I have petitioned the Naumburg management to let me publish the English language captions as a book for my semi-literate, monolingual countrymen.

And I must tell you an astonishing crosscultural development: BILD, the tabloid best known for its front page bulbousbusted broads, has just published a twenty volume collection of novels by Nobel Laureates translated into German.(For 99 Euros, in a box for your mantel! I’ve just bought it for my Ossi librarian Frau’s forty-fifth birthday Friday.

And I’m beguiling the Anna Amalia Library’s brass here to do a similar but bilingual collection on Nobel Laureate poets, beginning with Seamus Heaney. Geared to Friedrich Schiller’s December 10 birthday. Every year a new Laureate, with a party like the one I organized at Arcadia University in Philadelphia for Emily Dickinson’s 150th birthday in 1980, where couples came dressed as two lines from an ED poems (Two lesbians won first prize, an all expense paid lark in Amherst on Walt Whitman’s birthday, May 31.) We read all 1767 of her poems overnight! Great literature is for joy, not drudgery. Ditto medieval cathedrals. We all need to be healed!

Another version of this essay appears at Broad Street Review.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Black Holes

No Exceptionalist American is Witold, our best architecture critic.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bertoia

Re Harry Bertoia:

Whaddaya mean, 1930 was not a good time to move to Detroit? That’s the year I moved there from Battle Creek!

And my favorite Bertoia project was the interiors he designed in 1956 for the new main terminal at Lambert Field, St. Louis for architect Minoru Yamasaki, another Detroiter.

Alas, I understand it has been “improved” by a brutal modernization.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany

Friday, 18 November 2011

Liberal?

On Lionel Trilling and the Social Imagination

Alas (83) Parrington was my first taste of lit crit in 1949! I knew Trilling flinched at the rejection of his novel (I'm finally moved to read it!), but I never knew how deeply it paralyzed him.

The distance between Queens and Upper Manhattan was not nearly as distant as Columbia sociologist Herb Gans (b.1927) who spanned his birth in Cologne and fled to America in 1941--to became a sociologist much more humanistic than lit crit Trilling was sociological, and who had to scrounge for mentors in late Victorian England. Gans metabolized Blake, Whitman and Melville more than this faux elegant Whiner.

There are worse things than being a flop as a novelist, e.g. poisoning the term "Liberal" because his more perceptive contemporaries rejected his second rate fiction.

Patrick D.Hazard, Weimar, Germany

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Moral Realism

Re Lionel Trilling:

The spiteful grudges of the New York (mainly Jewish) intellectuals revealed themselves at the Daedalus conference on Mass Culture (1959) when they spurned my common sense proposal that teachers identify excellence in mass culture and urge their students to go and do likewise.

The NYI's would rather debate their own alleged excellences than do the grub work of aiding their students to excel in the new environment. I blame the mess of Rush Limbaugh and other mindless cranks on their failure to see this, their own "trahison des clercs".

Mass Culture is an American mess mainly because our eggheads, conservatives as well as liberals, engaged in a childish status race.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ontology

I'm in the throes of updating my ontology. What a mindbender!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Luce Thinking in America

Alan Brinkley’s perceptive biography of Henry B. Luce and all his works and pomps starting me thinking about my four years (1968-72) as education adviser for TIME-LIFE FILMS. It all began one Friday in New York (October 1955) on the E train to Manhattan as I reveled in my new daily reading of the New York Times en route to my job as the Radio-TV editor of “Scholastic Teacher”.

I noticed a small story about an Education conference in Washington the next day in Washington. I decided on the spot to go uninvited to explore possibilities about my Ford grant to advise high school teachers on how to deal with the new mesmerizing medium. My first national publication (in Scholastic Teacher), ”Everyman in Saddle Shoes” proposed, as I had done as a tenth and twelfth grade teacher at East Lansing, Michigan High, that teachers assign teleplays by writers like Paddy Chayefsky, Gore Vidal, and Horton Foote to encourage them to be thoughtful about the Newer Media.

The first thing I noticed as I enter the ballroom of the Washington Hilton were two men deep in conversation. I recognized one as Ralph Bunche, our first black ambassador to the United Nations, whom I had seen on a “Time” cover. With unbecoming chutzpah, I identified myself: “I’m Pat Hazard from East Lansing High, and I’m in New York on a Ford Foundation grant to find ways of giving English Teachers more control over their students TV watching, which was becoming excessive, and potentially subversive to educational success." The two men were temporarily speechless!

Finally, the unidentified man exclaimed, ”I’m Roy Larsen, the publisher of “Time” magazine, and I’m on the board of the Foundation that gave you grant! How’s it goin’, Mr. Hazard?” Now I was struck dumb! “Well.” I finally got back in focus enough to reply, ”I’ve been trying ever since I got here to set up an interview with Pat Weaver, the head of NBC television. His “Enlightenment through Exposure” theory about TV watching is 100% my modus operandi. But every time I call his secretary, she becomes more distant and uncooperative.”

“Well, how would you like an office at Time, Inc. to give you better media access?” Uh, oh, ah, that would be swell!” “Well, here’s my card," Larsen replied “Call me Monday, and we’ll find you a place. And Good Luck. You’ve given yourself an important mission. Keep me in touch with your progress. We’ll do all we can to help.” Dazed, I pottered about the rest of the convention, and quickly returned to Flushing to bring my wife Mary, also an English teacher, up to date. Michael (3) and Catherine (1) were too young to care!

Bright and early Monday I was showing my Roy Larsen card to the Reception Desk at the Time-Life Building. Security soon whisked up to the 36th floor to “my Office.” I gawked at the views of Sixth Avenue and 48th Street, thumbed through the current copies of “Time” and “Life” deployed invitingly for my use. (Copies of “Fortune” and “Sports Illustrated”) could wait till later. Now what the fuck do I do? I mused, nervously. I’ll call Pat weaver’s office! Nervously I fingered his number. When I identified myself, the phone’s temperature dropped 10 degrees! “Mr. Hazard,” the whinier and whinier voice of his secretary boomed, ”It’s the beginning of the fall season and Mr. Weaver is very, very busy.”

I replied, fake humbly, ”It’s the beginning of my Ford grant, and Mr. Weaver’s 'Enlightenment through Exposure' concept is spot on. So as soon as he can spare fifteen minutes, please let me now.” And gave her Time’s number and my extension—and hung up, noisily!It was 09:30. Shortly after ten, an office secretary PAed, ”Is there a Patrick Hazard here?” I picked the phone and heard a very different secretarial voice: “There’s a cancellation: Mr. Weaver can see you for fifteen minutes at 10:30. Please be on time!” I asked the secretary, how do I find the RCA Building. “No problem. Cross Sixth Avenue and ask Reception for Pat’s office.”

I was there by 10:10, nervously nibbling at my nails. The “hostile” secretary greeted me warmly. (That “Time” phone made all the difference!) She knocked on his door and Weaver replied “Enter”!

To my astonishment he was rocking on a Bongo Board. To flatlanders that’s tiny seesaw that rocks up and down. “Holy Moses!” I exclaimed silently. Is my hero a nutcase? “It clears my mind,” Pat explained tersely. As he came down to earth and settled in a sociable sofa. “Tell me what you’ve been doing out in East Lansing. And we can do to help you in New York?” I described the excited way my tenth graders responded to an overnight assignment to do a TV crit of Paddy Chayefsky’s “A Catered Affair” about the fiscal dilemmas of a cabbie torn between giving his only daughter a fancy wedding and paying for his hack license.

“I’ve never had a more stimulating day in the classroom. And how I never taught “Macbeth” better than the time NBC broadcast Maurice Evans performance for my twelfth graders. And I told him how my wife and I wrote a weekly TV/radio suggestion column for” Scholastic Teacher”, one-page Teleguides for special programs. We also wrote a monthly column called “The Public Arts” for “The English Journal” of the National Council of Teachers of English. He was clearly fascinated. He called on the spot Nancy Goldberg of their PR Department with the charge to help us out whenever possible.

She was an enthusiastic wonder. Before you could spell Neilsen, she was letting us watch Arthur rehearse a new teleplay. Have dinner with director John Frankenheimer and TV play anthologist William Kaufmann. Palaver at will with Ed Tanley who ran the Public Affairs Department. Down the road it would lead to a marvelous encounter in 1964 with David Frost and the That Was The Week That Was cast while the Modern Language Association was having its annual convention: dinner in General Sarnoff’s apartment during the telecast for 9 (the muses!) MLA satire specialists (and media sociologists like Herb Gans and Webster lexicographer Philip Gove). After the telecast, the cast partied with us to the wee hours.

Nancy introduced us to the Television Public Affairs Office where we plotted an TV for English Teachers in 1965 in Cleveland from which came the book“TY AS Art” . And “24 Hours of UnSeen American TV” a semester long screening at the Royal College of Art in London when I taught there.

These various activities led to my appointment as Education Advisor for Time-Life Films (1968-72). Our program was simple: Every Tuesday I’d train into New York, scan the next week’s BBC “Listener” for promising program for our American clients—public TV, schools, museums. The most promising were recorded in color during transmission and airlifted four our critical screening the following Wednesday. Some perks were Linda Kefauver (yep, Estes’ daughter) assigning me to shoot pictures for filmstrips derived from BBC Telecasts like Kenneth Clark’s “Civilisation”. Two I remember best were Robert Venturi’s Guild House and a sequence from the Phillies’ dugout in Vet Stadium.

Sometimes our “Managing Director” (that’s how fauxBrit we could be) Peter Roebeck could be thick, as when he fired off a nasty note forbidding us to spend time screening “Monty Python” (my favorite!) ”I’m not paying you $1000 a month to watch that crap!” Luckily we had already clued WTTW/Chicago, so Monty accessed America! I actually was canned at a London seminar for not wearing a tie! I think my Ph.D. intimidated him because it seemed to give me more easy access to the Brits that care about such matters! I’ll never forget my connection with Jacob Bronowski at one of those summer seminars. We were looking at the rushes of his series “The Ascent of Man”.

He had grumbled in his palaver to us how he wanted to spend his time writing math books, his specialty, and essays on William Blake, his favorite poet. He hated the time “wasted” learning how to talk television. After the screening I said that his remarks reminded me of my favorite William Blake aphorism-“He who would do me good must do it with minute particulars!” His eyes blazed: “Precisely, precisely.”
That night I threw a party for the BBC and American salesmen at my girl friend Phyllis O’Leary's flat overlooking Regents Park.

She was a wonder, a working class girl who had taught herself so brilliantly that her “lecture” at the Whitechapel Gallery wiped me out. I especially wanted two Jews who fled from Vienna, Stephen Hearst, head of BBC 3, and Martin Esslin, “absurd theatre theoretician”, to see my autodidact in action. I was hypothezing as well that the Beatles would civilize working class barbarians single-handedly! Oh well! (They were sufficiently astonished.)

But the biggest effect of mixing with “commerce” is that it moved me to abandon academic tenure for cultural freelancing. Most American academics were snootier than imaginable about the Luce publication even though a long list of the best—from Archibald Macleish to James Age--cut their editorial teeth there. I loved working on the same floor and chatting with them. And I’ll never forget the day I and the son of the founder of Der Spiegel watched the editor, the photo director, and the managing direct put an issue of “Life” together.

There was more intellectual energy there than in any English Department meeting I attended! Writing for the Welcomat was more civilizing than any academic exercise I survived. Alan Brinkley’s book makes that clear. The most serious trahison des clercs of twentieth century America has been their being too snooty to help the “ignorant masses” up a step or three. Their failure to lead is the single most culpable fault in the success of the cashocracy.

Another version of this essay appears at Broad Street Review.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Fear of a Coup

So now we learn Obama was weaseling from the beginning! No wonder he won't end Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Rush

Lame Boy is a RASH on the face of American egalitarianism. An intellectually impoverished millionaire.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Parrot Scare of 1930

Jill Lepore is my favorite historian! She discovers outre topics and makes them mainstream.

Friday, 11 November 2011

unCivil war

While I value the “what if” speculations about our unCivil war, I’m much more concerned about the shadow slavery of blacks and browns overincarcerated for minor drug offenses whilst their white counterparts go scot free. Not to forget the zillionaire bankers who gamed the system with total immunity, blocking with cash bribes a real judge like Elizabeth Warren.

Nostalgic conundrums are silly when we totally ignore the fiscal slavery we allow without a whimper of dissent.
Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Judging a Jew is not per se Anti-Semitic: A Personal History

Accusations of anti-Semitism have made me re-analyze the biggest year (yet!) in my life, 1961. I had clambered from high school teacher in 1956 to Ivy assistant professor in the Penn’s new Annenberg School of Communication (with a pitstop at Trenton State), where de facto at Penn I wrote the new curriculum based on what I had learned about American media during Ford and Carnegie grants. I maneuvered Gilbert Seldes in as Dean and became his gofer, questioning whether Charles Lee (ne Levy) was a good move as Vice Dean, cultivated an instant friendship with fellow Mick Charlie Hoban as professor of communication education. I taught media history, from Cave Painting to Conic strip as they used to say.

My favorite course was Media Policy, every Thursday night faculty dinner with a media leader, followed by a freeforall debate with the students who had just listened to the visitor’s timely lecture. The point was to understand better who moved and how he/she shaked the status quo. Lee, who had been the first Jew in Penn’s English Department, was a trimmer. No tough questions. Softballs till I was bored. I saw this course as the ethical center of the curriculum. He demeaned it by being the too genial host.

Thus in spite of my being thrilled by my rapid academic advance, I was so disillusioned by his stalemating that I gladly took the first most challenging assignment in my life—first director of the Institute of American Studies at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii, a post the sociologist David Riesman recommended me for because of my unique blend of media and American Studies. The Asians were to learn technology to modernize, the Americans to comprehend Asian languages and culture to humanize.

The only fly in this ointment was another Jew, Seymour Lutsky, appointed my Number 2 without a word of my approval. He, I learned to my dismay, had been in the CIA for the 10 years since an Iowa PhD. His job was to monitor at parties and such Asian and American students for leftishness. The only public assignment we gave him was a lecture on architecture that was so ill-informed, we were too embarrassed to ask him again. Because the State Department was largely funding this innovation, we just pretended to ignore him. I’m not being malicious, only truthful, when I say he was the dumbest Jew I ever met. And there are damn few of those!

The interim director, Charles Bouslog—otherwise English chief, put us sight unseen in this dinky house in Manoa, empty because a pal of his was on sabbatical. My wife and I and our three children (9,7,and 5) has just spent two glorious years in a Louis Kahn designed home in Greenbelt Knoll, Philadelphia’s first racially integrated community. And it was my wife’s first college teaching job. Besides the president of the University reduced my promised $13,000 salary by $3,000, with no appeal! (Ignorance of the law made me fume silently instead of suing him for breach of contract.)

Here’s where Greenbelt Knoll reenters our picture. One of our headline neighbors, chosen to make integration plausible, the Rev. Leon Sullivan (known locally as the Lion from Zion—Baptist Church that is) confronted me one Saturday morning at the community pool in 1960 with a tirade on Walter Annenberg’s temerity in talking about raising media standards while censoring Sullivan’s Boycott of TasteeKake (you don’t hire blacks, we don’t buy your cakes!)

Bright and early Monday morning I was being frisked like a common criminal by the porter who ran the elevator to Walter’s 13th floor eyrie in the Inquirer Building. The first thing that caught my eye was a huge poster on his desk reading I WILL SO LIVE MY LIFE AS TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER! That’s Moe he referring to, the Moe who dumped opponents newspapers in Milwaukee and Chicago into the Illinois River, and spent time in the federal pokey for income tax evasion!

When I explained to Annenberg the purpose of my visit, he was stunned and speechless, trying to comprehend the motivation of an untenured assistant professor accosting him in his lair. (It reminded me of our first Annenberg School meeting a few years before with UP prexy Harnwell. While waiting for the rest of the conferees to assemble, I teased Walter by wondering if the vastly expanded comics section announced in the Inquirer the day before was raising standards. Academics I discovered are such Uriah Heaps when confronting their donors that they are speechless when teased. (What a grim fate!)

He finally called in his lawyer Joe First, whose wife Elizabeth was working for a Ph.D. and bugging me, as if Annenberg clout could somehow shorten her doctoral quest. Joe had no ideas. He called in his executive editor, E.Z.Dimmittman, who offered in his Southern drawl, “We tried a colored boy last summer, but he never worked out. We had to let ‘em go.”

Stunned, I replied: “What in the hell has that got to do with censoring your news coverage of a black boycott!” Silence ensued. I wrapped up this nonmeeting of minds with a warning: “The Reporter magazine is breaking this story next week and if you have any dignity left, you’ll beat them to the draw.” They didn’t, of course. And Walter stumbled along, riding shotgun with Frank Rizzo until his star “Investigative” reporter was dumped for outright fraud. He who had fled the shame of his father in Chicago then sold the Inky as quick as he could find a buyer.

Gilbert told me sadly when I “retreated” to Philly to rejoin the Annenberg School (as promised) that Charlie and Walter had voted NO. He was sad as he told me. But we ended our days together tight, sharing our mutual joy in Goldie Hawn on TV in his New York apartment. After all, Gilbert was my first and greatest mentor. The first Jews I ever met was in 1944 (aged 17) at Great Lakes Training Center’s radar tech program, full of smart, friendly Jews, who were represented laughably higher than their percentage of the population—well, because most Jews are smart and well-educated.

Shall I make a list of my faves? Harvey Goldberg, one of Ohio State’s greatest teachers, who as a grad student at Western Reserve showed me how to be political active and scholarly, simultaneously. And Harvey Wish, who directed my dissertation. And Mortimer Kadish who wiped my Jesuitical medieval slate clean with one semester of Logical Positivism. And Kenneth Goldstein at Scholastic Teacher who introduced me to weekly journalism. And I.F.Stone, for whom I awarded the first (alas, and last) IZZIE, for the best investigative student journalism in Stone’s tradition—to Arizona State for their quarterly analysis of Arizona media.

And Studs Terkel, who brilliantly tutored me on how to take the common man seriously. And Bertrand Goldberg, the best student the Bauhaus ever had(in Mies’s last class, 1933), but which institution has never given him an exhibition. When we last talked (in 1995, two years before he died) he proudly claimed that he had remained faithful to the Bauhaus promise of fidelity of good design for the working classes for 62 years, the only one who can say that. Walking Chicago’s streets with Bernie and his dogs was the best seminar I ever had on architecture.

So don’t talk to me about anti-Semitism: a dumb Jew is a dumb Jew (Lutsky) and a gutless Jew is a gutless Jew (Lee ne Levy). And an arrogant Jew (Annenberg) is an arrogant Jew. And Jews who think a mediocre Jewish captive is worth a thousand Palestinians express a truly dangerous hubris, just as building illegal (by international law)settlements is a bid for voluntary self-extinction. And Jews who bomb Syrian atomic installations and threaten Iran are playing the End Game. Self Chosen Peoples (Jews and Americans, for a start) are urged to join the Human Race, before there isn’t any. Amen.

P.S. My failing memory is irresponsible for my not citing two Good Jews who made my life fuller. Dave Funt, an Annenberg grad who followed me to Honolulu and capably supervised our many media ploys. And Herb Gans who taught me by his example that sociology at its best is a central part of the humanities.