Page 2


\(The Observer in Austin erred in concluding that t h e Dan Moody listed as attending was the former governor. Our apologies. Christmas Cheers “I’m looking forward to another year of reading your great reporting.”Austin Duffy, 3014 Stanton, Houston 25. “Readers of the Texas Observer have come to depend upon it for straight reporting. The November 29th issue was one of the best.”J. L. Clark, Huntsville. “This little paper I enjoy very much, and were it not for reading it, I would not know what goes on in our Texas!”F. A. McLain, 2102 33rd, Apt. 72, Lubbock. “I wondered how I was going denly I thought about giving the Observer to me as a Santa Claus present.Seriously, I can’t do without it.”Maud Stevens, 1410 Rosenoon, Houston 4. RENEW To the Texas Observer 504 W. 24th St., Austin Name: Address: City: One year, $4; 2, $7.50; 3, $11 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 Dec. 20, 1957 MEXICAN POLITICS II Paternalism in Arts CULTURE REPORT MEXICO CITY The attitudes of the intellectuals, whose jobs hang in the balance, are fairly ambivalent about the all-powerful, one-party government. Theoretically they are against the idea of a self-perpetuating clique, no matter how paternalistic ; would like elections to involve some true choice between parties and platforms. On the other hand, they say, perhaps it is better to have a stable government, no matter how hidebound and ingrown and even corrupt, than the situation that prevails in most other Latin-American countries which are continually shaken by revolutions, coups Don Demarest d’etat, army control, dictatorships, censorship. \(Or the anarchy of French parliaments; or even the split in our own Democratic Party between the North and the Souththe need to curry favor with the voters and pressure groups and the big business backers, which encourages Mc”Ours is a government of bureaucrats; a sort of snakes-andladders affair in which the highest offices are ultimately obtained by hard work, loyalty to the party, and discretion.. The leaders who emerge from this system may not be statesmen, but they are seldom demagogues. We have a system of checks and balances within, the leading party that seems to us more effective than your constitutional methods. The dear old PM after all is founded on solidly liberal principles; a middle of the road party essentially, which has to reconcile a variety of local interests and political theories, a pendulum which cannot swing too far to either the right or the left without compensation. The main thing wrong with it is that it encourages mediocrity rather than brilliancepetty larceny rather than gangsterism, moral laxity and sloth and indifference to ideals.” One bright frienda philosophy teacher, poet, and minor bureaucratsaid, “Our government is a lot like that of your big labor unions, or maybe what the Labour party might be like in England if it could be assured of 30 years of uninterrupted control. We are a welfare state without any wealth to share. The people at the top grab what they can because they realize that if it were spread around the country it would only mean a few extra tortillas or a pair of shoes for every Indian. Better to achieve the good life for one Mexican. And why not me?” Paternalism in Art The thing that seems to gripe these interviewees most is the long ha n d that government reaches into the arts and professions. Mexico does more probably than any country in the world to encourage talent with stipends and exhibitions and walls, supported publication and theatrical production and literary prizes, odd political or diplomatic sinecures \(with almost no control of the very largesse is stultifying. Since there are few standards set up, the prizes go to the glib. Politics, in. the sense of cultivating the right people rather than hewing to any party line, dominates the field from top to bottom, from the entrepreneurs to the critics. Since almost all the Mexican cultural activities, from the National University to the Institute of Fine Arts, develops from the tions from the Rector of the University to the chief choreographer of the National Ballet have a six-year term of tenure only. When the new administration comes in, they all automatically tender their resignations, at, our mba ss a d or s do. Generally the new president replaces them with his own cronies. And so there is a frantic rush by all hands to achieve what they believe in within the time allowed. One rector will concentrate on the humanities and building up the library; the next will emphasize science and laboratories, leaving any incompleted projects of his predecessor that way. In one term the lion’s share of the Bellas Artes budget will go to the Opera and Ballet; in another it will go toward increasing the art in a third to promoting theater in the provinces, or poetry reading. Six-Year Cycles This percolates into all fields not only of the arts but of the sciences and social sciences and into the labor movement \(but This was brought home to us the other day when we visited the new director of the National Library, Manuel Alcara, a young, extremely bright scholar who has been educated in England, France and the U.S., who combines the go-getting energy of the last with the diplomatic and fatalistic qualities of the first two, along with a native fatalism. Taking us on a tour of the ancient building which *had once been a monastery and which was now crammed with workmen, carpenters and plasterers, restorers of paintings, and bookbinders, he explained that he hoped to make the s e unfathomable treasures \(which date back to the first library in t h i s hemisphere. founded by the humanistic, bookloving, first primate of Mexico only to international scholarship but to any citizen who would like to drop in and browse awhile. This extraordinary collection has never been properly catalogued. partly because of the strategems of a few old sabios who knew their way around its mazes and, considering it their private Tom Tiddler’s Ground, didn’t want it opened to upstart rivals. \(Now and then the conservative press turns from the status quo and concerns itself with the status of the quo. Ray Zauber, editor of the Oak Cliff Tribune in suburban Dallas, entitles his latest column “Oak Cliff Culturally As The Newly Rich.” We pass it along in the interests of cultural uplift. LL Oak Cliff, in some respects, is similar to the leathery, bearded sourdough who strikes it rich at age 55. With gold in his pockets, the newly-rich decides that nothing is too good for his family and himself. He undoubtedly will buy a couple of Cadillacs, a mink coat for the missus, a 20-room house in the snootiest section of town, and will start smoking thick Havana cigars. He may get a tailor to start making his own suits, will add tux and tails to his collection, and interest himself in politics. He will probably become a pillar of the church and a big donor and might start supporting some worthy philanthropies. The banks will welcome him and he’ll do business in the president’s office. The kids will go to name universities and the family will attend many football games rooting for the alma mater. But as he becomes accustomed to this new life, he’ll become aware of some facts of life which will cause him much misery and heartbreak. The bankers and the town wheels with whom he hob nobs and swaps backslaps at lunch don’t extend him an invitation. to join the number one country club. His youngsters aren’t rushed by the top sororities and fraternities. His daughter is not selected as a debutante. And the wife isn’t selected for member \(At this point there is an interruption, and a guide line says, “See CLIFF CULTURE, CLIFF CULTURE ship in the most prestigeous woman’s society. The sudden impact that the local Lodges and Cabots have no intention of including him in their own social circle may embitter our friend. He realizes that money will buy him almost anything but a listing in the Blue Book. And that 55-year deficit makes it difficult to expunge all those rough edges which come natural to a lifetime of bourgeouise living. Perhaps son and daughter can anticipate partial acceptance, but father is still just a nouveau riche. 0 p era s, lectures, symphony concerts, Town Hall, little theater, painting, sculpture, literature, poetry and the other finer things of life are the most difficult hurdles for our sourdough companion. Appreciation of the arts for most of us is a trait which must be cultivated. The thousand year history of art testifies to its success throughout the ages. Learn straightforward manner in which you express yourself. To my knowledge, there is no other newspaper in Texas that so violently i g n or es journalistic styles in favor of telling a comprehensive, fact-filled story. You do yourself great credit in this respect. Being a farmer reporter I can appreciate this aspect of your operation. I think you could improve your paper by tempering your downright mean attitude toward East Texans. Your contempt for their colorful dialect and their prejudices \(by which they come honyou are hampering your efforts to recruit liberal thinkers when you make fun of these people. Your efforts ought to be tempered with a little understanding. I nevertheless e n j o y your paper and I think you are just as entitled to the roses I’ve thrown as you are to the rocks. ED ROUTT 11102 Estacado, Dallas ed, sensitive and talented nations and people throughout history have been remembered most for their degree of culture and artistic skill. That’s why we compare Oak Cliff to the sourdough. We have not matured sufficiently to fill an auditorium to hear the Dallas Symphony, we can’t get more than a handful to attend a Little Theater production, and Town Hall failed miserably here. Still we can fill Sprague Stadium for a key football game or the Chamber Auditorium for a Miss Flame judging. These are fine activities too, don’t mistake us, but only one small phase of rounded community life. We attended the Dallas Symphony concert at Sunset Thursday night and the auditorium was two thirds filled, a much improved showing over the pitiful turnout three years ago. The enthusiastic audience was privileged to hear a well-balanced concert of light but sound symphonic fare. Most ostentatious by their absence were the women from music appreciation and study clubs, music sections of the top social groups, and the musicians and teachers themselves. This is hard for us to understand. There are some sides to our Oak Cliff cultural life that the writer can’t comprehend. R. Z. 77 \(We feel Oak Cliff dweller Zauber was restrained to a fault in failing to drive home the moral, to wit: if you want to be ostentatious s u c c es s fully, be Sr. Alcara wants to catalogue it, arrange it in some sort of logical order, and then microfilm it. “However,” he shrugged his shoulders in a gesture more French than Mexican, “I probably won’t be able to gnaw my way more than a few inches in this enormous cheese in the year I have left. I only hope that my successor will want to carry on His long mobile face was sagging into tragic lines. But suddenly it lightened and brightened, swept up into round contours around eyes that bulged with glee and malice. He kicked a packing case labelled “Accounts of Explorations in Yucatan and Chiapas Between 1590-1620” that stood at the top of the stairs. “It will take my successor more than six years to reduce this to complete chaos,” Manuel Alcara said cheerfully. And is it really so sad? Counter-Plan To the Editor: I heard a news report tLe other night in which was mentioned our own Senator Johnson’s solution to overcome the lead the Russians seem to have over us: the working people should make the sacrifice of working more than 40 hours a week. I would like to make the counter-proposal that in order to catch up with the Russians, the employers should hire more people. How’s that soundthe sacrifice of full employment just to catch up with the East? Hopefully yours, WALTER JACOBSEN 6115 Ave. Q, Galveston P. S. Enclosed is 13 cents. In case you publish _this, please send me that copy of your paper. As soon as some employer makes the sacrifice of hiring me, even for 20 hours per week, I’ll buy another subscription from you. \(In order that friend Jacobsen may while away the 40 hours Johnson is so worried about more profitably, the Observer is sending him a subscriptionand the Fact-Filled To the Editor: It is possible that you may never renovate the minds, morals and attitudes of the bred-andborn Southerner, but history will certainly give you a good mark for your efforts. I don’t happen to share your views on integration and labor issues. I do, however, admire the Correction! To the Editor: In the Dec. 13 issue of The Texas Observer … it is stated that I attended the dinner recently given Lyndon Johnson in Houston …. I have never attended any