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VitAgiaZiaZGWYSZMIMEAKMMMESZYSZMIMMSEACTAtIMMEZMIYACYAMZEZCSIZifeZYSZYSZEZ1 ?-0 7tte asetoet as a Cktistmas idea that those who work with me on the Observer have the same freedom I do. In conflicts I had to decide, yes. But I would so base my decisions that they would not be limitations on the freedom of the others to say what they wished. There has been a time or two when this has not worked out well; I think. especially of one writer who ‘ felt, I believe, that I was censoring him. Generally, though, it has worked out well; this is a free place, and those who write for here know it. In a context other than that of my relationships with people who write in the Observer, however, there has been, in me, a hesitancy about opening the Observer to free things outside politics as it is ordinarily conceived, a hesitancy in concern for what the subscribers want in the Observer as much as in response to such work. This hesitancy is falling away, I believe that the last few years the Observer has grown to this, too. The other evening I was consulting with my boy, Gary, about his English lesson, and told him I thought the verb, “grow,” in /the sense of “gain in strength and wisdom,” was an active verb, although his lesson said it was a passive one. I looked it up in the dictionary and was boundlessly surprised that “grow,” in this sense, is in transitive. So much for the vanity of man. Of course growth is involuntary. Does a sapling decide, forthwith, that it shall be a spreading oak? The Observer has done all right for ten years, and growth is still happening to it. I could say a lot of things about what I hope the Observer will do the next ten years, but I shall forebear, because I don’t really know, and why make foolish promises when the serious thing is that you feel like working hard. I did want you to understand that I took a deep breath when I put on the masthead, “A Journal of Free Voices,” and that I mean it. R.D. Merry Christmas, Little Ones Baytown Many years ago I found a thin blue book on the musty shelves of a used book _store in San Antonio, a wonderful old shop as such shops are always old and always wonderful. The shop was that of Frank Rosengren, bookseller, and it was in San Antonio’s Milam Building and I hope that it is still there and prospers. In that depression year the old book 10 The Texas Observer In many cases the Observer makes a very good Christmas gift, and a fairly inexpensive one. We shrink from the commercialism of Christmas, too, and therefore hope this way of doing something real with a gift may appeal’ to you this year, as it does each year to large numbers of our readers. If you have meant to give someone the Observer this is a practical, time to do it, too, because of our Christmas rates. For the first gift subscription, the usual $5 rate applies; for the second one, $4.50; for the third and for each subsequent gift subscription, $4. You can send ten gift subscriptions for $40. We will send a straightforward, wellprinted gift announcement in color to each of the recipients, and we will hand-sign these with your name as the giver, if you so specify in the relevant place on the forms below. Thank you, and Merry You Know What. TO: Sarah Payne, Business Manager, Texas Observer, 504 W. 24th St., Austin, Texas Please send the Observer as a Christmas gift to the following people: Name Address City, State 0 \(Check here if you want us to sign your Al Melinger must have cost me about 47c and, because it was rich with drawings by Art Young, I took it home with me where, lost among others in the curious lodging of my shelves, it has followed me from city to city and career to career. Art Young not only illustrated it but wrote the bucolic text about the journeys of Hiprah Hunt, a modern Dante, through Name Address City, State 0 \(Check here if you want us to sign your Name Address City, State \(Check here if you want us to sign your Name Address City, State 0 \(Check here if you want us to sign your Name Address City, State \(Check here if you want us to sign your Please attach an extra sheet if necessary. This offer does not apply to renewals, except for renewals of previous Christmas gift subscriptions. Enclosed Signed: Name Address City, State the inferno of Cartoonist Young’s colorful imagination. Specific purgatoria, each with oddly appropriate tortures, await all the multiple villains of the world of 1900. Humorous demons wield great bull whips, stoke massive furnaces, hurl crushing tons of granite, and prod with barbed forks as the endless stream of mortals drop into each inferno. There are tailors who misfit, professional tramps, lawyers, the inventor of the barbed wire fence, bribe-taking aldermen, quack doctors, and haughty street car conductors. They all get what’s coming to them. The book was published in 1901 by a firm called Zimmerman’s and it reached my shelf in perfect condition, although a little yellowed of page in the mid-Thirties. After I had given it thorough study, nobody touched it for about a quarter of a century. Then my young son, Michael, a budding cartoonist, spotted it when, at about the age of four, he was prowling the lower shelves. Now it is pretty well battered with spine ruptured and cardboard peeking through the blue cloth of the binding at the corners. Mike is eight and has loved the devils of Hiprah Hunt for half his life. He has studied each gruesome picture, each diabolic situation, scores of times. He has even read the text, something he learned to do several years after he had already memorized the black and white engravings which separate the sparse and not very sparkling verbiage. Once or twice, during the early phases of this intense preoccupation, there were pangs of fatherly concern that our offspring might be traumatized by his solemn contemplation of the macabre. But, except for a Charles Addams-like enthusiasm for turning his own room into a monster chamber, Michael seems perfectly placid about the whole ‘business. Actually, he has come out of the experience beautifully equipped to assume forefront status in a juvenile society attuned to the current monster vogue. Today’s mass media knows that a citizen who is too old for Captain Kangaroo and too young for the Beatles is just right for Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. TV has revived King Kong and Dracula and hissing packs of werewolves, and so have the comic book publishers who have added