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GARNER AND SMITH B KSTORE 2116 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas, 78705 Mail order requests promptly filled MMICHINIIMPWINIMIKIOMO0114131014.!011.1111H.M.011S011111..011i P.O. Box 8134, Austin, Texas 78712 IF WE’RE SERIOUS Washington, D. C. A free trip East is seldom to be sneezed at, although, when you fly into the young year’s best blizzard, you are sure to sneeze during it; thus I have come to these distant parts for a conference of U.S. college editors on a subject portentous and pretentious, “the generation gap.” The dullest speakers were those who took the subject seriously, and a number of them did, but still it all was very enlightening. The New Left is now slightly Used, and like everything slightly Used, seems to be working better and less self-consciously. The Old Left is as classical as ever, but cocky and contemptuous again, having had time to forget those few years of the sit-ins and 14 The Texas Observer INIMMIl WIN11011111111.0.111110 Texas Society to Abolish Capital Punishment memberships, $2 up BUMPERSTRIPS: oKENNEDY ’68 Fluorescent, genuine peel-off bumperstrip stock. 1 for 25c 6 for $1 100 for $10 1,000 for $65 Pass The Torch in ‘.68 Committee P. 0. Box 3395 Austin, Texas 78704 Subscriptions to the Observer can be bought by groups at a cost of $3.50 a year, provided ten or more subscriptions are entered at one time and the copies can be mailed in a bundle to a single address. For individually addressed copies, if ten or more subscriptions are entered at one time the cost is just $5.00 a year. If you belong to a group that might be interested in this, perhaps you will want to take the matter up with the others. \(Adv.y marches when even the sheer vigor of the established harangue could not conceal the bleakness, off-handedness, and attitudinizing that were some of its characteristics. The college kids, represented here by their editors, are quietly wilder than ever, if one may judge from a piece of the Washington Post in which most of them were naked as jaybirds, on marijuana, and quite as relaxed about it. I think no single one of the young editors, though, impressed me more than a beautiful young girl who. rose during the panel at which I was a speaker and, gesturing with a taut-strung passion that seemed to radiate from her handsomely flashing arms in graceful waves of shock, told a fellow panelist that he could be damned, she was having none of his judiciousness, cornpromise, and sense of the courtly order: this war, this killing, letting these people starve in the ghettoes, all this is wrong! Honest to God, it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen anyone do, and you can imagine my provincial pride when I learned that she is the editor of the Rice University Thresher, by the name of Candy Cormer, I think she was; although I’m not sure. Because of the mails, on Which, as your editor-at-large, \( and I feel very much at time to give you as full an account of the proceedings at this symptomatic conference as I should like. \( The generation gap in Texas is just as distorting a generalization, with specific realities just as vivid, as anywhere else, and here in Washington, I think, some useful things were in the wind, which we might as well sense in Texas, too, although we are supposed to be Vandals, and lose status when we however, that my assignment in the conference was to sum it up in evaluative summary, so I shall follow along here with what I had to say that last morning. But I must admit at first that nothing I said had the pettinence of the opening remark of my fellow panelist, William Stringfellow, an apocalyptic preacher disguised as a lawyer in New York City, who guessed the student editors must have all gone to bed the Saturday night before at 4 or 5 o’clock, “presumptively together.” The title of the panel was “Values and Morality,” and later that day Sen. Walter Mondale, D.-Minn., observed that this was surely the first youth conference in history that had the guts to schedule a panel on this subject ‘after Saturday night. I SHALL BEGIN,” I began, for my part, “by confessing ,I am confused.” I am not sure whether I am young or old. I am 36, but I also feel that I am, as it happens, beginning again. Perhaps, I hope, this makes me bilingual, conversant, if not fluent, in the dialects of Old and Young. Walter Lippman had provided us,_somewhat homiletically, I thought, for a man as lucid as he is, an explanation of why the generational gap is wider now than it usually is. He said events always move faster than the mind, but the rate of change is now the highest it ever has been, so no one, literally no one, understands’ all the modern context; don’t expect too much of the old, and educate yourselves. The grandfathersurely he was a grandfatherwho, the first night, introduced Paul Potter, fairly recently the chairman of Students for a Democratic Society, had not even learned the lesson of the Hemingway generation, not to speak words like noble and great. In two or three sentences of this introduction, the introducer, in the language of Ancient Old, said the words truly, great, best, intellectual, the years ahead, and integrity. He pushed all those buttons and nobody turned on. Everything gets even more confused than it is when you discuss it within a false stereotype, such as the generation gap. It would be fair to say, would it not, that one of the liberating attributes of the New Left is that they have built-in shit’ detectors. Yet this is what Old Man Hemingway said writers must have. Mr. Potter of S.D.S. told us of the work of the New Left, who certainly have plenty of them, most of them home-made. Yet the Old Men with whom I had concourse later that night, Alfred Kazin and Robert Lekachman, thought that Mr. Potter’s was out of order..We were in difficulties the first night. Mr. Potter, it had seemed to me, described the accomplishments and the failure of the New Left honestly and accurately. \( The present furore about the generation gap is a phenomenon of the left, by the way, for the same reason that, as Michael Harrington said in one of the readings for the conference, no one remembers the fraternity generation of the thirties. The prophetic minority who care the most, as Jack Newfield has written, Potter said that when he was young, the New Left exposed much of the sham of the American Dream, and that this was good work. It certainly was. He also said that nowthat he is nearing 30, he has begun to wonder “whether what this rhetoric represents is real.” The New Left were supposed to be finding new alternatives to chasing the bitch-goddess success, but what are these alternatives? Where are they? 1 would have entitled Mr. Potter’s talk, “If we’re serious.” He said, “If we’re serious about somehow build