Page 3


Thorne Dreyer and Bill Freeland, are now with Liberation News. The service costs $15 a week for two or three packets of ‘material a week. “The quality ranges from very good to poor,” Stone says. Like the majority of other underground newspapers, The Rag’s main interests are the Vietnam war and how to avoid it, sex, rock music and the New Left “movement.” Its social commentary covers most every aspect of American society and its political articles deal with state, national and international affairs. There are pieces on whether radicals should become involved in the “electoral game,” and what’s happening in Czechoslovakia and Biafra. The Rag runs a good deal of locally written material on the military upheavals at Fort Hood and about Latin American politics. The staff writers, however, expend most of their efforts reporting the harrassment and injustices inflicted upon themselves and their readers. Sometimes they seem downright paranoid. \(So does the rest of the underground press. In fact, a short-lived paper at Texas A&M was called In actuality, members of the New Left, including Rag staff members, because of their political activities and their unconventional behavior, are subject to harrassment that few other publications bother to note. They are under frequent scrutiny by the police. They are attacked by bullies who are offended by their long hair, and like other minority groups, they have a hard time finding places to live. In recent months., The Rag has reported thoroughly and for the most part accurately questionable marijuana “busts” or arrests in Austin and Houston, the arrests of hippies in Houston on vagrancy charges and UT’s decision not to renew the contract of Dr. Larry Caroline, the faculty sponsor of SDS and a frequent contributor to the paper. R EPORTAGE in The Rag is not the usual “unbiased” or “balanced” fare that conventional newspaper editors require. “Objectivity is a farce,” Thorne Dreyer of the LNS said. “We make our biases clear. That frees our writers to talk about their guts.” Stone, a graduate student in clinical psychology, says he is trying to “consciously get away from the really biased stuff” in The Rag. “You’ll notice,” he said, “that The Rag never calls policemen ‘pigs’ like other underground papers do. We call them ‘police’ or ‘cops’.” The goals of The Rag staff are political. “Ultimately,” Stone explained, “we want to educate people about the nature of this capitalist, imperialist and racist society. We want to organize them. We want to show them an alternative society \(i.e., a socialist one, but not like the says there are no editorials in the paper “because each article is an editorial. I see The Rag as being a paper which flows from the politics of the people who work on it.” The newspaper operates on a hand to mouth basis. Sometimes money from sales is taken directly to the printer to assuage an ever-present debt. Only two staff members are paid, a secretary who receives $35 a week and a reporterbureaucrat who gets $25, “when we have it,” Stone says. Many but not all of the staff members are UT students. A handful of highly talented artists contribute cartoons and drawings to the newspaper. It is sold for 15c by vendors in the UT area and placed on newstands in Austin, Houston and a few other cities. Only one other underground newspaper is published regularly in Texas. Dallas Notes follows much the same format as The Rag, although it has a bit less locally written material. Editor Stoney Burns sees Notes as “an alternative voice to the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. It began as a giveaway sheet at Southern Methodist University. Burns said the paper was not doing well until the late Cong. Joe Pool, then chairman of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, threatened to investigate Notes and the SDS. Both were thrown off campus, Notes, according to Burns, for being “not in the best interests of the university.” “Joe Pool saved our lives,” Burns said. “Our circulation doubled.” Today it claims a circulation of 6,000, although it probably is considerably less. It is distributed at newstands throughout Dallas. Burns is especially proud of Notes, a column written by John Smith, an Army PFC stationed in Chu Lai, Vietnam. His first article in the July 16-31 issue began: “The Army screws you. Every time they get a chance the Brass shoves the Royal Shaft up the tail of the nearest PFC or Spec. 4 it can find. When you get drafted or join you’ll get it .too. Everyone does. Basic training is an eight-week course teaching you to kill in many different ways. At the same time an attempt is made to de-humanize you, to twist your brain to the point where you look forward to killing your first man.” Smith’s is typical of much of the writing in the underground press. Young and brash and self-righteous, but as relevant as anything one can read in America today. The underground press has its problems. It seems uncomfortably biased to all but the radically-inclined. Its editors, out of inexperience ,overwork or cynicism, often have a cavalier attitude toward accuracy. At its worst, the underground press is political pornography, a titilating but vacuous exploitation of public affairs. At its best, it speaks to the gut issues of the daythe nature of our culture, our politics and our lives. Still, when it is very good and when it is horrid, the New Left press is required reading for those who want to understand what a significant portion of white American youth is thinking. K.N. Big Man on Campus \(The office of Assistant Dean Hancock Endicott, deep ‘within the walls of the Tower, at the University of Texas, one late fall afternoon very soon. Dean Endicott, a lean specimen of WASP inbreeding with the dry rasp of Beacon Hill on his tongue, is slumped behind his desk, hang on his wall. Endicott glances at sighing. Three diplomas from Harvard them and sighs all the more. Enter his secretary, Liz Snook, a solid, middle-aged product of Central Texas. Hancock, breaking off in mid-sigh, produces what LIZ SNOOK \(closing the door behind He’s here! Mr. Green is an Observer contributing editor who lives in New York City. He is the music critic of Commonweal. ENDICOTT Who? LIZ SNOOK: Now you know flat well who: Guest Professor of Government and Politics Extraordinary, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Former President of These United States. Harris Green ENDICOTT: Must we have the complete title, Mrs. Snook? LIZ SNOOK: It’s in his contract. ENDICOTT \(audibly, though it’s obOh, God. God! If I’d published more just one thing I’d never have had to do this. Never. NeVer. Nev LIZ SNOOK: He said he’s got a pile of things to do. ENDICOTT Show .. . him . . . in. \(Liz Snook turns and goes out. Endicott opens his eyes and gazes, damply, at the diplomas. Wearily, he gets to his feet as Lyndon Baines Johnson strides in, -wearing full academic regalia gown, hood in the colors of Southwest Texas State Teachers, mortarboard worn well back on the head with his features crinkled into a smile Mr. Presi I mean. . . . LBJ \(reaching across the desk to snatch How you, boy? Don’t worry with that “President” business, hear! Just “Professor Extraordinary” is good enough for me now. \(He looks back at Liz Snook, -who stands October 4, 1968 11