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TEXAS’ LEADING BUMPERSTRIP SIGN MAKER FFUTURA PRESS ‘NC Hickory 2-8682 ,411P. Hickory 2-2426 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS existence; it is serious businessyou can learn about life from it; it is inspired, and it offers to the faithful some revelation of truth. GIVEN A sales talk like this from the first grade on, it is no ‘wonder that most people educated in this state avoid literature like the plague. If literature is necessary, then it is work; if it is useful then it is school; if it is inspired then it cannot be understood and if it is true then it cannot be questioned. Presented with a choice between work, school, intellectual subjugation, and water skiing, what sane man wouldn’t head for the lake? So the Philistines have gone to the lake, freeing themselves simultaneously from culture and puritanism, while the intellectual community languishes in earnestness, continually asserting that the two are the same thing. Since the local puritans read books because they feel obligated, they have no, taste; nor do they really care about individual books; they care about “literature.” When I slight a particular work, they don’t defend it; they attack me for somehow violating the sanctity of “literature.” It has become impossible to like something unless it is “significant,” or “representative.” Or to dislike something which is “serious.” Previously, it was only status literature which was endowed with this pall of significance, and only adults were being robbed of the pleasures of inconsequent activity and gratuitous judgment, but with the advent of pop culture and Marshall McLuhan \(whose relation to media theory is roughly that of Norman Vincent Peale to robbed of their songs. Any child knows that fun is fun, but here comes Marshall fresh from Victorian literature, to tell them that fun is good for you and for the community and for the Kingdom of God. Isn’t that fun? If art began when some decadent Neanderthal made a toy from a tool, it will probably end with some puritanical modern making all the toys back into tools. ANYWAY, HERE is my plan. While all the media buffs and cinematic camp counselors are trying to make John Lennon as serious and significant as. James Joyce, I want to step lightly back and make James Joyce as frivolous and delightful as John Lennon used to be, on the assumption that frivolity is more fun than idolatry, and a little more honest in the presence of a story-book. If it turns out that I am wrong, and that literature is really “serious” and that if “offers a new path to a healthy and happy life,” I will flip a coin to see whether I will start recruiting for the Red Guard or Merrill, Lynch these being the alternatives in an age in which books and politicians are admired because they “capture the imagination” with their special “magic.” But for the time being I would like to keep my imagination out of captivity, and although I may be out of step with the times, let me assure you that I am not marching to a different drummer. In fact, I am not marching at all. Boop Boop Bee Do. Observations Subscriptions Near 10,000 Austin The Observer’s paid subscriptions now total 9,163. Our total paid readership the Feb. 21 issue was 9,700, and the way things are going, we should have more than 10,000 pretty soon. This is more readers than we have ever had before by several thousand. In fact, it’s an increase of 2,655, or 38%, from a year ago, and it’s an increase of 3,645, or 60%, from the same time of year in 1965, four years ago. Yet we have been on the verge of raising subscription rates. We have fought off the logic of it, because projecting this present subscription level through to the end of the year, we might be in the black by then. We do not want the Observer to be any more expensive than it has to be. Last year, our income was $51,655 and our expenses were $56,275, for a loss of $4,620. Our income was 92% of our expense. Our working capital moved from a plus to a minus position. The Observer is MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 a financially sound enterprise, we are paying our own bills out of our earned income, and obviously we are growing where it matters most to grow, in circulation and editorial impact. But we have not made financial gains proportional to editorial gains because of rising fixed costs and the costs of growing. Our loss in 1968 would not have occurred if we had not increased our spending for promotional spending $4,000; but neither would much of our growth. Our rent has doubled since 1966. Postage, a big item for a newspaper, is up a fourth over last year. The people who put out the Observer are doing work they believe in. By Texas standards they are fairly well paid; by decent standards they are underpaid. The I THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Street Austin, Texas 78705 I I for: street city state $6.24 enclosed. zip Bill me. Price includes 4% Texas sales tax. =IMMO IIMM =MONO MN NO EN MB I= MI editor has not had a raise since 1958 \(this has held true through three editors, me, long hours and expect more of themselves than most other people do. The reservoir of neglected subjects of the Observer kind bears heavily, as it has always borne heavily, on Greg and on Kaye Northcott, the two-person full-time editorial staff. Cliff Olofson, the business manager, often works April 11, 1969 15 MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. CENTRAL TEXAS ACLU luncheon meeting. Spanish Village. 2nd Friday every month. From. noon. All welcome.