gerous than the military industrial. In any case it is just as corrupt, self-serving, and profitable. Some booksellers for instance got the mistaken impression that I had some say on the committee which is to choose a new sophomore text. So far, unsolicited, I have received two hundred and eighty-five dollars worth of books. Now if I were on three committees, and if I wrote off and solicited texts, or maybe a television. . . . 8. Finally, I do not believe that any of this is constructive criticism. I wish only to suggest that if every fashionable criticism of the university were recognized and the faults corrected, the university would be no better place for those who might wish to live among it. If the university must teach high school disciplines it does little good to pretend that these are worthy topics of adult inquiry. If the student, having, by accident, been awarded the privacy, freedom, and safety which exists only in numbers, demands more “attention” and “recognition,” it does no good to tell a teacher that by acting as a surrogate father he is treating his students like adults. If professors are unable to reinterpret the past in the light of the present, it does little good to pretend that the professors are relevant and the past is not. If we have created an educational system where professors can teach what they want, there is no reason to assume that this means that the student can learn what he wishes. If our academic departments now use women rather than blacks as slave labor, there is no reason to assume that this constitutes an advance. If a university degree is now as necessary as a social security number to acquire work, there is no use pretending that the students fighting for a degree are engaged in learning 16 The Texas Observer for its own sake, or that university professors perform any different function than a lathe instructor in a technical school. Nor should we assume, now that we have made working for the university one of the least demanding and least rewarding professions Los Angeles Texas has no daily newspaper nearly as good as the Los Angeles Times. Annually the Times publishes its own roster of California’s top hundred companies, giving useful economic data on each of them. The Times carries on the great muckraking tradition with hundreds of articles that carefully expose and lead to the correction of corruption in state and local government. Most recently it has caught a state senator with his arm in the till up to the shoulder in a disgraceful case of at the least “conflict of interest.” Editorially the paper dodges the important questions of economic control, but it is not afraid to advocate reducing penalties on marijuana and is generally liberal. In the recent contest for mayor of Los Angeles between Sam Yorty, the incumbent, and Thomas Bradley, a Negro and a former policeman, the Times was for Bradley. Yorty, a Joe McCarthy-type mudslinger who would remind middle-aged Texans even more of Allan Shivers, won, and in many other respects California is mired down, like the rest of the country, in the worst repression and reaction since the Joe McCarthy era. Ronald Reagan, the rightwing, uptight governor, now has clear control of the board of regents of the University of California system, the consequences of which dismal fact will be felt for another ten years. Witch-hunts are running continuously in Southern California like sideshows at the circus. Still, California continues to be somewhat more progressive than Texas. The people themselves enjoy life more and simply do not care how this guy or that girl chooses to look. The open feeling about life runs deep in the politics, too, especially on the campuses, and one senses that this feeling will not be shut down or intimidated even if John Wayne runs for office. San Francisco is a very special place, a free place, and although some of its residents have begun to consider digging a channel to cut off the peninsula from the rest of the state, planting the channel, perhaps, with shark and barracuda, San Francisco is not about to change. Perhaps you did not gather, from the news accounts, the salient, somber fact that during the recent disturbances at Berkeley, the police, for the first time in the country to my knowledge, fired shotguns into unarmed crowds. Reagan thinks this was all right, but one encounters in our culture, that the average professor wants to be much more than a technical instructor. Nor, finally, should we assume that petulant graduate students like myself are wrong because they cannot mask their irritation. something of the toughness of this state’s progressivism in the fact that the chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles bluntly wired the president of the University of California urging withdrawal from Berkeley of “the armed force which is so repugnant and antithetical to the goals of the university community,” commended UCLA demonstrators against the Berkeley repression for their non-violence, and sent a message of respect to student hunger strikers. And while the Legislature at Sacramento affords many examples of that small-time corruption and log-rolling Texans know about in nauseating plenitude, recently California’s Legislature has passed the toughest state water anti-pollution bill in the country, levying civil fines of up to $6,000 a day for violations, and the Senate has voted to prohibit most cigarette advertising in the state. Fundamentally California cannot be reformed sufficiently at the state level, just as Texas cannot. The compromises and sell-outs by which the common wealth, such as water, public power, and electricity, have been appropriated by large monopoly interests require a long and careful telling. The arena of such subjects is local, state, national, and sometimes, \(as in the we are confronted with the fact of one world and only one humanity. But that is why many of us do not let politicians get away any more with the pro forma hypocrisies they have been pulling off for years. Such, for instance, as Gov. Preston Smith’s statements in the spring the late Gov. W. Lee O’Daniel. Of Heatly, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Smith said, “he . has proved time and time again that he is working for the best interests of all the people of Texas and not just a select few.” That is false. Heatly has proved time and time again that he is working for just a select few and not for all the people of Texas. Fifty percent bunk, you might let pass; hundred percent bunk, no. Of O’Daniel, Smith said, “the people owe him much.” What? What? He was one of the trickiest right-wing Texas governors in this century and the worst and possibly the most reactionary U.S. senator from Texas since the beginning of statehood. Possibly the most reactionary. There is also John Tower to consider. R.D. Observations
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