loser on at five o’clock Friday morning, John used his precious minute of comment to reflect that the California delegates had elected a “beautiful blonde law teacher” to some important party office in that state and that he was sure that indicated something. He also managed to repeat the comment of a 19-year-old chick in the North Carolina delegation; I’m unsure whether her comment indicated the same thing as the election of the “law teacher” or something different. But either way, John’s obviously got his shit together. 4 Hart’s six or seven interviews of Gloria Steinem and someone else’s conversation with Germaine Greer provide the basis for another interesting comparison. Ms. Steinem . presents herself as a very professional yokel, while Ms. Greer, managing to look a lot like a yokel, is authentically professional. Gloria is a professional in the same way that Eric Sevareid is an intellectual, or, for that matter, Art Buchwald is a “humorist.” They are all charter members of the charade. Germaine Greer is probably part of the charade too \(she’s only made up of is problematic she tends to refuse to play her assigned character. She’s also annoyingly quick. You don’t get the feeling that you get with the others, that they’re repeating themselves. Maybe it’s just underexposure. I find myself in agreement with whoever it was who suggested that we have six Presidents instead of only one. Further on an organizational note, it v occurs to me that the ideal government would be one which gathered together on a large ship at an embarkation point, and sailed around the world all year, outfitted with the proper liturgical colors. Lots of purples. They could have meetings, arrange compromises and vote like crazy. The embarkation point I suggest is somewhere in Panama. As a side proposal I recommend the decriminalization of crime ; a process which would go something like this. The population would be divided into groups of 365, and each group would be assigned one or more burglars. Each member of the group is assigned one night a year to be “victim” and on that night he places something of value outside his door, a television set, jewelry, a car or something. The burglar, of course, has a schedule, and comes by in his ski mask and tennis shoes at an assigned time to pick up the TV. Then he takes it to a government agency and sells it, and the agency returns the merchandise to the victim. The other crimes are more difficult but I’m working on them. What this proposal is intended to do is to reform and eventually eliminate police power, so that we can do away with the troublesome expense of maintaining communication equipment on the ship of state. 7 I tend to trust my intuition \(mostly because what I think usually doesn’t intuited during the four days of the Democratic Convention coverage was the amazing resemblance between George McGovern and the Mexican revolutionary President Francisco Madero. There are all sorts of interpretive abstract similarities which I’d rather not mention, but the really striking thing was that McGovern looked like Madero when he made the obligatory appearance to the “lunatic fringe” who had assembled Wednesday in the lobby of the Doral Hotel. Obligatory rather than innovative because as I remember it, Muskie introduced the technique in 1968 by inviting “demonstrators” up on the platform. Notice that in “lunatic fringe” the media has finally found a suitable term to replace the wornout “highly vocal 8 percent” with which they formerly described this group. The two terms are about equally non-applicable, but equally comfortable to the average reader of Time who can relax because 8 percent or a “fringe” are groupings made to be ignored. Arranged by economic status, these readers will at the one extreme talk about “concerned young people” and at the other extreme say things like “You can’t be a hippie, you’ve got a job.” A “lunatic” fringe is obviously a fringe soon to be confined. QPulse of the nation. Several more mentioned that after watching the convention they were moved to participate. One of the correspondents at some -7 point observed ‘that the delegates, and more specifically the McGovern people, were -humorless.” I find this observation authentically terrifying. The first thing it brings to mind is a vision of large roving groups of “concerned young people” moving methodically through the streets “purifying” the nation. After the manner of the Red Guard. In the name of Jesus or George McGovern, the prospect is not appealing. Some of my best friends are impure. A word about Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Scoop is a clown, there’re no two ways about it. His big moment was yanking his coat down with his left hand while throwing his right hand up in the air entwined with McGovern’s in the “show of unity” on Thursday night. Scoop and Mr. Nixon apparently use the same butcher, who not only designs their clothes but sews detailed wearing instructions right into the lining. 11 And, bizarre as it may seem, Hubert Humphrey appeared to me to have a certain grace. Reactionary grace, true, but grace. His appearance on the podium was a striking contrast to Jackson’s. The difference is that between someone who has only a bit part in the charade and someone who is a lead player. It is somehow nice to realize that the heroes of the charade have authentic credentials lead parts. 11 Speeches. I wondered about the 14’ absence of effective speakers. Stokely Carmichael is the last person I remember who was really impressive as a speaker. It seems to me although I don’t really remember very well that Jack Kennedy was pretty good. Few of our present leading lights seem to be much good at it. In general, the speeches at the convention were workable. Workmanlike. Needed work. Kennedy’s speech was tolerable, although he didn’t seem to be able to decide whether to sing the first few lines of “America the Beautiful” or not. McGovern did much better with “This Land is Your Land.” He looks good and has a strong voice, but he has almost no physical moves at all and his delivery is only available at one constant speed. The voice of sanity. And the delegates responded sanely too, one carefully measured clap followed at a decorous interval by another, and another. We all interpreted this as approval. McGovern’s best line, on television at least, was the one about stopping the bombing on inauguration day, a lightweight, but a line with near-perfect shape and delivery. Perhaps it was only the fact that he has been saying all those other things over and over for six months. It was the one place where George McGovern actually approached being a fanatic, and although we don’t need fanatics in the government, they are the ones who make good speakers. 11 Since the convention I have noticed ” two things. First, the treatment McGovern gets in newscasts is radically different from what he got before the convention. A healthy measure of gravity has been introduced. Obviously this change corresponds with his altered status, but the remarkable thing is the abruptness and what it indicates about the tone of pre-convention coverage. Second Time and Newsweek managed to get in their pathetic, simple-minded little digs at the TV convention coverage in record time. Time even went so far as to lecture knowingly on the superiority of “the printed word” in some circumstances etc, etc. Leave it to Time to design a contest which they can’t possibly win. S.B. 14 The Texas Observer
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