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Optimistic America wisdom, an insight. Cronkite trashed in the convention issue of New York for his South Carolina error. The relation of Cronkite’s supposed befuddledness to reality is never even considered this whole operation takes place in a fantasy world. A world where other words like “racist” and “media” take on huge significances and relieve the anxiety of people who are either too lazy or too stupid to deal with the complex phenomena they insist on confronting. It’s a fantasy world within which the entire “thought” and career of someone like Marshall McLuhan can be circumscribed. New words are added to the list every time Howard K. Smith opens his mouth. ri We know “charisma” is finally really Y dead now that Eric has gotten to the stage of saying it as if it were a fungus growing on the inside of his lip. The burial was elaborate. That Brinkley or the people at the Atlantic started digging two or three years ahead of Sevareid really doesn’t serve to differentiate them that much. However, a new word was pressed into service in Miami last week, repeated by the newspeople about six times apiece, and picked up by McGovern who immediately began running with it \(I don’t blame him a “programmed.” Hopefully the service is only temporary. Let me suggest that the Democratic Convention was better “orchestrated” than this one by a factor of about 70. All that “reform” and “democracy” and “reasonable discord.” The Republicans were well-orchestrated only in the sense of someone who can do a really mean Charleston. It’s an exercise we all know about; and, who knows, “the American voter” might even be a little. insulted to have it presented to him as something else. Nixon’s manipulation of his audiences has never really been very subtle, he just members of his audience are so dull that they won’t notice. It doesn’t help much, I’ll grant you, to have two dcizen commentators pointing the manipulation out. Amazingly it hasn’t seemed to hurt him much either. Nixon probably can do a really mean Charleston. A But if Barry Goldwater can get up V and point out that Americans hold down 6 per cent of the world’s population and 56,000 per cent of the world’s resources, and brag about it, to thunderous applause, I mean, these people just don’t agree with you. I mean, I don’t think they even heard you. You just keep your Boogaloo. S.B. Thank you for your recent mention of Dallas Voter Drive in the Observer. I wanted to take this opportunity to bring you up-to-date on our progress and to clarify certain things about our effort. At the conclusion of the first six weeks registered a total of 18,700mostly in black sections of Dallas. Our original goal was to register 25,000 blacks which would increase black registration from the existing level of 75,000 to a new level of 100,000. We are now optimistic about surpassing this goal by a considerable amount. Though we had originally considered paying some canvassers, we have been so overwhelmed with volunteers that this is not now necessary. We can still use additional canvassers, and anyone who is interested in walking a route should contact Jean Wicker at 369-7775. Though we started in black sections, we are now also canvassing among students, chicanos, and blue-collar whites. Martin Frost, Drive Chairman, P. 0. Box 28290, Dallas, Tex. 75228. LBJ’s place The August, 1972, issue of Esquire contains an article entitled “Lyndon: The 36th President of the U.S., the vulgar genius who made us what we are today.” The September, 1972, issue of Esquire contains an article entitled “Losing Big: The years 1965 to 1968 in Washington were not just a time of chaos and confusion. What they were, as can now be seen, was a time when Lyndon Johnson, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Maxwell Taylor and some others lost the war, lost their jobs, lost their party, lost the country and lost their fondest dreams.” Now that John Connally, LBJ’s protege, is heading up a national campaign to get Texas Democrats to vote for Nixon, it is time for Texans to take stock in the damage already done before voting to add more tragedy to what has already been done in the name of democracy. Walter L. Morrison, P. 0. Box 2412, Salt Lake City, Utah. , Peaches again I found Roxy Gordon’s review of Edwin Shrake’s Strange Peaches peculiar, misleading and unfair to an interesting novel about Dallas and the forces that rule it and a large part of the rest of America. Mr. Gordon all but dismissed the book because its view of Texas did not square with his. Early in the review he announces that the problem with Strange Peaches is that “it gets the real and the unreal mixed up,” and then he parades the surface events IDialogue of the novel before us in a painfully monotonous and offhand way which amounts to nothing more than a smug put-down. The point of contention then is which view is more real? It is singularly strange that Mr. Gordon speaks so confidently about the unreality of Shrake’s every-day Dallas world and then admits to never having lived in Dallas. A little prudence here would have been welcomed. That fact in itself might not have disqualified him to review the book in the first place if he had not chosen it as his sole point of attack. Unfortunately, the art or artlessness of the novel is never really considered. There is nothing in this novel which is any more surreal than the events of the pastdecade in this country, and none of the shenanigans engineered by the wild oilmen and their legislative accomplices seem at all far-fetched. One could pursue this point by documenting past excesses, but that isn’t necessary in verifying the kind of truth that prose fiction attempts to achieve. Whether there is actually a game preserve near Dallas where wealthy sportsmen bag scrambling jack rabbits with sub-machine guns is significant only in terms of its credibility in the novel. In context it is a stroke of genius. Basically, the book is about the gradual alienation of an innocent but perceptive country boy from the artificial and immoral swirl in which he is caught up as a TV cowboy and child of the establishment. . . . As the novel progresses, John Lee Wallace’s reasons for dropping out become increasingly apparent, although the process of extricating himself is still not easy. His growing awareness of how thoroughly poisoned his society has become is the heart of the story, which is adorned by some fashionably gratuitous violence and sex. We are gradually convinced that the people in jails represent only the tip of an iceberg that widens considerably when you have plumbed it as far as Austin, Washington, and other capitals of high finance. So when John Lee has eventually smuggling marijuana into the United States, Shrake has prepared us to view him like any other businessman \(or at least no long and tortuous narrative. By neglecting to confront and evaluate the metamorphosis which John Lee undergoes, Mr. Gordon misses the main Sept. 8, 1972 23