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OBSERVER PUBLISHER, RONNIE DUGGER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1980 Advance/Rod Davis Death of Sartre Sartre was not my favorite writer. He was not my favorite existentialist. He was not from my favorite country. He died very old, blind for a half-decade. Flaubert was unfinished. The philosophy Sartre engineered and Camus understood had turned to mush on the presses of commerce. When I read of Sartre’s death I stopped as if slapped. Sartre: a paraplegic English instructor at a nowhere Missouri college wheeling down a ramp, slamming to a stop at a group of his students, saying, he was a black man and King was still alive, saying, “without a struggle you are nothing.” Sartre: revolution without comfort; slender planes in alignment like crystal flakes of snow. Sartre, fish-eyed in glasses telling us we were murderers. But he’s dead now. I was thinking it’s gotten bloodless. On the news today was a story about a couple who have moved from LA to Tucson and were unable to sell their old $119,000 house after having bought a new one for $93,000. They were having trouble with both payments. This was presented as an example of the plight of America. I could spit but my mouth is dry. How to sort the fact from fiction: Is there a difference? A preference? If so, what do you say about it? Why must you say anything? Buddha says nothing. Saviours speak in one tongue. But we are men. We speak. We are. Our thoughts to each other are like blood in a long vein and when there are no communicated thoughts that vein sags translucent and we long for last words or final solutions. Sartre had to mean that. You will observe this is also a delayed mourning for Camus, Sartre’s better but another who left no place to hide. Camus died 20 years ago. It is nearly impossible to believe. Believing is a choice; perhaps the most fundamental according to certain skeptics. Belief, in the life of the bloodless, consists in the vulgar fantasy of the American Dream. I met a man who believes that Dream to be life’s essence. When you know we have become outnumbered by such people, that the bloodless clothe our lives in strait-jackets while the still living Mario Cantu, say make their choice toward the French clue and then pay something, you sense the ordination of existence and essence Sartre left as his gift. Oh, I know there are people out there who read The New Yorker and enjoy lithe breezes who will say I am building one man out of many confusing my sorrows. No I am innocent. I merely point out that the late existentialists under discussion knew the point beyond which you grasp the context of the situation or you do not; beyond which you are forever lucid and changed. For example, a sister of the brigades called and said this was the year in which the Revolution was coming, just after Mayday. I do not call that a grasping of the situation. I call it posturing and that is not what I mean by having blood. I am sorry Sartre died because it leaves me lonely. It isn’t that I wasn’t, but that I had forgotten. In the bloodless culture amnesia is all around, a sickness, a joke if you’re so inclined. You can forget all day long. At night there is TV. In dreams \(but not we are at union with our function; there is no prevarication and no diffidence. No sleight of mind not really. People say: what does anybody in South Texas know or care about Sartre? Being, existence what do dead Frenchmen have to do with mesquite and blacktop? Sartre and Camus -knew. The absence of their consciousness leaves the rest of us gasping for proof. 2 MAY 9, 1980 Vol. 72, No. 9 May 9, 1980 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Rod Davis ASSOCIATE EDITOR Matthew Lyon STAFF ASSISTANTS: Beth Epstein, Susan Reid, Bob Sindermann Jr. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Warren Burnett, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, Eric Hartman, Jack Hopper, Molly Ivins, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Laura Richardson. Linda Rocawich, Paul Sweeney, Lawrence Walsh, Alfred Watkins CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Keith Dannemiller, Roy Hamric, Hans -Peter Otto, Alan Pogue, Bob Clare, Phyllis Frede, Russell Lee CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Berke Breathed, Jeff Danziger, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Mark Stinson A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and’ never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree.with them because this is a journal of free voices. BUSINESS MANAGER Cliff Olofson The Texas Observer Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Publisher’s Office P.O. Box 6570, San Antonio, Texas 78209 Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. years, $49. One year -rate for full-time students, $12. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilmed by MCA, 1620 Hawkins Avenue, Box 10, Sanford, N.C. 27330. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. 74M,”;PF c=tV Cover art, left to right: Ed Malcik, Alan Pogue, Matthew Lyon