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The Texas OBSERVER PUBLISHER, RONNIE DUGGER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1980 Vol. 72, No. 18 September 19, 1980 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Rod Davis LAYOUT: Beth Epstein STAFF ASSISTANTS: Susan Reid, Bob Sindermann Jr. CONTRIBUTING EDITOR& Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Chandler Davidson, John Henry Faulk, Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Molly Ivins, Maury Maverick Jr., Kaye Northcott, Dick J. Reavis, Laura Richardson, 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 477-0746 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. 750 prepaid, One year, $18; two years, $34; three 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. 7d4W-“.’rTf Advance/Rod Davis If Six Were Nine The malaise has gotten bad. About as bad as I can remember. My memory is not that long, but it is long enough. Letters come in, friends call, strangers push up to me with their discontent and fear. We are living on a razor, a thinness of borrowed time; something very bad might very possibly happen; that is the summary of what they say. Very possibly happen. That’s the excuse to go on. There’s a chance it won’t. Specimens of this malaise may be drawn from any activity. Politics is the most obvious. Who is the last person you talked to who is not running for office \(or running somebody else for November at any level of government? I don’t even have to use ten fingers and I’m supposed to be in the thick of it. Carter is an obvious mama’s boy. Reagan is such a moron it is impossible to believe he could be offered as a presidential choice, until you really think about what Republicans are. John Anderson ought to be a school principal in Rockford, Illinois. It doesn’t get much better all the way down the ladder. Who can care about such elections? What difference does it make whether Jim Nugent or Doc Blanchard is Texas Railroad Commissioner? Whether Jim Wright is replaced by Jim Bradshaw in Fort Worth? It makes no difference. A difference that makes no difference is no difference. Such is the arena circa 1980. It ought to produce some serious reconsideration of whether politics as practiced in America is worth continuing. The system, despite what IBM says, is the problem. It always has been. This is getting toward the heart of the malaise. America doesn’t work any more. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense on a vast scale. To generate power for the gadgets that make an economy based on providing leisure to give us happier lives, we are building nuand burning coal and raping the environment in a manner that insures a probability of unprecedented human destruction: this has the capability of killing us all. In order to make an economy that will provide more jobs, we are pushing unemployment to a Great Depression level. In an effort to insure world peace we have constructed the most terrible armaments in the history of the galaxy. None of this adds up. You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to dig it. There are no solutions within such a system. That is both the perception and the fact. Call it internal contradictions or call it the end of a taut rope and it comes to the same thing: malaise. Rage. Longing. Several outcomes are possible. One occurs near the end of Stanley Kubrick’s film, Dr. Strangelove. Seeing this again recently, I was brought almost to tears at the moment Slim Pickens, the Air Force pilot, rode the bomb down to a Russian ICBM target. Everyone in the theater was laughing, cynically but with much glee, at the irony. And then the bomb exploded and the mushroom cloud came up. The irony stuck in the pit of every stomach and the theater was quiet as a pin. One thought swept with such force you knew it was there: this is our future. That aspect of the malaise is especially troublesome for Americans. We have proven our capacity for destroying others with A-bombs. We got this narrow and bent little streak in our 2 SEPTEMBER 19, 1980 Cover photo: Janice Rubin