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_ , -iikatottrin ,..; …, -,0,11,; 61 1 \\i, . …..__._ , I . , rie- _., rift , THE TEXAS 111 server 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. Publisher: Ronnie Dugger Editor: Dave Denison Associate Editor: Louis Dubose Editorial Assistant: Kathleen Fitzgerald Calendar: Kathleen Fitzgerald Washington Correspondent: Richard Ryan Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk, Terry FitzPatrick, Gregg Franzwa, Bill Helmer, James Harrington, Amy Johnson, Michael King, Dana Loy, Rick Piltz, Gary Pomerantz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz, Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh Editorial Advisory Board: Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt, Washington, D.C.; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Oxford, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Presley, Texarkana; Susan Reid, Austin; Geoffrey Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg; Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. Layout and Design: Layne Jackson Typesetter: Becky Willard Contributing Photographers: Vic Hinterlang, Bill Leissner, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods. Managing Publisher: Cliff Olofson Subscription Manager: Stefan Wanstrom Publishing Consultant: Frances Barton Development Consultant: Hanno T. Beck for a three-week interval between issues in January and July \(25 issues per postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $27, two years $48, three years $69. Fulltime students S15 per year. Back issues S3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign. group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Ml 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. Address all correspondence to: The Texas Observer. 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Maverick Likes It Your new format is a knockout! Good for you. Maury Maverick, Jr. San Antonio The Well-Tempered Synthesizer Permit a distant, delayed demurrer to Louis Dubose’s “Soul of an Old Machine” \(TO, workman praises his tools are pleasant, and indeed noble, Dubose disfigures his hymn with unsound assumptions about technology. processes the words. Or I write; my manual processes the words. Or I write; and my processes the words. Were I a Sumerian toting up my accounts of bushels of wheat for Cyprus and amphorae of wine from Rhodes \(which mundane tallies, not chronicles or stories, are the oldest written the stylus would process the words. It is the mind, and not the technique of its conveyance, which dominates, procreates, delivers and shapes the sentence, the paragraph, and the thought. I don’t understand the fountain pen; but I use one in absolute contradistinction to any ballpoint. The most I know about my word processor is how to turn it on; but since it helps me write more smoothly, I defend it In the making of material objects, the process is always revealed in the product. For instance, hand-loom weaving gives effects not found in machine-made cloth. But in the making of thought, the means of production is, or can be, transparent and unobtrusive, depending on the maker. If Bach composed on a synthesizer, would beauty flee him? If George Will wrote with a quill pen, would the muse attend him? In each case: never! The rock upon which Dubose founders is his own: “These machines are cold and practical; there is no grace, no art, in the internal language by which they communicate.” I submit the counterproposition: “If ‘language,’ then ‘grace.’ ” We may not appreciate it “barbarian” is, after all, at root a term for those who speak a different tongue but we must know, and passionately assert, that if a language is used, art is possible and gracefulness inevitable. Dubose’s plaint amounts to no more than is to be found in defenses of pens as against typewriters, remnants of which are to be found in literary memoirs of 75 years ago. Dubose is more comfortable with the typewriter than with the word processor, because he has confidence in the former and not in the latter. Fine. The workman is most suited to that instrument which best pleases him. But one workman’s experience does not invalidate the work of others, performed with other instruments. No attempt at generalization, however graceful, can make it so. Though disputing his conclusions, I nonetheless admire Dubose’s clear exposition and subtlety of detail. And I imagine none of his good qualities as a writer would have been in the least harmed if expressed on an electrical, rather than a mechanical, device. Once you’ve got some technology of any kind, it’s hard to claim that an earlier level of it is purer than a later. James McC. Yeager Bethesda, Maryland Hispanics and Education Some information in your article “Mattox Speaks” \(TO, greatly. It seems that some Hispanics are trying to scuttle the Pre-Professional Screening Test by suing the state. The Pre-Professional Screening Test for prospective teachers is designed to assure minority youth the same educational opportunities that are available to Anglo youth in Texas. H.B.72 made the requirements for being a teacher tougher, while passing along more money to poorer districts to allow these districts, which enroll many of our minority youth, to compete for teachers. The results of the test given to current that teachers in minority districts were not as likely to pass a minimum competency test as were teachers in more affluent and Anglo districts. Since minority districts are more likely to hire minority teachers, the primary benefit of the PPST should accrue to students in minority districts. The rights of the public school students, not of college students who cannot pass the appropriate test, should be protected. I also fear that unless the taxpaying public actually gets the reform promised in H.B.72, it will be impossible to get support for further education funding. In sum, it seems to me that H.B.72 was a WIN-WIN situation for Hispanics. Education was improved and extra funding Continued on Page 20 DIALOGUE