The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 3, 1968 · Page 81
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 81

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 3, 1968
Page 81
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FlfJ Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, Nov. 3, 1968 Mailer Old Self At Conventions BOOK REVIEWS MONEY CUPS by Mort Reed Sjjjjgr h j4 (C I New Yf Vnm Nnn Senrtr "MIAMI AND THE SIEGE OF CHICAGO: Ao Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968," by Norman Mailer. (World-New American Library. Hardcover, $5.JS; paperback, J5 cents). Norman Mailer Is the most energetic and consistently Interesting writer In America at this time. He is Interesting In an unusual way, which Is why he. is, for some, so unsettling. He upsets the reasonable order of things, and surprises us with his candor and zeal and shrewdness and solid artistic skill and sense of balance It's the balance that really surprises us; he doesn't fall flat on his face, or If he does, It's a pratfall and he rises like the Phoenix In book after book, year after year, each one In some way new, each repetitious (for we know him, he's a familiar, a member of the family) but never a repetition of what he's accomplished before. Mailer must be thought of, I suppose, among other things, as a particularly versatile and unpredictable waker-upper , (why The U.S. Trade Dollar- racy" in South Vietnam, democracy was established there by his own voice, his utterance of the idea. "The radiance of the sensation of democracy came from the word Itself, 'democracy!' Halos In his eyes ... he had given a warm little speech which he obviously believed, or rather, had actually experienced." And this of Nixon at a pre-nomination press conference: "As an actor, Nixon thinks his work is to signify. So If he wants to show someone that he likes him, he must smile; if he wishes to show disapproval of communism, he frowns: America must be strong, out goes his chest . . . he had always had the ability to violate his own nature absolutely if that happened to be necessary to his will there had never been anyone in American life so resolutely phony as Richard Nixon. . . But he was less phony now, that was the . . . miracle, he had moved from a position of total ambition and total alienation from his own person (at the time of Checkers, the dog speech) to a place now where he was halfway conciliated with his own self. As he spoke, he kept going in and out of focus, true one Instant, phony the next, then quietly correcting this false step." ELLIOT FREMONT-SMITH missioned by Harper's magazine, went to Miami and then Chicago to report on the Republican and Democratic conventions. The report is now published in Harper's (the November issue) and, in final edited form, in a Signet paperback book (the hardcover edition will be available shortly). It is far more conventional than Mailer's last report, on the Pentagon peace protest, "The Armies of the Night," which was fashioned half as a personal account filtered through memory and Imagination, and half as an objective description of events and analysis of strategy. Yet if the new book is less exciting in this way, and less moving (and less exasperating, too: Mailer is a somewhat detached observer and learner until the closing pages, and even then is a cool evaluator of the tension inside himself to join the action), it is no less adroit or acute. A fast, efficient pace Is maintained throughout, and many readers may find "Miami and the Siege of Chicago" the most accessible Mailer yet. He Is, after all, growing older, and the opinions in this book testify to that fact, as the book Itself is witness to it. Still, he gets under the skin, rearranges and intensifies things, wakes us up, which Is why the book holds Interest even though we already know what happened at Miami and Chicago and have presumably formed our opinions about it. Mailer's descriptions of the Republicans and Democrats and the difference between them, of the settings of the conventions (a contrast startling and almost comic, surreal, in its perfection), of the candidates and party .leaders and Poor People's March, blacks (in Miami) and police and protesters and yippi-es (in Chicago), are unfailingly on the button. Resourceful Mailer Is able to draw on an unusually wide range of rich analogy often wise and often funny. Two examples will suffice, first on Hubert H. Humphrey, then on Richard M. Nixon. Of Humphrey talking before the California caucus, Mailer writes: "Humphrey spoke three times as long (as Sen. Eugene McCarthy), trudging through an Imprecision of language, a formal slovenliness of syntax which enables him to shunt phrases back and forth like a switchman who locates a freight car by moving everything in the yard." Words, he says, create the reality for Humphrey so when the vice president spoke of "democ ment but, with the decline In the price of silver bullion. Congress repealed the legal tender provision in 1876 and Instructed the mint to limit coinage to export demands. This deprived the trade dollar of its legal status and some merchants actually disposed of Books And Books Of TV Criticism If there is one coin in the entire U.S. series that Is not heralded as "typically American," it Is the trade dollar of 1873. It was designed in haste, issued in compromise and rejected en masse. In other words, it was a flop. It began bark in the mld-180()s when we were beginning to enjoy a rapidly expanding trade with China. Millions of tons of commodities were being Imported and exported but both American and Chinese merchants were accepting only Mexican dollars In exchange. The American dollar was floundering. To say this ired our western sliver producers would be putting It mildly they were furious. Spokesmen for the miners demanded that the Treasury issue a dollar that would be more acceptable on the foreign market. Although the United States only mined half as much silver as our neighbor to the south, It was still more than we were or thought we were equipped to handle, and "do-something-for-sllver" lobbies began pressuring Congress to authorize a new one-dollar coin. ': J) It was a well-timed request because the mint had just issued the last of the 1873 silver dollars and Congress had not provided for its continuation. The gold dollar had taken over as the unit of account. In what was obviously a deliberate attempt to dispose of an accumulation of Nevada silver, Congress discontinued the standard silver dollar weighing 412 grains by the Act of Feb. 12, 1873, and, 16 days later, the Act of Feb. 28th, authorized the minting of a trade dollar with a weight of 420 grains. The purity remained at 90 per cent silver. While this 7- H grain increase in weight was Intended to Influence Its acceptance, the trade dollar was still lighter than the 420-grain peso, and crafty Chinese merchants continued to turn it down. Those that did circulate In oriental commerce show chop marks or bankers' approval stamps in the form of tiny Chinese characters Imbedded in the surface. These marks do not effect the collectors' value. When these pieces were first coined they were legal tender In the United States to the amount of $5 in any one pay even gets going and with a "platform slippery with blood" at the base of the Washington monument. In between he kills off one major figure, reporter Helen Anne Carrew, and has assorted threats running here and there. The story concerns Itself with the nomination of a presidential candidate by the members of the national committee after newly nominated President Harley Hudson dies In a crash of Air Force One. The committee Is forced to Drury's New Novel Gets Off To Bloody Beginning NORMAN MAILER his welcome is sometimes grudging); he is a vitalist of letters, a provocateur of that region of the mind where Intellect and Imagination and passion come together. This summer, Mailer, com- above do transmit a kind of weariness of the spirit. The most weary is "Problems and Controversies In Television and Radio," a volume of "basic readings" which brings together 54 articles written over the last 40 years. It is a most interesting volume, well-edited and provocative as well as nostalgic (remember the quiz scandals?) So the weariness comes primarily from its being a book, and one intended for buffs and historians, and all too clearly headed for the archives. Two of the books focus on TV news coverage and especially on TV and politics. The Lang volume offers case studies of Gen. MacArthur's homecoming. Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech, the Ken-nedy-Nlxon debates the the effects of early election reporting. The Langs' thesis is that television gives the viewer a false sense of "being a favored spectator at some event he 'sees for himself' while In fact television conveys an actuality different from what an eyewitness experiences." They also suggest that tele-casters are not, as they see themselves, "neutral transmitters," but arrangers of experience and often creators of pseudo-events. This seems true and not startllngly new. Robert MacNeil, a former newscaster on NBC and now a correspondent for the BBC,, expands on the Langs' theme in his acute, detailed and quite damning book, "The People Machine." He goes well beyond the Langs In discussing television journalism from the Inside entertainment values in reporting, (e.g., an emphasis on "shooting bloody" In Vietnam for the cameras), the pull of profit and influence, the star system for news reporters, consensus journalism and so on ; a hard-hitting book. Where reason doesn't work, laughter sometimes will. Charles Sopkin has written one of the very few truly funny books that owes its existence to television. Sopkin, a book club editor, decided to sit down before three TV sets and mlnltor, for one full day, from 7 a.m. to midnight, the scheduled programs their companies offered. Deciding that the leaders of the Industry were probably too busy to spend a day in such unworthy fashion, Sopkin undertook the task himself only he extended It for a full week and to all six commercial channels in New York. The book Is a clinical, day-by-day, hour-by-hour journal of his "mindbendlng, marathon watch-In," which is as good a way as any to describe the Indescribable. Sopkin has a witty mind and a lurid curiosity and, clearly, an extraordinary sense of civic duty. And along with the hilarity that can accompany extreme vicarious pain, he has provided us and who knows? maybe some TV execs as well, with the most basic of basic TV readers. ELLIOT FREMONT-SMITH Bring Yule Into Your Yard With Cheerful Snow Family (C)N.Y.TInKfNem Service "SEVEN GLORIOUS DAYS, SEVEN FUN-FOXED NIGHTS: One Man's Struggle to Survive a Week of Watching Commercial Television in America." by Charles Sopkin. (Simon & Sinister. $5.95). THE PEOPLE MACHINE: The Influence of Television on American Politics," by Robert MacNeil. (Harper & Row. $7.95). "POLITICS AND TELEVISION" by Kurt Lang and Gladys Engle Lang. (Quadrangle. $6.95). PROBLEMS AND CONTROVERSIES IN TELVISION AND RADIO," edited by Harry J. Skomia and Jack William Kltson. (Pacific Books. $10). There can be, by this time, hardly a single substantive or, for that matter, fatuous criticism of television that hasn't been made, reiterated, argued and analyzed through the press, through books, through Independent reports and official hearings In fact, through just about every medium or potentially thoughtful expression there is, except commercial television. The failure of commercial television to provide continuing specific critical discussion of Itself on the air Is perfectly understandable In human (or, If you prefer, de-human) terms. Most failures of responsibility are. There really is not much mystery about greed, fear, vanity, dumbness, self-induced Innocence, loss of perspective, resignation, exhaustion (though TV has had few dissenting martyrs) or other endemic weaknesses we all share, even when these are formalized or banalized In bureaucracy, a set "way of doing things." Yet to acknowledge this makes the specific failure no less notable or responsible or free of consequence. For television has become such an influential medium of selective communication of Information, Impressions, Ideas, feelings, fantasies and Is.-organlzatlonally so cozl-ly Intertwined with other coagulates of power In our society, financial and political, that it now seems highly doubtful that significant change In the way things are done In television can be brought about by the force 'of outside argument alone. This, of course, suggests a certain futility about books of TV criticism. Well, nobody Is giving up quite yet, apparently, though the books listed Changes Name PALMA DE MAJORCA, Spain (WNS) Maria Callas, 24, could not get a singing job In local night clubs because her name is the same as that of the opera star. The Spanish girl has now changed her name to Mary Plckford. "I specialize In American songs," she explained. them at the ridiculous price of 85 cents apiece. Today, It is a different story. The trade dollar Is a much desired coin to the collector. The 1969 edition of "A Guide Book of United States Coins" lists It as low as $16 for some dates in very good condition and as high as $450 for proofs. Proofs only were struck from 1870 to 1885 and they range from $350 to $9,000. The Whitman Publishing Company in Racine, Wis., has Just come out with a hardcover, revised edition of John M. Willem's book "The United States Trade Dollar." It gives a detailed account of "America's only unwanted coin" with all of the vigor and excitement of the China trade era. This book is available through your local bookstore, hobby dealer or direct from Whitman Publishing. It retails for $7.50. meet behind closed doors with chanting mobs waiting outside and federal troops guarding them in case they make the wrong choice. They do, Incidentally, but things are calmed down and that brings the story to acceptance speeches at the monument. It Is the final scene which is most galling. Drury decides to leave the outcome In doubt. Come back next week, he seems to say, and you will learn just who got killed. LAWRENCE C. FALK ture Kaufmann has a touch with heroines but the fact that her scruples and attitudes seem faintly anachronistic compared with those of her sisters today does not detract from the psychological realization of the character. Through It all, Kaufmann weaves the lush strands of Jewish family life, deploying his large cast of characters with narrative skill. As In "Remember Me To God," he Is notably felicitous with minor roles, and the climactic episode of the non-wedding of Millicent and Dr. Hollander final stage in her education is both amusing and moving. R.J.CAPPON 'it. if CONDOMINIUM APARTMENTS Kaufmann Novel spirits of your whole neighborhood. Father Snow is over five feet tall, and of course, Mother Snow, the two youngsters and dog are all in porportlon. Each is printed in bright and waterproof colors. Like billboards, they will withstand severe outdoor weather and last for many seasons. You may place them on your roof as well as In your yard. Because of their light colors, they show up real well at night when lights are turned on them. Making the Snow family Is certainly easy. The large pictures come to you printed in bright and waterproof colors. All you need do Is glue the pictures to plywood, then saw them out. After that they are ready to go on display. Com- By STEVE ELLIN GSON Whatever your taste may be, one thing Is certain Christmas Is the time, in the matter of yard decoration, to let your fancy roam, to be creatlve,gay,Ught-hearted and unafraid. And how better can this be accomplished than with the cheerful Snow family shown here with actress Marlanna Gaba? After all, no matter where we live, be it in the north or south, snow Is an Integral part of Christmas. If It weren't, how could Santa get around? The beauty of this Snow family is ... no matter what the temperature, It will last not only for days or weeks, but (or season after season. It will add a dazzling touch to your yard and boost the holiday c r "PRESERVE AND PROTECT," by Allen Drury. (Dou-bleday.$6.95) The latest In Allen Drury's political novel series, and for those who have admired his previous books, another fine one. Drury continues his attack on the liberal press in this fourth novel (others: Advise and Consent, A Shade of Difference, Capable of Honor) and bespatters much of Washington In the process. He kills off the Incumbent president before his novel Second "THY DAUGHTER'S NAKEDNESS," by Myron S. Kaufmann. (Lippinrott,$8.95) The postgraduate life and awakening of Millicent Gordon, the awfully bright daughter of a rabbi, unfolds in the 700 pages of Myron Kauf-mann's second novel. Like "Remember Me to (Jod," his first, It explores aspects of the Jewish consciousness in contemporary America. For the Gordons, all of them, are strongly conditioned by their religion, even when they turn away from II. This doesn't make Milllcent's path easier, but It's a quiet fact of her life, even as It Is the dominating one in that of her father's. s it. ... plete directions come wiih each set. To obtain the Snow famiiy pictures, No. C-6, send $5.25, which Includes postage (if airmail Is desired send $5.75), by currency or check or money order to: Steve Elllngson, Palm Beach Post-Times Pattern Dept., P. O. Box 2383, Van Nuys.Cal., 91409. Other decorations In color: No. 227, two extra Snow kids, $2; C-10, Santa's five elves, $2; C-7, two-thirds life-size nativity scene, $5; c-17 full-size Santa, 8 deer and sleigh, $8; new booklet picturing all projects, 50 cents (airmail 25 cents extra); No. 327, three wisemed poster, $2.50. If airmail is desired add 2d per cent (or 20 cents for each; dollar of your order) to the total amount of your order. I z Millicent, In the immemorial manner of the young, has a good many problems: Creative self-fulfillment and sex and for a long time, the two seem to be In tremulous opposition. Millicent returns from college, as the book opens, and she's unscathed, Idealistic, naive. And very prim and puritanical. Her development, through a prolonged affair with a young doctor named Leslie Hollander, is the main theme of the book. The other major theme is her father, grappling with his faith, his congregation (which he loses) and his own uncompromising code. Millicent Is a curious crea fe LUXURY CONDOMINIUM APARTMENTS I LAKE HARBOUR TOWERS All APARTMENTS LAKEVIEW it fiw - ,-4 Imagine your luxury tropical condominium residence, gracing 6.6 acres, overlooking beautiful lake Worth and the Intracoastol Waterway, with your choice of a 1 to 4 Bedroom apartment. From top to bottom, elegance abounds, with features and facilities to be found nowhere else (yes, penthouse apartments ore available). Join in our excitement and visit our furnished model, open doily 9 a.m. to S p.m. and from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Sundays ADULT WATERFRONT CONDOMINIUM COMMUNITY (32) land 2 BEDROOM APARTMENTS ASfff? 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