The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas on October 1, 1971 · Page 75
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The Hutchinson News from Hutchinson, Kansas · Page 75

Hutchinson, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, October 1, 1971
Page 75
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Editorial for Bob S /MPRfNr OF THE SLUMS 1 By TOM SLAUGHTER The Uiiiversity of Kansas In 1he University Dally Kansan Have ycu heard the one about the burnt out comedian hired by the university grey­ beards to entertain them with inside jokes about the Vice President's golf game and how Raquel Welch left them panting in Vietnam last Christmas? The punch line comes Oct. 8 at the Alumni Association - sponsored Bob Hope Homecoming Show in Allen Field House. Not that this is the biggest issue to ever hit the campus, or even the most pressing a the time—but it presents a good insight to where the culural mind of the Alumni Association is at present. Bob Hope's one-liners circa '57 are predictably funny to some people, offensive to others and just plain boring to still others. The point is, its good clean humor. The President is still a nice guy who is the butt of respectably funny jokes. The most controversial thing the Vice President does is to occasionally bean someone with a golf ball. Good safe humor. Now, it is safe to say that Bob Hope has fallen off as a campus hit. One may wonder then why he was chosen for the Homecoming concert. Simply, he was not chosen for students or by students—but for alumni by alumni. The distinction is important. It should also be noted that Homecoming decorations are back this year along with a "New Blue" campaign haimtingly similar to a color campaign launched a few years ago up the Kaw. What all this sciggy corn adds up to is a clever campaign to lick the wounds inflicted on so many university supporters Speaking Out Prison: A Matter of Economics By STEVEN LEVINE Beyond the pathos and terror, the sheer bizarrity, of the event itself, the importance of the five-day Attica state prison uprising in New York lies in the politics that motivated it, and that, a posteriori, surround it. What actually happened, of course, is still being sifted, and I seriously doubt, due to the conflicting interests of those doing the sifting, that an authoritative chronicle can be expected shortly. What causes such a minor revolution to transpire is not 60 hard to understand, if one can look around one's carefully nurtured prejudices. Levine There are, first of all, the long-standing grievances of prison life; the bad physical conditions, the absence of substantive rehabilitation, the barbarous conduct of that special breed recruited to work in such places. But in and of themselves these evils are unable to sustain an uprising of the duration and intensity of that at Attica. Indeed, the conventional prison riot bears little resemblance to what has just been witnessed. Prisons are not really places for sinners Co much as for those sinned against. This is not bleeding heart liberalism. It is economics. The capitalist momentum inevitably produces sizable numbers of social outcasts, people who, for arbitrarily determined reasons of race and education, are unable to compete in the contest for the favors of state capital, becoming its marginal work force, taking up its inflationary slack. Unlike the enormous theft, fraud and murder perpetrated by the ruling classes, having no access to big rip-offs like the oil depletion allowance or our foreign policy, they do their competing privatistically, and the entire system of criminal justice in America exists to keep them from doing it efficiently enough to become an economic threat. It is, understatedly, no accident that the Attica rebels were non-white. Attica is there and they are in it for only incidental reasons other than the oppression of their communities. 'Justice Exists' For a certain number of years society at large, including most especially the prisoners themselves, has been sold the nonsense that justice exists here, and that it acts as a referee to keep us all from harming one another. But the rising conscious• ness of minority people in general, and particularly those held where contradictions are most obvious, over the past few years has done violence to those nonsensical notions. The disproportionate representation of poor and/or minority inmates in the prison make-up, the absolute failure of even the most elementary prison reforms make it obvious. The penal system as it is now administered is not only not humanitarian, from the point of view of the maintenance of societal order, it is impractical. The brutalizing effects of its oppressiveness only raise the level of violence in the nation at large. Steven Levine is native of Denver who has reached national syndication with his columns. Its real ethos is projective. As Karl Menninger suggests, it relaxes our own guilt feelings; keeps intact the separation of "us" from "them", a separation Indispensable both to the Puritan ethic and capitalism. It is a separation that also bonds the wretched of the earth together and makes them, wherever they are contained, explosively cohesive. The official footwork since the assault tends to support these contentions. From White House level on down, a massive propaganda effort has been mounted to observe the situation. New York State Governor Rockefeller's remarks are most revealing. He lays the blame for the whole business to "The highly organized revolutionary tactics of militants . . ." In effect, outside agitators. At the national governors' conference Ronald Reagan espoused similar doctrine. Greater Crimes Far more dramatic is the patent fabrication of an inmate bloodbath by New York State Commissioner of Correction Russell Oswald. Oswald alleged that the nine hostages who died in the encounter were knifed by inmates, while coroner's reports confirm that they were shot in the indiscriminate firing of law officers in what amounts to a cold-blooded massacre. This lie is not merely a cover for police incompetence. It is consistent with the Rockefeller line that the convicts were crazed s?s*humans egged on by calculating leftist politicos, and that they got what they deserved or more. This rationale mysteriously appears whenever poor people start to raise trouble. Whatever the conduct of Attica rebels— I'm sure much of it was appalling—the indictments that won't be handed down would deal with far greater crimes, and they would go not to individuals, but rather to institutions, to a broader politic of crime and of punishment in which the latter is administered by the perpetrators of the former. Page 2A „^ The Hutchinson News Friday, October 1,1971 Hope to KU the past few years by various events and people. If the plan works the university coffers will be a little fatter. Should it fail, though; these reminiscences cf quieter times will be as unpleasant as Sunday morning's hangover. In Other Words "I would like to say to the editor of every single newspaper in the United States: You have a duty, to find the truth, and project it fearlessly, honestly, and to the utmost ability that your heart and head will allow, to every person that you can reach."—Dwight D. Eisenhower, reprinted in the Kinsley High School ReKiCo Pride. "The sum of the Agnew (Spiro T.) platform centers around exploding what Agnew calls the 'spirit of national masochism,' the apparent need of some politicians to apologize for the sins of their country. 'Let us stop apologizing for our past,' Agnew urges, 'Let us conserve and create for the future.' " — Dave Mudrick, in the Kansas State Collegian. "That's how progress works. One step forward and two backward." "What would I like to be when I grow up? Alive, please." •-.

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