Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on September 3, 1972 · Page 21
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September 3, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 21

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 3, 1972
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Page 21
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It 9 . s A New World, Old Scout DRAWING A BEAD ON THE FriVRE Boy Scout Takes a New Look and "Man, Scouting Is a Bau" By Jules Loh The Associated Press SCOl'T HELPING OLD LADY As Depicted in 1911 Handbook Six knots, not 16, will do now for the tenderfoot; Ratbites rank with snakebites and the worst news of all in the newly rewritten Boy Scout Handbook: Bathing has escalated from a recommended twice a week to once a day for every good Scout. Gather 'round the butane stove, old timers, pull up an air mattress and Be Prepared -- for a shock. They've rewritten the bible. Scout's honor. For the first time in its 61-year history of publication the official handbook of the Boy Scouts of America has been completely revised. The new version reflects an America short on wilderness if not on innocence, but don't despair. The old posters that said Scouting is fun still hold true. Indeed, as the new handbook promises in the style t h a t , characterizes its tone, "Man, Scouting is a ball!" At first glance inside the new book, however, it would seem that little girls of today are going to have to fend for themselves when mad dogs lurk and old ladies get across the street as best they can. Gone, alas, are both those inspirational line drawings of the original handbook -along with "politeness" the hat tipper and "cheer up" the smiler. But cheer up anyway. Boyhood chivalry is not dead and neither are good manners. The new handbook's unminced prescription for scoutlike behavior: "Don't be a wise guy or a loudmouth." The revised handbook, which appeared Sept. 1, simply faces up to changes that have swept the land in the past half century. It still teaches, for example, how to deal with a snakebite -- and now a ratbite. It also includes an eight-page section on drug abuse, more space than the 1911 book gave to identifying mushrooms. Sections on tracking, signaling, starting fires with flint and steel, frostbite, fits, constipation, edible plants, heat exhaustion and sunstroke all have disappeared from the manual. That doesn't mean that hiking and camping have gone the way of the $2.50 Scout shoe that also appeared in the original edition. On the contrary, hiking has been expanded to include"hikes in the city: one illustration capt.ioned "Watch for landmarks" shows a lamppost at the corner of 112th and Main. Interesting wildlife to i d e n t i f y along the way: starlings, cockroaches, house mice and pigeons. What if a city hiker gets lost? Does he break out his Scout compass? Signal with his Scout whistle? Neither. He looks for a cop. And what if he has to . . . ? Yes. that is ' covered too: "Carry an emergency dime with you at all times." Overnight camping in the great outdoors is not quite the same nowadays either. Campers who followed the old" handbook were admonished (a Scout is thrifty) not to squander money on something so easily made at home as a tent waterproofed with a l u m , sugar of lead, turpentine and paraffin. Today plasticized tents are the thing and modern Scouts are advised, wistfully, "Bring your own tent stakes and poles with you. You will probably not be able to cut trees for poles in your camp." They also are taught how to blow up air mattresses. As for outdoor cooking, while the 1911 handbook conceded that "amateur biscuits are not conducive to good digestion or happiness" it did include directions on how to make pancakes, and so does the new book. "Beat one egg, tablespoonful of sugar, one cup diluted condensed milk or new milk . . . " began the old book. The new book: "Mix batter according to instructions on the ready-mixed package." Biscuits, of course, are likewise no longer a problem. Neither are potatoes. Wrap 'em in foil and stick 'em among the charcoal briquettes. There now appear brand new sections on air and water pollution -- "You can't enjoy camping by a polluted stream. It stinks." -- but missing from the handbook is that marvelous section on the calls of the wild. Scout patrols may still be named for beasts but it seems that today's lad isn't taught, phonetically, how to sound the call of his own patrol: Buffalo -- um-maouw; Otter -- hoj-ni-oick: Boar -- broof-broo; Eagle -- kreeee; Wolf -- how-oooo; Fox -ha-ha. Hygiene (a Scout is clean) has changed as well, and not necessarily to the delight of a boy. Bathing, for instance, is now recommended daily instead of twice a week. On the other hand. "Keep your fingernails neatly trimmed and clean" suffices for what earlier was a 200-word essay including the observation: "Biting the nails is a filthy practice and multilates the fingers dreadfully." Care of the feet is similarly simplified. Boys needn't, bother trimming their own corns any more, or even "dusting the feet with boric acid." The new recommendation: "Change to clean socks every day." Time was. a glance at the old handbook will attest, when a Scout had to master fundamental knot-tying just to rank as a tenderfoot. No longer. In fact, the new handbook covers only six of the 16 "knots every Scout should know" in the old days. Other skills are emphasized. If today's Scout can't tie a sheepshank or a becket hitch, he can learn to make a Geiger counter, invest in the stock market and write a resume for a job. And even though he can no longer earn a merit badge in stalking or blacksmithing, he can earn them in space exploration, oceanography, electronics and computers. It's a new world, old Scout Demonstrations Made Me Cry Until I Changed Vantage Points If you saw a wet-eyed newsperson at protest demonstrations during the recent Republican party in Miami Beach, it. may have been someone overcome by tear gas. Or it may have been me crying. Whenever I'm caught in a clash between protesters and police, I tremble and try to camouflage myself as a lamppost in a high wind. Unlike most American reporters, I'm convinced that BOTH sides look on me as the enemy and would just as soon clobber me as each other. It all comes from what psychologists call "negative conditioning"--in my case from traumatic encounters with cops and mobs in France, where I spent my journalistic youth. In those days--especially in the late 1940s and early 1950s-there were so many violent, street, demonstrations and strikes that the average Parisian merchant scarcely had time for fleecing and insulting tourists. (The war with the Germans over, the French quickly returned to everyday concerns: wine, cheese and xenophobia. Some of my best friends arc French, but they are the first to agree with Caesar's dictum that all Gaul is divided into three parts, and that all three are too good for the French, i BUT I DIGRESS. The point is that riots give me a pain in the neck, and. on one occasion I shall describe, a pain in the head as well. When police-man meets protester in France, the result can be terrifying. When a French cop with a club encounters a French Communist with a cause, a spectator can quickly become a statistic. American newsmen, who were frequently victims in these melees. By Robert Yoakum believed the police and special riot-control troops (CRS) had a point system under which each man earned one star for Frenchmen he felled, two for French journalists, three for foreigners, four for Americans, and five for American journalists. The cops and CRS weren't evil men; they simply liked their work. If the cops hated American newsmen with a passion, the leftis't demonstrators hated us no less. They were sure we were agents for an international capitalist conspiracy headquartered in the White House--a particularly amusing idea in those years when so many Americans were debating whether the White House was headquarters for an international Communist conspiracy. So the worst place fur an American reporter to be during a riot was between the police and the Communists. That, more than once, was where 1 ended up. To be more precise, that's where I found myself; I ended up in the hospital or, 3.1972 ·1C r e e l i n g u n d e r b l o w s a n d l i q u i d restoratives, in a nearby cafe. ON ONE of these occasions I suffered the ultimate humiliation: I didn't get to write the news story in which I had been, in the most literal sense, a central figure. What happened can be quickly summed up in the headlines of the following day's European edition of the New York Herald Tribune, for which.I worked: "Paris Police Smash Riot at 'Figaro' Clubs, Stones Fly; Scores Are Injured" Below these headlines twn reporters described the clash and told how their colleague had been "knocked unconscious by a policeman's club while covering the riot. Mr. Yoakum was taken to the American Hospital, where doctors said his condition was not serious." Not serious! I was as deeply shaken as a sparrow caught in a badminton game. What my associates on the Trib didn't know was that rioters dragged me clear of the battleground in the belief that I was one of them, but nearly abandoned me to the charging police when they found out who I was. Most protesters wanted to leave me; a few favored helping me flee. Lying f l a t on the grass. I was in no shape to run or argue. Finally, two bleeding-heart Communists took pity on me. stuffed my mostly inert form into a tiny Renault, and took me to the hospital--not just any hospital, the American Hospital. Which is why. when you next watch a riot on your television set, you may not see me. Not unless the conflict spills over into the nearhy hars. That's where I will he, watching it all on TV just like everybody else. I ILL P H I P V K I P -- ] . \ LN IF HE IS IN A BASEBALL CAP New Saint Handbook Devotes Large Section to First, Aid

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