Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Reporter - Part 8: December 29, 1955


I have once again let a full month and more go by without putting up a new post on the next edition of The Reporter in the collection that I saved from the recycling shredder and brought home from the O.U. library. My enthusiasm for the project continues to flag. I found almost nothing of interest in this issue, including the review by our common thread, Sydney Alexander, of a biography of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow, it seems was a bore even to the academic intelligentsia of the mid-1950s. Giving his own, rather than the biographer's, insight into the character of Longfellow, Alexander writes:

Certainly [Longfellow] must have been a lovable man... Yet, with all his virtues, his place in American literature must be negatively defined... Too perfectly balanced to vibrate, he fails to set up vibrations in us. "Non clamor, sed amor" was the appropriate motto on his bookplate.

This issue does feature a short story by John Cheever. That was promising, but it turned out to have been Cheever, the prototypical suburban writer, writing a story about a prototypical suburban writer. I hate it when that happens.

We have yet another article about Eisenhower's iffy health. We have two articles speculating on who will become the next leader of France and Germany respectively. I wouldn't have cared then any more than I care now.

There is an article entitled "Battle Royal for Oil: The California Tidelands" about an on-going feud between the municipality of Long Beach and the state of California over the revenues to be gained from off-shore drilling, and how that feud was being manipulated to its own advantage by Big Oil. Sarah Palin might actually have been of some help to these folks in this instance, had she not been born too late.

Anna Magnani is cited as being an up-and-coming young movie actress to watch in a review of "The Rose Tattoo." He got that one right.

As this was the Christmas issue, more or less, a token nod to the season was made both with the cover art and with the editorial on page one. The editorial noted that due to the concerted efforts of various councils of churches to "put Christ back in Christmas" over a six-year period, the percentage of religious Christmas cards had risen from 6 to 25 per cent. Not bad. Let's hear it for the councils of churches. Ready? One-two-three -- Ya-a-a-a-y Councils!

The banner story is an admonition by editorialist, Max Ascoli, to putative Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. "Your integrity and intelligence have made you state the plain truth that moderation is the key word of our times; and of course you know that a stirring of perhaps immoderate popular conviction is needed to carry you into the White House" Ascoli asserts, ending his piece with this veiled threat:

xxxA striking feature of the recent national elections in western countries is the lack of popular concern with foreign affairs. Why should it be any different, considering how little even nations like Britain and France can contribute to their own survival by influencing the condition of the outside world? It's a wide-spread, terrifying, yet very human let-George-do-it attitude. George is us.

xxxWill you have confidence in George, Governor? Will you prove to him that foreign affairs have first, second, and third priority? Will you show that you are ready not only to talk but to act as a President? If you do it, Governor, you will become one.

In other words, don't you dare let the Cold War die, you over-educated pinhead sissy, even in your dreams!