Eighty-three years ago, Louisa May Alcott spear-headed a drive that knocked "Huckleberry
Finn" off the Concord, Massachusetts library shelves. Moral indignation, you see, could
abide only so much and no more. The Concord Library Committee feared for the minds of
Innocent youth. They acted with the swiftness and certitude that could come only with
the prc>per amount of righteousness. Of course, the genteel tradition was still very much
In vogue. So, public opinion was solidly behind them. That was in 1885. In 1968,
Miss Alcott, et. al., roll over in your uneasy graves.
Our moral arbiters must be asleep at the switch. In print and in the area of mass
communications, the creative types have license to do virtually as they please. We think
this attests eloquently to democracy's merits. Some will say we've forsaken our intolerant
Puritan heritage. Frankly, we can recall no valuable inheritances from these worthies
unless one counts as important the best way to kindle witches and the efficient operation
of dunking stools.
Should our forefathers return to visit us, they would break out stakes, matches, and
immediately start searching for a convenient pond. Looking at television, they might
find certain commercials confusing and disturbing. These even baffle moderns.
We needn't give names since the gentle reader will recognize them at once. The
product is either a car, gasoline, or shaving cream. Confusion arises over what is
being sold in such cases. Is the inevitable willowy silken-voiced blonde or the
manufactured merchandise available for purchase? Another example of television
advertising's appeal to the prurient is the toothpaste that promises the viewer a mouth
Casanova or Cleopatra would envy.
The movies, too, have teech in them, figuratively speaking. While much work of
artistic merit is being done, there is a good supply of trash as well. Titillation
is a growing enterprise. Epidermis and blood are the order of the day. Equally important
as the arterial flow is the method used to induce it. Proper dashes of sodomy, bigamy,
or prostitution add verve to otherwise dull pictures about ordinary people.
Of course nobody is really normal and we see evidences of this in our literature. One
might call it "box-office" prose. Hacks work fulltime to be more sensational than anything
on the theater screens. Profit is their inspiration. Does all the above mean we need strong
censorship laws and stringent control of the arts?
Not at all. We've had more than enough preservers of good taste already. A discriminating
public is what we must have. Complete artistic freedom should be part of a genuinely free
society People who have something important to say may need to use heavy doses of sex
and violence. They may tell us some basic truth about ourselves. On the other hand, pure
sham may have no word stronger than "gosh. "Still, it offends because it is unfelt and insipid
And, incidentally, isn't it true obscenity for a nation's leader to show off a post-operational
scar on television while other men wage war?
Election Reminders —
"The only distinctly native American criminal class is the politician, "
Last issue's unsigned letter was a technical error.The writer was Allan Ross of Greenv'lle,
South Cr^rollna, a freshman at Montreat-Anderson last year.Allen, a colorful sort, now owns
a '49 white Cadillac hearse and works the "graveyard" shift at a 24 hour service station.
Apparently, a job and a weird car aren't everything. He wants to return to Montreat.
Many discussions about George
Wallace end with the comment:
"Well, at least he is honest."
Since the observation refers to a man
who claims he has no racial bias, it
is highly questionable. Moreover,
the Implication is that honesty is
missing in the two major candidates
for the '^residency. They, it is
claimed, make dishonest compromises
with power groups to assure their
election (see letter in the last
Issue of "The Cavalier.")
A good case can be made, however,
for the virtues of compromises as
"the essential heart of democratic
politics." An unbending stand on
principle coupled with an intolerance of
of any political viewpoint other than
one's own, fosters attitudes which
lead to an authoritarian state.
Compromise in politics need not
involve a surrender of principle. In
our competitive and violent society
it is to be commended as the best way
to keep groups as well as individuals
from each other's throats. Furthermore,
the politician who can tolerate the principles
of others has this virtue - he recognizes
that no human is infallible, not even
himself. The political world is a very
Donald R. Mitchell
I would like to comment on a strange
turn of events in this election year.
This year Dr. Billy Graham has
chosen to associate himself with a
presidential candidate. In the past, he
has refused to back or to associate
himself politically with any candidate.
Richard Nixon, a long-time friend
of the Grahams, has been showing up
at places like the home of Dr. Graham's
mother and the Pittsburgh crusade.
Mr. Nixon even had Dr. Graham
participate in one of his television
Dr. Graham has done everything but
publicly endorse Nixon, yet there is
little or no doubt that he is an avid
Nixon supporter. Some reference to
Richard M. Nixon seems to occur In
most of the sermons Dr. Graham has
preached recently ‘n the United
I think that Dr. Graham should preach
religion in his pulpit and leave his
pol'tics at home. His association
of religion and Mr. Nixon is revolting
to anyone who beLeves in the
separation of religion and politics.
E. H. Davis
Editor's Comment: There are two
schools of thought about the
relationsh'p of religion to politics.
Paul Little, an evangelist who brings
the Christian message to college
campuses in forty-nine states, sums
up one viewpoint with his comment:
"Americans are practical atheists."
On the other side of the question are
people like Everett DIrkson who say
religion should embrace all phases of
our national life.