4 The Daily Tai Heel Vvedntiday, September 21, 1977
'Last Best Hope fails to make effective statement
If The Last Best Hope by Peter Tauber is
indeed America's last best hope of coming to
understand the student activ ists of the 1960s,
than their dreams and ideals and dedication
were expended in vain. Tauber's lengthy
novel, in spite of the zeal and talent with
which it was written, is so padded with
philosophical digressions and so bloated
with significance that it fails to make an
effective statement. (Harcourt. Brace,
Jovanovich. 628 pp. $10.95)
Born in New York in 1947 and graduated
from Hobart College in 1968, Tauber is also
the author of a work of nonfiction. The
Sunshine Soldiers (a diary about basic
training). He is too young to have
participated in the agonies of Vietnam or
Kent State, but he is old enough and
concerned enough to care what was
happening to the generation of the "60s and
perceptive enough to have picked his title
from Abraham Lincoln's 1862 message to
Congress that "We shall nobly save or
meanly lose the last best hope of earth."
Beginning with the astronauts" w alk on the
moon and ending with the student-National
Guard debacle at Kent State, Tauber ties his
characters and his story in with all the
significant events of the decade: the
assassinations of Martin Luther King and of
Bobby Kennedy; the election of Richard
Nixon; tjje war in Vitenam; student riots at
Berkeley. Cornell and Kent State; the
invasion of Cambodia; the Democratic
Convention of 1968 in Chicago; the Mai Lai
massacre; and the McCarthy campaign in
Real-life characters like Bobby Kennedy,
Sen. McCarthy, Nixon; Johnson,
Humphrey, even Einstein, make their
entrances and their exits on stage, usually to
the accompaniment of Tauber's terse
evaluation. But the central characters, the
young people who are indeed our "last best
hope," are Tyler Bowen, a golden young man
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By WAITER SPEARMAN
The Last Best Hope
by Peter Tauber
who was just graduated Irom Cornell and
escaped the draft by taking a PR job with the
Gila Compound National Laboratories in
Arizona; his brother Willie, who fights in
Vietnam, is reported killed and winds up
living and winning the Medal of Honor;
Johanna Reigeluth, reporter for a paper in
nearby Tucson; and her husband Warren, a
conservative young intellectual working for
a think-tank center.
The Warren-Johanna marriage is
breaking up and Tyler Bowen moves into the
vacuum; but even his emotionally intense
love affair with Johanna is sacrificed to
Tuaber's determination to give
"significance" even to love-making in such
overblown rhetoric as: "Ignorant atoms
engaged to make molecules, molecules wed
to form amines, changing partners, dancing,
mating, divorcing, recombining to form
amino acids united by a peptide bond that
w as where poisons linked, recombining once
again to make some wholly new,
wonderfully proteinaceeous thing."
The first 300 pages of this interminably
long novel are devoted to the period spent at
the Gila Laboratories, where little happens
except that Tyler and Johanna meet and
mate. The next long stretch of the book is
taken up with an exceptionally well-written
but hardly pertinent account of Johanna's
rape by a hitchhiker and to the court trial of
Later, Tyler and Johanna enlist in the
Eugene McCarthy campaign in New
Hampshire, then switch to Bobby Kennedy
until he is assassinated. Final pages move the
reader slowly on to Kent State. But not one
of these '60s characters is genuinely
dedicated to the activist movement; they all
hover on the periphery.
Johanna tells Tyler: "You don't make
choices, really you avoid them. Things don't
happen to you. You get by. you survive."
Johanna herself is more dedicated to
exploring her own psyche and her feelings
for Tyler and for Warren than for the
"causes" she enlists in W-irren. who "would
do nothing to impede his chances of being
president of anything," eventually joins
Nixon's staff and serves on the Commission
on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.
Only Brother Willie, fighting in Vietnam,
comes fully alive; and the pages describing
his dangerous assignment to take out an
enemy mortar are stirring and exciting.
When he comes home to receive his Medal of
Honor from President Nixon, he found
Nixon "nasty to behold" and "wondered if
the man wasn't rotting from within."
Peter Tauber appears to exploit the
activism of the '60s to give his book
relevance, but he writes around his subject
rather than confronting it head on. His
handling of Johanna's rape and Willie's
experiences in Vietnam proves his writing
ability, but his clumsy attempts to give "The
Last Best Hope" cosmic and historical
significance inflate the book beyond the
weight it can carry with its central story.
Every time the book builds up in pertinent
action, it soon bogs down in overblown
philosophizing and pages of empty rhetoric.
What might have been a truly significant
novel becomes a soggy exercise. Tauber
seems to have written the wrong book at the
Tickets available at Union
Wertmuller festival on campus
By PATRICIA C.GREEN
Staff W riter
Three films that shook Cannes. New York and L.A. are on campus
All Screwed i'p was shown last night. Love and Anarchy
(originally This Morning at 10 in the Via Del Fiori at the Hell
Known House of Tolerance) w ill be shown tonight, and Swept A way
(originally Swept Away By A Strange Destiny On An Azure August
Sea) will be shown tomorrow.
Lina Wertmuller, formerly Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmuller
von Elgg Spaniol von Braucich-Job, directed all three films.
The films and perhaps some insights into the undulating genius of
Wertmuller are yours for $ 1 per film during the three-day Wertmuller
Festival which is being sponsored by the Carolina Union.
Wertmuller, called the "most important director since Ingmar
Bergman" by American critic John Simon, had worked asan actress,
stage manager, set designer, publicist and radio-television writer
before serving as apprentice to fellow Italian Federico Fellini.
Already famous for La Strada and La Dolce Vita, Fellini made the
surreal classic '; with Wertmuller's assistance.
"It was one of those experiences that opens new dimensions of
life," Wertmuller said of her time with Fellini.
After completing S';, Wertmuller conv inced a cameraman and
some of the crew to join her in her first independent film. Fellini
helped secure financial backing for the venture.
The Lizards, a serio-comic film about the barrenness of provincial
life in southern Italy, written and directed by Wertmuller, won a prize
in the 1963 Sw iss Locarno Film Festival. Vie Lizards has not been
released in the United States.
The director followed The Lizards with four comic vignettes about
the ways men abuse women. This four-part film, entitled Un's Talk
About Men, did reasonably well at the box of lice, just as The Lizards
had. But the reviews for Let's Talk's W6 American premiere, 10
years later, were disappointing.
Wertmuller had trouble raising money for a third film and
returned to the Italian theaterand television. The young director met
actor Giancarlo Giannini through her work in the theater; Giannini
was so impressed with Wertmuller's scripts and directorial talents
that he urged his friend Franco Zelferelli to consider a Wertmuller
In 1965. Zeffcrclli produced Wertmuller's Two and Two are So
Longer Four for the theater. Giannini. now a matinee idol, was cast
in the pivotal role. Wertmuller's husband, sculptor Enrico Job.
designed the sets and costumes. TheZefferelli production was a huge
critical and commercial success.
Bv 1971 Wertmuller could financially afford to make a film of her
script, Mimi the Metal Worker. His Honor Betrayed, with Giannini
as a macho Sicilian with Mariangela Melato as his fanatical
Communist mistress. Mimi was screened at Cannes in 1972.
Wertmuller was named best director.
I he following year at Cannes, the Wertmuller Giannini, Melato
team scored again with the film Love and Anarchy. Giannini was
named best actor for his portrayal of Tunin. a "country bumpkin
determined to assassinate Italian director Benito Mussolini." Love
and Anarchy so impressed the viewers at Cannes that the film was
distributed almost immediately in the United States.
.Vfw.vHwA called Wertmuller "the most exciting director on the
international scene and the most remarkable talent from the
continent since Bernardo Bertolucci."
By the autumn of 1975. American cinema buff's were "swept away"
with Wertmuller's talent. Judith Crist called Swept Away, "as
ferocious as it is funny, and as touching as it is truthful."
Attempting to cash in on the Wertmuller frenzy, agents came up
with a film Wertmuller made in 1973 entitled All In Order, Sothing
In Place. Re-edited and renamed All Screwed Up, the film was
released in this country just prior to the debut of thciong-awaited
Seven Beauties. Wertmuller's most recent film.
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Parking attendant Jasper Allen tries to make the confusing parking situation in
Chapel Hill a little less annoying for the drivers who enter his lot on Rosemary
Street beside Blimpie's. Staff photo by Sam Fulwood.
Attendant eases space race'
By NEI L LEE
The parking situation isn't much to
smile about in Chapel Hill, unless one
happens to be at the parking lot on
Rosemary Street next to Blimpie's. That's
where Jasper Allen hangs out.
The effervescent 78-year-old parking
lot attendant is quick with wit, and
equally fast with a smile.
"Join the race to get a space" he tells a
harried businessperson as he hands him a
time ticket. The customer smiles and
If it happens to be raining. Allen's
standard line is: "a free car w ash today."
"Some people come in and they look
like they've had a fight with their
husbands or something, but when they
leave my parking lot. they're usually in
much better moods." Allen said .
He's been minding his lot lor about two
and one-half years now. from 8:30 a.m. to
1:30 p.m. each day. Allen says the busiest
time for him is the noon lunch crunch, but
he handles it in his usual easygoing
Allen first came to North Carolina in
1944. when he was stationed in the Navy.
He played the bass fiddle and tuba in the
Navy band, and after the war, headed up
to Chicago to join the nightclub circuit. It
was the heyday of the Big Bands, and
Allen was associated with many of the top
brass. He formed his own band in time,
known as Jap Allen's Orchestra.
. In 1950. Allen returned to North
Carolina, making his home in Chapel
Hill. He began his own carpentry
business but reserved his weekends for
playing the bass fiddle.
Allen said he took the parking-lot job
to keep himself busy.
Allen makes himself comfortable in
what he fondly refers to as his "glass
house." He has an air conditioner to use
in the summer, and electric heaters in the
w indow . A radio blares out the latest pop
tune, and in the slow morning hours
Allen reads the newspaper.
"I guess the thing I like the least about
this job is when it's slow. Time seems to
drag then." said Allen.
As for his favorite type of customer,
Allen says he loves them all, but
particularly the elderly ones.
He shook his head slowly when asked
for his comments on the Chapel Hill
"1 guess the bus system is a good idea,
but a lot of residents here have been
driving their cars a long time and don't
want to start using the bus. More parking
lots and parking decks would sure help,"
It was near the end of Jasper Allen's
shift. A regular customer swung his pick
up truck into the lot.
"Hey, 1 thought you were off today,
"Ha, I'm off in the head everyday,"
came the retort.
Jasper Allen handles his parking lot
with all the poise and style of his big band
days. Always the showman. '
128 E. Franklin Street
Next to Yogurt Barn Downtown
Bar Phone: 929-8276 Deli Phone: 929-3824
Wednesday Night is
jVo Cover for the
Ladies from 9 until p.m.
AH Evening for the
Open Eer DsfcT; l'V
Splish-splash: waterbeds earn place in homes
f'Look Who's Playing:
Thursday Night, Too.
Featuring Former Musicians of
Count Basie's Orchestra; the
Four 'Fops and H'orkshoppe
Continued from page 1
frame for it."
Even if the mattress does break,
Carswell said, there are at least two
consolations: (I) you can't possibly
drown in the amount of water a bed
contains, and (2) the water would not
pour out all over the house. It would be
contained by the safety liner.
All waterbeds consist of four separate
units: the mattress, safety liner, heater
"As we assemble the frame," Carswell
said, "we explain to the customer what's
going on. The bed frames give support
to the mattress.
"Then we put in the heating system,"
he said. There are two kinds of heating
systems. The most popular is the
thermostatic control, which
automatically cuts off when it reaches
the desired temperature. The other
system is a solid state heater, which
Carswell says is the more efficient of the
"The safety liner comes next," he said.
"This is the most important part of the
Finally, the mattress goes in. "We get
the mattress to a level that is the most
comfortable to the customer. After that,
we wax the furniture, re-check the
mattress and make up the bed."
Waterbeds come with a specially
constructed sheet to facilitate
bedmaking, consisting of a flat sheet
sewn on to a fitted sheet.
The bed is filled with ordinary water
from a garden hose. When the owner is
ready to move, all he or she has to do is
siphon the water out with the same hose
and pack the mattress in a grocery bag.
A conditioner needs to be used
occasionally to eliminate the growth of
Cost is generally cheaper than that of
a traditional bed, said Carswell. "By the
time you pay for a traditional mattress
and bed frame, that alone will cost more
than a fully-assembled waterbed."
The most obvious question is,
"What's it like to have sex on a
Carswell replied, "A man who bought
one recently came back in here the other
day. He said, 'Believe it or not, my wife
and I actually sleep on it, too.' "
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