[sixties-l] Re: [change-links] Will the real Jeff Blankfort...?

From: Dorothy Jesse Beagle (djesse@juno.com)
Date: Sat Jan 20 2001 - 08:48:23 EST

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    A long hike in the Oakland hills! Are you just
    going to out-do me at every turn!!!!!!! Does this count: I spent
    8 hrs tonight, going to SF quick meal, and then Cafe International, SF
    (BEST poetry/music performance
    place in my opinion, with very long open readings) for Frank Moore
    performance, where I also performed "Don't Get Out of the Boat" (don't
    make waves) jazz poem, talked with gillions of people - ten or so
    coming to read at my series, talked w/Japanese
    talented singer/guitarist who could NOT speak
    English, a few words, we gestured, etc., one man
    said 'you look like an interesting person, where
    can we see your work etc' My friend Alexi said
    I should have answered "perhaps it was my
    Mad Hatter's hat which gave me away! I wore
    it for my friends who were performing but also
    because I was announcing Jesse's Inaugural Ball
    rescheduled for Burnt Ramen in March!!!! Well,
    we don't like being politically correct and certainly
    did not want to be anywhere close to the other
    guy who stole his Presidency, but I
    explained to these strangers at the Cafe, people elected me to go and
    take 'an' oval office in Washington to represent the otherwise expendable
    and the marginalized and that Bill Mandel was my Vice President (who
    since he is so energetic!!!! speeches in Southern Ca,
    radio interviews, book selling/readings AND walks
    in the Berkeley hills!) will have to do most of the
    work because VP's are too often left out and
    that isn't nice!
    Several people said "you SHOULD be President"
    but could that have been because "anyone would
    be better than Bush????"



    On Fri, 19 Jan 2001 19:57:45 -0800 "William M. Mandel"
    <wmmmandel@earthlink.net> writes:
    > What a tiny world! So Allen Zak knows both Jeff Blankfort and myself
    > from before
    > we knew each other. If his memory of the year of my Ohio State
    > adventure is
    > slightly off, the story itself is fun enough to be worth retelling.
    > And since this
    > is a restful Friday evening at home after a long hike in the Oakland
    > hills, I'll
    > simply copy it from Saying No To Power:
    > "From the English Department of Ohio State University I received
    > [in 1961,
    > Allen] an invitation to speak at a showing of the film [Operation
    > Abolition, about
    > the 1960 HUAC hearing in San Francisco, presenting HUAC's point of
    > view: the
    > demonstrating students 'were toying with treason'] and comment on
    > it. It was
    > signed with a most marvelous name, Henry Orion St. Onge. From its
    > style I picture
    > a white-haired Yankee who looked like Emerson. When I arrived I
    > learned that the
    > reason he had invited me was because of my use of the English
    > language in my
    > testimony. The tape was, in fact, used in numerous English, Speech,
    > and Rhetoric
    > classes across the country for years. St. Onge turned out to be a
    > brand-new Ph.D.
    > in his mid-30s, but I was right about where he came from: New
    > England but of
    > French-Canadian workingclass origins.
    > "Opposition by the John Birch Society, the most influential
    > nationwide
    > far-Right organization of that period, caused the university
    > president to withdraw
    > permission for my appearance. There was much faculty support for St.
    > Onge. When
    > the Birchers tried to put the governor of Ohio on the spot over this
    > in a press
    > conference, he responded in a way that hadn't been heard in 15
    > years. He said he
    > thought the students were mature enough to make their own judgment
    > on what the
    > speaker would say.
    > "As it turned out, I spoke in St. Onge's back yard, from his
    > kitchen steps, to
    > an audience in which plainclothes types equalled students in
    > numbers. He had
    > posted a sign above his steps: 'The Thomas Tusser Society Presents
    > William
    > Mandel.' Afteward I asked him who Thomas Tusser was. A 16th-century
    > English
    > pastoral poet. And what was the Thomas Tusser Society? Well, in the
    > cafeteria one
    > day he had rejoiced at discovering one other grad student in English
    > who had heard
    > the name, so their coffee klatches thereafter had been dubbed the
    > T.T.Society.
    > Since I had been denied any kind of official sponsorship by the
    > university, and
    > was, he said, 'in the classical English tradition of verbal
    > utterance' (I made a
    > note of that!), I deserved to be presented by the T.T.S. And
    > besides, finding out
    > who T.T. was would give the Birchers and the FBI something to do.
    > Subsequently he
    > had someone who could do fine calligraphy make me a 'certificate of
    > honor' from
    > the T.T.S.!
    > "That evening I had an indoor lecture at the Columbus Unitarian
    > Church, so
    > packed by students, eight hundred or so, that they were quite
    > literally hanging
    > into the windows. The ruckus over my appearance went on daily in the
    > student
    > newspaper for a month thereafter. The faculty senate was still
    > dealing with its
    > aftermath a year later. In retrospect it occurs to me that the
    > ongoing debate
    > among Ohio State students can only be explained by the times.
    > Educated youth felt
    > it had to face its conscience and convictions. Up to then,
    > anti-communism as
    > presented by the House Un-American Activities Committee and the FBI
    > had been the
    > holy writ upon which their schooling in civics and government had
    > stood. And now
    > they were grappling with the possibility that the king was naked.
    > "My Ohio State contretemps became an early part of the history
    > of student
    > activism in the '60s. It was described in an article in Atlantic
    > Monthly, later in
    > an Atlantic book, also in a paperback on the John Birch Society. St.
    > Onge was
    > fired from a teaching job at a Nebraska university for which he had
    > received a
    > contract just before the incident. The matter went to the American
    > Association of
    > University Professors, which published a long report in its journal
    > three years
    > after the event, censuring Nebraska's Wayne State and compelling it
    > to reinstate
    > the cotnract or reimburse him. Meanwhile, St. Onge, out of work,
    > took his family
    > to New Zealand to be out of the way of the H-bomb war he and a very
    > large
    > perecentage of Americans expected. I did not. His wife, a folk
    > singer, wrote me
    > from there that the Kiwis were as dull as the sheep that covered the
    > hills. Not
    > the New Zealanders I knew a generation later. The Ohio State
    > incicent was also
    > treated in the 1970 book, Foster and Long's Protest! Student
    > Activism in America.
    > Fourteen years later, I woman living a block from us [in Berkeley]
    > brought over a
    > visiting high school teacher from Seattle who had attended Ohio
    > State in 1961. Our
    > neighbor had told him beforehand that I lived nearby and he had
    > carried down
    > photographs of me speaking from St. Onge's back porch, and said I
    > had affected his
    > life ever since. I said nothing new on that occasion, so this must
    > have been the
    > first time he encountered the ideas I was expressing, or at least in
    > a fashion
    > that got through to him.
    > "St. Onge was not the only academic to lose his job for
    > sponsoring
    > me...."(pp.378-80)
    > ShadCat11@aol.com wrote:
    > > Well, okay, then, here's one for you.
    > >
    > > In the late 50s when I was a student at Ohio State University,
    > William Marx
    > > Mandel, according to the Columbus Citizen Journal, which never
    > published the
    > > name without featuring Marx, was invited to speak at OSU by a
    > student
    > > organization. Altho not involved in political activity at that
    > time (I was
    > > a fraternity guy then), I was interested in hearing the views of a
    > real live
    > > Marxist and so planned to attend.
    > >
    > > Then the University canceled the event on grounds that any
    > invitation to
    > > speakers
    > > had to originate with faculty advisers. So faculty adviser Henry
    > St. Onge
    > > issued an invite. No good, replied the University, the invitation
    > obviously
    > > did not originate with St. Onge since Mandel had already been
    > booked. So
    > > much for free enquiry.
    > >
    > > But Mandel did come to Columbus and spoke off campus, first in St.
    > Onge's
    > > back yard and then at the First Unitarian Church. It was quite an
    > earful for
    > > me, and in the week surrounding these activities I learned more
    > about
    > > politics, democracy, press-titution and academic hypocrisy than in
    > all my
    > > previous education.
    > >
    > > The CJ ran a photograph of one of the appearances, referring to
    > the audience
    > > as "starry-eyed" students, which I suppose included me. While I
    > can't say
    > > the experience turned me to a lifetime of activism, it was
    > certainly another
    > > step in that direction.
    > >
    > > Allen Zak, starry eyes and all
    > >

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