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November 1970

14 OCT. 1970 / Why Read This Column

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Why should you be reading this column? I could tell you why I read it, but I don't think they apply to you. I read it: 1. because I write it, 2. to look for typographical errors.

But if those motives aren't helpful, try these: If you are a freshman, you can read this column to find out how another frosh is adjusting, and what he thinks and sees around this Boston, this Cambridge, this M.I.T. (some 3000 miles from his home in the verdant forests of Oregon) or if you're not a freshman, this collection of randomness may remind you of your long-lost feeling of disorientation when you first arrived here, lo that many years ago. The feeling which you gradually discovered your way out of. That's what this is, or at least what it's intended to be. A column of discovery. And among other things discovered in the last three issues:

  1. A Column on Culture was a pretentious title. So, the title was changed, but the intent of the column is not.
  2. This author has discovered, on the advice of the editor, the first person singular. I have mixed feelings about the editorial we, so it's hard for us to make up my mind. But we will keep working on it. If you have a comment, write it down and send it in to this column. We will save all the best ones for ideas, and print the others in this column.

 Half the column gone, and no reviews of any sort yet! You may have noticed that. As long as you have survived the column up to this point, I might as well give you the good word about this week's column. It's gotten off to such a slam bang start that I'm going to finish it off with a few general musings about ERGO, if God and my editor (not necessarily in that order) are willing. People that know me and know that I write for ERGO ask me why our paper does not look as "pretty" as some of the opposition. (Not that looks are the only thing that counts). To them and many others, I reply that this paper is no more or less than the joint efforts of those who produce it. We need more photographers and lay-out men. With more people, we could be unshackled from the day-to-day details of just getting the paper out and concentrate on the long-range task of putting out an ever-improving paper, esthetically. So, until you get up off your veranda, that's the way it will be. (The opinions expressed are those of the author, not the editorial staff of this paper.)

A word on the nature of criticism: It is an art which I am unashamed to admit I am still learning. Many, many people have said to me that my reviews in the last issue of ERGO were too positive, that a true critic would have pointed out the faults in each of the three events. There were, no doubt about it, some faults in each event. I plead guilty to over-enthusiasm, and promise regular readers of this column (both of you) that I will make an effort in the future to be a little more critical of that which I view and hear.

SHORT NOTES: Catch 22 is probably one of the most reviewed movies in the business today, but having just seen it, I feel I owe you one: believe the favorable reviews you read elsewhere, it's a good movie.

AND: Thanks to the anonymous student who brought the title quote of this column to my attention by writing it on the wall in the main hall.


There were two misspellings in the P.S. a Column on Things column in the last issue of ERGO. Apologies to both Tim Phegley and Mike Wildermuth for incorrect spellings of their names due to errors in the author's text.

7 OCTOBER 1970 Captain Zommar, Potluck Coffee House

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This columnist has decided to strike closer to home. During the last week, several events of note occurred that we witnessed. (This is not to exclude other events, but we didn't see them.) They just go to prove that there are hidden pools of talent around the old 'tute. To wit:

EXHIBIT A: Calvin Coolidge presents Thursday Evening featuring Captain Zomarr and the Galaxy Pirates quarter hour, was an auxiliary feature of the Mike Davis Radio Programme on WTBS a week ago Saturday. The show was a 40-minute comedy routine complete with commercials. It was put together by a large, somewhat more than normally batty group of M.I.T. students, and funny is just not a sufficient word to describe the roaringly humorous material presented. This show might have made radio history. Maybe it made radio a pickle. We aren't sure how to handle it. But neither was Mike Davis, it seems. The program was well worth the time, and should it return for a third ppearance we can hope for a little more advance publicity. (The author must admit knowing a few of the players, and thus may be slightly prejudiced.)

EXHIBIT B: (Note: This reporter had to leave before the second act last Friday, the singing of John Fagley. We'll try to hear him next time out.) Pope Pius XII is not only a new (?) group on campus, he was our 30th president, the Friday night audience of the Pot Luck Coffee House was told by Mike McClure, Mike Wildermuth, and Clark Smith, who compose the trio. The group did a stand-up singing routine, and came through well in the small Mezzanine Lounge, despite microphone problems. The group's repertoire was well balanced; during their first set they sang four ballads and soft tunes, four driving "pop tunes, and five gag tunes. The group's gimmick numbers are spectacular and include snappy choreography ("Duke of Earl") as well as dollar bill, comb, and kazoo ("Ladies"). But their talent on straight music is undeniable, both on copy songs and originals. ("She Knows: and "Psychic Players") Smith holds down the lead vocal chores, while Wildermuth (wearing a photie of an Indian village) and McClure (tastefully open collar) provide back up vocal and guitar, with occasional leads (including a ten minute Wildermuth solo spot). Technically, as good as any folk group, recorded or not, that we've heard.

EXHIBIT C: Then, of course, there was the M.I.T. Dramashop with a two-day series of two plays (one performance of each per night) last Friday and Saturday. (The Friday performance had filled the Kresge Little Theatre at least ten minutes before showtime, when we were turned away by the full house signs on the doors.) The plays were. "Picnic on the Battlefield" by Arrabal and "Under Plain Cover" by John Osbourne. The performances were crisp, and the sets were, as usual, well done. The special effects and lighting left nothing at all to be desired, and the director, cast, and crew are to be complimented on a very balanced presentation. What more remains to be said?