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14 May 1971 /Unwittingly, the Final MIT PSACOT

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Conformity There is something of a cult at the Institute, although the word cult might be too esoteric for any organized thought that can continue to exist within the four grey walls of MIT.

It is most prevalent among humanities instructors and humanistic students and its influence spreads far beyond its numbers of true believers not only here, but in this country in general.

I mean the cult of nonconformity. It is the belief that any tendency (as it is often expressed, without qualification) to conform to the norms of society as a whole, is a bad idea.

Clearly, this is extreme: most people hedge their nonconformity by drawing a line. That, in my opinion, is the crux of the entire matter: drawing the line.

Very few people believe in non-conformity to the extent that they either begin to rape and pillage. There are certain norms with which they are content to Conform; yet they develop a rather intolerant attitude for people whose line is drawn at a different location from their own.

The line to me is drawn much too close to the conformist side of the scale; people who are close to the line tend to be intolerant of others with a different viewpoint.

It would certainly be a healthier condition than the status quo if people were to develop a little more tolerance of external trappings which bear little relation to sociological interaction: to whit, long hair and odd clothes. Just to say that, and claim to believe it, of course is not quite enough.

Charity begins at home, and unless your attitude is tolerant towards the other side, you have pitiful little excuse to ask for tolerance from him. So, my advice for today (bringing us-thankfully to the end of our sermon) is to remember always that we all conform a little, and that how much is a very personal decision that none of us should really scorn.

Jacob Wirth's

I have found the first superlative restaurant of my brief career. The manager, Mr. O'Grady, assured me that, "There isn't a real restaurant in the Boston area that isn't a good place to eat." On his lips, this smacks of modesty above and beyond the call of duty; he manages the best restaurant I have been to in Boston so far, and probably one of the two or three best period.

My roommate and I found much to be delighted about, which we were assured has been the case since the very beginning: good food, low, low prices, (in comparison both to quality and in absolute terms), and quick, very personalized service. The waiter actually talks to you, although not for very long, as he is moving so fast. He will recommend the best dish and steer you away from the expensive one if that's not really what he concludes you want.

My roommate, who headed back for Germany the next day, assured me that the food was authentic, and that the atmosphere (complete with sawdust on the floor) reminded him of an Irish pub.

A good place to eat. Located on Stuart Street (37-39) in downtown Boston.

7 May 1971 / Loyalty

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This column, which has figuratively and literally defied classification during its brief but all too lengthy existence, has been placed at last in a cubbyhole. Sources with unusual perception and brilliance have informed this writer that the column, outside of the reviews of movies, plays, or events, is a weekly essay.

Some others, among them some of my fellow The Tech staffers, suggest that it be spelled "weakly." You can't please 'all the people all the time.

Which reminds me of loyalty, a word which was bandied about very much in the early 50's by a junior senator from Wisconsin. And it is coming back into vogue, on the lips of some of our most celebrated national figures: i.e., Spiro Agnew, and sometimes even the President himself.

The Schindler unabridged definition of "loyalty" is: that feeling which enables one to overlook the minor (or not so minor) faults of an institution or person towards which the loyalty is directed. These are often faults which would not be tolerated in an institution or person towards whom loyalty is not felt.

Why bother -to bring the whole thing up? Because it is just too seldom that people ever consider the topic in any sort of serious way. Many probably assume that once a loyalty has been developed, it is something which should be permanent (as much as anything is permanent).

My experience in the area is not vast, but I have developed some concepts which might be useful. A feeling of loyalty can be discarded for several reasons. Foremost among them is a fact so overwhelming that it shakes the basis of the faith upon which I loyalty is built.

Another is enlightened self-interest: you are convinced that by switching loyalties some benefit will accrue to you.

A third might be rejection of your loyalty.

Any of these are perfectly good rationales.

Or at least, they would be if you happened to live in a vacuum. Unfortunately, it is the case for most of us that our actions affect not only ourselves, but those around us.

In particular, the group you are leaving might very well say to you, "How can you do this to us?" At the same time, your friends may very well say, "How can you change loyalties so easily?" I have found just one answer to both of these queries - "It's what's best for me." If you stop and think about it, that's probably the case with you too. And that's the best reason in the world, to my way of thinking.

If my definition is correct, then national criticism of journalism for reporting facts which undermine people's loyalty is valid. And it is.

Top of the Hub

You can get a very nice view of a number of the sights of downtown Boston from near the top of the Prudential Center. That has got to be the major advantage of the Top of the Hub.

There are several other nice things to be said of the Top of the Hub, on a technical basis. The chairs have rollers on their legs, an interesting innovation which makes it uncommonly easy to sit down or get up from the nicely appointed tables.

In addition, the service is friendly and quick.

Perhaps most important of all, if you, like me, have a tendency to drink a lot of water with your meal, is the fact that this is one of the few restaurants I have been in that service your water glass.

It seems that Stouffer's (the same company that runs the MIT food service, but a different division) has realized the minimal cost of a glass of water compared to the desire to have something to drink. That certainly covers the nice things I would have to say about The Top of the Hub.

It is, I admit, a nice place to eat, and in spite of what, you hear, the food is better than at Walker Memorial; or at least different, and, of course, more expensive. Dinner for two, with the addition of wine, can easily cost you $25.00, although you can keep the total bill under $15.00 and still get a decent meal. It's not the place for blue jeans and bare feet, and I assure you that white tie and tails would not seem out of place.

I found my Beef en Brochette with Rice Pilaf to be adequate, though I was assured that the Rice Pilaf was not spectacular. The Lobsters Newberg were tasty, although the spinach (burnt on the bottom) left something to be desired. The French Onion soup I found particularly good, and it is one of the less expensive appetizers.

Tonight's WTBS highlight is the 5th Human Sexuality Lecture, by Dr. Alan Barnes, on the topic "Sexual Intercourse," considered by many to be the best of the series. That's at 7 pm. At about 9:30 is the Potluck Coffeehouse broadcast, live until 12 midnight. Saturday is the Great Sail remote, in front of the Green Building, starting at 8 pm.