The Warriors of Pacifism
(Adler & Adler)
Saint Augustine, ever the apologist, managed to subvert the message of the New Testament with his own bizarre concept of a "Just War."Ever since then, pacifists have been trying to reassert their opposition to fighting and killing, in any form, and just as often, governments have been sticking them away in prison for wanting to bow out of institutionalized murder.Pacifism certainly brings up the hardest questions in times of war. During the two world wars, on either side, conscientious objectors lost their jobs, often their families and friends, and spent endless time at hard labor.This is the tale of one Archibald Baxter who refused to obey conscription orders during WWI:
He took me over to the poles, which were willow stumps six to eight inches in diameter and twice the height of a man, and placed me against one of them ... he knew how to pull and strain at the ropes, till they cut into the flesh and completely stopped the blood circulating. When I was taken off my hands were always black with congealed blood.
Moorehead's book is not just a tale of dissent and the price of that dissent. There are fascinating asides and quick character sketches that can be endearing, such as the description of Gandhi's visit to England in 1931:
It would have been absolutely dark when Gandhi rose, and still dark when he set out, in dhoti and white wool Kashmiri shawl, along the edge of the canal, past three mills, past a distillery, a granary, a row of 18th century cottages and some oast houses, skirting bridges over which went the scarlet electric trains to Barking...
Walking along the narrow path, now thickly overgrown with bramble, it is possible to imagine the little group, Gandhi in white in front, Muriel [Lester] behind him sensibly dressed against the cold, perhaps a politician and his secretary behind, rather awkwardly scrambling along the uneven unfamiliar path, moving, sometimes in single file, along the water's edge, looking down at the loaded barges, and hearing, through the dark, the voices of the men as they lowered bales and kegs, on their pulleys from the high warehouse doors into the holds of the waiting barges.
Pacifists, until very recently, always got bad press, because they would be the minority of minorities --- ones who were unwilling to go to battle for or against the Kaiser, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo: so they had to be traitors.
In the Partisan Review, George Orwell, who should have known better, referred to "conchies" --- concientious objectors --- as "the fascist gang" who believed "one can somehow overcome the German army by lying on one's back."
Moorehead carries us up to the marches on Aldermasten, and the anti-Vietnam demonstrations, and the present anti-nuclear controversies. Do these techniques work? Who's to say? But David Halberstam reports that in 1966, Pentagon officials advised President Johnson to bomb Haiphong and Hanoi, and the President is reported to have said that if he did it, "How long will it take 500,000 angry Americans to climb that White House wall out there and lynch the President?"
RAISING TURKEYS, DUCKS,
(Tab Books)Tab Books is seriously in the agrarian information business. One of their other "Best Sellers" is Home Butchering and Meat Preservation by Geet and Sam Dardick --- and we swear we didn't make up the title of the book, nor, by no means, "Geet Dardick."
Cynthia Haynes shows a no-nonsense approach to a task that the rest of us might think of as a lark --- or simply a goose --- but Raising Turkeys, Ducks, Geese, Pigeons, and Guineas is heavy with butchering, culling, egg production, sexing, and the various ills that all these feather-heads are heir to: histomoniasis, opthalmia, hemorrhagic enteritis, lice, blackhead disease (for the juvenile poult and ducklet set), cecal worms, erysipelas, and "the staggers" (for the drinkers in the crowd).
These oft fatal diseases are gloriously illustrated with photographs that might be at home in the "Arkansas Animal Morbidity Report," "Small Animal Abstracts," or Pathologia Veterinaria. Winged husbandry is obviously big business, but if the Animal Freedom League needs something to cry foul about, it should attack those who raise their birds en foule. This book encourages the "debeaking" of birds, a cruel procedure to keep them from pecking each other to death. The pecking to death is a sure sign of overcrowded poultry houses.
HARMONY BY HAND
Art of the Southwest Indians
Patrick Houlihan, Jerold L. Collings,
Sarah Nestor, and Jonathan Batkin
(Chronicle Books)Did they really teach basketweaving at podunk colleges? We hope so, because in the right hands, it can be gorgeous. And in the hands of Chronicle Books --- basketry, weaving, and pottery not only are gorgeous, but come to have a rich rapport with the land and landscape of the Southwest.
Navajo, Zuni, Acoma, Apache, Hopi, and Pima baskets, bowls, and blankets are respectfully shown intermixed with century-old photographs of those who created this fine artwork. With the coming of the tourist, Navajo blankets gave way to rugs. Yet the Hopi make baskets that are "technically superior to their work a hundred years ago" because of the continuing cultural importance of the baskets as gifts and for ceremony. Anthropologist M. C. Stevenson describes the transvestite Zuni potter We'wha:
We'wha requested the writer to remain perfectly quiet and not talk, saying "Should we talk, my pottery would crack in the baking, and unless I pray constantly the clay will not appear to me." She applied the hoe vigorously to the hard soil, all the while murmuring prayers to Mother Earth . . . After gathering about 150 pounds in a blanket, which she carried on her back, with the ends of the blanket tied around her forehead, We'wha descended the steep mesa, apparently unconscious of the weight.
The end of the nineteenth century brought about the demise of large-pottery making in most of the pueblos:
The railroad to Albuquerque was completed by 1880, going near the pueblos of Santo Domingo, Isleta, Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni, and close enough to the Hopi villages to encourage droves of tourists to invade. Not wanting to carry back large waterjars, storage jars, or dough bowls, they often preferred the little momento. There was money to be made, and the pueblos were now reliant upon a cash economy. Consequently, old pottery types gave way to new, and the little figurine, basket-bowl, and ashtray became commonplace.
IMAGE AND WORD:
The Interaction of
Photographs and Texts
(Harvard)Here we have a delicious compilation of the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Robert Capa, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans. Hunter's message is that text can enhance or denigrate photographs; that there are some combinations that powerfully reinforce each other (Death in the Making or Now Let Us Praise Famous Men being the best examples); that artful cropping can change an interesting photograph into a powerful statement (examples of Dorothea Lange's editing techniques are shown); and, finally, that photographs can lend themselves to poetry:
Here is the girl's head like an exhumed gourd.(These lines are from one of the poems of Seamus Heaney had written when he saw P. V. Glob's book of photographs of iron-age excavations, The Bog People. Dig: can you imagine a guy named Glob writing about the bog people?)
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.
They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty ...
Bertolt Brecht was "in the habit of cutting photographs out of newspapers and news magazines like Life and writing epigrammatic quatrains on them," which he called "photograms." A book of these, entitled Kriegsfibel (lit., "War Primer"), was published in East Germany in 1955, and several are described here but, strangely, not shown. Image and Word is a preëminent compilation of the effect of the photographic vision on words and vice versa.
HOW TO REPAIR FOOD
Marina and John Bear
(Ten Speed Press)Whaddya do when you bum the rice, put too much salt in the corn, overcook the asparagus, thaw out the lima beans by mistake, drop the Stroganoff on the floor just before serving time --- how do you, in brief, undo some calamitous error just before the ten guests arrive for dinner? The answers are here, arranged alphabetically, with no little charm. For instance, icy ice cream:
When ice cream stored in the freezer starts to get icy or crystallized, you can often cure the problem by wrapping it very tightly in aluminum foil and returning it to the freezer at least overnight. Or save it in the refrigerator until tomorrow morning and serve it with hot or cold cereal for a breakfast the kids will never forget.
The Bears (who apparently are neither big nor bad) have reviewed all the kitchen disasters possible. They have read, they tell us, some 2,000 cookbooks to come up with solutions for ruination and potential ruination.
The current world's record is held by a lady from Nashville, Tennessee who shot a stream of lemon-juice 48 feet 2 inches, or across the entire width of the dance floor of the Gilded Gazebo Supper Club. Good etiquette allows you to prevent squirting by inserting a fork into your lemon wedge and squeezing it over the fork, shielding it with your hand as you do.
Their hints are not restricted to food that's gone bad; they also have some suggestion for, well, stinky kitchens: put some orange-peel in the oven, at 350 degrees, with the door ajar. If you've got a really powerful odor you need to deal with fast, boil a teaspoon of cloves in a mixture of one cup of water with one-and-a-quarter cup of vinegar --- but be careful not to let the liquid boil away or you'll be dealing with the stink of burned cloves.
IT'S A LONG ROAD
Mexican Adventures Since 1928
Everett Gee Jackson
(Texas A & M Press)Before his recent death, Jackson traveled over the border for more time than some of us have been on earth, and he obviously loved Mexico, Mexicans, Mexican culture, Mexican food, Mexican time:
By the time you get as far down as San Vicente, you lose any tendency to hurry and, from there on south, you like to be wherever you happen to be, at whatever time. In fact, you may need to be reminded of your destination --- if you still have one.
The writing is direct, the tone is at once shy and sly, and the humor is endearing. This is about flying, Mexican style (in an airplane, filled with chickens):
As I crept toward the big white rooster with a golden ring around his neck, he moved to the very edge of the plane's floor and seemed to be taking a look through the open door at the jungle below. It was inconceivable to me that he would fly out if I pressed him. However, I soon learned that over the years I had been underestimating the spirit of a chicken, for before I could get my hands on him, out the door he went.
As long as I could, I watched his soaring, circular descent, and I believe he made the trip down successfully. As I watched him going down, it seemed to me that I was witnessing one of the most remarkable flights ever made by a domesticated fowl. I felt very sympathetic toward that rooster, and I hoped he would not only land safely, but, no other chickens being down there, that he might find some junglefowl --- perhaps a Quetzal bird --- to show him how to survive in a jungle environment.
Jackson is an artist --- sketches abound in this volume --- and an amateur archeologist. He also claims to be "bewitched" by Mexicans and Mexico, and It's a Long Road to Comondú might do the same to us. Upon his return to the United States,
...we found that the bathtub, unlike those we had known in Mexico, was not filled with old newspapers and magazines and that it was actually hooked up to hot and cold running water. Clearly we were now in a world where common sense, cleanliness, efficiency, and impeccable order reigned supreme ... despite this nice new situation, we were not at all happy. We did not prefer this efficiency. Surely we both had been bewitched.
GUIDE TO THE
(Moon Publications)Some day the Moon folks will have covered the entire earth (and possibly the moon) with their guidebooks. Until then, we have to wait and avoid those put out by others --- the lame (Afghanistan on $5 a Day) and the lurid (Birnbaum's Disneyland). Only Michelin, we believe, strives to be as comprehensive.
Moon attempts to prepare you for total immersion: for example, this guide to the Yucatan contains separate chapters on history, economy, the people, celebrations, accommodations, health care, transport, sights, and food. The Yucatan is rich with Mayan ruins; the islands are rich with coral reefs; and the sea is rich with fish and lobster, often caught and cooked right on the beach, yum. The chapters on the ruins are complete and fascinating:
Palenque is a do-not-miss attraction on any itinerary of Mayan ruins. The setting, on a lush green shelf at the edge of the Sierra de Chiapas rainforest, adds to the serenity of this noble compound of ornate carvings and graceful design ...The centerpiece of the chamber is the sarcophagus topped by a flat, 5-ton slab of stone. The magnificent slab is beautifully carved with the figure of [Lord Shield] Pacal in death surrounded by monsters, serpents, sun and shell signs, and many more glyphs that recount death and its passage.
Moon lists for each town or city not only sights, suggested hotels, inns, restaurants, and street food --- but will, too, suggest what you might not do:
Note, however, that the Indians living in the surrounding rainforest, who come colorfully dressed to Santa Domingo for supplies, mostly don't like to have their pictures taken . . . if you persist after their efforts to hide, cover their faces, or turn their backs, don't be surprised if one of the Indians grabs your camera and throws it over the nearest precipice. This is a strong religious belief; . . . respect it.
THE UNDERGROUND ATLAS:
A Gazeteer of the World's
John Middleton and Tony Waltham
(St Martin's Press)The largest cave system in the world is near Mammoth, Kentucky --- first discovered in 1835, with new caves still being found each year. It is three times larger than the next contender, located north of the Baltic Sea --- Optimisticheskaya (the name means "At first I didn't believe your lies, but now I am optimisticheskaya. Kiss me!")
The deepest natural cave is Resneau Jean Bernard, which runs almost a mile down from Samoens in the French Alps. The prettiest one, at least if we are to judge by the thirty or so photographs (hideously reproduced here) is in Japan, at Akiyoshi-do. The listings are alphabetical, and they are very technical.
It's the most interesting karst region in the country . . . with extensive fields of lapies, variously shaped dolines, swallowholes, poljes and dry valleys.
Anyone who wants to spend time underground being spooked by great holes of darkness is welcome to it. For us, the only cave we are interested in is cave quid dicis, quando, et cui.
The Role of Creative
William N. Confer
(Human Sciences Press)A good psychotherapist will tell you that the work is entrancing, for he or she gets to travel through the emotional circus, nightmare and floor show of a patient without ever leaving the four walls of the office. There is absolutely no reason in the world for the experience to be boring. Intuitive Psychotherapy manages, however, to reach all the way to 0.2 on the Ennui Scale. It's like that Coke you left in the fridge too long:
While you were talking about your relationship with your ex-girlfriend I imagined a Coke bottle half filled with Coke and resting without a cap on it in a refrigerator. It looked like a Coke and it tasted like Coke, but the fizz was gone. Can you use this in some way in relation to what you were just talking about?
Sorry Confer; it's too much --- we just keep slipping off to sleep here on the couch. Our prescription for your ailment? A year off, reading the tales of Milton Erickson, the case studies of Jung, or the literary works of Freud. We're not sure that you'll be cured --- but at least none of us will be forced to sleep on company time.