Vietnam! Ed Koch! Party Raid! Vietnam! Vietnam! Flag Burning! Horrorshow, Droogies!


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April 14, 1966, Vol. XI, No. 26

America in Vietnam: From Here to Nowhere

By Michael Harrington

As I write, the news is filled with reports on Buddhist demonstrations in Vietnam. Indeed, events are moving so fast that, by the time this review is published, perhaps the Ky government will have been overthrown. With history moving at such a pace, it is hard to come up with a measured and sober discussion of two books dealing with the incredibly tangled recent past in that stricken land…

Liberals Go All Out for Koch

The Liberal Party made clear this week that it will probably back Democratic Leader Edward I. Koch for the City Council whoever the Republican choice may be. This unusual announcement from the Liberals, who normally support Republicans in the particular councilmanic district Koch hopes to run in, should advance his chances against other Democratic contenders for the nomination. The addition of the Liberal vote would greatly improve the chance for the Democrats to win the district…

City’s Might Knocks Out Artists’ Peace Party

By Susan Brownmiller

An artists’ loft party that was advertised in The Village Voice was raided on Friday evening by the combined forces of the police, fire, and buildings departments. Two young art students, Larry Faden and Mark Roberts, were arrested for the illegal sale of alcohol. The raid occurred at 11 p.m. when the party was in full swing. The top-floor loft at 100 Prince Street was filled with an estimated 300 persons, about half of whom were frugging to a live seven-piece band. The Artists and Writers Protest Committee, a new anti-war-in-Vietnam group, had set up a projector in the rear of the loft to show a film on the Los Angeles Peace Tower. The screening was interrupted and the loft ordered cleared…

Dove Democrats Flee Mr. Johnson’s Coop

By Jack Newfield

There appear to be two Democratic Parties emerging in America. One is on Lyndon Johnson’s reservation and the other is in mortgage to Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who is in possession of the only sanctuary where doves are welcome. This unacknowledged division was dramatically on display Monday night at jam-packed Manhattan Center, where 500 people were turned away from an anti-Johnson rally…It was an unusual spectacle. Elected Democrats addressed themselves to grassroots Democrats at a rally called for the purpose of attacking the policies of an incumbent Democratic president…

The Obsessed & the Obvious

By Nat Hentoff

On April 1 David Mitchell was sentenced to up to five years in Federal prison. He had refused to report for induction into the armed forces because he believes this country is committing war crimes in Vietnam in violation of international treaties, particularly the Nuremberg judgments. The head on the story in the April 2 Times, DRAFT PROTESTOR GETS A 5-YEAR TERM. The head on the story in the April 2 Tribune: AGAIN — 5 YEARS TO DRAFT DODGER. There’s at least one man on the Tribune who will find no problems of taste or style when he merges with the Journal-American…

American Flag Burned In Theatre Spectacle

By Fred W. McDarrah

On Friday night at about 1.45 a.m. Jose Rodriguez-Soltero, an artist and film-maker, electrified the audience at the Bridge Theatre, 4 St. Mark’s Place, by setting fire to the American flag to the background music of the number one pop music hit, “Ballad of the Green Beret.”

…The impact on the audience was sensational. Although the event was clumsily performed, reaction to it was vociferous. People screamed, “Throw him out” Others applauded wildly. Still others were dumbfounded and puzzled as to how they should react to this extraordinary anti-American theatre piece.

Arthur Salner, director of the Bridge, who had no prior knowledge of the actual event, moved close to the stage and appeared bewildered. He later said that, although it was poor theatre, he thought “if Soltero’s gesture could mitigate any suffering, then all the flags should be burned. That’s my moral position.”

A gentleman in a dinner jacket shouted “Pinko…fag!” Nancy Weber of the New York Post was “physically, spiritually, morally, and aesthetically oppressed” and left shortly after.

…Artist Bob Goldstein of the Christopher Street Lightworks, a gallery, said “it was without exception the most embarrassing and unpleasant experience” he ever witnessed in a public place. He described it as a total assault on the audience. “It was bad mannered, done without taste or style…It was not art,” he said, “just bad social protest”…

Violence/Non-Violence: The Evil in Each

By Ross Wetzsteon

Anthony Burgess was limping slightly. “Arterial trouble,” he said. “I’m officially senile.”

“That’s a nice looking cane. Is it cherry?”

He stopped and lifted the cane.

“Take hold of the end…Now pull.”

The cane came apart. He held a rapier in his hand. Lunge and parry.

“I thought I’d get mugged in New York,” he said, re-inserting the rapier in the stock of the cane. And like his novels, the joke had serious overtones.

“A Clockwork Orange,” in particular, his best-known novel, described by William Burroughs as “one of the few books I have been able to read in years,” is an hilarious and somber prophecy of a world dominated by teenage gangs, a kind of comic cross between “1984” and “The Wild Ones.”

…The novel is told in invented slang. Burgess explains that he’d finished nearly a third of the book in contemporary teenage slang before he realized that by the time it came out the vocabulary would already be out-dated.

“I would have looked silly.”

But about this time he made a short visit to Moscow — and it suddenly occurred to him that by inventing his own vocabulary, by using Russian roots in particular, he could not only solve this problem but could also convey his vision of an automated and sterile mass society, the one-world not of Willkie but of IBM.

Some of the vocabulary has English sources (“rabbit” for work, “cancer” for cigarette, “pee and em” for parents, “the old in-out in-out with ultra-violence” for sex) but most of the words come from Russian:

Nadsat — teen.
Horrorshow — good.
Lewdies — people.
Viddy — see.
Bog — God.
Devotchka — girl.
Goloss — voice.
Groddies — breasts.
Neezhnies — underpants.
Rot — mouth.
Sharries — buttocks.
Slovo — word.
Smeck — laugh.
Yarbles — balls.
Vesch — thing.

(This shouldn’t put anyone off. After a few pages such sentences as the following are easily understood: “Those two were unplattied and smecking fit to crack in no time at all, and they thought it the bolshiest fun to viddy old Uncle Alex standing there all nagoy and panhandled, squirting the hypodermic like some bare doctor, then giving myself the old jab of growling jungle-ca secretion in the rooker.”)

Burgess says he occasionally hears this language in London. Some of the teenagers are picking it up. “It frightens me.” For like all reverse-utopians, of course he wrote his prophecies in order to help forestall them…

Burgess was easily the…most popular panelist at the recent International Writers Conference at Long Island University, a raffish humor charming the students, an understated wit undercutting the professors. In tweed jacket and green shirt, his iron-gray hair combed forward, a kind of Dylan Thomas of the ’60s, he cheerfully autographed remaindered copies of his novels. “They tell me my novels are passed around from person to person. I can believe it. I know no one’s buying them.”

Another comic novelist baffled him though.

“That Mailer book,” he said. “Is it supposed to be funny?” [“An American Dream,” published in 1965.]

“Some people have called it an American wet dream.”

“It’s amazing, isn’t it. That opening scene, that scene with the maid,” Burgess said, shaking his head. “It hardly seems possible, does it?” He illustrated with thumb and forefinger, still shaking his head. “Amazing.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]