January 1, 1960
Twelve days without journal entries, barring a poem written on impulse five minutes before the advent of the year 1960. Until this moment of the year 1959 and all other years, absurdly, I have had a slight illusion that the decade was just beginning. The forties, of course, were years of leading different lives and therefore a long, long decade - a student, the army, the first professional years, three decades really.
As the new year turns, I have turned forty almost unnoticed on December 29. How do I compare with myself in 1950? I am wiser, more powerful intellectually, more discriminating, no more brilliant, a little less lithe, possessed of perhaps $15,000 more, conversant in many areas of art, literature, and philosophy beyond before, accompanied by a family of handsome, healthy, and intelligent half-grown children with the last entering boyhood and first, womanhood. I sense destiny beyond what I've possessed, sometimes with a mania, complete with exhilaration, excitement, powerful aggressive and affectionate impulses, in the regions of public affairs and in poetic and scientific philosophy. But I know also that I may never emerge so forcefully from my present mode of existence and curve of accomplishment. The year 1970 may see me, at fifty years, with a fully-grown family honorably and wonderfully endowed with a few more works of prose somewhat better than I have produced thus far, more feeble and less organized physically, enjoying a reputation that goes higher as my work declines, as usually occurs in scholarly and intellectual circles. I assume, not without disbelief, that I shall be spared the familial and personal misfortunes which accident brings. Or perhaps I shall reach out for more glorious and very dangerous solutions of the problems of humanity, identified with myself, whether intellectually or in politics, and end in a burst of change bringing good or disaster. I say I can sense possibilities and believe that I shall be on the brink of extraordinary plunges, but, guided (or misguided) by calculation as I am always, I should not be certain now whether much more of anything can happen to my life.
Babies have been arriving. A week ago Anna Maria bore forth a boy, amidst great complaint and criticism of the natural and artificial conditions of childbirth. She wants to call him by a fancy name, Tancredi, or perhaps Francisco, but the children of both our families object, pointing to all the social disturbances this might cause at school and play. "They can call him 'Tank'," I said. "Tank!" they say, expletively in disgust, "That means "fat." It is an awkward and ugly name, I agree, and not even of familial or historical importance, since Tancredi, King of Sicily, seems to have lived a rather unfortunate and unfulfilled existence, and Tancredi the Crusader seems to have made some rather shady deals with the Turks while "liberating" Christiandom.
Rosalin Freylingheusen also bore a boy, her third, and he is handsome. She has had a nurse with him constantly so has suffered little subsequent for his young one yet. Jill and I stopped by to see them yesterday at the end of the two-hour walk in the sparkling sunlight around Lake Carnegie. We drank sherry laced with brandy, the perfect drink after a brisk walk on a cold day. It was January 1, and we then went home to eat duck and roast pork, with rice stuffing, red wine of Louis Martini, and a great mixed green salad with vinegar and olive oil dressing, potatoes, coffee.
On Christmas day, we were fifteen at the dinner table, with Sebastian's family and Ramon, and devoured a dozen small chickens and part of a ham. Christmas is now gone so far as to preclude a proper contemplative spirit on the occasion of Christ's birth. We certainly reduce the materialism of the holiday in our home and minds to much below the common level, but the shrillness, busyness, complexity, clutter, and things-crowded atmosphere move in with us to a depressing extent nevertheless. We try to give each child only a single present but are caught up in an exchange of gifts with other families. Several of us failed to attend a full church service, out of the confusion of times and tasks. Even if Christ is not believed to be god, all men of good will should seize the chance of his birthday to celebrate his shining and abundant goodness. I can think of no better reason to celebrate anything that has ever happened in this old and wicked world. Man is a celebrating animal. Let him memorialize therefore the best of his history. Let the old and young generations think and learn in this way of the best and kindliest example of man. Christmas need not be an exclusively Christian holiday. We
should, in America, arrive at consensus on this point. If not, circumstances will continue to force the degradation of the holiday. Non Christians will continue to unconsciously rebuke and taunt the Christians by converting the day into a bacchanalia. The more that Christians assert the dogmatic meaning of the day, the more implacably they will be resisted.
Ramon Santiago visited us for a week over Christmas. His brown skin seemed paler than it was this summer, but he was fit and conducted himself well. Jill bought him shoes and a missile toy, among other things, and I spent part of Christmas morning putting the launching platform and two-stage rocket together without the instruction booklet. It was found at night, long after the rockets had gone off and the second stage lost in the snowy reaches of La Placa's yard. John also had a missile, operated by chemical instead of water pressure. It too was temporarily lost on our roof.
On the 29 I returned Ramon to his family in New York. I believe that a half million visits among people of the New York region would go far towards easing the acute impersonalism and social hostilities of the New York population. A million bourgeois cliff-dwellers have never touched the lives of another million poor, mostly colored, except in formal, mostly commercial connections. The outdoor recreations justification for the Herald Tribune fresh air program is only a minor effect. The major effect is informal humane contact. It doesn't matter whether a person visits a farm or six block away in a tall apartment. Being treated on occasion as a member of a stranger's family carries the ultimate charitable meaning, the brotherhood of man.
That afternoon I described to Stephanie my idea of the perfect day. It would be a modal day, not every day, else life would become a little monotonous. Sundays, days of travel, and certain other days would be enough departures. Up at dawn. Much tea, cigarettes, writing poetry and philosophy from, say, six to eight-thirty. 8:30 - 10 breakfast, shave, and bathe, read newspaper or other current material. 10-10:30 walk. 10:30-12:30 attend to administrative tasks. 12:30-3:30 lunch, love-making, nap. 3:30-5 sports. 5-7 writing and meetings. 7-8:30 dinner. 8:30-9 walk. 9-12 reading and conversing with intelligent people. The family would enter at meals, sports often, evenings often, and en passant at other periods of the day. I know so because that is largely what happens now.
On the 31st Mr. Bacsik, Jack McCarthy's new legal colleague, called to say that I might sign a children's trust agreement that I had set up, with myself as trustee. I shall put some income-earning property and also simple income into it that will both save money for their education and travels and avoid a certain proportion of taxes by shifting income from me to them. I have assigned half the royalties of The American Way of Government to the trust.
Last night I talked for two hours with the three girls, casually, about politics and money. It is easy for a parent to bore his children, and I was secretly amazed and secretly pleased to have their attention. I explained to them the state of our finances, how money is earned, taxed, and spent, why a growing principal is most desirable and how, if properly invested, it can return a basic income. I try to give them a rational attitude towards, and yet a healthy respect for, the independence and liberties that money affords one. I do not wish them to spend their lives in pursuit of money. Yet I want them to evaluate it for the many things it can assist doing. I also try to instruct them that a dollar saved is better than a dollar earned. The one costs nothing and is worth 100 cents; the latter costs labor or anxiety and is worth at most 80 cents after taxes. The girls seemed to understand very well. What a big accomplishment it would be if they were to deal shrewdly with finances, but orient their lives centrally towards higher pursuits, art, music, science, maternity, affection, contemplation, even sports. Money-grubbing is the most ignoble form of life better idle, thoughtful, or even playful slavery.
I have lately acquired two paintings of Karnig Nalbandian - one a rare attempt at a still life, the other a sad soul of a bark, boom askew in a calm on a slick dark swelling sea with a wicked little sun casting drops of light on the water. Motives: I like them, they are decorative, Karnig is a friend, Karnig badly needs money, their value will probably be maintained or increased.
Karnig and Mike and their household are seeing their good mother, their mainstay, eternal protector, die slowly of cancer of the liver. Bravely, she day by day relaxes her grip, effaces herself from the world. What luck that her pains are few and may be relieved by drugs. The family is poor. Mike, Karnig, Gladys, their sister, are all without a sou. It is an accomplished and brilliant family: how can it be so poor. Gladys' husband happens to be a textile worker, reliable, competent but a textile worker can hardly make ends meet. Their sons will do well but they are only students at college now. Mike can't carry through projects and can't locate the right post for his high intelligence and warmth of character. His constant mania upsets people. He is too careless in his work. He is foul of mouth. He has an erratic record. Karnig is a complete anarchist; working for someone is unthinkable; he paints and he rebuilds all kinds of junked electronic apparatus that he picks up in junk shops and city dumps. Mrs. Nalbandian has a husband, their step-father, an old Armenian who sits about, is supported by another son of his own, and cannot provide anything save company.
We telephoned the folks, who are in California, to announce the birth of Sebastian's boy. They are with Ed and Ellen, who are moving into a newly built home at Ladera this week-end. Dad is well. He wrote us of walking miles in the mild winter sunshine. Yet Mom reports he wants to return to Chicago sometime in January. Imagine leaving comfortable California for the ugly bitterness of Chicago's midwinter! He does this all the time. We invite him. He comes. The first week after arrival, while expecting a good long stay, we are given the intimation by Mom that Dad "feels he has to return to work" by some shockingly early date. Pleas, recriminations, "What's the use of such a short visit to this distance?" - to no avail. The iron will becomes more and more apparent until one day, far ahead of original prediction, they are down at the airport with everyone waving goodbye. What does it mean? Does he dislike us? Is he unsociable? No, not at all. It is that he has a firm grip on life at 77. He has respect in Chicago. He has routines. He directs occasional concerts, the monetary value of which is far below their symbolic value. To master a band of musicians with the baton at any age is an exciting power - skill, dominance, aesthetic passion all combine in one of the greatest roles of man. To do this at an age when most men are dead must be a sublime satisfaction
January 3, 1960 Sunday
Kennedy has announced that he will seek the Presidency. No surprise. The true surprise was Nelson Rockefeller's statement of a week ago that he would not seek to be President. Up to that moment it appeared that Rockefeller was going to blunder bull-headedly into a personal disaster. He could not be nominated although he might be elected. Nixon will be nominated, barring an astonishing turn of events, but may not be elected. Either Kennedy or Stevenson might beat him. Symington, Humphrey, and Johnson probably not.
Last night, Jill and I, misguided by Vicky and Cathy, who themselves were going on hearsay, saw a pretty but ludicrously mediocre British film called "The Miracle," a story of a postulate who escapes into many misadventures with gypsies, toreadors, and soldiers before returning to the nunnery. My luck was better in NYC the other evening when Cathy and I saw the film, "Sapphire," a British story of the investigation of the murder of a half-Nigerian girl, passing for white, who was discovered and hated by the all-white family of her student fiancé, father of her unborn child. The sympathetic superintendent, his rigid and callow assistant, a series of landladies, the student and his family, the range of Nigerian types from primitives just out of the bush, to effete sons of African bishops - all were well done and bracketed neatly the objective and emotional contents of the race problem in English culture. Essentially the arguments about race relations are the same there as here. But the difference in styles is remarkable; the English and their Nigerians have their own phrases and modes of address. They speak calmly of matters that are dangerous to discuss here, but they also have preconceptions that are waived in American discussion, Whereas an American treatment of similar events would be replete with biological information and the jargon and law of civil liberties and the Constitution, the English version is less indignant, more matter-of-fact, less idealistic though not less humane. The crack-up of the murderer, the sister-in-law, is inadequately explained on stage, though her own frustration at being deserted by her husband, the reinforcement of her racial prejudices by her father-in-law (or is he her father), her ambitions for her brother, her nervousness at being suspect, and her fury at seeing the brown-skinned brother of the murdered girl gripping tightly her little girl's blonde doll would add up to motivational adequacy. Insufficiently explained, her actions at the crisis seemed a little contrived.
Jan. , 1960
Much of day spent on stupefying or exasperating details. Jean and Ted at odds, as usual. Jean making a couple of her incredible little blunders as her synapses get tangled up, or whatever is called what happens to produce her odd actions. She dated a mimeographed letter 1959, among other things, typing it twice that way. Jill's galley proofs are back from the Princeton Univ. Press, clean and handsome. We congratulated ourselves [again] on avoiding the Princeton Printing Company. It manages to bungle every job it gets. On occasion I have wished to own it. The town needs a good private printer and the shop fundamentally is valuable. Jill, the smell of ink in her nostrils nowadays, says we should buy the company. I tell her that printing is usually not a profitable business. "What fun for all the family," she says. "Not so when you have to overpay the half-trained and unreliable men that you get nowadays," I said. "You should have encouraged me when I wanted to set up a printing business with Tom Crowell after the war."
Last night I talked with Sebastian at length on the telephone, though we were only four blocks away. Mostly it was to lend him counsel on his employment plans after June. "You should do a systematic job of seeking grants or appointment." "But I have so much to do, I have no time for anything at all." "But aren't you planning a couple of weeks in New Orleans and Mexico soon." Laughter. "Yes, but, as you were telling me the other day. You're now forty. You know how it is. Time passes." So it goes. He is incorrigible after a point is reached. And perhaps right!
Jan. 5, 1960
Last night to bed at 12. No reading but no sleep either, until one. Then Jill and I tired at 7 when the girls thumped around this morning. Jill crabby ships all the children to school. Remorseless to the small boys who appear to want to stay home, particularly Johnny. She sends Jessie to bellow at him. I say "Women are supposed to be gentle," but I bring him a cup of tea. He resists a few minutes more and then leaves, mumbling reproachfully about his stomach pains. To NYC on the 8:55 train, reading the document of Dean Pollock's Committee proposing a new four-year "college of independent study." It is a real monster of mediocre components. How can I restrain myself from writing a diatribe in answer to his request for comment?
Ten-thirty at the office - calls, letters to read, Scofield annoyingly reciting the inattention of the authorities to our needs. Finally, "Do you want me to do your job and make these calls?" No answer. I immediately call Roth & Kastner, leaving strong messages, and phone Downing asking him over. Everyone is galvanized into action. We move a day later, Friday. The [phones] will be in. "They will respond when the boss calls," says Scof. "If so, things are in a bad way," I reply. I hired him to take care of this kind of problem, not to use me as a wailing wall.
At 11, three young professors of education and physical education drop in to invite me to be on their research team to study recreation needs at Huntington Township, L. I. I answer that I am well disposed but have no time. Further I do not think I should take personal fees for work akin the Center's. They persist. They must feel my name will strengthen their cause. I agree, after extracting a promise not to burden me.
At 12:30 I am at Chez Yvonne to meet with the Republican Party of Manhattan's Planning Committee. Present were Richard Smith, its young chairman, who is an attorney in the Wall St. area; George Fowler from Harlem, Asst., Indus. Commissioner John Burns, an advertising (Y & R) man, who is President of the Young Republicans, and Rodman Rockefeller, a son of Governor Rockefeller. An intelligent, bustling little group. The meeting was called to hear my suggestion about planning several discussion meetings whose ostensible purpose would be to bring in several famed Republicans together with Manhattan Republicans to relate the reports of the National Committee on Program and Policy to a program for N. Y. C. For lack of preparation and because we spent too much time on other subjects, a diversion I was content with, the group took a persistent formal view of the idea and naturally thought this a laborious way to get at policy. We are beyond this phase, was the attitude. I did not think it appropriate to argue strongly for the implications of the idea, its indirect and informal merits, for I wanted mostly to meet this group, which Bernard Newman, the County Chairman, regards highly, rightfully so, I think, for they are not seasoned politicians and have no mass touch but are of good will, determined, and resourceful. They should look less prosperous and stop eating at Chez Yvonne, however. I had an enormous whale steak nevertheless that was delicious. I made some remarks concerning the problems of Negroes & the role of the rackets in their society, which moved George Fowler to strong sympathetic comments, for the first time as he stated, before the committee members.
Alfred De Grazia 12 Perry Street New York City N. Y.
Jan. 7, 1960 5 AM
Awake for an hour, with random thoughts, mentally composing letters, aroused probably by two people walking by a few feet below my window talking in resonant Italian, then rearoused by shouts in Negro accents. Nothing alarming, at least not for the Village, just disturbing, why am I really awake = five hours of good sleep? Internal gases? Activating anxieties, pushing out from the unconscious?
Worked yesterday on the proposal to study the uncompensated services of doctors for the A.M.A. We also produced a memorandum on our proposed metropolitan research program. (Miss) Professor Hall, of Educ. in at 11 to get help in finding a speaker on Recreation for the Aged and Handicapped. Lunch w. Dimock. We are uneasy and concerned over George Stoddard's way of taking to his bosom every decision and holding it there interminably. He had a reputation for decisiveness, but I suspect old reputations, particularly when they were earned before traumas that often occur in middle age. Hounded, fired, and sued at the U. of Illinois, he may have become rigid to the point of freezing. His thin-lipped, messianic type has never attracted me, but I thought I had found that sympathetic vein in him from which mutual understanding might come.
[aside - stuck at the bottom of this page ] Jan. 1960
What would happen if the whole fed. income & corp. tax structure were abolished & in its place was placed a poll tax (basic) of $X00's, but with a doubling & trebling of that voluntarily for those who wished to do so.
We parted at the entrance to the Grosvenor and I went to the New School for Social Research to see Saul Padover. I told Saul of my interest in the presidency of the New School, now vacant, and he will discuss the question with Hans Simons, the outgoing president today. I said that the New School should move into research and could double its income without great physical expansion. He agreed. He was puzzled as to why I should be interested in the position, however. I believe that I would be doing with a freer hand essentially the same things that I am now and would find the position less restricting and ceremonial than most university presidencies. I also like the adult scholarly air of the New School, even though it is a little stuffy. Moreover, there need be no competition of my interests with great medical schools, engineering schools - schools of diverse kinds - which repress the development of the social sciences. The location of the New School is good too, for me. So the idea is not puzzling and I might accept the job if it were offered me.
The afternoon afterwards was of correspondence, phone calls, and incidental visitors. Later I met my sprightly S. N. We ate brisket of beef, sandwiches at Katz and cherry cheese blintzes at Ratner's. She was unwell and morose about her intelligence. She claimed a weakness of memory; I said it was a weakness of analytic power: memory is a primitive thing roughly equal among men; analysis is more complicated and erratically distributed. I saw her into a cab at 10:30. She is an affectionate girl, not at all stupid though she could well have been.
Jan 10, 1960
The past few days have seen a controversy enter the pages of the NYTimes. The President of the Franklin Bank of Long Island has been accusing two NYU professors of business of having done a biased study of charges by the bank to depositors alleging that the bank by virtue of its monopoly was costing its customers more than NYC banks were costing their clients.
The study was done for several savings bank who wished to compete with the bank. It was a personal study done for a fee by the professors. The U is accused of lending its name. Dean Taggart supports the professors on the issue of academic freedom. The bank president threatens to sue the university. The case has far-reaching implications. How far can a U let itself be involved in the outside uncontrolled work of its people? Does their private work fall within its competence? Can a professor use the U title? Should the results of research be used in advertising and agitation, piecemeal? If so, with or without the consent of the professor responsible? Is there some way in which the professor's integrity may be judged without controlling his work or his earnings? How does this compare with the conflict of interest problem in politics? Should the British MP or congressman be forbidden outside fees? Doesn't everyone's income depend upon his prestige and his prestige upon the citing of his accomplishments? Should a U., if it does sponsor a project, allow its results to be kept confidential or given only to the paying sponsor? Should a U accept money for a project as a grant when its results are for the benefit of the sponsor alone? Should the laws permit the universities to do this? A U has several major choices: it may forbid applied research (probably impossible); it may permit only privately contracted applied research ; it may permit only university controlled research; it may permit only U controlled applied research; it may forbid all confidential research (or at least all such done under U auspices; it may permit profs. to contract initiative either within or outside the U framework (as NYU in effect does); it may do the same, but require that all such work be submitted to the U authorities in considering the status of the professor qua professor. I am inclined au moins to the last. If the professor is doing outside something that depends upon his connection within, let his connection within depend upon what he is doing outside. The materials, especially when privately contracted, can be held confidential by the university. (I doubt that the U ought to permit any studies for individuals, governments, companies or foundations to be done on a confidential basis with the University as sponsor.) Millions of actions fall within this problem area and a chaos of ethical precept prevails: psychiatric and psychological consultation and practices; all hortatory writing; business consultation and reports, governmental work of myriad types; political endorsements and activities; patentable discoveries and social inventions; membership on boards of directors, voluntary associations' directorates; and magazine and periodical editorial commitments. The problem is not only American. It exists everywhere and is perhaps more acute in countries such as Spain where professors are paid negligible salaries and earn their livelihoods from associations with banks, cabinet ministries, law firms and other highly committed groups.
Jan. 12, 1960
I don't mind believing that white is black when necessary, but I greatly resent having the belief proven to me according to the language & logic of science. This is my attitude to the communists, to intense believers of many types, including misguided Catholics often. If there isn't enough of what we don't know to persuade us of what is to be believed or hoped for, then there is no use in destroying what we do know. To say that a thing is not what we know it is, is wrong; to say that it is what we should say it is, knowing it must be or can well be what we say it is, may be good. To say God is something we know not to be God is wrong and bad; to say God is something we know not or something we know is God is right and good.
Jan. 14, 1960
C. D. has just seen Nixon. He is with the V-P. He would like to be Secy.. of State, and to my way of thinking would be a good one. It appears he would do much more with the innards of the Dept. than Dulles did or wanted to do. Bravo! I egged him on. I shall try to help him. He asked of my political ambitions. I said they were local in character. He pressed me for more, but I skirted the subject. I inquired closely into how he spent his time: in administration, with editorial consultation to some extent, especially as a wailing wall for the creative staff; a half-day a week for four yrs w/ Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts; as a prime mover of Committee for a Free Europe; as a consultant to the Washington Administration.
Morning after a budget meeting with Agnew and Scofield. We shall have trouble getting a meagre supplement for this year of $5,000. At 11 A.M. a Policy Board meeting that went well, but without striking developments. Lunch with Dimock. We conceived of putting together an area studies program center perhaps at the Lago Maggiore Rockefeller foundation villa, recently given them by will of an Italian countess, where we might collect the best Italian scholars, utilize the resources of people coming out of the Iron Curtain countries, let Sebastian develop some studies in his favorite habitat, and do other things under the CASR aegis. We shall get together with Sebastian, Arnold [Zarcher] and Ken Thompson on the affair.
Carl Stover, in from Washington, stopped by at 2:30 for an hour. He earns $16,000 at Brookings, and has risen fast & strong, but has fallen out with Jim Mitchell, new head of Carl's executive development and conferences program. Therefore he will transfer to George Graham's bailiwick to study government contracts practices unless he moves out of Brookings. Carl is as bad as I was in frightening insecure superiors, with a difference; I believe I have usually been friendlier and less directly competitive than Carl. Still he is an excellent thinker -- logical and imaginative --, a hard worker, and a good administrator, one of the finest and most effective "movers and changers" I've met. I'd appoint him to the Center if I had the programs and the money, and let him plunge ahead. I recommended him to Stoddard and Dimock. They are speaking to him about possible appointment to New York University.
Afterwards, I cleaned up some details and worked on a proposal to study off-track betting for the Mayor's Committee with Scofield and Saenger. Scofield was a little negative again. He gets stuck on a point and won't give in, so I have to go over him. Earlier he protested he was doing much work that could be done as well by a $5,000 assistant. I said I was sorry and would go along with any solution he might suggest. He of course had none. We are stuck, all of us, with dirty details. He shouldn't complain, or at least not seriously. I have my doubts about Scofield. I should like to get him onto a new research program and bring in another man as Associate Director. I fear Scof is not only rigid but catty. When he can't think of what to do right and is unhappy, he complains of everyone, including myself. He tends to sit back on his haunches when scratched, and sulk and snap, rather than moving out for other game.
Today I worked at home. At noon I drove Paul and John to the YMCA for a swim and lunch. We had a good swim and I plunked down $41 for a year's privileges for us and Jill. Bredenberg, the Director, asked Paul to swim in the meet again[st] Elizabeth (N.J.) This Saturday evening. Paul accepted, not without compunction. He is strong and competitive when engaged, but has no overriding aggressiveness to put himself into conflict and tension. He swims elegantly and rapidly. He can match all except my fastest pace. John is awkward but strong, and needs much practice.
Paul & I have played chess a dozen times over the past six weeks. He is improving and beat me tonight (I handicapped him with 2 of my major pieces). I am not reading enough or writing enough. My scholarly discipline is slack. I must pick it up again somehow.
Day before yesterday, I decided finally to dismiss Jean. Her errors are frequent and sometimes damaging. She types poorly, misdirects mail, is disorderly in her routine, carps at Ted, transmits messages poorly, neglects to do delegated tasks, and withal exudes an utterly misleading and mad confidence about all sorts of things she is inept at, such as editing copy and supervising personnel. Yesterday I introduced the subject of her future by saying that I did not feel that she should take four courses next semester at NYU, for lack of time and lack of funds to support her studies (she had written a letter to me with this startling request). Well then, she asserted, "I don't think I can continue. I need more pay than the job affords me." She had said this before and I had soothed her. She expected me to do the same now. Instead I said that we might as well part ways. So she replied that she would let me know when she found another position. "It might be better for both sides," I ventured, "if we set a given date, say January 31st, for concluding your work." That was it. She told Eileen today that she thought she was being dropped & that the magazine [two words illegible] what Ted & Jill were taking away her job, etc. Eileen got [several words missing] A sad case, but I can only employ [? ?] of lunatics.
1/16/60 After my talk to the colloquium of the Graduate Sociology Dept at NYU yesterday afternoon, S. N. complimented my performance and also said that I hadn't let people know where I stand. Perhaps they [knew] that I was Catholic, she guessed. Someone had said all my works were Catholic. I laughed. The person was stupid or hadn't read my writings. Prof. Gellman asked afterwards whether it was true, as a Mr. X had said, that I was a Weberian. I said that I admired Weber, but his position was too strong, helping to explain his sickness of mind. He was dynamic, but his scientific approach was static and morally non-definitive. I am sorry that people can't understand my ideas. Some persons are simply lazy; if they can't apply a quick phrase of description, they are unhappy; they never think of reading an author to decide what he is, standing as himself. They have a foolish confidence that everyone must fit an historical name. Others simply do not have the brainpower to understand anything beyond the routine. Others can't believe what they hear, or else they hear what they believe. In the discussion following my lecture. Prof. Langrath declared he was pleased to support my functional moral relativism and I had to state mildly that asserting relativism as a statement of what in large part exists does not constitute a defense of relativism, that I [was] not a relativist.
An outline of my talk follows:
a. News items: teaching a course on combating unionism.
F & V are parallel theoretically, intermingled actually, never hierarchical.
Action as evaluated behavior
Ethical conduct as consciously evaluated behavior
Scientific action as ethical conduct, or behavior (often latter, should maximally be former)
Dinner afterwards at the Mitlers at 910 Park. Jerry and Ann Ross there, also Ferd & Jean Ullman. Two pleasant and intelligent couples. Ben Mitler dumb and loudly assured, as always, but I can't help a certain liking for him. Renée nice, still blushing at a heavy seventy years, a fine, ruddy complexion like Jill's. Jill was pretty and well set-up in a bright blue suit & black pumps to go with her general red coloring. Over twenty years she has remarkably gained rather than lost beauty in the simple animal sense. Here and there a slight defeat of nature, but overall a strengthening of lines & focusing of bone and feature. We left at 10:20 by cab, missed our 10:35 train to Princeton, took a New Brunswick local instead at 10:55, found no connection at N. B. until 12:45 AM and awaited with newspapers, dirty streets, small cafes, all the ugliness of a medium sized U. S. city center, moderated only by companionship. Then by train to Princeton Jctn & cab, cracking many jokes to suspect mutual amusement, to home where Vicky had been our sitter & all others were dead asleep, and so fall asleep [quickly] in a lover's embrace.
17 Jan. 1960
The Princeton YMCA swimming team met the YMCA of Elizabeth, N. J. at our YMCA pool. The Princeton Director, Ms. Bradenberg, had asked Paul to race with the team, so I drove him over at 7 P.M. and watched the matches. Paul was first man called up in the "10 years and under 25 yard free-style." He shook off his towel and stepped on his no. 1 starting box, lithe, relaxed, alone in the quiet resonant vault. The other boys took their places and the starter fired his gun. Paul seemed scarcely ahead for half the long tank and then, slicing with precise and strong strokes, splashing little, he moved steadily ahead to a three-yard margin of victory. He raced again in the 100 yard relay. "He is the anchor man," I explained to John, who was sitting with me among the hundred-odd spectators. "If anything is lost by the first three boys, he is supposed to make it up." As it happened, he was bequeathed a tie by the Third boy and zipped across to win the race. Princeton had a small squad of 13, Elizabeth 28. Princeton lost 27 points by forfeit, but won the race 62-61.
When I was Paul's age, I was making my first free strokes in the water. By 14 I was a strong swimmer, and I faced my first ordered and trained competition at near 16. So skills are passed back. My father couldn't swim, nor my mother. They bathed in lakes and off ocean beaches but scarcely thought to swim. All of my children have begun to swim at about six. Probably several of them, if systematically coached and exercised, could become swimmers of Olympic calibre. I shall not make the attempt, for the difference between a very good and a superb swimmer is formed of thousands of dull laps of an unattractive swimming pool. If one or more is determined to go for the top rank, let them do so voluntarily. I should prefer their long dull stretches of exercise in life to be with things of the mind, and that they should prefer sports in which progressive achievement is more enjoyable in itself, as tennis, sailing, and walking. But I note again, as Sam Stouffer has found in his studies of aspirations of children in grade school, how the shadow of the future sprawls ahead of the child before he is even conscious of the future, while parents and teachers believe naively and complacently that (though they act [culpably]) the children live in a state of equality, present and future. In a thousand ways the ways of life and the limits of achievement are being set into the young ones. Who can assert the extent of the probabilities; but let us say that on the average 2/3 of all the life-possibilities are exhausted by the time a child is eight years old.
January -- 1960 -- 12 Perry Street
Awakened by chest-ache and traffic noises. Former caused by coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and tensions, I believe. I have it often, once or more a week. Perhaps connected with vagus nerve, because relieved by passage of air orally or anally. Also some connection with slight pains of throat, seemingly in glands beneath left & right jaws. All may be heirs of longstanding psychosomatic condition, basic cause of which is nervous tension and organic seat of which is irritable colon tending to spasms. First indications occurred at 20 just after graduation from college. Slight dizziness, flatulence, unreality feelings. Glasses were prescribed; I soon discarded them and haven't needed them since. Also what must have been belladonna and phenobarbital, a combination that seems over the year to be effective in reducing the intestinal motility to a general tense stance towards life. I have never taken such pills more than a half-dozen times in a row, but I've had them prescribed, with or without asking on a dozen occasions over 20 years. The symptoms are so vague that they can be interpreted (misinterpreted, I hope) as possible ulcers, heart trouble, lung cancer, weakening of vision, pleurisy. On the psychological side, they can cause blocks of thought before audiences and extreme tenseness while sitting in committees or audience. I've felt so in churches, lecture halls, classrooms when I was the speaker, small group meetings, faculty meetings. Most uncomfortable. On several occasions I have barely contained myself from discontinuing a lecture, breaking the sacred silence of a religious service or abruptly leaving a meeting. The symptoms vary over the years. The chest pains are since a year or two. Also the throat pains. Lower sensations were once the rule, I seem to recall. The disease has no cure but in another sense is not a disease. It is a sickness caused by stresses on the neuro-organic system. Should I get lots of sleep, abstain from caffeine, fats, alcohol, cigarettes, roughage in fruits and vegetables, overeating, over-committing myself in thought and action, and should I get ample exercise, I should probably not suffer the disease. Perhaps too, if I were to take the belladonna or substitute pills at the slightest symptom I should scarcely notice the matter. The whole business has given me pause from time to time and made me reflect on the connection of inner & outer worlds. It has helped me understand psychology, to understand myself, to be less obtusely physical, and to comprehend medical doctors too, for perhaps fifteen of them over the years have had a chance in the course of a routine examination or a special visit to hear of the symptoms and prescribe. I've now taken some bicarbonate of soda, & two non-narcotic sleeping pills (but no belladonna & phenobarbital), and have been writing comfortably for three quarters of an hour. I fell asleep shortly after 10 but need more sleep still, for I have a heavy day ahead with a budget meeting, a policy board meeting and sundry other matters of consequence. I haven't been working with great efficiency the past few days despite the need, as evidenced in a list of seventy-odd things to do that I shall place with this journal entry when they are largely checked off as done. It turns out that half of my working time is spent on matters not listed in advance, including wastes of times, chance encounters, unexpected calls & visitors & talks with staff members in [four words illegible] York.
With C. D. Jackson of Time Inc. Yesterday afternoon from 5:30 to 8:00. First visit together in 15 years, since our several meetings in Algiers, Syracuse, Paris, and Augsburg (Dachau). He looks well, is more simpatico, lively, ageless, spry despite a very tall, large frame. We got along very well, not too easy and not often the result of reunions of old acquaintances. We sat at the Century Club, drank heavily and talked of our work and activities, of city and national politics, of our secret ambitions, a little of the war, and established areas of common understanding and interest throughout.
Jill and I saw the 1930's French film "Grande Illusion" after the swimming meet. Its fame seems not fully earned, in the telescopes of time. It is imbalanced by a secondary plot that is superior to the principal plot, which has simply to do with the antics of escape from German prison camps in the First World War. During the lengthy process of seeking escape, the secondary plot evolves as a question of class versus nationality. Several French officers number among them a pretty, aristocratic career officer of high formal manner. He is accorded a "cousinship" of class by a correct, Junker commander, who first captures him & then later is his prison commandant. The German detests the democratization of society, of war, and of officership. Although he treats all enemy officers as "gentlemen", he reserves special treatment to the aristocratic gentleman. He feels the doom of his class, and the Frenchman shares, though less bitterly, the feeling. Crippled by wounds, filled with pessimism, contemptuous of all save the feeble, precious claims of class status, the German is dealt a final miserable spiritual wound by the Frenchman's brave diversionary act to protect the flight of the two reservists of the "lower orders". The commandant himself insists upon firing the shot that mortally wounds the young Frenchman, and then tends his dying moments with gentle and self-mortifying concern. The archetype of the French
Revolution meanwhile escape and reach Switzerland as the film ends. The triumph of the common men is registered as the ostensible end-goal of this drama of the mass medium, but the beautiful, better-acted, better-conceived, well-integrated story is the subtle relation of the young French aristocrat and the ugly class-mad Prussian type. The surface triumph is an ordinary tale, its moral, though explicit, a minor theme to the "cops-and-robbers" action. The plot of social class is deep, delicate, sociological and psychological, and emotionally (if only to an intellectual minority of the audience) greatly moving.
However, beneath even the more important secondary plot lies a third plot and I wonder whether this has ever been made known. Beneath the concerns of nation and social class, below the everyday rational actions of the characters, lies one of the most beautiful romances of man for man ever pictured. Did the writer, the director, the actors, the critics, the audience ever realize this? Let the claims of nationalism, of careerism, of class, and of democracy stand. They explain the behavior of the actors and the movement of events. But they do not explain or contain nearly enough. Take an ugly, noble, career officer of the German army, with its cult of masculinity in the early 20th century. Find a neat, impeccably correct slightly-built enemy ("battle of the sexes") officer of the grand French culture, whose features are exquisitely chiseled, whose manner is formal, who says to his French comrades that he is as formal to his mother & wife as to them, who is of the aristocracy and of the regular army. How will the Prussian respond to such a man, helpless as a prisoner and yet full of spirit, beating his wings against the massive walls of his prisons? He invites him specially to his quarters (explaining they share the same class and general dismal future), divides him against his comrades (again, with reasons of social status), takes his word in not searching his quarters (saying he is a regular officer and can be trusted), places him in as much comfort as is possible in the forbidding medieval castle. He grows a geranium, the only flower of the castle, and cuts the geranium for his dead beloved afterwards. He begs and pleads with the spritely Frenchman when the young man climbs absurdly up the battlements of the castle to draw attention from those escaping. The Frenchman pauses from time to time, almost as if deliberately flirting. The German, sadly but with his own hand, must finally fire (why? The Frenchman has no chance to escape), and instead of striking his leg, strikes his stomach. He is brokenhearted, gives him the best medical and religious attention, and finally closes his eye-lids tenderly and places upon him the only blossom of the castle. Their last few words together are philosophical and formal: the German says he has nothing to live for, also the Frenchman, but neither because of the personal love for the other. But isn't this what great love is, for male or female, when all the world that has meaning is mirrored in one who is hosted wonderfully in one's self?
January 21, 1960 9 PM
Waiting for former Governor Dennis Roberts of Rhode Island to visit me. He represents Gamino Construction Co. Frank Gamino wishes to do work overseas and Mike Nalbandian has told Roberts that I can help in Turkey. Mike is broke. I cannot support him at the moment and perhaps a trip to Turkey w/ Governor Roberts will tide him over for a while. The trip will also permit us to forward the organization of Turco-American Metron, a research firm to work in Turkey, in which Suleyman Barda and Mehmet Misirli are interested.
I have had three busy and tiring days, not without affectionate and pleasant interlude. S and I were together on Tuesday & early this evening. We saw an hour of [Leroux' mines] at the Little Cricket. Too bare. General Howky and I lunched very well on great club steaks and vodka at Mother Bertolotti's today. We had spent the morning at Robert Moses' headquarters settling a flap with Morgan, head of the Palisades Interstate Park. An interesting incident, an indifferent and unfriendly man towards NYU's efforts to conduct its camp Sebago on grounds of the Park, turned by a threatening move on our part, quite unwitting, into first a furious accuser and then quickly, as we responded by a visit to Moses to "clear up" the little matter, a very helpful and not at all unfriendly man. He will now support the project of a great experimental center, and is helping us to find private land outside the park, which we are not loath to do. Strange, all these years in opposition and hurting the NYU project, and now suddenly, because he thought we were going to the Governor "over his head" and had "sold Laurence Rockefeller a bill of goods" (these were his ridiculous words in a letter to Moses), none of which we had in mind, he burst into rage and then into aid. How often this must happen. It shows that appeasing opposition does not always work. It also shows that people of violent disposition may sometimes end as better allies than people who smile and sit and sit and sit while one wears oneself out waiting them to take a favorable step.
I met Newsom & Baughman by chance at the Triborough Authority office. N. Shook hands but pretended he didn't know me. Baughman was hearty in greeting. N. Is holding off; he thinks the Center is on shaky ground and doesn't want to give evidence of interest. Howley said something flattering to me and N. asked strangely of me, since I said nothing, "Are you very busy these days?" "Fairly so," I replied. "Things take a little while." And this was our enigmatic conversation. I stood still for a moment longer, and then we left the room. I have a poor estimation of N. He has no idea of what is going on in the boiler room of his ship.
I wish I might say that George Stoddard is much better. But our budget meeting with him yesterday morning ranged for an hour and a half over the question of research development in a university and he was singularly obtuse, illogical, and mean. His occasional little smiles and verbal pats did not weigh much with me. Dimock, Dean Norton and Scofield were with me and came away equally disturbed. Agnew, S's budget ferret and Sid Roth, his staff man on research, were also present. I am persuaded that S is driven mercilessly by a fanatic egotism that must always have been obnoxious but, since his discharge as President of the U. of Illinois a few years ago, has required every slightest support. It comes to easy focus on the problem of the Center's budget. He has here a chance to cut down a new development. He has simultaneously the chance of wiping out a creation of his predecessor, John Ivey; he wants to do this by his nature, to save money for this pauper University that is so spendthrift and disorganized, to slap at Ivey who bypassed him often and consulted him rarely, to flatter Newsom who can point to another "failure" of John Ivey's administration. How perfect! He talks "principles" of education, of administration, of ethics, ad nauseam. Beware the man who spouts principles or laws or dogmas! He is likely to have none; even if he is rigid, it is unprincipled rigidity. Like impotent boasts of his sexual prowess of old men like Casanova when he wrote his Memoirs and was dry. Or a coward of his courage. Or a miser of his generosity! Scholars often err on the relation of rigidity & principle, thinking the two go together, two faces of the coin. Thus often principle falls in disrepute, being identified with people like S. Hypocrites flourish. S. has an insufferable deductive or contra-empirical approach. He says: "I say all research should be in departments. Now let's see you define the opposite of the exceptions." This method of solving problems by prejudging them is irritating when experienced in an inferior or peer. It is downright unjust when met with in a superior official. One has to feel anti-authoritarian even to bring forward an ordinary fact. The slightest pertinent comment becomes impertinent. S. tried to get me to consider favorably the idea of moving into the Government Department, abandoning the bulk of the Center's staff & scope, so that he might reap the several psychic and material advantages present in the situation. I did not go along. Dimock & Norton were not vocal, but they stood by me. Then as we made various remarks about the merits of the Center, S. began to speak of a research coordination director, of our covering several departments, of underdeveloped research areas, and of other matters similarly implying a need for stronger and broader coordination of research effort. What he really wants is a formula that will credit him w/ knocking out the Center while erecting a new substitute with perhaps formal obeisance to the "principle:" "every man belongs to a department."
Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio
Jan. 25, 1960 7 AM
A few minutes before descending to breakfast. Due at 8 at Cinecraft Studios to act out my movie script for Republic Steel Corporation on The Two-Party System. My room nicely-sized, well-equipped, an Utrillo reproduction on the wall. Strange how I noticed it in half-dark at 5:30 this morning as the street lights flickered on it: the proportion, the tenor, the setting could be dimly perceived and I thought that it was not bad for a hotel room. I think it is Église de Bouchay (Cherbourg). Weather 23o. My room looks upon the Public Square, a handsome one by American standards, with a great Soldiers and Sailors Monument from after the Civil War, ugly as sin in its craft and details but strong and well-proportioned on the whole.
An easy flight yesterday afternoon. Two hours from Newark. Jill then drove the children to Staten Island, and having only two nickels apart from the five dollars I gave her, slipped the two youngest boys below the turnstiles while she & Johnny paid to go on the ferry. Back & forth for 10 cents. The greatest bargain in America! This she told to me on the telephone, when I called her after dinner. I ate a so-so meal a block away. The waitress from the Southern hills, talkative, human, fresh. There were three pretty girls eating at different places in the restaurant and I eyed them from time to time. I must confess that I cannot ignore a pretty woman. I examine most people around me anyway, at least once. But I come back to more beautiful scenery several times.
Am reading and enjoying E. R. Dodd's The Greeks and the Irrational (1951). If he had solved the problem of what "rational" means, the book would be perfect. His general theme: the Greek intellectuals rode the horse of Greek culture up to the jump but the beast wouldn't take it. Too heavy a handicap of the "Inherited Conglomerate" (Murray's term). He puts forth the very good theory that the Greeks (Plato, etc.) knew of the unconscious forces, tied to traditions that blocked rationalism and struck fear into men's hearts when they dared the new, but still treated them on their face value. They did understand the rational, but not the irrational. They did make the great discovery of the existence of the irrational, however. Now it is up to modern man to understand The Unconscious in oneself and in The People, so as to "take the jump" into, into ?? ... Rationality complet, Dodds says. Alas, Dodds hasn't gone so far as to look on the other side of the hurdle. What is there? What is the rational pure? Where do we go from there?
CLEVELAND, DETROIT-CHICAGO TRIP,
JANUARY 24-28, 1960 - Alfred DeGrazia
Sunday night to Cleveland by airplane from Newark. Stayed at the Sheraton Cleveland Hiatal. Next day met Mr. Michelon, Coordinator of Communications for the Republic Steel Corp. He is in the process of making a film on the two-party system. We discussed the programs of civic education and political training being conducted by Republic Steel. They are going to undertake a managerial as well as low-level educational program and I was invited to submit some materials for possible use in the upper-level managerial program. We discussed the possibility of further cooperation between New York University and the Republic Steel Corporation and Mr. Michelon indicated that he might participate in our Social Invention Conference on May 5-6.
In Detroit evening of the 25th, met by Mr. J. G. Hall of General Motors Corporation at Willow Run Airport. We discussed the governmental relations program of General Motors and apparently at this moment there is no considerable program in which New York University might become involved as contractor. We have good relations with this office, however, and they are most cooperative in arranging contacts with other industrial groups in the country, providing information, and various small services as we need them. I was not able to see Mr. Stephen DuBrul, executive in charge of business research services because he did not arrive back in Detroit as scheduled, but it is believed that he would be a notable participant in our Social Invention Conference. At lunch on the 26th, called by Mr. Hall, there were present Mr. Reid, who is in charge of the $600,000 annual program of the Ford Company in encouraging civic participation on its 165,000 employees, Mr. Shonan, his assistant, who was formerly an officer of the Chamber of Commerce on governmental relations program of the Chrysler Corporation. Each man described his offices' activities. This was a preliminary meeting and no specific projects were discussed. However, future possibilities in the auto industry rest with these men and we shall keep in touch with them. I think they, among others in their companies, should be invited to attend the Social Invention Conference. It was suggested that we devise some program that might appeal to a number of smaller companies. WS pointed out that the rubber, steel, and auto industries are constantly besieged by proposals of all kinds for research and grants whereas the smaller companies who cannot afford outside services and do not have inside establishments might be even more accessible when the initial barriers of communication are broken down. It might not be a bad idea to use men of the caliber of these as an advisory committee to a general program of the governmental relations of industry. They knew of only one program by a university already in this area and that is the one by the industrial relations group at Chicago under Burns. Incidentally, Oliver Garceau has been around speaking to people in connection with his project that he is doing out of Harvard on politics and business relations. Oliver might be a good member of such an advisory committee with perhaps another dozen or two business men and political and civic leaders. There is a felling among the group that union elements may soon inspire an investigation committee on the politics of business that would be the reverse of the McClellan committee's work on political activities of the unions, particularly compulsory political contributions and activity.
From Detroit I went to Ann Arbor where I met with James Kennedy, now president of the Relm Foundation. They appeared to be interested in a project that would begin to describe all of the governmental costs on business, especially small business, the compliance costs, the uncertainty costs, and all other ways in which the government depends on business. I suggested in response to his questions that such a project might cost up to $50,000 and should be done as a case study at first of a small business. This is possibly of interest to Victor Fuchs as well as to myself. Conceivably, The Relm Foundation might also be interested in the economic facets of our Metropolitan Research Program. This remains for future discussion and we should send Mr. James Kennedy and Mr. Richard Ware, secretary of the Foundation, whatever materials we have on the Metropolitan Research Program.
Afterwards, I met with Mr. Rensis Likert, Director of the Institute for Social Research. I proposed to Likert a joint presentation by a number of research centers to the Ford and other foundations for a large grant for developmental and general use. We both feel that foundations give many such general grants to law schools, schools of education, departments of economics, and that they should be persuaded to do the same for general university research organizations. Perhaps they can be induced to write a favorable opinion on any plan to such a center that we develop at New York University and his word will weigh heavily as to the possibilities of developing a study of social behavior in Europe. His name should be included in the new folder dealing with the European Research Center.
Next, came a meeting with Angus Campbell, Director of the Survey Research Center of the University of Michigan. I reviewed with him the conversation with Likert and we made some amendments and further suggestions. He is much interested. Though Likert is inclined to wait before going ahead, until he tries the Ford Foundation out on a grant of 1-1/2 millions for a new building for the institute, Campbell was inclined to feel that Likert may be optimistic and that the two efforts should go along concurrently. Campbell described some of the recent developments at Michigan that served to confirm the great place that a general social science research center can claim in a first class university. He reports that in the last week or two, he has had a veritable deluge of requests from widely scattered departments, schools, and agencies of the university for cooperative assistance in launching research projects. It is felt that the research picture would become chaotic if it were not for the existence of the institute that can at least help develop minimum standards for all departments and prevent foolish, expensive, ill-conceived projects from starting and failing. Furthermore, the center has just inaugurated a program in cooperation with the department of political science after some years of first estranged and cool relations and finally cordial mingling of resources in the study of political behavior.
Upon arrival in Chicago, I visited the American Medical Association to see Mr. Arthur Keep, Director of Economics Research. He expressed the opinion that the price of the final project was too high, and would be rejected by the board of trustees if he brought it before them. This especially so since apparently the legislative struggle over free medical services to the ageing is temporarily abated. He seemed to have no criticisms of the project itself. He did inquire whether in using the materials of the proposal for debating purposes, the AMA's opposition might not raise the question whether all this free service the doctors were performing hadn't better be shouldered by the general public. I replied that it would be an odd sort of judgement or policy that would decide that when people were giving too generously, the state should assume the burden of their giving. Furthermore, I pointed out we might simply add a parameter to the survey showing that the doctors were proud of their giving and did not feel that they should be relieved of the burden to any degree. Of course, we could not be sure that this would be the result but we should certainly find a new parameter an interesting one to investigate. I asked whether he could not consider going ahead with the pilot phase of the project at least in order to be set when the time comes for the full scale project. He said he would put the project before his committee meeting on Monday and let me know the results. We discussed the existence of other projects of similar nature conducted by local societies and agreed that these were only superficially a substitute for a good scientific study. We also discussed the possibility of a cooperative project bringing in a foundation, health information foundation, or general foundation, in as close sponsor with AMA provided a larger sum is needed.
I also visited Jeremiah Kaplan, Editor of the FREE PRESS at 115 West Lake Street, to get his advice on the development of journal, "Political Research: Organization and Design."
I spoke to Saul Alinsky, President of the Industrial Areas Foundation, about his program and prospects and learned that he was not too well able to cope with the numerous projects brought to his attention, invited him to submit any proposal for research cooperation to us for consideration. He said he might do so and arranged to be in New York City on May 13-15, at which time we may meet to talk on the subject further.
Also, on January 28th, I met with Mr. Arnold Maremont, president of several companies, who has been actively propagating a personal theory about business and politics in fora throughout the country. My aim was to induce Mr. Maremont to consider a grant for the Center program for the governmental relations of business but he said he was not interested in scientific study of the question. His mind was made up and he was primarily interested in getting the corporation to stay out of any political matters. I suggested to him that he might wish to participate in some future conference on the subject and he agreed.
I spoke also to Mr. Robert Merriam, Deputy Assistant to the President, concerning the progress of our several suggestions at the White House regarding research for the President's Commission on National Goals and an inquiry into research operations of the various departments of the government, but he had nothing to report.
I also spoke with Mr. Klaus Ollendorf, 215 South Barton Street,. Chicago, Illinois, concerning the Youth Board of Chicago, of which he is a member, that has a program much like the Youth Authority Juvenile Delinquency of New York City. Mr. Ollendorf said that they were pressed about doing any outside research that we might wish to undertake in New York and Chicago and promised to keep us in mind if they were to contemplate a research program engaging outside contractors.
Jan. 26, 1960 8 AM
Awakening in the beautiful home of Jay and Ruth Hall. Thin tall beeches striating the window wall of my room. Snow below and a black bird flickering high on the scrawny branches next to the sky, still sombre in pre-solar grey.
I could have used more sleep. Movie-making yesterday was tiring. Every detail had to be exact and uncensorable. The story attributed to Michelangelo must be mistaken. He is supposed to have reproached a lazy student who complained about the tiresome discipline, with the words, "Details add up to perfection, figlio mio, and perfection is no detail." Nice, but M. must have known that perfection is more than detail. Our little movie yesterday strove for perfection of detail, but that goal was far less than perfection as achievement of great effect and comprehension.
Movie-making was enjoyable. I like the collective arts, printing and publishing, movie-making, exhibitions, orchestras. Participating in them brings joy. Their practitioners are talented and must be human, even if in some inhuman way as the eccentric proof-reader or the mad oboist. The exercises of speech and manner were good for me. One becomes sloppy over the years, feeling more and more, in justification, that others have some obligation to hear or read or watch him. The potential curve of perfection moves up but the performance curve slumps.
Jay picked me up at the Willow Run airport and we ate dinner at a "Fox and Hound Restaurant," typical of the poor expensive suburban restaurants of the Midwest. The Hall children -- Mary and Jason -- look well and pretty, gentle like their mother. They apparently work hard at their studies now & do well. I thought earlier this morning how the suburbs depress the initiative to culture, the collective creative activities and it takes too much effort to go out to seek the points of origination. (Items: The Halls are different than most. They are accomplished by good taste, broad interests, a true love of learning & absence of simple materialism. Yet Jason & Mary have ceased their piano lessons. Their father saying that they refused to practice. (Would they have refused, knowing this considerable force, if they were in some touch with children who took music seriously, if they had only a few blocks to go to their lessons and could [ketske] themselves?) It is difficult to analyze all the pressures that build up creativity as opposed to indolence, but study the problem we must. Now then, the few great colleges of the country, by shutting their doors to the unqualified, to the merely rich, and giving more and more scholarships, have put the rich & bourgeoisie into a vise that squeezes scholarship out of them. This hurts the Halls only slightly and pushes them in a direction the whole family moves in and wants to continue towards anyway. The vise really hurts the stupid and materialistic rich and middle-income groups. Nothing else could have done it. No noblesse oblige. No fountains of true interest. Their education would have slid easily and irretrievably downwards, along with the spiritual and work-energy parts of their lives. But everywhere one goes, the children are driven by the desire to qualify mentally for the better colleges. I am not one to applaud the academicians of the country, but I must give them a great cheer for drawing and quartering the boobies of means. If the rich of America did not have the drive to education, would they not collapse like a scarecrow with [his] stick pulled out? Our moneyed classes are not given to the pursuit of honor. They ignore learning. They have only a conventional morality. They do not exalt physical bravery. Nor, finally, do they aim at civic leadership.
Last night, before sleeping, I read the filthy Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter in a masterly translation by William Arrowsmith. Can one believe that so corrupt a society could last for centuries, as it did? I must guess that writing became an occupation of dissolutes. Our image must be distorted by the Petronius & Apulius types. Masses of officials, soldiers, workers, slaves and citizens must have contrived with the perennial not-too-good, not-too-bad conduct.
Michigan Union, Ann Arbor, Mich. 12 Midnight
Jan. 26, 1960
"Good night, Jim. Let me know if I can be of any help in your enterprises." "Watch your step, it is slippery." And I walk into the gentle snowstorm. Jim Pollock's door closes quietly, sending him back to his President's Commission on Intergovernmental Problems, his beautiful German medal, his autographed photos of distinguished citizenry, his gravely ill daughter and lonely life echoing his heavy but socially beneficial vanity.
Gentle, beautiful, quiet snow falling, mantling my coat & brimming my hat. Quiet streets, one after another, up a little, down easily, all soft, cat pad-like, for one mile to the Student Union Building and a warm bed. Ann Arbor always flirts with me -- flowers in spring, exquisite snowflakes. A decade ago I was to come here and never did. And so this benign revenge whenever I visit the town. Two students, one very tall, saying in a voice that booms across the silent street, "At least he has his beliefs; he knows why he believes them. He is better than you or me."
I think how fine this long cool dark-white walk. I must be getting old and I am glad, for the young hate to walk if they can ride and I could have ridden. (I thought earlier: all the good are dead. All those whose history I admired. They are dust. Why should I be anything but dust. I love myself but not so much as to foolishly demand that a fate dealt to all those I loved or might have loved is not to be reserved for me.)
I ask a young man for directions. He is from the Midwest, open-faced, as sympathetic as imaginable. He subjects himself to humorous sympathetic torture as he relates how many snowy blocks I must still traverse. So many more paces of delightful nostalgia. Here is the sentimental college of my youth, my rural soul causing the heart to pump rural juices. The Universities of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, De Pauw, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, even Chicago. I am at home in the Midwest. Can a man love more than one woman? Can a man love more than one University, one type of University, etc.?? Of course, of course, one is always in danger of drowning in his sentiments, but he can love by multiples of everything. And finally the second directing lad: "Down the end rightin over there acrossin the street." Kentucky perhaps. "Thanks" "Uh-huh."