To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
All right, you didn't feel compelled to give Kathrine Peruty's House on the Sound an honest, balanced review. Typically, perhaps, you felt that its change from normal standards, its refreshing clarity of thought and freshness of style, were things you could not treat well.
I almost expected this (I have noticed, for one thing, that liberals, who profess to be the friends of change, often seem less able to accept it than conservatives). But I did not expect you to fall down on the job quite as badly as you have done.
Your reviewer writes under the name of F.T.R. I take it, therefore, that piece was written by Frank T. Rogan, a thoughtful, sophisticated writer whose articles I always look forward to with the greatest interest. Yet in this review, even Mr. R. shows himself painfully incapable of coping with the new synthesis put forward by Miss Peruty.
To be serious a moment, I suppose it is the role of the conservative in this country to be misunderstood. We cannot speak in favor of nuclear testing without someone jumping up to say that we favor poisoning the atmosphere. No one is permitted to oppose the civil rights bill, without hearing the charge that he takes a position that aids and abets racists. No one can oppose welfare measures for any reason without being told, in those same tired old phrases, that he is "letting children starve in the streets" and "denying food to indigent mothers" and so on.
Mr. R. hints at this same attitude in the very first line of his review. "Sex, cocktails, conversation and shoddy (hurried?) printing...." he notes.
I take it from the parenthesis that the printing confused Mr. R. It certainly seems to have. Let us ask him, what precisely did you mean by this word "shoddy"? Webster defines it as "a variety of reclaimed wool, obtained by pulling apart worsteds or woolens." Now if Mr. R. is using the word in its proper sense (something one can never assume with your writers), just what is he implying? That Miss Peruty is woolyheaded? Or that her arguments can be picked apart? Just what does he think this whole thing is, a joke?
Mr. R. goes on to say that the book is "a must for compositors, pressmen, and proofreaders." Now I admit that with proofreaders like the ones you've got, any reading at all might help. But it is obvious to any student of Miss Peruty's that The House on the Sound is by far the least interesting of her books typographically. Although I am merely an amateur as far as printing is concerned. I noted immediately the flawed quality of the 9-point Granjon Bold. In several instances the lower' case 'm' was disrupted by a slash across the base, and I even observed a wrong-font 't' on one occasion.
Yet gentlemen, to be serious with you, I detected a more sinister note in your review. I think in a way that it helps to explain Sen. Goldwater's defeat last November. I do not wish it thought that I, like Sen. Goldwater, think the press was not biased during the last campaign. It was biased, and I do not think any of you will seriously question me on that score.
But there is something deeper, something far more important, at stake here. Not merely our press, but our entire logical background has been overwhelmer by liberal ideas, so that even a mind as incisive as Mr. R.'s cannot cope with Miss Peruty's fresh approach to the stale problems with which liberals have so abysmally failed. The whole thing makes me feel sick. Friedman D. Friedman '65 F.T.R. replies: Go soak your head, fella.