For a Shortened Crimson


To the Editors of The Crimson:

In my two years here, I have come to appreciate the true value of the Crimson, and to see where most of this value lies--in the Crimson's function of keeping its readers informed of the current ideas prevailing in the pretentiously intellectual fair-weather-radical segment of the university. However, recently the Crimson has ceased being this source of amusement for me and has become more a source of concern. There has been a distressing increase in the tendency towards irresponsible and biased reporting, disconnected thinking, and overly ideological repressive editorials.

The most notable example of this has been the whole Davis controversy; a controversy that has not been simply reported, but rather exacerbated by the Crimson for its own purposes--probably to insure a steady flow of articles and at 'the same time constantly reaffirm the Crimson's opposition of racism. Even though opposed to Professor Davis's views. I cannot help being disturbed by the way in which they were reported: incompletely, and with an obvious implication of how they should be judged. The Crimson, in its usual style of taking the most sensational part of a story and exploiting it for all its emotional worth, has made reasoned discussion or even refutation of these views impossible for a large segment of the university that depends on the Crimson for facts, and is instead given hype.

The editorial on the ROTC left me dazed. Happily, it was well dealt with by the dissenting opinion, but I was still worried by the fact that this was, after all, only a dissenting opinion. Does the majority of the Crimson staff really subscribe to this suppression of the individual's rights that is advocated, and like to leave their own moral decisions to the judgement of the university? If so, it is sad. One wonders what would have been the reaction if the faculty had been considering a prohibition on participation in a radical organization, instead of the ROTC.

This strain of repression seems to pervade the Crimson editorial staff even when it is no longer the main point taken. In an otherwise laudable editorial on the American position towards Africa, the writer states that "American nationals must be discouraged from visiting Rhodesia." Does the Crimson advocate a continuation of the policy or rescinding the passports of those who visit disapproved-of countries? It is to be hoped that Americans will decide not to visit Rhodesia because of their own moral beliefs, and not because of "discouragement."

Finally, the question of the true beliefs of the Crimson about the American working class must be raised. The Crimson likes to portray itself as friend of the working man and supporter of organized labor. Yet in Jim Kaplan's confused and in the most part inscrutable article on Daniel Moynihan, he denigrates the fact that the Meany type of organized labor has condemned Soviet totalitarianism, seeing this as manipulation by the powers that be to back up American economic imperialism. Does he really find it that hard to believe that labor could oppose totalitarianism on idealistic grounds, because of a genuine concern for freedom? Or is it that whenever working class anger is directed against an object that he does not find suitable, it must be a case of the workers being manipulated and hoodwinked? Either way, his elitism is showing.

Perhaps the Crimson would consider putting out a shortened version for those readers who think as I do, containing only those worthwhile elements of the paper, Doonesbury and the Notice Column. Peter Keyes '78