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Faculty Profile

Family Man


Presumably, it is impossible for a man to be all things to all people, but at times Associate Professor Carle Clarke Zimmerman, of the Social Relations Department, must wonder about that. In his morning mail, for instance, he finds, written under a melodramatic letterhead, a persuasive description of Zimmerman as Socialist corruptor of youth and of American institutions. His next letter is from a Catholic priest who hails him as a vanguard figure in the struggle to preserve the American family. the same mail yields a series of long legal forms which notify him that an Arlington, Va., office-seeker thinks him a wanton defamer of decent people's character, and has filed suit to that effect with the Supreme Court. And not infrequently students in certain of his courses come to Emerson 200 to ask almost literally whether he knows "where the Hell their course is heading."

Before attempting to track a course through this maze of opinion, Professor Zimmerman will remind you that there are at least a few objective facts about his controversial career: such as being born in Raymore, Missouri, in 1897, attending five universities, having three children, and holding jobs ranging from farming to advising the Government of Thailand on Economic Policy. In this Siamese job, he advocated for the inland regions of the country a corps of "junior doctors" to diagnose and prescribe medical treatment for easily-recognizable tropical diseases. This suggestion caused a tremendous blow-off, and was condemned as a plot to lower medical standards and kill helpless natives. Rumbles were heard even from American medical circles. "Five years later," Professor Zimmerman muses, "A large American medical foundation took over, instituted the plan, and got a big hand for it." Similarly, during the early days of the New Deal, he was hooted out of the White House for pointing out several monopolistic aspects of the AAA, a warning he feels is now justified by the agriculture crisis.

Zimmerman is not bitter about these experiences. He is too busy pondering what he feels is one of the most serious single problems of the day: the breakdown of the family. An increasing divorce rate and decreasing birth rate point to a breakdown in the family system. "Juvenal saw this happening," says Zimmerman, "when he wrote that the object of Roman men of the time was to make their neighbors' bedsprings creak." Seeing similar signs of breakdown today, the professor feels that the larger problem can be attacked best through an attempt to shore up the foundation of the family system upon which our society is based. Specifically, he proposes a national standardization of family law, in place of our present 48-state hodge-podge, and the setting up of a Supreme Court devoted to family law. "The establishment," he points out patiently, " of the system that most Western countries have found workable and indispensable." The Boston press ruckus came when he answered a matronly sob-sister with conjectures that, yes, a man ought to be able to find a wife by 25, and should have several children--in line with the idea of becoming a good citizen. The result was most horrid--banner headlines and a front-page picture.

Professor Zimmerman's troubles may not yet be over. On the steps of Emerson he's been getting dark, ruminative looks from Radcliffe blondes. Possibly they are failing to take the objective view of his recent classroom statement that in Rome street-walkers used to make their status unmistakable simply by donning blonde wigs.

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