Russell Oswald's throat slashing account and the death toll of 36 men. I felt remote and isolated from the whole situa- tion because it had taken place so near my family and friends, and I was a couple of hundred miles away from everything. I also felt indignant because so much force had been used. Having been gassed myself here at good ole State two years ago, I could imagine the horror and panic the prisoners felt as they were being gassed and shot, knowing they had no place to hide anymore. I felt sick over the whole incident and wanted to make some comment on it, write a poem or essay about it, but somehow, I couldn't make any statement that didn't sound didatic, sloganish, and forced. Later on, when I heard about the discrepencies between Oswald and the State Coroner's findings, I felt even more indignant...but what could I do? Now, as though the news wasn't distressing e- nough, I found a strong anti-American feeling in quite a few of the films that made me feel embarras- sed_about being from the United States. The real hassle was that this feeling was justified. For in- stance, in a film called Playtime, a group of one hundred American tourists totally destroy a Parisian restaurant in their own, down-homey way. The di- alogues for the tourists were written by Art Buchwald; at one point, a woman points her finger at small cars parked on the street and says, "Look at those little cars. Aren't they cute!' In another film showing Nixon's political career, called Milhouse, we watch what has to be the most em- barassing footage of any politician's public life strung together in a way that shows RMN's Machievellian soul. We watch Nixon in hot pursuit of offices, suddenly discovering that his opponents are all communists; we see Nixon find secret micro- film stashed in a pumpkin which incriminates Alger Hiss; we watch Nixon blunder from one embarass- ment to another, making his immortal "Checkers" speech, in which he fails to answer any questions about his financial backing while delivering an ab- surd rap about baby Tricia's dog, Checkers. On the same program was a film called The Murder of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther organizer shot by Chicago police officers. The film projected Hampton as a man willing to die for his revolution- ary beliefs, a man who saw the power of violence as a real means of change, a man who spent all of his time organizing medical clinics, food programs, and community services for his people. The blatant dis- crepencies in Police Commissioner Hanrahan's report on Hampton's death sounded very much like the same things Russell Oswald was saying in Albany. I don't think any American could have sat through this program and not felt bitter about what is hap- pening in his country, feeling that he could do nothing to stop it. (cont'd on page 19)


• GEORGE HOWELL FIELD NOTES POLITICS Way back in September while everyone else was resigning himself to another semester's class struggle , I got on a Gray Coach Line bus and went to Stratford, Ontario, for the 7th Annual International Film Festival. As some people may already know, I'm very involved with creative writing, as well as other creative areas, and I hoped to pick up some new ideas in form and content from these flicks that I could use in my own field. However, the insights I had in Stratford were political and have been plaguing me ever since. The week of the Film Festival ·also saw the brutal re-taking of Attica prison. The rebellion start- ed Thursday, the day before I left for Stratford. I was rather stunned by the news reports of the rebel- lion because even though the prison is not more than 20 miles from where my family lives, and 30 miles from Buffalo, I had forgotten it existed. I knew kids from Attica I met at scout camps who joked about stealing the shirts prisoners threw on fences while they worked outside, but this was the only impression I had of the "correctional facility." In Stratford, I heard occassional bits and pieces of Attica reportage over the radio while eating din- ner or having coffee in a Chinese restaurant. In fact, I heard a rather inaccurate account of the prison re-capture while eating dinner Monday evening. I was stunned when I heard that six people had been killed, but the next day I was even more shocked when a kid I had just met from Detroit showed me a copy of the Toronto Daily Star, which carried 5

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter