The returning hero laughed at the word "hero", but he secretly felt himself of the tribe. Success is always dangerous, and to be a veteran is a kind of success and therefore was actually a danger to several millions of Americans. He probably would have behaved even more madly had he not a wife and child awaiting. They were not disappointing, remarkably, because they displayed most fetching qualities, but the English Basement on the little street called Ridgewood Court that they inhabited did not measure up to his pretensions. Its high rent of $49.00 was due to its proximity to the University: the student Hierans passed through the courtyard on his way to one of his serial murders, a neighbor.
His last words with Master Sergeant Adams had been to arrange for a new car when the Sergeant got back into his car dealership, but he could not get any cars, so the ex-Captain got a good deal on a garaged 1939 black Buick sedan through the newspapers. The rest of his war savings went for this at $1100, but he would continue being paid on terminal leave until January. He picked up the Buick, drove it down 55th Street, passing a trolley car to the left, and was pulled over by a police car. They looked at his discharge papers with all its commendations admiringly, and let him go on his way with a warning that this was not a jeep path.
He had no intention of resuming his studies but like a moth to the flame he began to flit about the University. He dressed in uniform for the occasion, though there were few people to admire him. Leonard D.White was gracious and wanted to know why he wore tank boots.
"That's all I wear.. Why do you wear a green eye shade?"
"To protect my eyes from glare."
"Neat, you look like a newspaper editor." They smoked; nearly everyone smoked, he not so much.
He found Earl Johnson in fine shape, working on a new program for a Master's Degree in Social Science for teachers in community colleges and the like. He found Doug Waples, quite old, yet full of his old bassoon voice and still playing well, or so he said. "Come along I'll give you a ride home," and they mounted his bicycle built for two, Doug steering from the front. He drove rapidly, precariously, perilously, nervelessly, crossing in front of moving cars and scattering pedestrians to all sides. It seemed to the frightened Student that he did not even look where he was going. What a crazy ride, the Student exclaimed to Sebastian, who worked regularly with Waples. He is now completely blind in one eye, his brother commented.
I am not going to finish my doctorate, he told everybody, I'm going into business, I'd like to go into publishing, I'm going out to the golden west, to San Francisco. Sorry, they said.
The University had changed, Chicago had changed, America had changed in these several years. Nothing for the better. The life that he had lived in 1941 was wiped out. Some people were still around but they had changed, too. As soon as he got back, he sat at Jill's typewriter, which had clacked out those hundreds of pages to him abroad, and wrote a long article on the disgusting conditions forced upon the returning troops, how even on the last leg of the journey, after weeks of discomfort, their troop train was pushed aside for freight trains; it took 32 hours to get to Chicago from Newport News, and stopped for hours in the trainyards before making the last few miles to Fort Sheridan; some of the men went AWOL right then and there, scuttling across the infinite tracks in the dusk. He was train commander but wouldn't try to stop them.
The New Yorker, his ideal magazine of the war, refused the piece. Oscar Dystal was back editing Coronet Magazine; they had known one another in Algiers; he gave Oscar an article on the Psychology of Mustaches: "Aw, yer fadder's mustache." Oscar didn't buy it. Louis Wirth said that the American Journal of Sociology intended to publish a special issue on military psychology: write something for it. He did, detailing various psychological situations confronting the soldier and contradictions in the behavior of soldiers and civilians; this too was turned down. It confirmed him in believing that he had no academic future after four years away.
They had talked often overseas about becoming partners in a publishing house, the one as printer, the other to be editor, so he called his pal Tom Crowell, who had come back on terminal leave. Jill let him talk of her inheritance as an investment; it amounted to $25,000 in all: "Let's start up a publishing company, using your printing plant," he said on the telephone to Tom in New York.
"I've sold out to my partner, I'm going back to Germany," said the Great Printer. He did go back to where life was easy, the dollar was king, you got paid well and regularly, and you could find a good easy woman to marry, even if you were no beauty and over the hump, which he did. The Student-Captain called Hank Danenberg as well, Mighty Hank, his crap-shooting partner from Paris, Tennessee. He was in partnership with a guy running a gas station on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. Hank was tied down with a debt, a wife and kid; best he could do for the time being was to tell him he knew some guys who had a couple of million dollars in hot money in a safe deposit box in Chicago and needed a nice clean guy to get it out for them and they would split it. Black market money. No, thanks.
Chicago was a mess, lots of nice people but physically depressing, ugly, crowded, noisy, the University a shadow of its former self. The Office of Price Administration sent him a letter asking him whether he wanted to claim his old job back after four years of leave. He barely recalled the episode. No, thanks, and he was refunded $1.74 for the pension deduction of his several days with the government: the Great Civil Servant.
Jill went along with his forever imagined idea of going to the Golden West and San Francisco, but was less enthusiastic than he had expected her to be. She had lived with the declining quality of existence in America and was aware of how well off they were; he was disgruntled, expecting all manner of great things to happen. He would have given it all up; she persuaded him to keep the lease. They sub-let the apartment to Oliver Kerner and Diane Winston who were studying in psychology. packed their belongings in the Buick; a woman friend rode with him, Jill and the Baby flew out by plane. It was a long trip across the States, in the grip of winter. People were in a poor mood, they had forgotten about victory: what is victory without loot or colonies? And paying to support your old enemies and friends! And everything in the country broken down and old. And no great idealistic leaders of the new world of democracy and the Four Freedoms.
He paused for gas near the Continental Divide; snow was blowing around; he exchanged remarks with a couple of Marines inside the warm station and was ordered roughly by the owner to get out and get his car out of the way. He felt a surge of anger. Resentful, prone to start up a row, but luckily did not. No trouble on this high Rocky Mountain plateau. It was crazy how close people come to doing things they'll regret forever. He was in enemy country; he stopped fingering the automatic in the pocket of his trench coat, swallowing his pride, said "So long" to the Marines.
Postwar America was really new country. Not the old depression USA that he had been raised in or the empty wide open country of the twenties. The cities had swelled with millions of rural migrants, and would now sprawl vigorously. The interior cities were becoming black ghettos, the cost of living index was up, the bureaucracy was greatly expanded and stayed so. All the indicators of lowering quality of life were up, although the rising indicators of production were proudly displayed, no matter what the production had to do with -- and in a true sense nothing was worse than war production (but no production increase would have been even better). The United Nations operated feebly except as amplified through the newspapers of New York City.
But San Francisco had changed too, crowded, housing poor and scarce. He was told on arrival that he was in luck. Some emergency housing was going to veterans on priority the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cheap and "accessible." He drove over to see it. A miserable lot of frame shacks in rows. He would not have it. The Golden West indeed. But would it not be a start, dear?
He crossed the Bay Bridge to Berkeley and visited the University of California Press. They must have had some kind of affirmative action program for veterans, for they were soon offering him the job of Sales Manager, beginning at $250 per month. If he meant what he was saying, this would have been the ideal opportunity, a job that would open in all directions, working under the best of working conditions, in the sort of community where he felt immediately at home, and in the Golden West of his dreams. He declined the offer.
So he did not mean what he had been saying -- or perhaps he was foolish about business, believing that the editors in publishing commanded the sales force, rather than the other way around. (He failed to transfer an important lesson that he had taught himself and a generation of psychological warriors and artillery officers: that you can compose brilliant messages but they are useless unless they can be delivered, i.e. distributed by all means to their target; his intellectual snobbery made him miss the analogy).
However, in addition, he wanted to go immediately into an important venture of his own. In fact, he did tell Jill and Anne and Paul that he wanted to be a publisher, not work for one. He gave no weight to his almost total ignorance of business in general and the publishing business itself. He considered joining a woman seeking to organize a publishing company, as hare-brained as himself she was. Luckily he backed away.
Rosable and Bus Brown were in Beverly Hills. Bus was set up as a psychiatric counsellor. They decided to go south to LA. He went first, stayed with Bus, and scouted around. He looked up publishers in the phone book, found only one, a Marcel Robb Company, talked with Robb and was given the job of Editor of his growing Trade Division. He would find good authors and publish them; this was more like it. Rosable was helping and hospitable; she always had liked Bus and felt that the four of them were good for one another. Bus invited him to join the soirees at the home of Max Horkheimer, who, with T.A. Adorno, was biding his time until he would be able to return to Germany and refound the Free University of Frankfurt. They were cordial to the "Captain," as J.F.Brown would have him called.
At each weekly gathering, the group would discuss a different topic, but also talk about the world's fate in general. They wanted to know all about wartime Europe, about Liberated Europe. (They were not thinking at all about the Orient, just to the West of them, though the provincial Americans were across the Pacific mentally.) They were inclined also to talk about a concept that came to be known widely in a few years as The Authoritarian Personality, a volume on which subject came from the pen of Adorno. It was easy enough to understand: a large number of people in our society, with rigid, punishing upbringings (hardly anyone tolerated the notion of a genetic source) sought with religious and social justification to discriminate certain groups and persons for hatred and persecution. This type of character occurred with especial frequency in Germany and explained partially the horrors of what still had remained to be known as the Holocaust.
They -- Horkheimer and Adorno -- were, of course, philosophers of eminence, but Horkheimer, the more ethereal, fine-featured, slender, outgoing, was also interested in literature -- who is the best American novelist: "Hard to say, maybe Thomas Wolfe;" "Have you heard of B. Traven?" No, the Captain had not. (Horkheimer wondered who he was, whether he was German; it was a secret of the publisher [actually, he was born in Chicago of Scandinavian origin.] Adorno was short, rotund, more hearty, involved in the sociology and philosophy of music.
They liked to have the Captain with them. He gave them the immediate feeling of the European war, the lands, their people, the armies, the destruction. He taught them, in this sense. He prepared them. They would succeed in retaking the University center in Frankfurt, a true and rare success story.
They discussed, too, a possible theoretical unification of Marx and Freud, of sexual-psychological determinism and economic determinism. This overlapped with another group, more swingers than intellectuals, that included Hollywood screen writers, Norm Panama, Norm Frank, who had come from the University of Chicago, and Bud James, who had studied at Yale. Each had his large hacienda style home in a lush garden of the Hollywood Hills. The Student and his consort were impressed and contemptuous at the same time of the large elegantly constructed library of Bud James, lined with volumes exquisitely bound, and seemingly unread. The writers were patients of Bus; they had a personal interest in reconciling Marx and Freud; a topic of some concern was whether psychoanalysis would, if successful, erode a person's creativity. The Captain, still a Student, argued that it would, and it is to Bus Brown's credit that he didn't disown him for scaring away clientele.
Jill came down from San Francisco. They bought a house, rather dark and overgrown with greenery, on a hillside of North Hollywood. The seller was Phyllis Hellquist, a plumpish sister of screen star Ann Southern. They were naive about termites; upon moving in, they found the place menaced by an army of the insects. He refused to pay and she visited him with three huge film cowboys to intimidate him one evening. They hulked in, stooping through the large door, acting John Waynish (could he have been one of them?). He talked pleasantly with them about the War and they were rather embarrassed (draft dodgers no doubt) and all was settled to deduct the termite bill from the price of house, so ranch-girl and her honchos left peacefully.
And out of the blue one day the Student was called by Danny Phelan, who came for lunch, dear Danny of the golden curls and trap drums, who couldn't eat a roast baby goat in Sicily. His eyes were still merry, with hardly more than a suggestion of pain, though he was now disabled and working at a dull clerical job, and had been not too long ago gung ho for the Marines and had been shot up and fevered in the jungle of Guadalcanal; the Student should have insisted that Danny move in with them and stay for the rest of his life; what the hell is life for but to live with undisturbing sweet characters like Danny while fathoming the universe?
He got in touch with Leo Rosten, the Chicago School Ph.D. who wrote The Education of Hyman Kaplan, who told him he had given up the idea of a permanent research program into films; he had managed to assemble a group of moguls, who were so impressed by his pitch that, one by one, they raised the ante on it -- $150,000..$500,000...$1,500,000... until one of them said, this is going to cost too much money, and they dropped the idea. then give up idea as too costly). Then he heard that Eddie Albert was interested in doing studies of different kinds, but he begged off nicely because he had something else in mind, which didn't work either.
He looked down upon Marcel Rodd for making his money from the sale of film star photos, using mailing lists built up from fan mail. He was building a strange little list, headed by a book of Christopher Isherwood on Vedanta, and had hired a second editor, a business manager, and an accountant. THe Student conspired with the second Editor Martin Block and the Business Manager Spencer Roberts, who was originally a Chicagoan, to quit Rodd and set up their own company, "to publish good books," with the inefficient notion that Spence could stay in this elegant rancho overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Pacific Palisades, that Martin would go return to his beloved New York City, there to sign up the best of authors and do publicity, and the Student to retire to Chicago, there to handle production, distribution, and general management. They accepted his idea of calling the company Gateway Books. They agreed each to put up $5000 to begin with. They needed more money and called upon Spence's next door neighbor, prominent then as the greatest Indian in Wild West movies, Anthony Quinn. He said he didn't know anything about business and would consult his agent, who of course said, no. A poor plan, and Rodd was lucky they quit him.
With only Spence's $5000 actually in hand together with a promise to invest more if needed, bearing his own money in mind, and with Block's $5000 promised, he sold his house, making a small profit on it -- Jill never did like its dark nookery aspect -- and drove the household back to Chicago, taking the Southern Route this time. The faithful Buick, once its innards had been cleaned up and exercised from its long seclusion, swooped across the Mohave Desert past the maneuvering sand mountains of the Sixth Armored Division and the 582nd Automatic Weapons Battalion, Lt. Alfred de Grazia, Executive Officer, through Arizona and into New Mexico, where the two-year-old Cathy cried steadily for hours, but fell asleep just as they were pulling in late at night at a motel; the relief was so great that, rather than risk awakening her to cry on endlessly, he stepped on the gas, sliced through Texas, up into Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains, and thereafter, with Jill taking a spell at the wheel, they continued right on through to Chicago. The roads were often bad and narrow but they were also often empty, at odd hours and in winter especially.
Block didn't come up with his money; he sent two manuscripts, which with a third were economically and tastefully produced by the Student in Chicago: The Washoe Giant` and Other Stories by Mark Twain, a collection of stories about Greek children during the wartime famine, by Lilika Nakos, which he called The Children's Inferno, and The Public and Its Problems, a reprint of lectures of 1927 by John Dewey, with a useful introduction pecked out in practically indecipherable form by the author. Ultimately he sold out the Dewey book, but the others flopped. He could publish, no doubt, but hardly by himself. He got his friend, Cal Stillman, to lend a hand -- he was an economist -- but Cal had little of the business acumen of his grandfather who had founded Citibank, and little of the money that his father, whom he cordially disliked, was holding for him, what could he do but hang around with the Student at the old Coachhouse -- actually a marvelous cheap location and elegant structure on the Near South Side near the Illinois Central tracks and Donnelley's huge printing plant, and the two intellectuals could have bought for a pittance not only this but the grand stone mansion standing upon the street, which was owned by an old lady who ran a boarding school for badly tended disabled and retarded children, and could hardly hold out any longer. Cal stopped coming after a while; he couldn't think of how to be useful.
The Student began to trade in the paper surplus business with a guy he met named Roy Fierst. Roy, a Jewish hill-billy (one must accept this contradictio in terminis), called his attention to lists issued by the government of paper lots available at bargain prices, for which veterans might have priority. So, on Roy's advice, he bought the paper, sold it to customers indicated by Roy, and split the profits with him. He could deal in both printing paper -- then a largely gentile business -- and kraft paper -- then largely in Jewish hands and a less reputable branch of the paper business. His profit on these transactions was much surer and larger than the profit that could be made in the publishing of trade and text books, without the need to pass through all the phases of publishing -- searching for and reading manuscripts, contracting with authors, designing books, editing them, printing and binding them, advertising the individual titles, distributing them, billing a great many customers, and risking a heavy loss with an unsalable inventory.
The publishing business was equally bad from the standpoint of the author. Wendell Wilcox and he met and became friends, though he could do nothing by then for Wendell. He had published a book, a fine book in the Student's estimation, Everything Will Be All Right, a novel that fans of William Carlos Williams, the Poet, would adore. It deliberately set itself to write in classic American schoolbook prose, with great simplicity, the story of an "uninteresting" vulgar cheerless housewife of Chicago. Few copies were sold. He continued to write with the help of his wife, a librarian, and -- end of story -- they lived happily together ever after.
There is always the exception, and the Student knew him. There stopped by at his apartment one evening, at the instigation of Earl S. "Everybody's Friend" Johnson, an unprepossessing little youth, with a certain dignity, who asked for advice -- his name was Jeremiah Kaplan -- and received it; the Student explained that he had figured it all out. Publishing was a business of subsidies, the vast majority of books are subsidized in one way or another -- in ways brutally direct and infinitely subtle. Try never to produce a book without detecting and arranging its form of subsidy, even though your bookkeeping does not provide for overt expression of these forms. The Dewey book had sold because Henry Holt and Company had paid to publish it in the first place and now it was out of print. In addition, the book could be printed by offset from an old copy, photographically, with only the new introduction to be set. Moreover, John Dewey, now in his nineties, had no wish to make a big deal out of a new contract. The Student simply wrote him a letter promising 10% of the gross receipts of the edition. The book was already on a great many lists everywhere. It needed only the barest of mentions. Jerry Kaplan had a sense of this. His first publication was to be a reprint of Durkheim's Division of Labor, and the Free Press was off and running, from a garage farther north and with a friendly untutored businessmen backing it. The advice of the Student to find another occupation went unheeded.
Business was bad enough without having to deal with Uncle Joe, the Mom's brother, who popped into town, the sporting type, cash-hungry, living proof that not everybody who didn't care how he made money had become wealthy in the War. Joe talks about selling all the beer he can ship to Houston, where he has been hanging out, and Jill thinks her friend Joe (another Joe) might sell him some because he deals in beer. But he was short too, on beer; beer is nowhere to be gotten.
Then Joe sells the Student on investing in his night club in Houston, so he puts up $2500. Joe pays back a little and then loses the rest; the Veteran flies down to Houston, where he finds Joe living in the back of this large night club. He bunks there, too. An ad has been put into the newspapers touting a big band and guaranteeing music "to make your ankles smoke." But hardly anyone shows up except the band, which is black, large and terrific. A couple comes and goes, a sheriff's deputy comes and sits and says, "Look at 'em animals, belong in the jungle," looks at the Veteran as if he might disagree. But this one just says, they're sure playing amazingly well. The place folds.
About this time, the American Veterans Committee found him and enlisted him and he became a leader right away. Dick Eiger emerged from a distant acquaintance to a close one; he was rich which, some say, is why the Student's High School friend and University of Chicago (I should save myself trouble and indicate by an asterisk any character in this book who is not from the U of C Community, but it's getting too late for that), lovely but a bit creepy, Audrey Eichenbaum) character, married him, though, in fact, too, Dick was a lively little chap, game for anything, else how explain the extraordinary floral painting hanging above their bed that suggested so strongly a cunt?
Dick and several others ran the AVC Chapter that enrolled the Student; it was headed by Bill Gumm, who owned a little hotel; he was the reliable "good guy" in the outfit, and the least intellectual. The intellectuals went for AVC because it was internationalist, didn't make excessive demands on the public treasury, did not chase after communists, and therefore came to be under attack for being communist in due course, especially from the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. For a time it appeared that the AVC would overrun the "old fogies" from the American Legion and VFW.
Symbolic was the Veterans Committee for Paul H. Douglas for U.S.Senator. The AVC organized it. They convoke a public gathering. With loud-speakers and all, they gather a big crowd. The Student is supposed to introduce Paul but Paul is late. He began to ad lib, trying to hold the crowd, which has a good many skeptical Jews in it. He asks for questions. He gets them. "Why are you organized as veterans; are you something special or what?" "The veteran organizations are all Fascists, what do you say to that?" He learns by being questioned: "Well, you know, for the time being, there are a lot of us who are recovering from the War and we have a lot in common, no one can deny that, and somebody should be taking care of the problems of veterans, a lot of them have problems, you know, family, jobs, nervousness, strangeness, they're unadjusted, and all that. Paul is a good guy, I studied under him, he is a hero, he is a great liberal, he worked himself up in the military the hard way, not like a lot of other people. (The audience seems to be relaxing, their fears [quite valid] assuaged.)
Finally Paul does come, pouncing in enormous, belly hanging, iron grey hair abutting and gets a thunderous welcome. It bucks him up. Unfortunately, he pulls out some old notes and gives a straight lecture on the tremendous importance of the Far East, where he served, not coincidentally, and not appreciating that his audience wants to know what is being done about Auschwitz. No matter, they are for him, even if he spent the war on the wrong side of the world.
In the elections of the fall of 1946 (he is already pulling a few eggs out of the publishing basket) he is asked by Lillian Inke, Executive Director of the Independent Voters of Illinois, whether he could manage for them the Third Congressional Campaign of Edward Kelly (not the Ed Kelly of the Kelly-Nash Machine). He is the incumbent, but is running far behind Busby, his Republican challenger, in the well-to-do southwest side district. Ed, the poor sod, wasn't happy with IVI support, but then he had little else; he was quite ineffectual. He thought that IVI was far too radical. So the Student took up this hopeless cause, distributed literature, organized a few precinct workers; he suggested to the IVI that he transfer his efforts elsewhere where the cause might not be so hopeless, but was rebuffed, possibly because Busby was regarded as fascist.
With the enthusiastic backing of the enormously powerful and wealthy Chicago Tribune, the Republican Right organized an Americans for Action Committee that appeared indeed to display fascist traits. The newspaper created it, pro and con, in a sense, but this, one must recognize, may be an all-important sense, since, once the image and myth get going, people attach themselves to it or oppose it. There was some kind of stirring among the middle and lower middle classes in this election, there is no question about it. When the Action people advertising a rally at which Busby appeared, in the name of a hokey Veterans Committee, a true crowd appeared. The Student was not keen on picketing as a technique, but commies and left liberals and Wilma his volunteer assistant were believers in the routine: wherever the enemy appears, picket them. He went along. He had a leaflet printed for Kelly and against Busby and with several volunteers presented himself directly at the entrance to the auditorium well before the rally was to begin.
As the crowd began to arrive, he handed out the leaflet, and was soon enough surrounded by several hecklers, jeering, asking whether he was a communist or what, telling him to get out: his comrades were somewhere, in less conspicuous positions. He retorted loudly, too, telling the men to bring forward their "veterans," which seemed to be in short supply. They pulled a copy of his discharge paper from his pocket and waved it at them; it seemed to inflame them rather than the contrary. A burly short man charged into him, spilling some of his leaflets, but he twisted him to the ground. Then he went into the First Amendment Act, "So this is what you call defending American freedom, freedom of speech,..etc! He spotted a policeman in uniform standing at a distance and hailed to come over and restore order. The cop took a couple of steps and halted. A woman of the crowd, shouted "Let him alone, he has the right to be here,.." and another voice shouted, "Let's go in, the meeting's starting!" The other pickets came up then and they departed in a group, rather proud of themselves, especially he, although it is questionable whether he gained any votes for Kelly, though perhaps a few votes for Miss Liberty.
The Tribune made much of the meeting and the disorderly pickets, quoting Busby; in his speech, he could now claim that "the communists at the door out there," recognized him as an important target, but he would continue his fight for the flag, the country, and the rest of the values that the reds threatened. The Student, annoyed at being referred to as a communist, took it to mind to visit Busby and discuss the matter. He called, to Busby's surprise, arranged an interview at his home, went there, and asked for an apology, on grounds that he was not a communist and was assaulted by his supporters. Mainly, he was able to size up his opponent; he saw in him hardly a threat to American democracy or even highly politicized and aggressive. Busby, of course, called up the Tribune, so that the Trib could print a follow-up story with Busby warning his caller against the dangers of subversion and communism. Neither the one nor the other called him a communist in so many words, whether out of honest accord or out of fear of a libel suit.
L.D.White called him later in the day from the Political Science Department, asking him whether he was O.K., and was assured that he was quite well, thank you. It was surprising, and he was grateful; for White had a reputation for remoteness and for orderliness, yet he felt evidently that the Student was conducting himself well on the front line of the Republic. When Wilma came around, she gave him the compliments of Jack, a big fellow among the pickets, for his courage; the Student laughed and asked ironically what had happened to Jack in the fracas. He thought he had better not get involved, said Wilma, he's a communist and that would make matters worse.
Jill was nearing her term. Let us see, a baby in November meant a conception in February, in Hollywood -- would there be a topographical imprint? It had happened accidentally, so what? She liked the idea. He didn't mind. He did not get caniption fits over a baby or swoon with adoration, but here it appeared, she, Victoria Frances, according to his naming policy, which favored nice old-fashioned monikers. If he had felt a lingering prejudice for a boy, it disappeared promptly. She was a delightful infant, from the very beginning.
Their friends are plentiful in Chicago now. They are connected in one way or another with the next person they bump into on the street. Klaus Ollendorf and his wife, finally, Lucille Halperin, are regulars. They live well, off Lucille's father, who employs Klaus, the German refugee from Silesia, sells lighting fixtures to the city, a great bear of an old guy, from the Tatar Jews of Russia, regards Klaus as not enough of a mensch, keeps the politicians happy -- can you imagine a street lamp in Chicago being installed without a pay-off or two or three? -- her brother, a medical doctor, gathers all his possessions and heads for the wilds of Montana to practice where life is true and simple and horseback -- the Goldwater to come, the Marlboro ad aborning.
Sandy Liveright lives down the street in a nook. Son of Boni-Liveright who brought more than their pound of freedom to the USA. Sandy is not publishing, but he is somehow working at, in or around it, it's hard to say, but he is and his wife are very responsive to whatever of intelligence is spoken (provided of course it is not too intelligent, ultra-thought). So, too, akin are Bernice and Fritz Neugarten, Fritz the refugee, Bernice the competent American nurturer, one of the Lloyd Warner group, evolving a kind of cultural anthropology and a human development scheme. There is more to it than the five-category social class system that they use for analyzing large groups and is to be famous.
Rosable is palsy-walsy with Helen Hawkins and the Hawkins, who own a high-tech metals factory, put on good soirees that they gaily attend; Felix Ruvello sells his strong canvases, that the Student likes; Gertrude Abercrombie, large, homely, and blonde, painting abstractions in the Di Chirico mode, is on hand, tipsy -- he opens the closet door to remove cigarettes from his topcoat and she is inside copulating with someone he can't identify, whose head is turned into the mass of coats. Actually the Student knew they would be there; Rosable had come giggling to tell them so.
And many more. Fritz Lieber, another son of a famous father, moves like a candy mountain up the street, looking at you with eyes of Christ crucified. He edits Popular Mechanics. Ridgewood Court is only a block long. Across the Street from 5436 in a leftover frame cottage live the Steeles. Peggy is the primeval Irishwoman, Mother MacCree. Drinks like a fish. Husband Harry is a warmhearted smaller-than-she dedicated desk man of the Chicago Tribune, playing Abie out of Abie's Irish Rose. Their beautiful dark daughter is neurotic and married to an antique dealer. Harry doesn't talk much about his work. He brings home a disk one time that they recorded at WGN, the Trib's radio station, "The World Crepitation Contest," a pot-pourri of disgraceful sounds, until, in the finals, as a British Lord lets out the triumphal ultimate magniloquent fart, the reporter (one of WGN's most famed) shouts, "No, no, it's all over! He's disqualified! He shat!"
Bob Merriam and Laura Bergquist are consorting. She works for Coronet magazine, he is doing some work in housing and writing up a book on the Battle of the Bulge from the materials he worked on in Paris during the last months of the War. The Student and he get together regularly. The Ward Committeeman of the Fifth Ward Democratic Party, and therefore the Democratic Boss, Barney Hodes, does not control the Alderman's Seat of the Ward; Bertram Moss, a Republican with considerable independent support holds forth in the City Council. Hodes is an ugly little legal rooster from the West Side connected with Jake Arvey and the Kelly-Nash Machine by many years of devoted service; he gets the genial idea to put Bob up for Alderman against Moss in the elections to come in the Spring of 1947. Bob is a veteran; a pleasant young man, well-trained in public management, the son of a famous Professor and onetime Alderman and Candidate of the Republican Party for Mayor, Charles E. Merriam, who also had been a teacher of the Student, of course.
The situation looked promising. The Democratic Machine, the veteran vote, the large swinging independent vote, the intellectual appeal helpful with the University and the Jewish community: the Student figured a sure winner from the combination. Bob did not express himself so confidently as the student. Still there could be no question about his running. After talking with his advisors both Independent and Democratic, and especially with Paul Douglas, who would soon be running for the Senate, Bob told the Student that an Independent Office would be set up, out of which Bob would work; it would show that he was not caught up in the toils of the Democratic Machine. He asked the Student to become his campaign manager, and the Student accepted. He was a good choice, because he had no ties with the Democratic or Republican organizations, could claim independent support from the Independent Voters of Illinois, held no local political ambitions, was as well-trained and prepared as the Candidate, and lacked mercenary greed. It would have been helpful if he had a Jewish name; so confided Hodes to Bob. He managed arms-length relations with the machine lieutenants well enough; he engaged in several quarrels with one or another of them that served to validate his role and lend his activity credibility.
One of the heaviest and most expensive aldermanic campaigns in Chicago's history gets under way. He rents a store front on Stony Island Avenue just up the street from the Democratic Headquarters at 55th Street. He spends much of the day and evening there seven days a week. He duns people for money. He drafts leaflets, issues bulletins, calls for volunteers, sets up independent precinct captains to work alongside the much more experienced Democratic P.C.'s, maintains liaison with Hodes' several henchmen, all of them on the City payroll at good jobs after years of service.
The Machine numbered three major white lieutenants and two black, and then 120 precinct captains. The best of the P.C.'s could go down the list of several hundred voters (and there were 100,000 residents in the Ward) of his district and tell you in almost every case how they stood, the degree to which they could be counted on to vote for the Democratic machine candidate, but, too, who was a solid Republican and who were the Independents. A division of labor was arranged, whereby the regular precinct captain would be introduced to a Merriam volunteer, preferably from the same precinct, and would transfer to his or her (all regulars were male but had a female auxiliary) duplicate list the estimated affiliation of each voter. The Volunteer of the Independents for Merriam would skip calling upon the regular Democrats and put off until last the solid Republicans, but would concentrate upon those who would not ordinarily give any precinct captain the time of day.
The Student discovered that the Ward fell naturally into political neighborhoods: it was like boxing the compass: The University could be regarded as the center of the compass. North was a mixed Catholic and student area, with a working class. East was the richer area of larger buildings, residential hotels, heavily Jewish. South was the university faculty and students running into heavy black immigration up to the boundary at 63rd Street. To the West, after Washington Park came a quite distinct solidly black community, lower middle class, and middle class.
It was under the command of two black lieutenants of the Democratic Machine, loosely obligated to the Eastern organization of the Ward. The Student spent time with them; they enjoyed a modest take of the goodies dispensed by the Machine from downtown; they wanted more; they controlled a large vote and were moving, under Congressman Dawson, to a bigger voice in City affairs. They liked Merriam for what he stood for: the interest of the professors and students, if not the administration of the school, in equal rights for blacks. It was to these black precincts, then, that the Independent candidate had to look for the majority needed to overcome the quite possible lead of Moss elsewhere, even within the University community.
The blacks and many liberal whites were supportive of proposals for public housing, restrictions against police violence and racism, desegregated schools, high prices in the stores, and the outlawal of restrictive convenants that prevented blacks from purchasing homes in white neighborhoods. Liberals and conservatives were inclined to respond to accusations of police and political corruption, to unswept streets and alleys, to waste in government, and to appeals for neighborhood planning. The Merriam campaign could stress these at the right time and place. It was on the defensive when it came to the issue of "bossism," for was it not receiving the all-out support of the Kelly-Nash Democratic machine? On taxes and spending, too, it had to take second place to the Moss campaign. It made much of the fact that its candidate was a veteran of the War, Moss not, and that he had been trained for public management, Moss (a lawyer) not. Tied into academia and the public service tradition, it could adopt a "holier than thou" attitude toward evidence (very little) of dishonesty in the opposition; Moss as an Alderman and lawyer could work the one job in tandem with the other, in the time-honored American tradition; he would be in on real estate deals, rich cases, corporate favors that could be repaid in various legal ways.
Their close ties with the University community helped Merriam and the Student to organize critical support. The University of Chicago faculty and students could field a small army of volunteers, sophisticated enough to exert many initiatives, disciplined enough to know that they must get right down to the grass roots of politics. Their leaders were formed into the Campaign Committee proper. Jerry Kerwin was its Chairman (not coincidentally his fame as a Professor who was a Catholic carried weight in the Irish section hanging on in the North-by-Northwest precincts.) Paul Douglas was line-backing (actually he had played football at Dartmouth a generation earlier.) President Hutchins would not commit himself, when asked, but was hardly expected to do so. Louis Wirth was prominent, so was Louis Gottschalk's wife, and various close friends of Bob such as Hart Perry and Emmett Deadman (Dedmon now, and working at the Sun-Times.) Jack Shapiro and Len Dupres, both attorneys, independent, highly reliable, fully honest were deep into the campaign. There were others. The Student drew living expenses after the staff of two others (a general secretary and a telephonic fund solicitress) and several hourly workers had been paid and other costs accounted for.
The Independents had nothing comparable to the income of the Machine, which drew upon half a hundred tavern keepers, businessmen serving the City and State, officeholders of the various levels of government that were under Democratic control and not part of the permanent civil service, and many characters who had recently been granted favors, legally or illegally, or were hoping to receive a favor soon, typically a liquor license, a preferential handling of a court case, and an exception to the zoning laws.
As a matter of fact, the machine's volume of past and potential favors was reduced because Bert Moss, the Incumbent Alderman, had been adept at managing his patronage and legal interests as well as his public duties. (This was the chief reason, after all, why they were so concerned with getting rid of him.) He had going for him, too, a strong feeling in the Eastern white sections, which had the greatest concentration of persons in Who's Who of any neighborhood in the country, against the boss-ruled Democratic Machine.
The campaign was selected by the newspapers as one of the most hotly contested: grist for the mills, which churned mightily. No question about it: Moss was competent, vigorous, and spoke the language of the business class. The Student began to realize as the campaign moved along that the formidable support that his side commanded was not at all a guarantee of victory.
Perfectly timed, a beautifully produced booklet appeared for distribution to every household extolling the achievements of Bert Moss. The Campaign Manager and his
Committee and Candidate were one and all dismayed. It would take $60,000 to publish a complete response in parallel form, more than the total salary of the Alderman for his four years in office. Not even the Democratic Machine would come up with that kind of money. After glowering at the Moss magazine and carping at it futilely, they were seized by an inspiration: to prepare a simple postcard, signed by Louis Wirth for the Faculty and by Paul Douglas for the rest, which would tell its recipients throughout the Ward that they had every reason to see in this monstrous publication published in St. Louis ("foreign intervention," but really Moss had a relative there) an insult to the voters, exhibiting the kind of slush funds that had been accumulated to deny freedom of choice at the polls.
"Do you think the postcard will do the job, it's so little?" asked Louis Wirth anxiously of the Campaign Manager.
"I'm sure it will, Louis," he replied. "It may get us scores of votes."
"Scores! Hell, then it is not even worth the effort!"
The Manager realized his error. "Many scores, Louis, it may tip the scales."
"Oh, well, then." But he was still disappointed that some enormous turnabout could not be achieved by a single ploy, as some of the American officers and soldiers were disappointed that the Germans did not desert en masse when informed by one of our propaganda leaflets that they were bound to lose the War.
The Student was sitting in his old store-office one morning afterwards when two white 25-year old males claiming to be veterans came in and said, you're the Manager, aren't you? .. We have a load of stuff to give you, how much will you pay for its delivery?... $10 apiece? -- it's a deal, where do you want us to dump it? The Student looked around and saw what he had not truly seen before, a large trap-door in the floor. He lifted it up. Below yawned a huge cellar. "Dump it down here." Bundle after bundle of the glorious brochure trundled in and dived out of sight. The trap-door was dropped. The men left... He was not completed elated. Are you allowed to dispose of your opponent's propaganda if you get your hands on it? Or should you do so only if he is taking unfair advantage of you? Or should you admonish the "delivery men," saying "Do what you were employed to do. Put the magazine in everybody's mail box. I'll have no part of it." When the campaign ended, he told Bob about it. Bob was startled, slightly dismayed. "What if somebody had found it?" he said.
The day before the election, Moss supporters were laying bets at two to one for their victory. The Student covered $100. So did a couple of friends. Merriam won. It was not an easy win. Moss's group knew that they had to spend money and put up a lot of it; they knew that they could recoup it if he won: Chicago politics paid off well; no one ever went broke winning an election in Chicago.
The Student, though, was broke, and had no intention of continuing on in politics, furthermore. Bob would have to live modestly, also, to make ends meet. The Student serves a term as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Hyde Park Cooperative Society. He finds it uninteresting, especially when they get to talking about the allegedly wide-spread cheating at the cash registers of the A&P and other chain stores: he does not believe it, he thinks that they may be using every kind of rumor to talk up socialism in one form or another.
Paul Douglas asks the Student to join his campaign staff, which is revving up for the U.S. Senatorial campaign. He replies, thanks, no, I am thinking about returning to the University for my Doctorate. Paul suddenly sees flaws in higher education: You won't need a doctorate; it doesn't hold much for you. But the Student comments: That's easy for you to say, Paul, you have had yours all your life.
Edward and Victor, his young brothers, the one a beautiful slender snooty corporal who had been occupying Germany with the Air Force, the other a huge grizzly who had been doing Counter-intelligence work on the docks of Tokyo -- they were back from the service and got together with their old pal Mahoney and went across to the tavern on Addison Street near home. Old Man Mahoney, a cop in civvies, became ornery,and the boys pitched in to help him; when the fight was over the saloon was in bad shape, even including its plate glass windows.
The Old Man gets off with a reprimand, because he is a policeman. Ed and Vic are arraigned for trial, and the Student accompanies them to lend whatever aid might occur on the spur of the moment. The Tavern Owners' Association and Insurance Company have their lawyer on hand. The lawyer, a stranger, sees the Student and comes over to him to congratulate him on his election victory; he does not know that he has retired from politics, a civic Cincinnatus. The lawyer calls the incident regrettable and says that they would like to withdraw the case. He then walks over to the Bailiff and speaks to him. When the case is called, the Bailiff calls out, "This is a Ward case, Your Honor." The Judge dismisses the case. The culprits go scot-free.
Once more, what was the Student to do? He was quite surprised by the turn of events. Ought he have rushed up to the judge protesting that a fair trial had to be held, whatever its consequences for his brothers? Should he at least have scolded the lawyer of the taverns for this, this...this what?
I must say this for the Student. Experiences such as this taught him quickly, as quickly as he learned from books. Twenty-five years later, he is publishing his "Six Dikaic Improbabilities," in Politics for Better or Worse:
1. Not 1 true offense in 5 is named a crime.
2. 5 times more acts are labelled crimes than should be.
3. Not 1 labelled crime in 5 enters the judicial system.
4. Not 1 in 5 arrests ends in an appropriate indictment.
5. Not 1 defendent in 5 gets due process of law.
6. A convicted person has less than a 1 in 5 chance of a
treatment or punishment that will cure him.
Add these all up and you get a disastrous juridical condition.
He had not become cynical over the years. These propositions are heuristic, of course, but truthwise, if anything, optimistic. If there were any guiding principle for his moral conduct, then and later, it would be a rough and ready acceptance of Immanuel Kant's "categorical imperative," which, you will recall, he learned in his Philosophy I reading and lectures. (Which, too, he suspected from the beginning of being inspired by the "Golden Rule," "Do unto your neighbors as you would have them do unto yourself.") Kant had it: "So act that you could will the maxim of your action to be universal law." Or, roughly, behave as you would like the world to behave. But the Student had a stigma of the modern world (and old Socrates) that Kant perhaps lacked, to wit, acute awareness of the unconscious determinants of one's morality, that is, rationalization and projection, so that conveniently, what one wants for oneself becomes what the world needs and wants and does. The Student's awareness in this regard had led him by now to look upon human behavior with an almost continuous irony. Yet this ironic spirit could never conquer his "Boy Scout" idealism, or idea of democratic consensus, that there must be in every situation somewhere a solution good for all.
Now then, Brother Edward enters the University with the help of the GI Bill and the $3000 that he has stashed away from his peculations in Germany. Vic pieces together the wherewithal to the same end. First the one works for Bruno Bettelheim at the Orthogenic School that has an ever-growing connection with the University; there he meets Ellen O'Connor, who is now at the University as well, where her mother took a degree and whose brother will take his. Vic then enrolls at the University, joins the Orthogenic staff and consorts with another student Gail Shulenberger, who leaves him -- "Don't be disconsolate; it's all for the best," counsels hypocritically the Student -- for Irving Janowitz. Sebastian is teaching (and providing physical culture to a statuesque blonde at his office, the door of which his neighbor, Leo Szilard, discreetly closes when he enters.) Miriam is Secretary to the Hutchins-Borgese Committee to Frame a World Constitution. Her Joey and Greta enjoy the earliest grades of the University's experimental elementary school. Jill idly considers completing her thesis in Sociology while nursing her baby. The extended family is well on its way to becoming the most numerous sib brooded by the University in its brief life span. The Student, to repeat, is about to make a heady decision about formally becoming a student again.>