Letters


No Fan of Rock 'n' Roll

 The article "Dennis Barrie and the Art of Rock and Roll" [Summer 1995 OAM] so shocked and disgusted me that I'm ashamed to admit I'm from Oberlin. All my life I've been pleased to have been a music major- music, so uplifting, so inspirational, bringing such wholesome pleasure to the entire world. Then I read that Oberlin gives credence to what initiated and gradually transformed popular music into something vulgar and repulsive.

The first paragraph with its "the man ain't kidding" should have warned me what was to follow. Phrases like "in the slammer" and "doing a helluva lot of thinking"—even the "Yup" didn't improve my feelings about the man or the article. I expect better choice of words from Oberlin.

The statement that contemporary art's "subversive reputation had long been established" brought a breath of fresh air to the reader. Then it was duly smothered by the comment from the Ohio Arts Council director, who called Barrie's work at Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) a good job of "bringing in provocative, . . . tough art." To increase CAC membership from 400 to 3500 and attendance from 20,000 to 100,000 is, in my opinion, an indication of the degeneracy of tastes in art-goers. The candid story concerning the picture of the three male nudes with their penises sans their faces was disgusting.

Barrie is quoted in the article: "Popular music mirrors society, and society seldom likes what it sees in that reflection." But does that mean we should condone our society's wading through filth? Of what value is the "radical freedom" Barrie says rock and roll "ushered into post-war America?" Should we not judge the worth of a movement by what it produces—in this case lack of respect, infidelity, teenage pregnancies, crime, AIDS?

Dorothy Mirschrod Onisko '42
Smithfield, North Carolina


Fear of Football

Much has been written in the alumni magazine about the dismal performance of the Oberlin College football team over the past years. When I played I never missed a weight-training session, and I stayed late every night after practice to do extra work. However, the coaches at that time felt I had "an attitude problem," and that I did not belong on the team.

If the football program wants the support of the student body and alumni, they are going to have to earn it, as do all teams, amateur or professional. That will not happen if the athletic department construes hard work and dedication as an attitude problem.

I attended graduate school at Columbia University when their football team held the record for consecutive losses for a major college program. When the streak finally ended after 44 straight loses, the campus went wild. One would have thought that they had won a national championship instead of one game.

Obies have to overcome their irrational ideas that a losing team means higher academic standards and that team members play only for fun and could care less about the results. That's reverse snobbery. The purpose of putting a team on the field is to compete, and any athlete who tells you that he or she doesn't play to win is either lying or a fraud.

Chris Tripoulas '80
New York, New York


Help Revive House's History

The Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization (O.H.I.O.), a nonprofit organization, is seeking alumni help in interpreting the history of the Jewett/Hubbard House, also known as Two Elms. From the 1880s to the 1960s the house, located at 73 South Professor Street, was home to male- student boarders. The Jewett/Hubbard House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is part of O.H.I.O.'s historic-site tour program, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

O.H.I.O. is seeking help in interpreting one of the upstairs bedrooms and furnishing it as a typical college-student room of the period. O.H.I.O. also hopes to assemble memory albums consisting of photographs and written memories about student life and the living quarters at Jewett/Hubbard House.

If you would like more information about the project, or if you can contribute information, documents, or photographs, which can be copied and returned, please call or write: Patricia Murphy, O.H.I.O Administrator, P.O. Box 0455, Oberlin, Ohio 44074, Phone: (216) 774-1700

Anita Buckmaster '95
Oberlin, Ohio


What's In A Name?

Myron Bud Stern's historical deductions on the usage of the terms Tappan Square and campus are more logical than factual ("Letters," Summer 1995 OAM). In the 19th century College buildings were confined to Tappan Square or Tappan Hall Square, as it was then called. The term campus was a locution of the first half of the 20th century, although the College had by then spilled out of the area.

Removal of all structures but the Memorial Arch from the campus— which led visitors to assume the first settlers had laid out a typical New England town green—followed the terms of Charles Martin Hall's circa 1915 bequest, not some "turn of the century" trustees' decision, and certainly not after any "vigorous clash of voices." Such grumbling as I remember from my boyhood, in the lean years of the 1930s, was that so much Hall money was tied up in upkeep of the grounds that little was left for faculty salaries.

The post-World War II shift back to Tappan Square I have never heard explained.

Rowland Berthoff '42
St. Louis, Missouri


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CORRECTION: Emeritus Professor of Art Paul Arnold '40 did not receive credit for the drawing that illustrated "Reflection on the '40s: The Impact of the War Years" in the Fall 1995 OAM. Paul drew the G.I. in the '40s while aboard a U.S. Army troop ship en route to China.


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