Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, May 14, 1970

This date is almost exactly a year before my birth. This bit from my mother's journal (I'm offering about a half of the entire entry for the day), has a local Columbia University event, the bombing of the Alma Mater, and a reaction to the news of the day, including Nixon, Cambodia and Hugh Hefner. I think her reaction to the Columbia symbol is quite sane. 

A bit of 1970 in New York City:

Thursday, May 14, 1970

Journal time. Start the day well with journal time. In the middle of the night we were all – M., S. [a close friend and her son, who were staying with my parents], G. [my dad] and I – awakened by a monstrous explosion. Wondered when our building would cave in. We craned out the front window, but could see nothing. I could see smoke rising from the campus, but G. and M. insisted it was only a nightish mist. Learned this morning from S. H., who called at 10 a.m., that the Alma Mater in front of Low Library had been blown up. (Like the IRA blowing up Nelson’s column.) Probably Weathermen. I haven’t seen it yet and don’t know what reaction there will be. I am beginning to think nothing upsets or enrages me. So the Alma Mater, just a statue, is blown up. Ho hum. And in fact, yesterday afternoon, as G. and I watched the construction people opposite raise a mobile crane that was higher that the umpteen-storeyed building in the throes of construction, right outside our window, we decided that if the crane toppled over and top of our apartment building and smashed us to smithereens, tant pis. We are ready to die, I guess. At least, it will be no great thing if we do.

But it’s not true about not getting enraged. Just reading Newsweek yesterday, for the first time in a year or so (M.’s subscription is bringing it to us faithfully every week), I got furious just to read the succession of idiocies committed by Nixon et al. during the past week: Kent State killings by the National Guard; the stupidity of the Nixon admin’s handling of the war and the extension into Cambodia; Hugh Hefner’s internal memo calling for a monumental all-out Playboy article against women’s lib; Peter Arnett of AP’s story about GI looting in Cambodia that was killed by the AP New York bureau – Wes Gallagher said that in view of the touchy political situation last week he judged it better not to inflame the situation with “inflammatory stories”. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

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