1960s counterculture, 79th Street Boat Basin, America, Brooklyn Bridge, community, Crime, Dada, Edward De Bono, Edward Lear, England, France, Heritage Village, J.H. Plumb, John Russell, Lateral Thinking, Max Ernst, Mayflower Compact, Museum of Modern Art, P.J. Croft, problem solving, Saint Sulpice, Sugar Loaf New York, Surrealism, The Good Life, Thomas Jefferson, Videofreex, Vietnam War, Walter Karp
This issue’s cover shows Saint Sulpice, a 1965 collage by Max Ernst, pioneer of Dada and Surrealism. It illustrates ‘An Irresistible Force Called Max Ernst’, a survey of his work by the British art critic John Russell. Ernst was then 82.
Also in this issue:
In a special section on ‘The Good Life’, Walter Karp writes that in the America of 1973:
A divisive war has ended, a youth rebellion has petered out, the college campuses are silent as burnt-out volcanoes, yet there has been no return to ‘normalcy.’ Instead there is abroad in the country a strangely unquiet spirit, a spirit of secession from society-at-large.
…The past few years have seen the rise of an extraordinary social phenomenon: the creation of thousands of planned communities, devoted, to one degree or another, to providing a few million Americans with alternative modes of living, alternatives, that is, to the common life.
In true Horizon fashion, he sees the present in the light of the past:
That so many Americans are willing to flee from each other seems an unmistakeable sign of social disintegration. Yet even Americans forget, in Jefferson’s words, that the sea of liberty is supposed to be turbulent. For better or worse, the proud refusal to accept the common lot, the courage to turn away from the given conditions of life, and the willingness to create new communities through covenants with one’s chosen companions constitute one of the grand themes of American history, beginning, indeed, with the Mayflower Compact.
‘Poetry in Hand’ is an extract from the book Autograph Poetry in the English Language, an anthology of facsimiles of original manuscripts compiled by P.J. Croft. Among them is this poem by Edward Lear:
In ‘Crime Against the Person’, part of his series ‘In the Light of Past’, J.H. Plumb reflects on his own recent mugging on Brooklyn Bridge:
By the standards of England or France in the eighteenth century even modern New York is relatively crime free. Highwaymen infested London, robbing coaches in Hyde Park in broad daylight with impunity; travelers making the journey to Yorkshire without being robbed blessed their luck. Rape, often of the very young, was depressingly commonplace. Housebreaking ran neck and neck with mugging in prevalence and audacity; late in the century even Buckingham Palace was broken into and robbed. Gang violence and mob violence were endemic. Compared with the Gordon Riots in London in 1780, the ghetto riots of the late 1960’s in America appear like a fiesta of unruly children…
Violent crime has always been a young man’s game…Perhaps what industrial society has failed to do these last three hundred years is to provide adequate activities for aggressive adolescents, particularly those – mainly the poor – whose social lives provide none for them. Since the sixteenth century, affluence dangled before the poor and deprived has excited both cupidity and hate; the growth of great urban centers has created opportunity for anonymous violence; so crime has been endemic, becoming epidemic as the adolescent population has grown.
Soon the proportion of our own adolescent groups, which have swollen so greatly since World War II, will decline. And with that, doubtless, the mugging and raping will decline. At least for those who are violently robbed there is one mild consolation: it was worse in earlier times. This is not the first age in which the young poor have taken their personal revenge on the elderly rich.
In ‘How to Weigh an Elephant (and Solutions to Other Tough Problems)’, Edward De Bono, inventor of ‘Lateral Thinking’, gets children to solve problems and studies how they approach the solution:
Though some of the problems may seem frivolous at first glance, each involves essentially serious concepts. The cat-and-dog problem is ‘the basic political problem,’ requiring an understanding of psychology and of motivation…In short, amusing as their ideas are, children often go directly to the heart of the matter.