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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 14, 1972)
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fay Steve Kadel
AMES, Iowa-A thousand people, mostly students, were
sitting in the audience at Iowa State University Tuesday night
waiting for Tom Wolfe. On stage were two chairs and a
podium and lights shining down. Suddenly two men walked in
from the left side of the stage.
"So that's Wolfe," whispered a girl in the second row.
Dressed in a white suit with vest and blue suede wingtips,
the author of what many consider the manifesto of the
underground culture. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, sat
down and surveyed the crowd while being introduced.
In the audience people secretly clutched copies of Acid
Test, or Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers, or
The Pump House Gang. Most knew Wolfe as the writer who
had spent two months with Ken Kesey and his Merry
Pranksters in California while the acid culture was being
started in 1967.
Many were not sure what to expect from Wolfe. He has
been damned by established sectors of journalism, such as the
Columbia Journalism Review, for his flamboyant, subjective
reporting style. Still, Karl Shapiro has called him "more than
brilliant. . . a goddamn joy." They would see for themselves.
Wolfe's speech was a humorous recounting of his trip up
the journalistic ladder, and an explanation of how the newest
literary form, the nonaction novel, was born.
"After spending four years in college and five years in
graduate school I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to
the real world' said Wolfe. "I was so desperate for a job flu
nearly took a position as copy boy for the New York
Herald-Tribune that would have paid $41 a week."
Eventually Wolfe did work for the Herald Tribune, as a
reporter, and found himself in competition with other staff
members in what he called the featun game.
"When I was 25 everybody's psycl logical ace up the sleeve
was the novel. By reading jackets o: books in the 30's you
were constantly assured that all novelists started out as
dishwashers or truck drivers." Wolfe said.
The game to see who could write the best feature stories
kept writers going until they got up the courage to take the
plunge, quit their job for six months and "write the novel that
would light up the sky," according to Wolfe.
No one realized the feature game was having any effect on
the literary world until Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and
Wolfe's The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby
were published. Then it became obvious that the techniques of
fiction such as point of view, stream of consciousness and
extended dialogue could be used effectively in nonfiction.
"This type of writing requires saturation reporting," Wolfe
said. "You have to stay with people for days, months, even
years instead of only an hour or so."
When Wolfe wrote Kool-Aid Acid Test, he lived with Kesey
and the Pranksters for two months. It would have taken
longer, he said, but the history of the movement had been
recorded on tapes, films and in diaries.
Wolfe said the culture he wrote about in Acid Test is
widespread in this country. It has had a big effect on American
At a reception in the home of an Iowa State English
professor following the speech, Wolfe sat in the living room,
surrounded by students, and sipped scotch and water. He was
asked which writers he likes.
"Ken Kesey is a tremendously charismatic person and I've
heard he's working on another novel. Balzac is a person who
amazes me, though. I read his biography and was impressed
before I ever saw a sentence he had written.
"He wrote three- full-length novels a year for 20 years,"
Wolfe said. "I read a couple of them, figuring they would be
bad novels, but they weren't. They were all tremendous!"
Wolfe said there have been too many times when he has had
to write something just to keep going financially. Those days
seem to be over now. For the one night appearance in Ames,
Wolfe earned $2,700.
Symposium attacks Latin American problems
In recent years scientists and humanitarians
around the world have labored to solve problems like
starvation in underdeveloped countries.
; The search for answers to critical food and health
problems will continue April 17-18 on the UNL
campus during the Montgomery Lecture series.
The University will be involved in one of the first
public inter-American symposiums of this type to be
held at any university in the United States, according
to Roberto Esquenazi-Mayo, chairman of the
Montgomery Series planning committee.
Esquenazi said he has spent three years organizing
this symposium, and he believes it will be one of the
most important conferences ever held at the
University of Nebraska. He said renowned scientists
from all over the world will attend the
Inter-American Symposium on the Scientific and
Technological Gap in Latin America.
Funded by the Montgomery Lecture Fund and the
Sperry and Hutchinson Foundation, the symposium
is being presented by the UNL Institute for Latin
American and International Studies. Esquenazi is
director of the Institute.
He predicted the conference will be one of the
most successful and significant in the history of the
University. Esquenazi said he has been receiving
letters from experts, scientists and humanitarians
from major universities throughout the world who
have heard of the UNL symposium.
"This response has been phenomenal," Esquenazi
said: "I hope we can receive a similar response from
the students and other members of our own
community," he added.
"And the students shouldn't think this is just
about Latin America. The information discussed here
will apply to all developing countries."
' Esquenazi cited a number of reasons why he
hoped students would attend the symposium. The
principal reason, he said, was to clear up students'
misconceptions about the nature, extent and effect of
the overwhelming problems now experienced by the
masses in developing countries.
"A lot of the students talk about poverty here in
America. You can imagine what it's like down there,"
he said. .
Esquenazi also stressed that speakers will not be
talking "pure science." Therefore he said students not
majoring in a science, or those not knowledgeable
about current scientific trends, shouldn't be afraid to
come. He said the symposium will not just deal with
scientific problems but also with, economic and social
"There will be ample opportunity for students to
discuss and ask questions," Esquenazi said.
After the symposium is over, resolutions adopted
will be sent to Brazil, and hopefully they will be
implemented, Esquenazi said. He said resolutions.
probably to be called The Nebraska
Recommendations, will also be sent to government
agencies in the U.S., as well as in other countries.
The Montgomery Lecture series schedule is as
Monday, April 17
9 a.m. Greeting by UNL Chancellor James H. Zumberge;
Centennial Room, Nebraska Union.
9:1510:15 a.m. Norman H. Cromwell, executive dean
for graduate studies and research at UNL and Harrison
Brown; "The Role of Science and Technology in
10:30 noon Marcelo Alonso, "Trends in Science and
Technology in Latin America;" end Manuel Noriega Morales,
"Technological Transfer-Adaptation and Innovation."
1:30 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Arcadio Poveda; Victor L. Urquidi,
"Latin American Development and the Technological Gap;"
Jorge Soria, "A General View of the Present Status of
Scientific Knowledge on Tropical Agriculture in Latin
America;" Myron Wegman, "Applied Research in Public
Health In Latin America."
7 p.m. Banquet. Speaker, Adam C. Breckenridge, UNL
Department of Political Science; "The University of Nebraska
in Latin America."
Tuesday, April 18
9-10:20 a.m. Henry S. Valk; Carlos Mailman. "Gaps in
Mankind's Wellbeing; Argentina as a case study;: "Gulllermo
Soberon, "Mexico's Scientific and Technological Gap and the
Program of Scientific Development of the Universidad
Nacional Autonoma de Mexico," Luis Manuel Penalver, "The
Situation of Science and Technology in Venezuela."
10:40 noon Presentation concerning the status of science
and technology In other countries.
1:30-3:15 p.m. Melvin D. George, Dean of the UNL
College of Arts and Sciences.
3:304:30 p.m. Resolutions
4:305 p.m. Closing statements by Harrison Brown.
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Msontgomsry lecturers . . Soria, Alonso, Wegman, Monties, Urquid, Sober oni, Poveda, Brown.
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1972
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
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