dictatorially-organized

system,
but
in-finding the right way in which to
dothings in a democracy.Essentially, the. presentEast-West competition is not merely of missiles or
atomic power or fusion; it is a competition
between
dictatorship
and
democracy. It is acompetition not
only in science or weapons, butin
everyaspect
of life. We will best
show thesuperiority
we believe is
inherentindemocracy
by pursuing
democratic,
a
balanced
program,
rather than by blindly imitating Soviet accomplishments
in
specific
fields.
And if the accomplishments of
democracy are shown t o be superior
in this way, a reversephenomenon

may occur; the. Soviets, by- imitaring us, may in the processbecome
more democratic. Any activities that
widen t h e cracks in the iron curtain
will foster this process andshould
beencouragedwithmaximum
effort.TheGenevaAtomsforPeace
meeting of 1955, for example, created an opening; thecontactsthus
established havecontinued to grow
( m y own visit t o t h e SovietUnion
resulted directlyfromtheGeneva
present
time,
meeting). At the
for
plansare
going aheadrapidly
Geneva 11, to be held in September
of thisyear.This
conferencepromises to be abouttwiceaslargeas
Geneva 1, and again it will supply
an opportunity for contacts between

sciencists of the East and West, in
which democracy
again
will have
achance to display Its values.
Other similar
activities,
already
in progress or possible in thenear
future,can help t o lift thecurtain.
One is theInternational Geophysical Year; an0the.r would be an internationally-policed ban on H-bomb
testingand, possibly,onproduction
as well. If we devote ourselves to
these accomplishments, ratherthan
waitinginjitteryanxietyforthe
Soviet’s next move in order, slavishly, to imitate it, we will no longer
need tofearthefuture.We
will
know that progress is being made
toward
world
peace rather
than
worlddestruction.

~~

DISNEYLAND and LA§ VEGAS
THIS IS WRITTEN in Mexico, my

home in recentyears, I’ve just returnedfromavisittotheUnited
States,and am nowonce more enjoying the taste of unfrozenorange
juiceandfresh
fish,conversations
which
lasting four or fivehoursin
all sorts of cabbagesandkingsare
discussed,
meetings
with
friends
where no oneasks if I watched TV
last night t o see Mickey Rooney do
Oedipus Rex on the Benign CancerProducingCigarette Wnlpurgislzacht
Spectacular. Now I feel myself once
again reassured of my personal idencity and cri,tical faculties to the point
I have
where
this
article,
which
t o writefrom
been tryingvainly
within the revolving U.S. Barrel of
Fun, comes to my typewriter
as
easily as a remembered dream being
noted down forthepsychiatrist.
Perhaps, as I’d been advised t o do,
I shouldhave taken a child along
when I visitedDisneyIand, but I’m
glad I didn’t.. For onething,most
of the visitors were grownups, in the
sense t h a t PresidentTrumanand
the Princeof. Saudi Arabia aregrownup, and I wasable
to passmore
easily, although I never did get over

JULIAN HALEVY is a m - e e l t
wviter and nove%t. Hir latert book
ir The Young Lovers.
5 10

by julian Hulevy

the feeling that I was being watched.
Too, I didn’t havetotempermy
revulsion t o t h e placewith middleof-the-road thoughtsthatanything
givingpleasure t o a child can’t be
altogetherbad.
M y companion on
the expedition,wasawomanwith
vitahtyand
good taste,capable of
feeling, a good friend of the kind
you want beside you whenyou’re
in a tightspot. I mustreport that
she wassomewhatdisturbed
by the
experience: she didn’t haveapIane
reservation in herpocket, as I did.
She was going t o have to stay in Los
Angeles, which is a suburb of Disneyland,andtheprospectwasfrightening.

distracted from the main purpose of
their visit, there is alargehotel
on
the grounds; and, if one can believe
the billboards, it’s possible t o relax
there in a luxurious hotel atmosphere,
whereformal attire is unnecessary,
while enjoying an extended
visit.
There is a limit to how much punishment even the most devout Disneyite
one dqy.
I
can
absorb
in
The huge park is laid out in several sections radiating from a center,
a city plan also used t o good effect
Washington,
in
D.C., and Paris.
Each section has a national character
or leitmotif and an appropriate title:
Frontierland,
Tomorrowland,
Adventureland, Wonderland and so on.
Frontierland
features
the
Old
THE AMUSEMENT parkadverWest: mine train, a ride on’
a Mistised throughoutthe world as Dis- sissippi-type riverboataround Tom
neyland is acollection
of Midway Sawyer’s Island, an authentic movie
rides, concessions, hot-dog
stands
saloon where
moustachioed
a
barandsoftdrinkcounters,
peep-shows tenderinformedme
that “no alcoandadvertisingstuntsfor
bigcorholic beveragesare
served in Disporations, neatly laid out on several
neyland,” a diorama of the ,Grand
Canyon,
shooting
galleries, horse
hundredflat acres twentyminutes’
a super-highway
from
drive
on
cars, cowboys, Indiansand stuffed,
downtown Los Angeles or a few motorized-animals.
minutesflightbydirect,
scheduled
Tomorrowland offers rocket-ship
helicopterservicefrom the Los An- rides to the ,moon, a plasticHouse
geles International
Airport.
of the Future advertising Monsanto,
For the convenience of pilgrims a 460-degree motion-pictureexhibit
who havetraveledconsiderable
dis- belonging t o GeneralMotors,anda
tancesand
who don’t wanttobe
wide variety of jet-plane and space-

T h e NATION

l i ’

CI

b

u

ship rides. The Wonderland pitch
uses gimmicks from Disney movies:
Snow
White’s
Castle,
Mr.
Toad’s
Scooter
Ride,
T h e Seven
Dwarfs’
SouvenirShop;
Gepetto’s Toys,
We got of€ amodel train at Adventureland, passed through
an
Oriental Bazaar, and boarded a river
launch that, for fifty cents,took us
up countryintodarkestDlsneyland
on seven-minute
a
voyage. The
pdot of our crowded little craft pointed out dangers
and
,assuaged
our
a public-address system
fearsover
whichhe handledverycompetently
withonehandwhllebrandishinga
He steered,
pistolwiththeother.
incidentally,with his elbows, which
was less foolhardly thanitmight
seem, because the launch was towed
on an endless underwaterbelt.We
passed a temple full of sacred jewels,
guardedbystuffed
crocodiles which
attacked us on whirring wheels, a
tribe of headhunters brandishing assegais andshrunkenheads,anda
whole slew of stuffed, mechanized
all
gorillas, cannibalsandelephants,
intent on doing us bodily harm. We
hadsome pretty close calls, but the
pilot was a- crack shot from Central
Casting, and he placed noisy bullets
between the eyes of anything or anyus‘. Given t o
bodythatthreatened
sageobservations,heremarked
oGer
the P. A. system,after coolly despatchingmonster
a
crocodile that
had poked itsrubbersnoutagainst
‘ Y o u can’t
the side of theboat,
trustthose
fellows!”
As in the Disney movies, the
whole world, the universe, and all
man’s striving for dominion over self
and nature, have beenreduced t o a
sickeningblend
of cheapformulas
packaged to sell. Romance,
.Adventure, Fantasy, Science are ballybooed andmarketed: life isbrightcolored,clean, cute,titivating, safe,
mediocre,inoffensive
t ot h e lowest
common denominator,and somehow
poignantly inhuman. The mythology
glorified in TV: and Hollywood’s B
films has beengiventoo solid flesh.
By some Gresham’s law of bad art
driving out good, the whole of SouthernCaliforniaandthenation
indivisible is affected. Theinvitation
and challenge of real living is abandoned. It doesn’t sell tickets. Jt’s

dangerous and offensive. Give ’en
lU?W

71

I!?%

I

For the duration of your visit, you
wearyourbraintilted.
You h e in
aluxury
world wherethefact
of
a
money seems beneath
notlce;
world of Olympicswimming
pools,
hanginggardens,waitressesbeautiful as rnov~e stars, marble baths and
bars a block long, airconditioning,
deep carpets,royalbuffetsand
obsequlous waiters offering free drinks.
T h e illusion is created that we are
allrich, that money means nothing.
It is changedinto chips,which are
buttons, sort of; losing them on the
gamingtablescan
seem trivial, untd the suckergetsbackhomeand
converts his losses intorealthings
l k e groceries and rent.
Every hotel is designed so that all
roads lead through its gambling casino,, the-heart, of the institution. T o
get to the dining room, the ,pool, or
LAS VEGAS IS a verydifferent
kind of placefromDisneyland,
al- merely from one’s room ttoh e
thou,gh both seem to me to illustrate street, one must pass by the brightly-spinning roulette wheels, the glowa growing need in the United States
ing green pastures of the crap tables,
to escapefromreallty.Disneyland
is total make-believe; I suspect that the corridors of slot machines pleada lot of tbe customeis leave it ‘with ing to be stripped OF their jackpots.
busy.
a sense of having been oversold and Shills keeptheshowlooking
It seems that everyone is playing
underestimated,andit
wouldsurprise me if many of them keep com- the game: t o toss a handful Q colingbackforanotherfling
a t big- ored buttons on thetable is easy;
for a
game hunting, Disney style. On the one does it casually,arrily;
otherhand,Las
Vegas is a habit: moment one has the illusion of omevery Saturday night, once a month, nipotence. Lose, shrug, and pass on:
what a wonderful relief from checkanannual vacation-it
dependson
how much money the suckeIhas t o ing prices atthesupermarketand
how farawayhe
lives. trying to balance the check book.
spendand
T h e satisfactions sold in Las Vegas
,IT CERTAINLY appeals t o a lot of
are subtler and more profound: they
touchonthe
real lives, the real people. I saw a11 sorts,inMagnin
originals and
cotton
housedresses,
anxieties of ‘thepeaplewhotrek
there from all over the United States blue jeans and’,evening clothes. There
was a corporation executive and his
and places evenmoredistant.Las
Vegas deals in the essence of the wife who hadbroughtalongtheir
cook and
houseman
t o sharethe
Americanway,narcotizes
the numholiday, and all four were gambling.
ber-onepreoccupation of dailyrealThe,sight of thousands of people
ity and nightly dream: the Almighty
,
sheddingtheirfmancialinhibitions
Buck.
and traditional respect for money is
A Las Vegaspromotion. man,in
amoment of inspiration, conceived somewhatstartling,butthemost
o i the
a billboard advertisement which got provocative,puzzlingaspect
abig
play: ‘‘Come toLas Vegas! whole spectacle wastfiat many of the
Bring Money!” The ad implied t h a t gamblers, certainly a majority of the
money, after all, is only a commodity big plungers, weren’t gamblmgto
llkepotatoes; it ridiculed the over- wm. T o p u t it simply, they were
importance of money in our lives, throwingtheirmoneyaway.
This requires some explanation.
and mischievously, entertainingly,
Games
o f ’skill, like poker, orreal
invited us to act out the burlesque.
games
of
chance,
like
traditional
Las Vegasitselfcarries
outthe
gospel psoelainled by the billboard. craps, are not available in the plush

mumbo-jumbo.One feels our whole
masscultureheadingupthedark
river tothe
source-that
heart of
darknesswhereMr.Disneytraffics~
in pastel-trinketed evilforgold
and
ivory.
But the overwhelming feeling that
onecarriesaway
is sadnessfor the
empty liveswhich accept such tawdrysubstitutes.Ontheriverboat,
I heard a womanesclaimglowingly,
to her husband, “What imagination
they have!” H e nodded,andthe
pathetic
gladness
that illuminated
his face as a papier-machkcrocodile
of
sankbeneaththemuddysurface
theditchwasagrimindictment
of
the way of life for which this feeble
sham
represented
escape and
ad, venture,

I

1

511

casinos of the great hotels d o n g the
&rip,Thereis
an illusron ofgamblingfosteredandtalesaretold
of
the Man Who Broke the Bank, but
it is impossible foranyone t o continue,
playing
for
considerable
a
length of timeandwin,Theodds
are fixed for this purpose. T h e house
takes a sixeable percentage on every
turn of the card in blackjack, every
spin of the
roulette
wheel, every
throw of the dice. Incidentally, the
traditional
odds
of craps,
which
favorthe houseonly veryslightly,
have been altered in Las Vegas so as
t o increase-the house percentage, and
houserules
preventgamblersfrom
playing the house side and enjoying
their favored position. The slot machines, of course, are
commonly
and
properly
known
one-arm
as
bandits. Yet the wheels keepturning, the cards continue to be flipped,
the craptablesare
booming, and
the
same
suckers
keep
getting
fleeced.

A LOT of them don’t know any better, I suppose. They think they can,
win, despite the lawsof mathematics.
Butthereare
businessmen in the

crowds;
sharp,
hard-headed
operators who figure their profits in fractions of a cent on the dollar,who
buy and sell on tiny variations in
the market and maintain systems of
accountingfarmore
complex than
the simple
arithmetic
involved
in
figuring the house percentage ina
crap game where rrcome” bets lose on
box cars but players
fading
the
shooter do not win.
I hadaconversation
with one of
these businessmen that tells some-

5 12

thing, if only a small part, of t h e

emotional factors motivating this unbusinesslikebehavior. It wasin the
bright,bluedesertmorningbeside
the swimming pool, andduringan
ordinaryconversation
in whichwe
chattedaboutour
homestatesand
occupations, my acquaintance mentioned thathehaddroppedabout
$2,000 onthis weekend trip, which
brought his losses for theyearto
aboutfortygrand.
“You can’t win,” he said, a t one
point,“but I like t o play. I’m the
kind of sucker these operators dream
about. Why, at home, on a Saturday
to
night I’ll drive two hours to get
agame I know is crooked.”
On
another
occasion, this
man,
whoinall
other respectsimpressed
from
me as sane,energeticandfar
self-destructive, told me, smiling ruefulIy, that since the end of World
War I1 he had lost, gambling, $300,000-profits
from
wartime
black
market deals thathad been salted
away insafe-deposit boxes. “It was
dirty money, anyway,)’ he said.
What he meant, I think, was not
that he had strong conscience pangs
about how he had earned the money,
butratherthatthere
wasn’t any
wayhe could spend it that would
give himgreatersatisfactionthan
that provided by this form of throwing it away.

AS I WRITE, I amreminded

givingaway

the excess money and

There is another kind of gambling
at Las Vegas which contrasts markedly with the phenomenonjust deTO hunt for it,
scribed.
One
has
though. I n a few saloons, downtown,
there are old-fashioned, frontier-style
poker games, the kind of game that
went on in Virginia City when Mark
TwainandBretHarte
were working on the newspaper there. In these
places, the house doesn’t participate,
merelyproviding the tableand facilities, includmg a dealer who cuts
thepotfora
half-dollarnow
and
again. T h e playersareadifferent
breedfrom t h e guilt-happy, self-destructivepenitents at the Strip hotels. Men, mostly, in contrast to the
hotelcasinos where there seemed t o
be, as many women players as men,
most
thesegamblers
were forthe
part older, more taciturn, more serious. They dressed-differently
from
thehotel crowd, who favored fashionable sportswear
in worn, drab
suits of a cut popular ten years ago;
a very fewamongthem
woreunassuming polo shirts and slacks. CalcuIatingodds,sizing up their opponentsthoughtfully,drinking
coffee
(if anything), they made their bets
or dropped out with an ind~vidually
inexpressive style that did not vary
with the size of the pots which, in
the games I watched, were as low as
$5 oras high as $3,000. There was
tension
a
in theircryptic
speech
and
deIiberate
movements,
drama
that made the alcoholic feverishness
of play in the hotels seem, in comparison,pathetic.

L

i

I

‘4

-

of a
religious practice in certainremote
Mexican villages. Whenthe parishh e r s are fed up with theway things
have been going, they take the holy
images fromtheirplace
beside the
altar and thi-ow them in the lake to
THERE was one od’d character who
indicate
their
dissatisfaction
with
him
for
the ruling powers. It strikes me that intrigued me. I watched
hours,alongwith
severaI other rethere is some parallelbetweenthis
primitivegettingevenandthe
be- markable gamblers,
in
a
no-limit
havior of the U.S. businessmen; as five-card stud game. H e was a short,
one of them said in my hearing plumpish, sharp-featured man about
about his gambling losses, “I guess fifty, wlth loud,
a
arrogant voice
andcheap,flamboyant
clothes,inI like t o throw it away.”
And whiIe I’m pIaying with anaI- cluding a green feltTyroleanhat
I wonder ,with a peacock feather. A cold cigar
ogies among
primitives,
was grippedbetweenhisteeth,and
if there isn’t somecommonhuman
denominatorlinkingthese
pilgrims hekept relighting it with a Flamthose Indians menwerfer lighter a t tense moments
toLas
Vegas
with
in the betting. During intervals when
who, intheirpotlatchritual,insist
who have he was sltting out a hand, a messenthat those
individuals
ger brought him cards from a nearamassed
certain
a surplus
get
rid of it, either by destroying or by bingo game andl be marked them,

The NATION

4

, ,I-

L

watchinganxiously as- the numbers
wereposted. His behaviorirritated
the other players. I’m surehe was
deliberatelyprovokingthem.When
they were
angry,
their
judgment
was affected, which gave him an advantage. How effectivehis strategy
was, I do not know;‘but I was impressed by his style.
The most
consistent
winner,
old
though,
was
thin,
a leathery
man who kept ablanketwrapped
around his legs. I n acoldlydispassionate atmosphere, he was icily detached. I saw h i y call a $500 bet
with a pair of tensand win.
Whatever else you can say about
that old man’s line of work, i t takes
block
moxie. OntheNewYork
where I grew up,the word meant
akind of spiritedcourage that we
all admired. If. life put a chip on its
shoulderandflung
a challenge, the
it off andthen
kid whoknocked
up in
dancedaroundwithhisfists
a, fancy boxing stancehad
moxie.
It’sa
word I haven’t used much

lately. In the months since P visited
Las Vegas, I’ve found myself, now
and then, remembering that no-limit
if not
pokergameandtheplayers;
for them, the town would have been
an altogether terrible place.
I don’treally believe t h a t pokerplaying is an
adequate
substitute
for
the
escitement
that’s
missing
of
fromthecontemporarypackage
adjusted organization life. It’s rather
a sign that the longing for it hasn’t
yet been entirely
channeled
into
fantasyoutlets:andperhapssome
of the other socially censured activities that are permitted t o flourish in
the nooks and crannies of the American Way are’ also symptomatic of
the still-glowing spark.Theremust
be some good reason why social delinquency is concentrated in the
livest segment of our population, the
youth.
B u t I’m writing
about
Disneyland and Las Vegas t o make another
point: thatboththeseinstitutions
existfor
the relief of tensionand

CRAFT THREAT tol the U.A.W.
Detroit

THE NATIONAL LaborRelations

BoardheldanextraordinaIy
session
here on May 21.. For the first time
since 1954, the full five-manbody
headed by Chair,man Boyd Leedom,
leftWashington t o conductanonthe-spothearing.
The consequences
will af€,ectnot only the current autolabor crisis, but craft and industrial.
union
relations,
throughout
the
country.
Unprecedented
also was
the fact that: General Motors, Ford,
Chrysler and the United AutoWorkersunionpostponedcontract
negotiations a t a critical stage to appear
side by side tomakeajointplea
before the board. What united these
in
bargaining opponents common
cause a t this stage of their acrimonious negotiations.were
theninety-

B. J. WIDICK, who J~aswritten

ex-

tensively a n labor problems i n t h e
auto i d u s t r y , is co-author, with
Z r v i ~ g Ilowe, of The UAW and
Walter Reuther.

June 7, I958

threepetitions of fivecraftunionsbefore the NLRB demanding elections
to
determine
collective
bargaining rights for over 12,000 skilled
workers
currently
covered
by
U.A.W. representation and contracts.
A week earlier,
Regional
NLRB
DirectorThomas Roumell had dismissed thirty-four petitions covering
5,000 skilledworkers
a t Fordand
Chrysler. The board hadto review
this action and alsoconsiderfiftynine
additional
petitions
covering
7,000,,General Motors workers.
Until a determinationhasbeen
made by the NLRB as t o who represents the rebelling skilled workers,
the Big Three
car
manufacturers
and
the
U.A.W. cannot con,clude
new contracts to replace, those which
expired last weekend.
The five
craft
unions
arrayed
againstthetemporaryunitedfront
of ,the auto industry and the U.A.W.
arethe
Society of Skilled Trades,
the American Federation of Skilled
Crafts,
the
Operating
Engineers

boredom, as tranquilizers for social
anxiety, and that they both provide
fantasy experiences in which not-sosecretlongingsarepseudo-satisfied.
Their huge profits and mushrooqing
growthsuggest
that asconformity
and adjustment become more rigidly
imposedon the American scene, the
drift to fantasy
release will become
afhght. So make your reservations
early.

.

b y B. J . V i d i c k .

(AFL-CLO), the
Pattern
Makers
League and the Society of Tool and
Die Craftsmen. The lead-off witness
a t t h e jam-packed M a y 21 hearing
was Walter
Reuther,
who
argued
t h a t it was in the bestinterests of,
the nation, the autoindustryand
the skilled workers themselves t o be
represented by one union. H e pointed out that a single bargaining unit
suchas
the U.A.W. provides mobility in using skilled manpower
if emwhich would beimpossible
ployeesweredivided
intoair-tight
craftcompartments;heargued
furof separate
therthatthecreation
craftunions would forcetheindustry to spend six months onproduction
and
six
months
on
model
change-overs. He reminded the
NLRB that duringWorld War I1
i t was the ability of the U.A.W. t o
upgrade production workers t o semiskilled and skilled classifications
that enabled Detroit to become the
arsenal of deqocracy.Reuther also
outlined the U.A.W. machiner,y un513