CAN YOU AFFNORD TO MISS IT?
BY LARA SCHULTZ
DAILY COUGAR STAFF
No one seems to know how it all got started, except it all began a long, long time ago in an office building in downtown Dallas -- the nerve center for all SubGenius missionary/ mercenary activities.
"We just put this deal together last week," Chris Wallace, a manager at Homage, offered on the happening. "It's a Texas Convention sort of thing... something like that... I think..."
The message on the answering machine at the home of Reverend Charles, Pope of Houston and the Golden Triangle Area (the event's supposed coordinator), is equally bizarre.
"Please, enter your secret code." Click.
The mystery surrounding the Subgenius Church Devival (Thursday night promptly at 9 p.m. at Homage, 2204 Louisiana -- no poodles please) is however, oddly appropriate.
The Book of the Subgenius says there is no description for the Church of the Subgenius. "Words do not suffice; one must e.' We let you see a little at a time until you are led gradually to total clarity. It is the Nameless Mission. The true mission is always nameless. To name it is to doom it... to alert the enemy.
It is also described as,"the sale, the big pitch, and when the world buys it, you get the commission..."
Got it? No, you don't.
The godhead, pardon, the Dobbshead is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. "`Bob' is the Fool of the Universe and THUS, the only place of ALL KNOWLEDGE. `Bob' is the meaning of the Word Without Meaning; therefore `Bob' is the One True Word." Or so says the book.
Now it's clear, right? Wrong.
The goal of the subgenius is slack.
The kicker -- `Bob' is slack and has the power to fail and fail repeatedly as is superhumanly possible.
Go figure. At least go pull the wool over your own eyes and find out what it's all about.
Prepare yourself for: Bobtisms -- if a willing anointee, dress in your best golfing outfit; Short Duration Marriages -- bring your love of the hour; and various rants, chants and strange rites. If you are a normal, a Glorp or Pink Boy bring a dollar-ladened wallet. You'll need it.
Amen. Without remorse.
THE STONING OF STONE
BY ARTHUR BURNET (MICHAEL SMITH)
There's no such thing as paranoia; the real situation is always much worse than you imagine.
-- Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Speaking of paranioa, filmmaker Oliver Stone is causing a great deal of it among the atrophied old geeks who pose as the nation's opinion leaders, with plans to take on the mother of all American myths -- the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Fresh from the resurrection/crucifixion number he did on Jim Morrison, Stone's film is based on the book On the Trail of the Assassins, written by Louisiana Judge Jim Garrison.
Garrison claims JFK was snuffed out by operatives of a loose and shady right-wing coalition of CIA-employed Mafia thugs for reasons ranging from his planned de-escalation of the Vietnam war to brother Bobby's attitude about organized crime.
Stone had hardly shot the first reel before some of the Wise Old White Men who squat on the country's most prestigious editorial boards began launching rabid screeds roundly damning the whole idea.
Based solely on a bootlegged first-draft of the screenplay, such print heavies as The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and that paragon of truth, Time, accused Stone not only of lying, but lying in a By-God un-American fashion.
In the September issue of Lies of Our Times (where, by the way, many of the factiods contained herein were liberated from), writer Carl Oglesby says the mainstreamers are up in arms because they find Stone's approach an "insult to the intelligence," and "decency" and they find Garrison "bizarre."
Tribune columnist Jon Margolis, wrote "There is a point at which intellectual myopia becomes morally repugnant. Stone's new film ... has passed that point and so will anyone who pays American money to see it."
There are several obvious questions here.
When, for instance, did editorial-page mercenaries begin stooping to film criticism?
When did it become sporting to lambast a movie before it's shot, much less edited and shown?
Why is Stone's movie the first in recent history held to any standard, much less a high moral and intellectual one?
And when were the hyenas on the Hollywood gut-heap last attracted to an author who was not bizarre?
It's not far fetched to speculate that Stone has sinned by poking a spot in our history that's still raw and festered.
George Lardner of The Washington Post, one of Stone's most strident critics, slathers that Garrison's book, and by extention the movie, is rife with factual errors.
Even if the condemnation is fact, and Lardner never proves it, so it's still laughable considering almost every news story printed about JFK's death -- even those written last week -- contains a paragraph quoting the Warren Commission, to wit:
"The Warren Commission, appointed by President Johnson found that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone shot ... etc. Amen."
When even Earl, the half-wit editor of the Mudflap Montana Missive, knows the Warren Commission report was discredited by the House Assassinations Committee report, which received less media attention than an Amtrack derailment, when it was published in 1979.
The House report said Kennedy probably was the victim of a conspiracy.
Stone may not have stumbled onto what really happened that September day in Dallas. And considering he made it onto the Louisiana bench, Garrison probabaly is looney as a dancehall rat.
So what? JFK is only a movie. And no matter how unlikely it's plot, it can't surpass the standard JFK fairytale Americans are expected to believe.
Truth is indeed a hard thing to find, especially when the facts are as cold and stale as the ones surrounding the Kennedy caper, but it's probably not far from the truth to say media flailings of Stone are motivated out of shame.
Shame in the knowledge that some powerful group killed a dynamic young president, made a giant sandwich and fed it whole to the nation's "watchdog" press.
And those noble defenders of the truth ate it smiling and never gagged once.
CRITICAL CULTURAL STUDIES FINALLY UH PROGRAM
BY JOHN GRIFFIN
DAILY COUGAR STAFF
The age of interdisciplinary academic networking is now a reality at the University of Houston.
As of this July, The Center for Critical Cultural Studies has official university sanctions as a recognized program.
Started as an ad hoc seminar in 1988, the center is the brainchild of co-founders Les Switzer, a UH professor of communications, and John McNamara, associate professor of English.
During the 11/2 year incubation period, Switzer and McNamara organized biweekly presentations and intellectual discussions at a variety of local venues.
McNamara said the presentations, which ranged through broad areas of expertise and encompassed a myriad of academic disciplines, "focused increasingly on questions of postmodern culture."
In the spirit of diversity, the seminars featured not only faculty and students from UH, but those from Texas Southern University, Rice University and the University of St. Thomas.
A university-wide pilot survey conducted in the spring of 1990 found over 120 faculty and at least 120 graduate students from the UH Central and Clear Lake campuses interested in the idea.
Based on those numbers and support for the initial seminars, Switzer and McNamara submitted a proposal to establish the center as a formal program.
With the support of interim Vice President of Academic Affairs James Pickering and Harrell Rodgers, dean of the College of Social Sciences, the proposal came to fruition this summer.
But what exactly is The Center for Critical Cultural Studies?
McNamara describes it as a "database," a "network where faculty and students in various disciplines working on parallel projects can get in contact and share research."
A statement of purpose drafted by McNamara and Switzer explains the goals of the center as focusing "its attention on the ways in which a culture produces and continually reproduces itself, a research interest that requires interdisciplinary study by its very nature, drawing upon work in the arts and humanities together with research programs developed in the social sciences, education and law.
"The Center differs from other cultural studies projects in the emphasis it places on the critical study of culture, inspired by the European tradition of critical thought. Whereas most cultural researchers tend to take for granted the conditions defining their objects and methods of study, critical cultural theorists give special attention to the conditions that give rise to those objects and methods in the first place.
"... Thus, physics, philosophy or philology cannot be adequately studied simply by examining them as subjects and employing appropriate disciplinary methodologies. The critical study of these disciplines would also examine the ways they have developed institutional norms as social practices."
By giving students and faculty a forum in which to communicate their ideas, Switzer and McNamara hope to stimulate a freer and more useful flow of information. Or as Switzer said, "get people's consciousness raised."
Its organizers said that the fledgling program is successful. Both men cited growing support from faculty and administration while maintaining that criticism has been minimal.
"Initially everybody told us it couldn't be done," Switzer said. "Now the center is unique in that it is the only university program represented by all the colleges."
Darlene Hurt, a graduate student in sociology who has attended many of the center's sponsored seminars, sees the development of such programs not only as interesting, but necessary.
"It was at those lectures that I first gained some insight into the whole idea of postmodernism," she said. "The new wave in social theory is away from developing grand paradigms which will explain everything, which is what the center is all about. My truth as a graduate student in academia is not the same truth as the teenage runaway trying to exist on the streets.
"We can't expect to slap a label on a group and throw around a few statistics and derive some universal standard. It doesn't work anymore."
Although Switzer called initial funding of the program "inconsequential," he and McNamara hope for continued success and support for this effort.
Next week: A national perspective.
GOERKE NOT FRETTING OVER UH-CL LAYOFFS
BY DAI HUYNH
DAILY COUGAR STAFF
Forging ahead, the newly appointed President of UH Clear Lake, Glenn Goerke, is optimistic about the university's future despite having to lay off 24 of its 400 employees.
The university had no choice but to trim its budget to compensate for the monetary cuts in higher education, Goerke said.
"The cuts are directly due to the state budget. We were placed in a position where we have about $630,000 less this year than we had last year," he said.
To balance the institution's budget, the university had to reduce $630,000 from its spending by eliminating existing jobs and services.
Under Goerke's guidance, the university made cuts in areas including student services, administration and finance, institutional advancement, academic affairs, computing and the president's office.
The budget reductions will not be an impediment on the university's academic growth, Goerke said.
"We'll go forward, take a look at the institution and see which part of the institution we want to build on in terms of additional strength," he said.
"The institution has had a marvelous history. It's only 17 years old, but its accomplishments are tremendous. It has a very strong faculty and there are some excellent programs across the institution," Goerke said.
His goal is to raise $11 million in the next five years for UHCL. Goerke said mistakes will be made during the course of revamping the institution, but he remains confident about the future.
"Anytime you have an outstanding faculty, and you've got more students than you can fit into the classrooms, that bodes well for the future," he said. "I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."
Goerke was recommended by Chancellor Alexander Schilt to fill the position vacated by Thomas M. Stauffer at the end of the Spring 1991 semester.
In a memorandum, Schilt stated that, "Goerke is an indispensable member of our leadership team who will bring to UHCL the kind of vision and direction the university needs at this time."
Goerke previously served as president of UH Victoria from 1986 to 1991 with a brief eight-month interuption in 1989 as chancellor of the UH System.
Goerke began his term as UHCL president in August, after Stauffer transfered to the UH System as Schilt's new assistant for federal and international affairs.
Goerke's appointment will last two years, through August 31, 1993.
DISTRICT 147 HOPEFULS AGREE ON HIGHER ED
BY DAVE DAVIS
DAILY COUGAR STAFF
Seven candidates running for the District 147 state legislative seat say UH and Texas Southern University should get some of the government money set aside for the University of Texas and Texas A & M, and they are prepared to fight for it.
The political hopefuls were in agreement on most of the issues at the Sept. 18 question and answer forum in the UH World Affairs Lounge. The candidates focused on securing of portions of the Permanent University Fund, currently available only to UT and A & M, for all other state assisted universities.
Candidate Saundria Chase, a UT law school graduate, said she has felt other Texas universities should be getting their fair share of state dollars for years.
"That was a big problem for us when I attended UT, and I think all the candidates are in agreement on providing PUF dollars for state-assisted institutions," said Chase.
Morris Graves, director of the UH African-American Studies Department, said it would take a constitutional amendment to change the way the state allocates the PUF fund. Graves said he doubts that UH or its future representative could muster enough support to accomplish that task.
"UT and A & M have too much clout and too much support for us to try to attack the PUF," Graves said.
Graves said the current Texas tax structure, and the current tuition rates, are outdated and incapable of servicing the budgetary needs of the state. Graves said even with this year's tuition rate increase of $4 per semester hour, Texas is still ranked 47th in the country in terms of states with highest tuition costs for resident students.
The issues of taxes and tuition rates were also areas in which the seven candidates found common ground.
Jew Don Boney, political hopeful and former director of the Houston Area Urban League's Education Department, said Texas still gets an enormous amount of money from the oil and gas industry. Boney said this money is sufficient to sustain the state budget for the time being.
Boney also supports a corporate tax on revenues from Texas' mammoth corporations as a form of alternative income for the state.
One of the most divisive topics of discussion at the political forum was the issue concerning mandatory random drug testing for elected officials.
Garnet Coleman, Larry Blackmon, Jew Don Boney and Saundria Chase all oppose mandatory drug testing, stating that if the trend towards random testing continues, drug tests may be only one of the requirements to hold office.
"After drug testing, people will want AIDS testing for elected officials, then maybe I.Q. testing, then what?" Boney said.
George Dillard and Aline McCloud both support mandatory drug testing.
Dillard said drugs are an important enough problem in today's society for the state to take a serious stand on the issue. Dillard also said random drug testing is a moral and not a constitutional issue.
McCloud took the opportunity in her opening remarks to proclaim herself as a drug-free candidate. She offered personal drug-test results as proof of her commitment to the issue of mandatory testing.
McCloud also repeated her allegation that political candidates David Edwards, Larry Blackmon and Franklin Glascoe are not residents of the district they are seeking to represent. McCloud Claims she has
proof from the Harris County Tax Assessor and Collectors' office that the three candidates' actual addresses are different from the ones they are using for election purposes.
The candidates are also divided on whether or not the 95 percent capacity level at state correctional facilities should be raised to slow the early release of Texas inmates.
Dillard, Coleman and McCloud support the measure, each citing the obvious advantages of having fewer parolees in the Houston area.
Chase and Blackmon are opposed to the measure, citing similar reasons.
Both candidates feel the state's current prison facilities could be better utilized if the state would find alternative punitive measures for first-time, non-violent offenders.
Chase said the state could create work programs and other types of disciplinary and rehabilitative measures for these cases, which would free up bed space for more serious offenders.
The candidates struck a chord of agreement on the subject of a state lottery. Every candidate said the lottery is a viable source of revenue for the state that should be utilized.
Chase said the lottery could be invaluable to the poorer communities, contrary to the arguments that lotteries victimize the poor instead of help.
Chase said if elected, she would push for legislation that would return a proportionate amount of revenue to a community, depending on how well that community supported the lottery.
HIGHER EDUCATION MAY SUFFER MORE STATE CUTS
BY DEBBIE HOUSEL
DAILY COUGAR STAFF
UH is bracing itself for a possible 5.27 percent reduction in Fiscal Year 93's budget after discovering a section in the State appropriations bill could trigger a $7.2 million loss.
UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett told the UH Faculty Senate Wednesday, the university became aware of this article when interim Assistant Vice President for Planning and Budgeting Hugh Ferguson informed her of its existence Tuesday morning
"Article 5, Section 122 calls for the Comptroller(John Sharp) to accomplish a net reduction for $300 million. Some colleges and universities around the state are taking 3 percent (out of the FY '92 budget) and holding it for a 5.27 percent worst case scenario (for the FY '93 budget).
"I've been in meetings all morning and am calling an emergency meeting of my cabinet," Barnett said.
Barnett said she was totally surprised by this, because it was believed higher education would not be included in this reduction.
She said they are trying to get a draft of the budget including what will occur if the 5.27 percent reductions are implemented.
The reason for the re-evaluation of the budget is so all the cuts do not happen at once, she said.
The 5.27 percent reduction is a worst case scenario, she said. It may be a smaller percentage or might not happen at all.
Ferguson said he learned of the article while attending a meeting of the Texas Association of State Senior College and University Business Officers in Austin Monday.
Also present at the meeting were members of Sharp's office, Gov. Ann Richards' office and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Boards' office, he said.
The article in the appropriations bill addresses a savings of no less than $300 million, he said.
"The problem is there are so many dedicated funds (already in the appropriations bill) -- I think higher education will suffer the brunt," Ferguson said.
Jerry Neef, a spokesperson for Sharp's office said, all state agencies receiving general revenue type funds will have to contribute.
"We feel very confident it will be a 5.27 percent, and in our opinion there is no chance it will be lower than 5.27 percent," Neef said.
Based on Senate Bill 111's history, which made all state agencies, including higher education, reduce their budgets by 1.5 percent in January, he said he feels higher education will be likewise affected.
He said Texas A&M has decided to reduce their FY '92 budget by 3 percent anticipating the cuts.
"Sharp is doing the same thing for the comptroller's office," he said. They too will be affected.
However, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations Grover Campbell said he is skeptical if higher education will be included.
"In the appropriations bill, it depends on how you read it and much needs to be interpreted," Campbell said.
He said there will be discussions with the legislators who wrote the bill to learn what their legislative intent was. Discussions will also be held with the Legislative Budget Board and legal council.
"It's part of the process of trying to figure out these things," Campbell said.
Neef agrees this is a "very, very difficult appropriations bill to deal with."
Because the bill was finalized in the closing hours of the Legislature, Neef said many of the provisions are totally new, and it takes a lot of work to ascertain their affects.
"I suspect that when these statutes are digested, there will be surprises for all of us," Neef said.
However, Neef said he is confident universities will have to sustain these cuts.
"The only exception, which is far out in left field, is if the economy turns around -- grows like never before -- by about $1 billion, the LBB could wave this section," he said.
Paul Curry, another spokesperson for Sharp, said he is not surprised higher education assumed they would be excluded.
In the Texas Performance Review Report, Sharp recommended use of an incentive program to generate savings for the 1992-93 biennium, he said.
The existing Productivity Bonus Program (PBP) was designated to accomplish the savings and create financial incentives for employees.
The PBP is operated by the Texas Incentive and Productivity Commission (TIPC).
After TIPC received appropriations authority during the regular session to pay bonuses, the Treasury Department became the first agency to transfer savings and apply for approval to pay bonuses to its participating employees.
Article V, Section 122 requires all agencies subject to the PBP to file Productivity Plans by Dec. 1, 1991, he said.
The agencies eligible to participate include all executive and judicial branch agencies except the governor's office and higher education, he said.
Originally, Sharp targeted $150 million in savings to be generated, but he increased it to $300 million, with the specification that the LBB may also reduce or transfer appropriations to minimize this amount.
If the targeted amount is not reached through voluntary savings generated during FY '92 and projected for FY '93, there will be a mandatory reduction from non-exempted agency budgets in FY '93 to make up the difference, he said.
TIPC can give employees bonuses, not exceeding $1,000, from some of the funds they save.
Since higher education is excluded from TIPC, it will not be reimbursed any money for bonuses, he said.
"If the program doesn't meet its goal, UH has to pay but doesn't get to participate," Curry said.
These possible cuts, however, will not affect the 2 percent across-the-board raises state employees will receive, he said.
Campbell said the UH System has still not received official notification that the raises will be across-the-board and not merit as they presumed.