Against the WallnWhy Character Educationnis Failing innAmerican Schoolsnin Persuasion at WorknBryce J. Christensen delivers a blisteringncritique of recent trends in moral andncharacter education and suggests ways innwhich authentic moral education might benreintroduced into the schools.nOrder today and receive a FREE copy ofn”TREND REPORT—an update on recentnsocial currents that may affect your future.nSend to: Persuasion at Work / 934 NorthnMain Street / Rockford, IL 61103nn Please rush me “Against the Wall,” plusnmy FREE copy of Trend Report.nD Enclosed is $2 (includes postage andnhandling).nNamenAddressnCity State ZipnPW/586n401 CHRONICLESnCrane had been given the wonderfulnopportunity to become part of a school,nto have direct contact with a mastern— George Ivanovitch Gurdjiieff, thenRussian/Parisian guru. “He turned backnfrom Gurdjiieff, and his life was arrestednat that point.” Munson admits thatnthis strange story will never be convincingn”with the whole truth hidden fromnCrane and his friends.” That being thencase, how does the informed readernrespond? Crane was Frank’s disciple atnthe time, and Frank had a violent negativenreaction to Gurdjiieff. The solidnevidence we have is a letter of Crane tonYvor Winters which is clearly scornfulnabout Munson and others rushing intonthe portals of this new Institute. Thisncurious explanation for the failure ofnThe Bridge, however, is no more esotericnthan that offered by Edward }. Brunnernin Splendid Failure.nBrunner’s “untold story” is a previouslyn”hidden” Hart Crane to explainnthe “splendid failure” oiThe Bridge. Henneeded “to overcome his doubt that henlacked a worthy audience” for his poetry.nHe somehow found this confidencenin the summer of 1926 when in a burstnof creativity he composed six of thenpoems and revised one. But the proofnoffered is strange: it is Crane’s letter ofnJune 20th, 1926, to Waldo Frank, anmixture of sarcasm and despair explainingnhow the modern America he wishesnto celebrate is unworthy of its past, and,nfurther, how Whitman’s confidence innthe people turned out to be ineffectual.nIn some convoluted fashion, Brunnerntakes this to mean that Crane discoveredn”that this desire for a clear-cut,ndynamic affirmation is precisely whatnhe shares with the multitudes.” This,nby the way, is the principle method ofnthe book—a series of guesses as to whatnCrane intended. Despite the misleadingntitle, Brunner attempts an assessment ofnCrane’s work in general, not just ThenBridge, although he omits any systematicnstudy of White Buildings. But hisnvolume contributes nothing significantnto the criticism and scholarship aboutnHart Crane.nFor a clearer perception of Crane’snfailure in The Bridge, we may turn tonCrane’s own letters and the many accountsnof his conversation with friends.nFew poets were more explicit, when hencould be, than Crane. He was his ownnfirst critic, and one of the best.nThe failure of The Bridge (a splendidnpoem) was that Crane did not knownenough and that he never defined ancenter for it. It began as a visionarynpoem celebrating the beautiful: thennunder Waldo Frank’s tutelage Cranentried to turn it into a hymn to Whitman.nBut Crane was never comfortablenwith that shift. In 1926 he read OswaldnSpengler’s Decline of the West. Henwrote Frank that this “stupendous” booknacted as a negative catalyst, forcing himnto find a positive center of action.nSpengler was surely a catalyst, as a studynof the six 1926 poems easily reveals, butnnot, I think, a negative one. The 1926npoems rise out of a past that overwhelmsnthe present with its worth: nonreal links are forged between this pastnand the hopeless present. The paradoxnis that Spengler inspired, willy-hilly,nthe most elegantly fashioned parts ofnthe poem. The sections written in 1929nwere so embarrassing because in themnCrane tried finally to force Frank’s cosmicnWhitmanism into them, and it justndidn’t work. ccnJoseph Schwartz is professor of Englishnat Marquette University and author ofnHart Crane: A Critical Bibliography.nParent AbusenJohn W. Whitehead: Parents’ Rights;nCrossway Books; Westchester, IL.nAs tales of child abuse are screamed outnon the nightly news, pressures mountnfor a national policy. Adolescent chil­nnndren are taken away from parents whonappear “too strict,” and state after statenhave passed laws on child abuse thatninclude vague provisions for “mentalnhealth.” Parents are beginning to wondernexactly where they stand. JohnnWhitehead has done a good job ofnputring the news stories together withnthe legal evidence into a book thatnparents would do well to read.nWhile eminently useful as a popularntract, Parents’ Rights is not exactly anwork of scholarship. This would be nongreat problem if Whitehead had notnbeen taken into the popular fantasies ofnAlvin Toffler and Phillipe Aries. Withnstatistical legerdemain Toffler portraysnan America in which only 7 percent ofnthe population lives in traditional families.nToffler must live in a strangenneighborhood. Of course, a large partnof the population is single, some arendivorced, many mothers work (mostlynpart-time) but the doomsayers are absolutelynludicrous. More seriously.nWhitehead endorses the common misconceptionnthat natural parents are, bynand large, responsible for most childnabuse. On the contrary, most recentnstudies indicate that it is stepparents,nnot natural parents—exactly whatncould be predicted from evolutionarynbiology.nWhitehead seems to regard the nuclearnfamily as a fragile creation ofnmodern times and duly cites Aries’ntheory that childhood was “invented”nsometime after the Renaissance andnretails the usual horror stories of ancientninfanticide. In fact, human beings, especiallynwomen, are programmed tonestablish families and rear children.nThere is a variety of family types, althoughnmost people in the world grownup in a household where women cook,nclean, and sew, and men go out to worknand bear the principal authority. Sincenchildren represent a kind of geneticnimmortality, parents are always concernednabout their welfare, even thoughneconomic circumstances might drivensome societies into practicing a selectiveninfanticide on certain newborns. Inngeneral, however, parental affectionnand responsibility are the rule—not thenexception.nThe trouble with Whitehead’s wellintentionednhorror stories is that theyncry out for equally well-intentioned legislation,nwhich will have the effect ofndiscouraging parental responsibilities.nFamilies need to be reempowered,nwhich will never take place as long asnfamily advocates accept the erroneousnarguments of those who would destroynthe traditional family or make it annagent of the state. ccn