were able to establish a placid conservatismnby blacklisting the sensitive andncreative talents of the day. In the 1970’s,nusing a more sophisticated understandingnof their creation, they hope to returnnAmerica to an artificial conservatismnin the interest of augmented profits.nThis fictive conspiracy is mastermindednby the Phaethon Society, undernthe direction of network president ColonelnEddie Donovan and a few friends.nThe goal of this conspiracy is to transformnRobert Schein from a fall-downncomic to a false-front candidate for annoffice of ultimate influence—one of thenseats in the United States Senate representingnNew York. His campaignnstrategy stresses media events staged innCalifornia and his only expressed issuenstance is his opposition to the use ofnpublic airwaves to televise the MoscownOlympics. By banning the Olympicsnfrom home television, closed-circuitntheater interests supporting the PhaethonnSociety hope to make a bundlenluring folks to their box offices to seenthe games. For the conspiracy to succeed,nNew York voters must fall fornSchein, Congress must roll over to redeemnthe campaign pledge of one juniornsenator with no prior political experiencenand—presto!—those same votersnmust forget why they voted for the agentnof this conspiracy and race to the boxnoffices to see the Olympics. Forgettingnthat New York was once represented innthe Senate by Jacob Javits and CharlesnGoodell, it never occurs to Powers ornhis characters that a catatonic comicnmight be an improvement. Throughoutnthe electoral process, only culture-criticnTeller has the clearness of mind and thenpurity of heart to attempt to derail thisnattempt at takeover.nJ. he fraud of these novels is not renstricted to the implausible nature ofntheir plots. Critical of the phony promotionsnwhich the authors attribute tontelevision, the book jackets brazenlyntrump these novels into “searing exposes”nwhich get at “the corruption ofnthe old politics by the new technologies.”nAlthough fiction is intended to be exaggeratednor imaginative rather than anreplication of real life, neither Powers nornMartin can fairly be accused of taxingntheir imaginations. Their characters arenall thinly veiled derivations from recognizablenpeople. The authors sparenthemselves any efforts at characterndevelopment by portraying them all innone dimension. Although they condemnntelevision as lacking any sense of historynor literary merit, the few historicalnor literary allusions floating betweenntheir binders are culled from sophomoricnanthologies.nThe moral universe of the authors isna faded caricature of the liberalism ofnour age. For Martin and Powers, havingnthe good guys wear white hats does notnquite get the message across. The hatsnare emblazoned with scarlet “L’s,” andnthe characters’ knees must jerk in allnpredictable directions. The natural instinctsnof their reified people wouldnalways accord with these sentimentsnwere it not for the manipulators or thenselfish interests which lead folks astraynin conservative times. Assuming a cyclicalntheory of history revolving betweennperiods of activism and ages of quiescence,nthe authors can avoid any questioningnof their own beliefs by clingingnto the hope that the left shall have itsntime again. Arthur Schlesinger has providedna jacket blurb for one of the books.nHe supplies the ideological and historicalnperspectives for both.n1 he moral inversion of this universenis nearly complete. Despite the neartotalndomination of television by politicallynliberal people, conspiracies arenalways found on the right. Complexitynin moral choices belongs to authors suchnas Plato, Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky.nThose inclined to criticize the superficialitynof television can exercise thenliterary license necessary to depict thenworld in black and white. Power innAmerican society is always in some elitenconspiracy, however much those whondescribe the purported conspiracies omitnthe discussion of elections, now thatnMayor Daley is no longer around toncount the votes.nSimilar inversions of reality lie behindnthe efforts of John Anderson and hisnallies of the airwaves to sell the Americannpublic an intellectually bankruptnliberal agenda as a “campaign of ideas.”nThe charges that television is superficialnand that it encourages the corruptionnof both politics and culture undoubtedlyncontain a lot of truth. Thesennovels do not indict that corruption,nthey contribute to it. DnOn Masculinity & ManhoodnLeonard Kriegel: On Men and Manhood;nHawthorne Books; New York.nby Otto J. Scottntransition periods are replete withnoddities. Styles reflecting opposing extremesnappear simultaneously, fraudsnflourish and genuine scholars are ignored.nSex cults achieve popularity whilenaustere religions enjoy a revival. We arenMr, Scott’s latest book is The SecretnSix: John Brown and the AbolitionistnMovement.nnnsuffering through a transitional periodnin the United States today, and are surroundednby implausibilities.nOne such phenomenon is a weirdnmovement sponsored simultaneouslynfrom the gutter and from On High bynour elected and appointed rulers, thenliterati and the media, to promote thenidea that the sexes are not only equal, butnalike. The academy has made a numbernof contributions to this movement, includingnthe introduction of sex coursesnin elementary and high schools, with annattendant rise in illegitimacy, diseasenand school funding. In recent years, uni-nMH^MMBSInJuly/August 1980n