er, pacifist and fighter,” says the publictelevisionnpersonality who does a documentarynon him), begins to realize whatnher father lived for, what he engenderednin society and how he became the darlingnof the anti-three-bean-salad set. Her enlightenmentncomes after her father’sndeath; he had a heart attack at an antiwarnrally in 1972.ntLzTSi Slavin was the type of mannwho was extremely critical of society,nbut who didn’t do much to change it. Ifnhot air could do more than make balloonsnfly, he would have been a wondernworker. Slavin was the type of personnwho put on his rose-colored glassesnback in the 1930’s and never took themnoff—the type who believed that socialnjustice and equality would be achievednvia the steam-roller process: everyonenis flattened except, of course, the driver:nthe Slavinesque intellectual. Not badnwork if you can get it. But work is annunmentionable word to such people.nThe reason: it leads to the hoarding ofnmaterial goods, and, as we all know,nproperty is theft. The Slavins of thenworld have been spilling ink about thatnfor years.nHowever, since their concern is withnAmerica, Proudhon won’t do. Instead,nEz Slavin employed Theodore Parkern(1810-1860) as his paradigm. Parkernwas a theologian and social reformer, antranscendentalist who wailed andnmoaned about the conditions of his day,nalong with his associates on the Dial.nDuring that period he and other intellectualsncentered in Boston spent a greatndeal of their time trying to determinenhow best to integrate themselves intonthe world of the common man. So, inneffect, with those intellectuals criticizingnthe crass materialism and social inequalitiesnand their attempts to become onenwith the “people,” their link to the socallednproletariat writers of the 30’snis painfully obvious. The names andnissues have changed, but that’s all: anchange in content but not in form. Byntaking it one more step, to Americanduring the war in Vietnam, that conceptnis still further underscored; Slavin simplynswitched from the Spanish Civil Warnto another place and time.nOne of the things that tied Slavin tonParker was the idea of getting in touchnwith nature, and that romantic notionnwas as ill-defined in 1970 as it was overn100 years ago. Technology was typicallynthe enemy because no good could comenfrom it: it separated man from Eden.nThat notion is quite typically wherenSlavin and his ilk detach themselvesnfrom the people whom they are tryingnto get next to.nJohanna Kaplan provides a delightfulnexample of this as she shows cranky EznSlavin trying to find one of his childhoodndelights, tomato herring. First hentried the posh Zabar’s, a gourmet foodnshop in New York. There he was shownntwo cans of fish, one from Scotland andnthe other from Scandinavia, both, innhis estimation, overpriced frauds. Sonhe decided to go back to his childhoodnneighborhood, the Lower East Side. Henentered a store and found it quitencrowded; he couldn’t understand why.nIt had to be explained to him that it wasnthe Passover season. So much for hisnJewish heritage. Then he was outragednthat he had to take a number to benserved. Being antiorder, he rudelynpushed his way to the front of the linenand demanded tomato herring. Thencounterman pointed to a can of sardinesnin tomato sauce. Slavin became evennmore incensed. The counterman patientlynexplained that although everyonencalled it tomato herring, it hadnalways been sardines, and “it alwaysncame in cans. It always came [from]nDel Monte.” Slavin called him a cheatnand stormed out. So much for being inntouch with his roots and his people. Insuspect that Slavin pictured the creationnof tomato herring in a pastoral setting:nthe swains and maidens catching thenfish that leap from ponds and harvestingnthe tomatoes from plants that resemblenJack’s beanstalk. But a can.^ Never!nThis sort of attitude is easily adoptednby well-established liberals, and I supposenit could be considered to be re­nnnsponsible for the anti-three-bean-saladnstance and the pronatural way of lifen{e.g., “organic” foods and solar energy).nThe well-heeled elite can stand aroundnat parties in finely appointed apartmentsnmunching ethnic or natural foods, decryingnthe war in Vietnam (in the novel)nor nuclear energy today. There’s nonrisk involved for them. It is as safe asngoing to see Picasso in 1980, just as itnwas to see King Tut last year. But Tutnthis year or Pablo next.-* Heavens, no!nAnd it should be noted that, duringnParker’s day, Sylvester Graham toutednhis “natural” bread as being an answernto society’s ills. From graham crackersnto granola, not much has changed.nWhile many consider cans to be disposable—youncan be sure that Slavinndidn’t—for Slavin it was people whonwere disposable. Undoubtedly antistripnmining, he had no compunction againstnmining the precious stones to which Dr.nDonne refers. That is, Slavin had fournwives (only one left him a widower, andnone he didn’t actually wed) and sixnchildren. Wives were disposed of whenntheir places were usurped by someonenwho was (a) better looking or (b) morenideologically sound [i.e., they followednthe Slavin party line more closely).nChildren were, for the most part, ignored;nthey were too much bother.nFunny how those who intend to build anwhole new world have such difficultynkeeping their own homes in order.nXhe result of this cavalier approachnto family life is brilliantly limned bynKaplan in the character FfrenchynMeisel, one of Ezra’s daughters by hisncommon-law wife. Born in 1950,nFfrenchy spent her teen years beingnconcerned with “processed” foods, joiningncommunes and mystical-religiousngroups (she wore a stylish purple jumpsuitnto help her meditate on, or “getninto,” purple), and being against justnabout whatever was going. She had andaughter to whom she gave the namenMountain Spring. The child’s surnamenshould have been Stranger, but hernfather “is just totally not into posses-nwmm^mmmm^mmm^^^nNovember/December 1980n