onliness; “If there really is that secret essentialnyou down under all those layers ofnskin and bone and fluid and personality,nthe chances are that it is always and permanentlynalone. You can’t touch it.nNobody can touch it.” In her breezy way,nPromise Land lets The Grip know that henmust make a choice: either he abandonsnTom Zucold, who is doomed, or he sticksnwith him. Zucold explains that the Committeenis harassing him to death: “Saynthis is the Committee and you got tongimmee or get… But ittis why we got tonhang on, boy. We is the hope. We is thencontinuity. It is we against the Citizen’snCommittee, because the Citizen’s Committeenis us. Goddamn peoples don’tnunderstand we got to live in the past. Ittisnall the Bowie Garage is, see.” The storynends with a surreal, bloody battle,nZucold and Grip vs. the Committee,nwhich destroys Zucold, Promise Landnand the Garage. The Grip is left standingnbeside another highway, back where henstarted, but at least in the possession ofnhis “onliness.”nSmith’s book is a jarringly familiar allegory.nThe old are shunted aside, especiallynwhen they resemble Tom Zucold:ncrotchety, impatient, intolerant. Sadly,nthis is often the way of the aged. But it isntragic that the believers in “progress,”nwhatever that may embody, are so oftennthe winners in feuds like tlais.nVv oiwode’ s Poppa John is an intensenstudy of one old man, its power andnpathos reminiscent of Hemingway’s ThenOld Man and the Sea. The story is of onenday in the life of “PoppaJohn,” an overthe-hiUnsoap opera actor who played anvenerable old man by that name. Thencharacter, who quoted wisely but shallowlynfrom Scripture, attracted such anpersonal following that the show’s producersneventually felt it necessary to killnhim off. Poppa John was thus forciblynretired, written out of the script. He isnobsessed with his video self, remindingnhimself constandy of who he was beforenthe camera— ” it was estimated that morenviewers of every age and sort had watchednhis death than the ftineral of young Presi­n34inChronicles of Culturendent Kennedy.” Now, after being accustomednto an income of hundreds ofnthousands of dollars per year, he is nearlynbroke. Woiwode’s writing is powerful asnhe described Poppa John confronting anbank teller as he makes a withdrawal fornChristmas shopping; it is a skiUful illustrationnof the perennial skepticism of thenyoung towards the old.nAs he wanders about New York thenday before Christmas Eve, Poppa John’snold world of fantasy blends with the aimlessnessnof the present. The memories ofnthe deference he received flood back asnhe watches the indifferent crowdsnaround him. The agony of recognitionnoverpowers him. Finally he is accosted bynformer “fans” who dote on him as a reallifenhero. His pride wells up, and, as he isnabout to violate the commands of Godnwhich he once quoted melodramaticallynin the television studio, his remembrancenof the Scripture affects him in anprofound moment of epiphany. PoppanJohn, former TV personality, recognizesnhimself for what he is: not just an oldnThe Liberal Ghost DancenBennett M. Berger: The Survival of anCounterculture: Ideological Work andnEveryday Life among Rural Communards;nUniversity of California Press;nBerkeley; California.nAlasdair Maclntyre: After Virtue; Universitynof Notre Dame Press; NotrenDame, Indiana.nby E. Christian Kopffnlour house is beginning to collapsenaround you, the plaster drifting down tonsettle on the carpets, the rain drippingnonto the chairs and forming puddles onnthe table. Most of us would do one of twonthings: try to fix the leaks and cracks ornleave the house for a better one.nDr. Kopff is professor of classics at thenUniversity of Colorado.nnnman, but an old man created in the imagenof God. Woiwode’s prose here isnbeautifiil and reverent. The final chapterndescribes Poppa John’s reunion with hisnwife in the hospital where he has beenntaken. He learns only then that she,nwhom he had taken for granted for sonlong, has loved him every moment. Shenalone, of all his audience, saw in his televisionn”death” the metaphor of his realnone, and the painful salvation that followednit. He understands through hernthe meaning of love and the meaning ofnfaith.nIhese books teach many lessons, but,nfimdamentally, they suggest a change innthe direction of contemporary literaturen—away from preoccupation with thentemporal and chic “lifestyle” perspectiventhat is itself already ebbing, towardsnsome deeper, more timeless tmths. Thatnis not to say the works of Gold, Smith,nand Woiwode will become landmarks.nBut they are at least a touchstone tonwhich literature may pay homage. DnWhen your intellectual house starts toncrumble, the choices expand. Somencheck to make sure the foundations arensound and then start the laborious worknof restoration and retouching; othersnboldly walk out to find a new place tonlive, without bothering to lock the doornbehind them. Many, however, will continuento live in their collapsing house,nprofessing themselves pleased with thennew ease of obtaining fresh water, commentingnon the new patterns on the mg.nThe archetype of those who will notnconfront change and the collapse of theirnintellectual homes is an Indian known asnthe Shawnee Prophet. He began thenGhost Dance, a movement that spreadnduring the 19th century to most Indiansnin the American West. When the ideanwas in its most virulent form, largengroups of Indians believed that if theyndanced the Ghost Dance, the whiten