Flashbacks: April 28, 2006

By EDITORIAL  |  January 28, 2010

“I was furious. What had happened to enlightened education, which spares students unnecessary anxiety and scarred young psyches? Who had determined that swimming was an integral component of a liberal-arts education?

“Truth to tell, in the past couple of decades, most colleges have lightened formerly burdensome lists of requirements. Obligatory courses such as West. Civ. 101 or Eng. Comp. 111 have gone the way of fish on Friday, and in their stead are ‘distribution’ or ‘core’ requirements. Foreign languages have become electives at all but a few colleges. But idiosyncrasies remain, and they have piqued historians and educators as well as students. As one George W. Pierson snickered, when compiling a study of Yale, ‘One is appalled at the incoherence of American higher education.’ ”

ID check | 30 years ago | April 27, 1976 | George Kimball watched New Zealand’s Jack Fultz win the 80th annual Boston Marathon.

“We had rushed from Fenway Park to the corner in front of the Eliot, where beneath the flags of all 17 nations with runners entered, a flying squad of bartenders was dispensing what proved to be the last cache of post-strike Budweiser in town — 100 cases worth — at a nonstop rate. The local citizenry all the way from Hopkinton to the Prudential, of course, had joined in the happy madness that is the Boston Marathon, with the result that by the time he passed by us, a few blocks from the finish, Jack Fultz, along with everyone else, had been playfully doused by at least a hundred garden hoses en route. The water had had a wonderfully exhilarating effect on him and on the other runners, but a side effect had been to wash away everyone’s identifying number. Even the members of the press and spectators who were fortunate enough to be in possession of an entry list were bewildered.

“ ‘Who the hell,’ the question buzzed around the crowd as Fultz loped by, ‘was that?’

“It took a good 15 minutes to find out, as it did to learn the identities of the second- and third-place finishers — Mario Cuevas of Mexico and Jose deJesus of Puerto Rico. In the absence of readable numbers, it wasn’t until Jack Foster finished fourth — in 2:22.30 — that I actually recognized anyone by sight.”

Camera angles | 35 years ago | April 27, 1971 | Deac Rossell interviewed Dennis Hopper about his film The American Dreamer.

“For many people, The American Dreamer will come as a shock. Dennis Hopper’s image is so tied up with Easy Rider that breaking out of the idealistic Billy will come as a surprise. With his fantasies about sex and his urge for destruction, Hopper actually has more of the qualities of Norman Mailer than of the Maharishi. It took great courage for Hopper to expose himself to this kind of examination at this stage of his career. But it is of little interest to him. ‘People are still going to have their myths,’ he said just as evenly as if he were reading a weather report, ‘and that’s it. I’m not any different now than I was all those years. I don’t feel any different. I don’t think I’m the greatest thing in the world, or anything. Basically, because the work’s too hard, I think ... Society loves to push the bubble up and they love to pop the bubble and push it down to the bottom. I feel resentment constantly from people even though I don’t think that they even know sometimes that they’re feeling it. I feel it. And I feel overpraised. I feel a lot of overreactions. But the image thing, I don’t see that we’re going to change it. People are going to have their images, and they’re going to destroy their images.’ ”

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