? From the stylish New West, in the testimony of former Ramparts editor Peter Collier, comes new evidence of the magnitude of the radical social change launched by that charming anachronism of 1968 fame, Tom Hayden and his glorious Red Family of Berkeley:
"The Red Family decided at one point to found a child-care center. [A] neighbor…remembers the naming process: 'In what was supposed to be a lesson in participatory democracy, they decided to ask the children themselves to name the school, emphasizing that the Red Family had set this place up for their benefit and now the Red Family wanted them to pick a name. But one five-year-old didn't take the hint and said it should be called "Fairyland." The other kids liked that. The people from the Red Family sort of looked at each other in despair and said, "Yes, okay, but don't you think their should be a color associated with this school that the Red Family has provided?" "Sure," another child piped up, "it should be 'Blue Fairyland.'"' So that's the name they were stuck with.
"Roger Rappaport, a journalist who now lives one street over from what was the Red Family's compound, says that Jane Fonda visited the collective when she was in the area filming Steelyard Blues. 'She apparently put her daughter into Blue Fairyland for a while. The story I heard was that the Red Family, which had been almost torn apart on the issue of sexism, had been having trouble getting the men to show up for duty at the school, but when word got out that Fonda was coming, they competed for the up-front positions.' "
? The very progressive Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has apparently found the most reliable method yet for controlling population growth: mass defections. With everyone from ice skaters to ballet dancers to beekeepers making heroic dashes to freedom, demographers have been left wondering if the communal wonderland will have any population at all by the year 2000. The sole victory for the Moscow Chamber of Commerce was the steadfast refusal of the wife of Bolshoi Ballet defector Alexander Godunov, Ludmila Vlasova, to jump ship from an Aeroflot luxury liner detained three days at Kennedy International. According to sources inside the workers' paradise, she was counting on many leading roles back in the USSR as the result of her sacrifice to stay in the Communist utopia, but has been bitterly disappointed by her continued second-string status and undoubtedly embarrassed in the face of near-universal castigation by her friends, who consider her a fool for not snatching her golden opportunity. The reaction to the defections in the West was a bit less sophisticated, as demonstrated by the Swiss host of two winners of the acclaimed "Masters of Sport of the Soviet Union," who griped, "I am shocked. I think they abused my hospitality. I don't think they have much of a chance in the West, professionally. They are well past their peak." (A slip of the tongue by a Moscow sports official will surely result in a hearty back-packing trip to Siberia. Commenting on the departure of the championship skaters, Mr. and Mrs. Protopopov, he said: "They had many benefits here. For athletes of that caliber, there are no problems." To each according to his needs?)
? The upshot of all this is that the Moscow Symphony's visit to the West was torpedoed by Soviet leaders, fearing that they should at least be left with a few tunes to whistle (socialist technology is still heroically trying to crack the intricacies of stereo hi-fi and eight-track tape), and President Carter attempted to ride out the Cuban crisis by waiting until the 3,000-man Soviet army force got its chance to swim to Florida and get drunk at Disney World.
? Perhaps the Soviet exodus is a response to a recent "law and order" crackdown by authorities in the USSR, in what they term an attack on "hooligans and drunks" who mistakenly believe they may "do as they please" (which is a strange mistake, indeed). The younger generation who, as Uncle Joe promised, would grow up flawlessly under the "guidance" of communist ideals, has been branded by the state press organs as "without ideals, cynical, undisciplined, and psychologically unstable." Things have gone so wild that burglar alarm systems are now being openly advertised in government publications, despite the fact that finding anyone with enough to steal from is a formidable job. The Central Committee has pledged to reduce crime in five major areas, including the all-important category of "speculation in Western commodities such as blue jeans." And in what may be seen as a desperate move to whip up some real spirit for the campaign, young Communists are being badgered by the state to "invent Soviet slogans and designs for T-shirts to combat a craze for the Western variety sweeping the country," according to AP. Calling on budding "artists, humorists, and advertising specialists" to oppose the "bearded idols" of the West, the government suggested coming up with such catchy creations as "Atommash-80," the lively title of the Soviet atomic-radiation machinery factory. Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, papers smuggled out of Yuri Orlov's prison camp near Perm in the Urals indicate that fully 2 percent of the Soviet population (over 5 million human souls) remain in forced-labor camps. No television special is planned on the subject.
? The governments of England and France have given up on the Concorde. But don't say they didn't try. Indeed, they popped an unrecoverable $4.28 billion into R&D and then mass-produced a whopping 16 supersonic transports (this narrowly missed government projections of 400) at a cost of $267 million apiece (which also slightly missed the targeted cost of under $10 million). But, oops, the planes could only be sold for $80 million, so the European taxpayers lost a painful $187 million per unit. Yet the financial onslaught continues, for the bureaucratic flying machines consume so much fuel that their annual operating costs (excluding monthly payments on the jet) average 30 million US dollars in the red. As a result, the two governments are fighting over who shall get the five remaining unsold planes; France wants England to take them, and vice versa.
? The state of Ohio has wisely established a tax on criminal trials, in order to fund compensation for the victims of violent crime. Lillian Nardi, widow of the slain John A. Nardi, is slated to receive 50,000 of such dollars by Christmas time. The late Mr. Nardi, exed in a May 1977 bombing, was a Teamster boss and long-time reputed underworld strongman. The forces of law and order were considerably more diligent in Alexandria, Virginia, where a blue van was hit with not one, not two, but three hefty parking tickets before it was discovered that the driver was sitting right there in the automotive unit—slightly deceased.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".