Tuesday, December 01, 2015

MENNO PAUSE - THE UNDERGROUND PAPER

I have been meaning to write about Menno Pause, an "underground" newspaper that came out with two issues during my senior year at Goshen College.  I was one of the secondary group of folks who helped the primary five with some of the grunt work.  The five were the intellectual voice of the paper and the rest of us helped with printing, graphics, ideas for articles, etc.  Four of the five signed both issues of the paper, and not long after the second issue, they were all kicked out of school - Sam Steiner, Jim Wenger, Lowell Miller and Tom Harley.

https://ontariomennonitehistory.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/menno_pause-editors-1967.jpg 

Jim Wenger, Tom Harley,  Sam Steiner & Lowell Miller

I write now because Sam Steiner recently wrote an article reflecting on his role in the publication of Menno Pause, an underground newspaper at Goshen College.  Read the whole article here.

A couple of clips from Sam's article:

 Jim Wenger was the intellectual leader of our little band.  He had studied the growing phenomenon of underground newspapers in spring 1967 for the Communication and Society course. He was a convinced adherent of the free speech movement, and wished for a living example at Goshen College. He also wanted to shake his “egghead” reputation because he had a near 4.0 grade average.

Jim drafted our purpose statement thusly: “The Menno-Pause is a gadfly (poking and prodding the GC sacred cows), a watchdog (checking and analysing disciplinary action), a critic (positive or negative analysis of GC education), an extended student opinion board–and general all-around crap.” We characterized ourselves as the “campus underground newspaper team.”

In early September the five of us began to plan, mostly in Yoder 201, often against the backdrop of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” By September 10 we were serious about producing an underground paper. Tom gave us the name of the paper. We co-opted others to help. They included Carol Beechy (women’s perspective), Doug Swartzendruber (design), Eric Yoder, and Bill Horrisberger.  We delegated Jim and Lowell to give Sue Clemmer a “head’s up” that our alternative publication was coming.

 I would encourage any of you with an interest to read Sam's entire article and the comments, as well as the linked article by Dan Hess who was a Professor of Communication at the time.  I added this comment to Sam's article:


Sam – thanks for sharing this reflection, and bring back many memories of our years at Goshen College. I indeed helped with the graphic of Menno Pause, and some of us secondary MP-ers helped with various aspects of the publication. My recollection was that one of the issues was printed after-hours at the Menno Travel Service offices downtown, with the help of Will Poyser and an MTS employee.

Jim Wenger was my assigned roommate for our freshman year; sort of the odd couple. Jim was very bright, a talented piano player and no particular interest in sports – me, average intellect, OK guitar player and always ready to play basketball, or whatever. We got along fine, but lined up new roommates for our second year. In retrospect, it is clear that Jim was dealing with his sexual identity in 1964. He would occasionally peruse a Playboy and had numerous dates with college girls, but did not seem particularly comfortable living that role. While it saddens me deeply that he as well as others such as Eric Alderfer, could not express their innate identities at Goshen, I was pleased that Jim was able to find a loving long term partner in Peter.

I have dug out my two issues of Menno Pause and also a manuscript by Stacy Vlasits who wrote a book entitled “The Menno-Pause Incident At Goshen College. And thanks for the reference to the Dan Hess article – both interesting and illuminating.

A few more thoughts:

Another recollection of Jim was that he was very fond of his mother, but not so much of his father who was a minister in Pennsylvania who no doubt had a very unaccepting view of homosexuality.  Goshen College's expulsion of the four ended what I believe would have been a stellar academic career for Jim.

A nickname for President Mininger was Pious Paul, and one late evening we spent a fair amount of time writing on the wooden fence surrounding the construction site of the Good Library outlining all of the things that Pious Paul Prevented [all starting with P].

A nickname for Sam was Pig-Pen, not disparaging but rather for his resemblance to the lovable Pig-Pen in the Peanuts cartoons.

 https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e8/cf/70/e8cf7008c5d76e046b026d1f7b751ff8.jpg

Lastly, I, perhaps incorrectly, put part of the blame on Goshen College for the premature deaths of Jim and Eric Alderfer and perhaps others whose struggles with sexual identity could not be acknowledged and openly discussed.  By GC, I mean all of us because even though some of us were supportive of the expelled gang of four, there likely was more that we could have done on their behalf. 


20 comments:

S3 said...

I think it was the name that dun'em in.

Sam Steiner said...

Doug, you could add Lenny Preheim to the list of those who died too soon from that era.

Doug said...

Sam - thanks for the reminder about Lenny. I now have a vague recollection about hearing about Lenny, but it certainly had escaped my mind. And, again, thanks for your article.

Big Cat said...

I enjoyed reading about this and I remember Sam and Jim (mainly because he was your roommate). I don't remember the other two. I remember enjoying the MP because it was a problem for the GC establishment.

DES said...

S3 - yes, the name was certainly problematic but it was the use of "fuck" that really pushed them over the edge.

S3 said...

Had not read any articles in the publication and did not know they used the eff word. Yes, DES, that would definitely do it. That renders the publication tasteless and vulgar. They could have chosen a name like Menno Knights, though that might offend some because knights are associated with doing battle. However, knights are also associated with gallant behavior and defending the weak against the strong. The Menno Knights could have championed their cause in a way that wouldn't repulse people.

Saddy Sadcake (PBUH) said...

Goshen College has taken quite a tumble from the days when certain printed words got you expelled until now, when sexual acts, in the name of love, are sacred, no matter which adults are participating.

John Riegsecker said...

Doug -- Menno Pause and "fuck" surely put their knickers in a knot, but I'm betting they nearly had a stroke learning Jim was gay. Those old issues of The Berkeley Barb are online. Most of the ads just give a phone number and a first name. Wonder how Jim was outed, and more importantly, why someone would feel it so important they would feel obligated to tell President Paul. Does anyone have an idea of who it was?

DES said...

First S3 - I believe that the editors were clever in the first issue because the did not use the f word in any of the articles, but rather had a table of words that were deleted - all were benign except "fuck - 37 times." In the second issue there was an ode to and defense of the four letter word that I believe was penned my Mike Hostetler - right Mike?

DES said...

John - I do not recollect hearing about the Barb story before reading it in Sam's piece. It's a long, long way from the Berkeley Barb to the GC President's office and it indeed would be fascinating to learn exactly how that happened. In addition to the gay students who were not tolerated at the time, there was also at least one gay professor who left the college to become a Goshen mail carrier - Dan Leatherman.

Like you, I would very much like to know who outed Jim.

hoosierdaddy said...

Sad Saddy - some would not call it a tumble.

S3 said...

Guess back when I was a sophomore in college, much of my thinking was, well, sophomoric. Read where our frontal lobes aren't fully developed until maybe age 24 or 25. That might explain it.

Saddy Sadcake (PBUH) said...

You are right, DES, the conferences that haven't withdrawn yet from the MC USA would not call it a tumble.

Rick O'Shea said...

So, what is the more grievous sin? Using the F word or denying the authority of scripture? Years ago students at Goshen College got expelled for brandishing the F word. This year Goshen College got expelled from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities for abandoning fidelity to God's word by endorsing same-sex marriage. Technically they didn't exactly get expelled. They pulled out before getting kicked out.

Mary Cecilia Brown said...

Hey, Rick. Been to the shooting range lately? Lol! I think you are dead wrong that Goshen College would have been kicked out of the CCCU. The CCCU was prepared to let Goshen College continue as an "affiliate member," which is a member with lesser status, but still a member. Goshen College refused. However, kind of a bombshell is that The Master's College, based in Santa Clarita, CA quit the CCCU. The president of that college is none other than the world renowned John MacArthur, a very popular and influential pastor/teacher. His concerns were that the CCCU was drifting too far away from the Bible. Be interesting to see how many other members will now take doctrinal stands and perhaps leave the organization.

DES said...

MCB - I believe that you are right on with your comments. I guess Masters decided that the CCCU did not act quickly enough to bounce GC and EMU from the 'fellowship.'

MCB said...

My take is GC and EMU were not bounced out, but voluntarily pulled out to avoid the dissension of other members quitting in disgust. 75% of members agreed with the CCCU board recommendation to move GC and EMU to a non-member affiliate status. About 20% of that group felt the schools should continue in full membership. 25% did not support any level of membership. As result, Union University (Southern Baptist) and Oklahoma Wesleyan University withdrew their membership Then along comes John MacArthur. He voiced his concern that the vast majority of member schools do not accept the Genesis account of creation or the inerrancy of Scripture. His other concern was that GC and EMU had shifted away from the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality and that the CCCU offered affiliate status and that 75% of member college presidents went along with that decision. In MacArthur’s mind, it raised serious questions as to whether the CCCU still held to Biblical Christianity. Thus, “buh-bye.”

Mary Cecilia Brown said...

BTW, if you want to see me and learn more of what I'm about, come visit at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB6V8-w66GA

DES said...

MCB - thanks for adding to this conversation; much appreciated. You might have to expand a bit on the youtube video. des

Dropped a Deuce said...

Yes, Mary, wassup?