WHERE ARE WE HEADED? A WORLD IN UNREST
“Jean Shepherd Arrives”
Recently a long-time, enthusiastic Shep-fan, Pete Delaney, encountered “The Metropolitan,” the student newspaper of Fairley Dickinson University dated February 15, 1967, with a report of a Shepherd appearance before a capacity audience. Shep was one of several who spoke on the subject of where we are headed. (Remember, we’re talking the 1960s here!):
Jean Shepherd Speaks on Dream Reality
At Midway Point of Weekend Conferencc
Quick and cunning on the outside, but carrying a message of deep importance on the inside, Jean Shepherd spoke to an audience of over 900 in the Recreation Building as winter Weekend entered its final stages.
The front-page report of the newspaper summarized each speaker’s talk, describing our hero: “Jean Shepherd, beneath a humorous exterior, imparted a serious message to the theme. One can’t think in terms of the future when the present is so tenable. One can never predict the future. Yet, Man persists in living in a dream world. Perhaps the future is to become a dream. That is impossible to say.” On an inside page, spotlighting Shepherd, a certain Sanford Freiman (probably a Shep enthusiast, working at the height of ridiculdockle), contributed a short piece, transcribed in full below:
Text of Jean Shepherd’s Speech
In case you missed Jean Shepherd’s speech, we thought it would be interesting to reprint the text of his speech last Saturday afternoon, so here it goes:
Charlie Schmiddtlein, mouths, models, Moderately Ridiculous, Drive-In Movies, Playboy, drugs, Mets, Pizza, Vogue, New York, The “Garden State,” Indiana, Sophia Loren’s bras, Charleton Heston, Route 3, Lincoln Tunnel, “crud,” reality, the future, “making it,” Cracker Jacks pirzes, Robert Hall jackets, Howard Johnsons, rusty Mustangs, Mabel, Dimitri Tyompkin, Esso, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, inflatable bras, beer cans, religion, sweaty slaves, tire pumps, root beer, Holland Tunnel, “Go to a movie” billboards, Jersey “meadows,” creeping hands, Moses’ P-R Man, “Girlie pictures,” “boyie pictures,” the New Jersey Turnpike, Secaucus, dreams, “Score,” Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, parks, and Clarence.
Shepherd listeners will recognize and applaud the reporter’s skill in capsulizing Shep’s style and content. Regarding the Metropolitan’s cartoonist (named “Kallas,”) in capturing a variety of attendees, we surely know that in the Shepherd portion, the snoozing audience represents not the reality of the response to Shep’s words, but a symbolic treatment of the “Dreamworld” Shep described his audience as inhabiting:
We know from our own response to Shep
that the co-ed’s exclamation:
“I touched him!”
represents the way we all feel
in the presence of The Master.