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and fantasies of our priest-hero-politician-military-police leaders, like those of John Edgar Hoover, for instance"; the keynote speaker, Stokely Carmichael, still very upset with Emmett, lashed out at the longhaired hippies who, he claimed, were advocating peace in time of revolutionary warfare and were traitors to the radical movement, because their upper-middle-class affluence afforded them the choice of nonviolence and the means with which to drop out of the fight for liberation which he quoted as "only coming through the barrel of a gun!"; Paul Goodman suggested that governments might begin applying immediate social welfare ideals and principles by paying, for example, people on New York's welfare rolls to live in the country, instead of in the city. "Give them the same money, and say, 'You don't have to live in New York, you can live out of New York!'"; Herbert Marcuse didn't say anything because he wasn't there, having hopefully found something more important to do with the time; Emmett spoke last.

He had been sitting on the stage for over an hour, wavering in and out of the focus of his consciousness behind his tinted, pennybun glasses and every once in a while listening to what someone had to say. The only one he was hardly able to hear was Stokely Carmichael who yelled so goddamn loud that the tone finally became the point of his speech rather than the words. The crowd had given him an enthusiastic round of applause which they directed at the singer and not his song. Then, all of a sudden, Emmett found himself standing stage-center in front of the microphone and removing his shades for want of something to do and because none of the other speakers who were wearing them had taken them off to address the audience. It took him a moment to adjust his eyes to the startling lights, and, when he cleared them of the brilliance he focused on one individual out of that whole crowd of five thousand-- William Burroughs, seated in the fourth or fifth row way over to the left of everyone with his tortoiseshell glasses, and his thinning hair combed flat to one side of his head, and his black, porkpie hat of ten years resting on his lap with his bony hands holding on to it so it wouldn't be snatched by one of his old-time pals and sold or exchanged for a nicer cap. He looked like an aging Hitler youth, sitting there erect and waiting with his thin lips pressed together and all dressed in black, waiting to be impressed, his narrow, Missouri face turned upwards, looking dead at Emmett with the wry knowledge of its own evil presence.

They locked eyes together for the longest moment as Emmett [end page 430]

 

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