Beauty Finds Rock Lyrics Beastly

--The new Miss America said sexy rock videos and lyrics are destroying “the beauty of music.” Susan Akin of Meridian, Miss., who belted out “You’re My World” on her way to winning the pageant Saturday, said at a New York news conference that songs may have to be rated like movies. “I think sometimes it’s really gotten out of hand,” she said. “I was talking to someone and I said it’s really getting to where you have to rate the songs. Rate them ‘R’ or ‘PG’ or so. I play the piano, the flute and I dance,” Akin said. “I have a certain love for music, and I hate to see the beauty of music destroyed by sexual lyrics.” Miss America, 21, a blue-eyed blonde, “will travel a quarter of a million miles before next September,” making appearances in every big city in the nation, said Albert A. Marks Jr., chairman of the Miss America pageant. Akin, a senior at the University of Mississippi, won a $30,000 scholarship with her title and should make an estimated $100,000 from appearances. “As Miss America, I want everybody I meet to love me as I love them,” she said. But beauty can be wearing. A veteran of over 100 beauty pageants, she will enter no more. “This is the last one,” she said with a smile. “It’s a weird feeling for me. This is the last one. Thank God I won it!”

--Erskine Caldwell, who angered many Southerners with his earthy regional novels about the suffering of poor rural families, says he has no apologies for his works. “I don’t care anything about fame or recognition,” the 81-year-old author of “Tobacco Road,” “God’s Little Acre” and more than 50 other books said at a press conference last week in Fitzgerald, Ga. “There’s been a great change in rural Georgia, the rural South, from in my early days in the 1920s,” he said. “If one of my short stories opened someone’s eyes, then I have been successful. But I don’t need a monument of any kind.” Caldwell and his wife, Virginia, who live in Scottsdale, Ariz., were in Fitzgerald for two weeks as part of a state-sponsored writers-in-residence program in which Caldwell lectured and read from his works.

--President Reagan joked about his recovery from colon cancer surgery after a luncheon for about 100 regional editors and broadcasters in the State Dining Room. Reagan recalled that he and his wife, Nancy, had returned recently from their three-week vacation in California, during which he took his first horseback ride since undergoing major abdominal surgery on July 13. “My horse and I had a chance to get reacquainted and I had time to reflect once again on an old truth from the cavalry--there is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse,” Reagan quipped.