Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 4. April 7th, 1948
No Man's Land
No Man's Land
Re 1st Issue Salient, 1948
Dear Sir,—I received only last Friday a copy of the above issue and I make haste to take advantage of your offer to contribute to Salient. I do not agree with many of your views set forth in the last issue, nor do I take too kindly to the reprint of the issue of Salient having a crack at me, hence this enclosure. The views are my own and are not claimed to represent the views of anyone else but one who has served on the Executive, on Salient, on Tournament Committees, on Club Committees, in Extrav., and took a large part in the drafting of the present Constitution of the Association. As I am, financially, still a member of the Association I hope the contribution will be accepted.
May I point out two errors in the issue of February 27, viz., in the article "Whither Goes Your Stud. Ass. Fee?" Mrs. Melling's (nee Priest) statement reprinted from the 1946 Salient that a small deduction is made from Stud. Ass. Fees by the College Office is incorrect. This was pointed out to her when she was on the 1945-46 Executive. The other error is very minor, the Exam. Fees case was not heard before the Court of Appeal, but at first instance before the then Chief Justice, Sir Michael Myers.
M. J. Poole.
Dear Sir,—A large section of students attending the recent Special General Meeting will have been appalled by the general tenor of the meeting. It must be admitted that meetings of this nature have in the past been lively and entertaining, but never have they been rowdy and devoid of reason, as well as lacking in even the most elementary forms of etiquette. It is a well recognized and fundamental principle of democratic procedure that speakers must be afforded an opportunity of making themselves heard, and that the audience listens to them no matter whether they agree or disagree with the tone of the particular address. I would also draw your attention to the deplorable attitude of the interim chairman, Mr. McDowall, in accepting a complete "ticket" motion for an interim executive. The correct procedure would have been to call for nominations and a fair opportunity to all sections of students to express their views, This, Mr McDowall definitely failed to do. Unfortunately, this failure properly to exercise the functions of chairman, cannot be ascribed to inexperience, as he has had several years of service on the Executive and has held other administrative positions in the Students' Association. Perhaps, Mr. McDowall could clarify his position and state his reasons for accepting a motion of "block" nominations, typical of the "one-party" system which the movers of the no-confidence were seeking to eradicate from the College.
In conclusion, may I congratulate Misses Casey and Michael for their refusal to serve on the Executive in view of the proceedings at the meeting of which they were justly ashamed.
* * *
When are the College authorities going to replace those blocks of white substance in the washbasins with soap?
My dear Salient,—It was with distinct pleasure and profit that I read your issue commemorating the tenth anniversary of the founding of Salient. I was under a misapprehension I must confess I thought your birthday would have been either April 1, or else May Day. I am sure everyone will agree that the mental content of many of your articles is in keeping with your age. I showed the issue to some members of the local Farmers' Union, and they wish me to hand on their unreserved testimonial of the quality of the paper Salient uses. They say, and they should know, that it far outstrips any catalogue they have used in the past ten years, but could you arrange for a hole to be cut out of the upper left hand corner to permit hanging on a nail?
I had the feeling as I read its contents that Salient suffers from a deep sense of frustration in not being able to point to some member of the staff, or party, who has died a martyr's death in the cause. As a suitable martyr Mr. Winchester could not be outdone, and his death would provide ample proof of the iniquities of the capitalistic system for many generations. You might also compose a song and call it "The Horst Winchester Song" to be sung at all meetings of the editorial staff.
However, I was more than flattered with the kind references to me on page 10 of Salient. I love headlines that size, don't you? But it really is unfortunate that you did not have space to permit the publication of that delightful piece of biassed hack Journalism which created the furore. You will know the editorial no doubt, it was the one the Editor, Mr. Milburn, did not write himself and which he himself did not think was fair. It was called "Our Judgment" I think, although a better and more apt title might have been "Our Hero Mr. Cohen," but of course only Salient's editorials are allowed to be biassed so I shouldn't be nasty and say things like that should I? Then of course, if space had permitted it, you could have pointed out that, despite Mr. Milburn's claims to the contrary. Salient is, both under the present Constitution and the old one, the official organ of the Association. After that you might have called attention to the act that, notwithstanding Mr. Milburn's averment that he had not been informed of the passing of the motion calling on him to retract the scurrilous editorial, the then President (Mr. Cohen) told his Executive that he (Mr. Cohen) had told Mr. Milbum of the motion. Now both Messrs. Cohen and Milburn, I see from your paper, are on the staff of Salient so I am at a loss to understand why this was not amended in the present issue, unless of course Salient was deliberately trying to mislead and misrepresent the true position. I am sure that that is not the reason for I can't imagine Salient adopting such scurvy capitalistic tactics in preference to the truth, can you?
As it is your birthday I am sending under separate cover a small present of one red herring and one mare's nest. I am sure the ones you have been using up to the present must be worn out. Many happy returns on your birthday. Salient and keep up the good work, and by the time you are twenty I am sure that you will have established yourself as the number one New Zealand comic cuts.
With love and kisses from your erstwhile friend and sometime combatant.
Marcus J. Poole, Ll.M.
As the original article was printed without comment, we print this reply without comment.
Our Critics Again
Dear Sir,—An editorial mention, a little bracket with Ed. enclosed and almost a column of explanation as the result of one letter . . . such generosity!
Humbled by such attention, chastened by rebukes and amazed at both the inferences and the irrationality of the progressive circle's explanation, I once more lift my Sectionally Opinionated pen to suggest that our Editor doth protest too much.
The progressive circle's habit of using emotive and damning phrases has entered the editorial to create Demon Student Opinion who is at once "loud mouthed and crafty." (Not to be confused with "Biassed" Opinions which according to the Editor are never never loud mouthed or crafty.) It may be that there are opinions which have no sectional feelings behind them in which case their expression is left either to the very individually minded or the few. So it seems to me; but not to the Editor who makes me, temporarily, an agent of Demon Sectional Opinion.
But Mr. Editor where are the accusations I cannot meet, the truculent body of shackling censors? Point out if you please my unmet accusations. My censors you can ignore for they have a bias towards thinking that most students have the power of reason and are able to censor Salient effectively for themselves.
Before you jump to editorial conclusions which are much more rash since they are so public, sit down and consider the noose which my "truculent body of censors" eye with anticipation.
I should like to point out the following in my own defence.
|(1)||I did not say that "Demon Student Opinion" is loud-mouthed and crafty. I said that Sectional Opnion which usually speaks in the name of Truth or Student Opinion is more loud-mouthed and crafty than those two latter members of the "lynching bee."|
|(2)||I did not say, nor have inferred that "Biassed" Opinions of Salient contributors are never loud-mouthed or crafty. They have been in the past and will often be so in the future.|
|(3)||The diatribe against Salient's anonymous critics was not directed against such people as F.M. and his third paragraph is thus irrelevant.|
We welcome written criticism, because if the writer twists the meaning of an article in order to abuse it, he may be corrected, just as I may be corrected for writing ambiguous editorials.—Ed.
Are We Idiots?
Dear Sir,—After reading Salient's editorial assuring us that contributions of "a decent literary standard" etc. would most certainly be published, I perused an article in the same issue headed "Freshers Fraternize." Endure a sample: "Dresses were torn, sweat dripped . . . drinks were spilt, women were kissed . . . Come into the cemetery, Maud . . . hep! hep! . . . a very lush thrush," so on it goes.
We are assured from time to time that Salient is read at universities and elsewhere in many parts of the world. " It seems evident from the above that we want people to believe we are idiots.
I am moved, therefore, to inquire what constitutes, in the eyes of the editor, a "decent literary standard."
(A standard acceptable to a wellbalanced person, not to one without a sense of humour.—Ed.)
The latest joke about the college, states that it was not the democratic students who organized the downfall of the late Exec.; the organization was done by members of the Communist Party, who had decided that they could obtain better results from workers underground than workers in responsible positions. We are horrified to learn that members of the National Party are in reality of the Communist Party.
Dear Sir,—As one of those who voted for the no-confidence motion, I might remark that in my opinion your editorial comment (Salient, Vol. 11, No. 3) quite ignores the just reason for which the Executive was dismissed.
The real question concerned neither the undoubted administrative ability of the late Executive, nor the personal convictions, as such, of its members. Whether or not those who passed the no-confidence motion had previously shown interest in the affairs of the Association is immaterial: the particular act for which the Executive suffered the vote of no-confidence imputed to all the members of the Association, political opinions of a minority. The Executive ignored the only indication of student opinion on the question, pleading as a defence the irrelevant fact that they were not bound by the decision of an affiliated body. It is agreed that as such a decision of this nature would not legally impose itself on the Executive, but insofar as it was an indication that opinion was against M. Gottwald's Government, it rendered a congratulatory message not merely imprudent, but irresponsible. It is hardly likely that at any time such a message would express the opinion of all the members of the Association, but steps should have been taken to ascertain whether it was acceptable to the majority.
The carrying of the vote of no-confidence by a large majority demonstrated that the student body will not permit its elected Executive to misrepresent it, through carelessness or any other cause, in such a serious matter. A mere vote of censure would have in fact been a victory for the Executive, but by a decisive vote of no-confidence the student body has expressed its disapproval of abuse of perogative on the part of those controlling student affairs.
R. E. Hutchings.
Dear Sir,—This is a letter about liquor. It will be quite evident by the time you have read it that I do not approve of the drinking of fermented beverages. Why is Extrav so bawdy—because of beer! Why do we always lose Tournament—because of liquor! Why are the morals of University so low—because of booze! Sir, when I came to Varsity as a fresher this year I thought I was coming to an institution of higher learning and culture: but what do I find? Quantity of beer, quality of beer, reminiscences of beer and prospects of beer pervade every student activity. Anyone interested in helping me combat this rampant evil please contact me through the men's letter rack addressed to the undersigned nom-de-plume.
Sick of it.
(Isn't it wonderful—we can keep ours down.—Ed.)