Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 9. 1962.
Sir,—I read with interest the letters about Extrav. in your last issue. I am sorry if anyone was mishandled as a result of the show and offer my apologies to them.
I would like to make a few comments though. I notice that both writers mention a skit called "Life on the Waterfront." This leads me wonder if either of your correspondents actually saw the show. If they did, they certainly didn't waste their money on a programme. My copy says—"Scene 3—Wellington Wharf." This just one scene in a full-length show, intended to further the plot line and was more concerned with the actions of the Hero and a certain politician than with Life on the waterfront. It certainly wasn't a skit.
I can understand why Mr St. John is reluctant to discuss the factual basis of his accusations, but I must say that I find his letter more reasoned than that of Mr Turner, who manages to compare the industrious wharfie with the idle student. I am afraid that the public only knows what it sees and as Mr Turner knows that all students are bone idle so the public knows that all wharfies are very industrious. This brings me to his next point. If Mr Turner would care to prepare for me the outline of a plot which is political, topical, has plenty of pace, is a dramatic unity is funny, runs very close to two and a half hours, and contains comments about the pressure groups in the country—on both sides of the House—about all the local and national happenings, and all the topical international happenings; then I will be as out of breath as this sentence. It can't be done without ruining the pace of the show. If you want to be funny as well your plot has to pick on one thing and stick to It. Mr Turner should try it sometime. has every chance of doing better than me—if he tries. The attack on the standard of the cast strikes me as being very typical of the usual jealous sour grapes that are dished out at Extrav. each year, never by anyone who has had a hand in any of the hard work concerned with putting on the show.
I have no doubt that as Mr St. John says the unions are hyper-sensitive, but I can only answer in Mr Turner's words paraphrased slightly—"As soon as they, and your two correspondents, take themselves less seriously, they may be able to appreciate the workings of the world around them."—Yours etc.,
Sir,—I would like to make quite clear to all students that my assertion, in the last issue of "Salient". implying that Mr Armour Mitchell was in some way connected with the "National Party hierarchy" has been proven false, and was the result of mere gossip, and perhaps a measure of wishful thinking.
In view of this I wish to unconditionally retract the assertion, and offer to Mr Mitchell my sincere apologies for any embarrassment that may have been caused.—Yours, etc.
P. J. R. Blizard.
N.Z. and Defence
Sir,—I want to protest against the fallacy that we ought to do our share in Western defence. If the Americans are taking a disproportionate share now, this is only right and proper considering their highly profitable isolationism during large chunks of two world wars and the twenty years in between. If the U.S. had not black-guarded the League of Nations, if It had not wrecked the economies of Western Europe by demanding repayment of war loans In the twenties, and the abandonment of the silver standard, and so on, the second world war might not have occurred. No country has made a higher percentage of human sacrifice in two wars than N.Z. The U.S. is bound to do its share now.
I therefore regret the purchase of another £7 million frigate.—Yours, etc.,
J. C. Ross.
Sir,—I was present at the Special General Meeting of the Students' Association held on 15 June last and should like to express my views on the subject of fees more fully than I did that night. First, a word about the meeting itself. If that was an example of the way democracy works, then let us look more closely at our system of government. There were very few at the meeting whose views coincided with my own and various members of the majority were obviously going to make sure that the minority said as little as possible. The first two motions were of considerable importance being the ones upon which all the others hung and as soon as the proposer and seconder had spoken it was moved that the motion be put; nobody else had a chance to speak. This made the intentions of those of the majority very obvious; they did not want, or perhaps they were afraid, to hear any view contrary to their own. When anybody was given the floor to oppose the lowering or abolition of fees it was difficult for that person to speak without being shouted at and Interrupted. Those present will remember Mr O'Brien's react reaction to this.
It is a pity that a greater number of students opposed to the motions put forward were not at the meeting on Friday night It would have been refreshing to listen to a speaker with something worthwhile and logical to say. For example we heard speakers on the one hand, talking of lowering and eventually abolishing fees, and on the other, of raising bursaries—ridiculous and quite illogical to say the least. In my opinion the fees they are now are quite in keeping with the living standards of the 1960's. Before they were raised they were of the 1920 standard. It is obvious that if a student applies himself to his studies, and does not fail exams, then the new scale will be of no hardship to him. Any cases of real hardship are considered and, where appropriate, allowance is made. I agree that there are some cases where bursaries could be granted; an ideal would be to extend bursaries to cover all students doing a subject for the first time. So, leave the fees as they are and let the student who wastes his time pay for it, as I did by missing two units last year. All this has been said before but it bears repetition and anyone disagreeing, if he is honest with himself, must realise that his views are unrealistic,
I now turn to the problem raised by the wishes of only eight per cent, of the student population expressed at a S.G.M. earlier in the year regarding the demonstration. If our Executive had refused to hold a demonstration at any time then this quite obviously would have been unconstitutional. However, as Mr Mitchell explained, the time desired was quite inappropriate, having regard to the move to make representations to the University Grants Committee and also the obvious intentions of the Police if any demonstration took place at the opening of Parliament. I would commend the action of the Executive as being both reasonable and as being in the best interests of the student body.
In conclusion I must mention the meeting of the "Caretaker Executive" held on the Monday after the S.G.M. at which those present decided against holding a demonstration on exactly the same grounds as the original Executive: quite beside there being only three days between the meeting and the Annual General Meeting which was considered too short a period in which to organise a demonstration, it was decided that the time was not suitable as representations were being made to the Grants Committee. This surely was the main reason for Mr Mitchell and his Executive acting as they did.—Yours etc.,
Paul von Dadelszen
Mitch-Ill Over Gager
Sir,—The "scathing", "intense", and verbose attack on the then Executive by Owen Gager which was published in your last issue, greatly impresses me as an excellent example of sound logic. Logician Gager's remarks are best explained by means of a little story.—
"There once was a man who decided not to smoke—therefore he was a prude, a supercillious idiot, and an arrogant hypocrite."
That this man might have preferred to avoid the risk of lung cancer, is of course overlooked, as this would upset the trend of Gagerian logic.
P.S. In anticipation of a reply from Mr Gager (which will no doubt be up to his usual standard) I should confirm that I am a smoker, so that our eminent logician will at least be correct in one of his premises.—Yours, etc.,
A. T. Mitchell.
Sir,—If Mr Higgs is keen to get into print under a nom-de-plume then may I suggest a solution. He has only to write an article that will not divulge his argument or Identity and which will be inconspicuous among the other articles. I feel that this is well within his capabilities. In the words of an old adage, "If you can't beat 'em. join 'em."—Yours, etc.,
Gentlemen,—As a member of the Wellington public, and a comparative stranger in New Zealand, may I say I am in complete agreement with the spirited protest Salient has made against the hanging of Herr Eichmann. Why? Because your protest is in accord with the basic teaching and demonstration of Jesus Christ.
The world in general, and Christendom in particular, dies because it has rejected the teaching of the Son of God. There have been a few, notably Tolstoy and Rappa-port. who have stood fast for the principles of human behaviour advocated and demonstrated by Christ; but the majority warp and twist the words of the great Master and in so doing they deny themselves the spiritual benefits of His Kingdom.
When Christ suffered judicial murder His final prayer was typical of the Man. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Why did they know not? Because the carnal mind makes no distinction between ideas and people. In hanging Herr Eichmann, the Jews believe they have nullified the ideas for which He stood. Their forefathers murdered Christ for exactly similar reasons. Yet history shows that ideas live on—apart from man; history shows that ideas exist to elevate or destroy—depending on the dictates of the individual free will.
You, Gentlemen, do a great service to humanity in bringing into focus the gross stupidity of taking life in the name of justice or political expediency. Few know that the Law of Cause and Effect will extract the last farthing from those whose actions are conditioned by thoughts of revenge. There are sound psychological reasons for this of which you are no doubt aware.
But let us not leave the matter by merely stating our agreement with the Sixth Commandment. We must be prepared to go further and investigate the background to individual and collective crime; to me to grips with reality; to equate cause with effect; to know that there is a way out of the world's present dilemma. Man got himself into his present unhappy mess by harbouring negative thoughts and emotions. He can easily return to sanity by reading and acting on the advice contained in such famous writings as "The Greatest Thing in the World" by Henry Drummond.—Yours, etc.,
D. M. Woodford.
Sir,—I protest. I protest the hysterical emotionalism of M.J.W. in Comment, June 18. I protest the immorality of his shallow thought and the illogicality thereof.
I protest that "We", in our official paper, should be splurged after the style of a more notorious newsheet, over the front page. I protest M.J.W's assumption that I and fellow students necessarily subscribe wholesale to his soul-searing elegy.
I protest his complete failure to consider the Eichmann case from Israel's point of view; to consider that 6 million Jews might have meant a great deal to their sons and daughters. I protest blithe answers of self set questions. He may point out, but does this mean that "we must point out" the truth of his conclusions.
His conclusions are based on popular thought and ideals to which we ourselves pay little more than lip service?
A rotten apple can ruin the lot. Eichmann paid for rottenness which no surgery could check. His death added to the fertility of the very race he tried to destroy. Is there not in this a hint of at least justice?—Yours, etc.,
S. E. Chadwick.
Five others are of similar opinion to Mr Chadwick.—Editor.
Clarity at all Costs
Sir,—In your issue of June 5 your record reviewer R. MacOnie tells us in his review of several new records of works by Stravinsky that a lot of guff is written about this composer. It seems that Mr MacOnie has in part of his review added his little bit to the accumulation.
I refer to the passage: "brass chords pianissimo which are so deep that one strains down with one's whole body to accommodate them." Mr MacOnie may be fully aware of what he means by this but many of his readers must surely find it quite incomprehensible. Does it mean that he shortens and widens himself by some yoga-like process when he hears such sounds? I really don't know. Perhaps Mr MacOnie could enlighten us.
Whether or not the composer reviewed communicates adequately to his public, a reviewer of such a person's work must surely make communication to his readers a prime consideration. It is therefore unfortunate that an article extolling the clarity of music justly noted for this quality should itself fall short of this ideal, so drastically, even once. It mars a review which is interesting, to say the least, to one who is not an erudite musicologist.—Yours, etc.,
I. W. Martin.
Sir,—The Prime Minister (Mr Holyoake) must have had a premonition when he refused an interview to your reporter (Salient, June 18).
Certainly the treatment of Mr Nash's interview was abominably bad journalism. If Salient reporters can do no better than this, they must expect to be refused inter-views with busy men.
Personal opinion has no place in an unsigned newspaper article. If such an exceeding quantity of comment was considered essential to the article, the editor should have insisted on a "by-line" naming the reporter.
However, any journalism worthy of the name recognises that facts weigh higher than opinions and far higher than unattributed opinions.
If your reporter found Mr Nash's replies inadequate to his so carefully prepared list of graduated questions, his proper course was to list both questions and answers, leaving your readers to form their own opinions.
Good reporting provides the facts on which a sound judgment can be based, and leaves the reader to do the rest. Only the crudest newspaper writing attempts to provide ready-digested "instant opinion."
The Nash interview leaves me wondering whether the basic fault did not lie with the interviewer, rather than the interviewed. I wonder from its proverty whether your man failed to frame questions adequate to obtain an intelligent answer. His article transgresed the simplest and most basic rules of everyday journalism, and should certainly never have appeared in a paper written for a student community which has, presumably, a modicum of intelligence to merit his respect.—Yours, etc.,
J. C. Burgess.
The article was, in fact, signed when it left our hands. Often, the by-line goes astray somewhere in the printing process—it is usually the by-line slug that is removed if an article is too tight and won't fit the page.
The reporter was sent to interview Mr Nash, to report and comment on the person: we were not after a statement,—Editor.