Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 5. April 28th, 1948
This issue contains a letter criticizing my last editorial, an article appealing for logical thinking and clear language and a letter asking for a definition of a "decent literary standard." They represent three aspect of one problem.
To answer "Scribe" first. A prose article keeping reasonably to accepted English usage (Fowler is our guide) and in which the style is suited to the aim of the writer constitutes a flexible but definite enough standard. For instance referential language is desirable in discussing controversial issues. As Mr. O'Connor has pointed out Salient's standard in this matter is not above criticism. We publish his article realizing that though his style may seem to some uninteresting and full of cliches it stands as an example of language well used to attain a definite aim, that of criticism based on logic.
On the other hand Mr. Little's letter stands as an example of language abused to attain a double aim—ostensibly to criticise an editorial but in fact to vilify the writer. In the first paragraph he calls the article "obnoxious," "communistic" and "malicious." Presumably he is endeavouring to put his readers in the mood for cold logical criticism by using such words.
Admittedly in drawing a parallel between the actions of students at Victoria College and the actions of people who support Marshall Aid with all its possibilities as a political weapon, I descended into emotive language. I endeavoured to show that I was aware of this by putting such words in inverted commas. In calling the Marshall Plan an economic bludgeon and spelling it Martial Aid I was first assuming that the excerpts from the "Dominion" would show to any reasonable person that America was using the plan for military and intimidatory purposes.
Mr. Little says that it is absolute nonsense to say that "dollar imperialism" is stampeding us into war. Later he quite illogically states: "There is only one way to avoid war . . . threaten her (i.e., Russia) with the atomic bomb and use it now if necessary." He is certainly ignorant if he believes that by using the atomic bomb against Russia we would be preserving peace. This illustrates the fact that we are being stampeded.
Washington, April 18.
The United States today gave Italian voters a last minute reminder of the importance of American aid by announcing new shipments to Italy of food and coal worth 8,000,000 dollars.
Finally if Mr. Little can show that Soviet Russia is embarking on a policy of aggression, without resorting to such rabble rousing words as "tyrannical hordes," and sweeping statements such as "the Italians are free and the Czechs not" then reasonable people will perhaps be swayed by his opinion.
Journalism is a public trust, not a vocation like butchering or clerking. Through an increasing respect for the ethic of journalism, through a closer unity between journalism and the increasingly liberal art of living, we may some day be able to insure to the public a press that will reflect no more than the natural slanting that comes with our wonderful varieties of viewpoint.
Until that day, we must carry on the battle against journalistic irresponsibility and against that other crime: journalistic colourlessness, that "good, gray" quality that renders everything "safe" by trying to pretend that there are two equal sides to every question, when any man with sense knows that there are simply variations of right and wrong. The editor who tries to straddle the fence is actually straddling his intellectual grave.
—The Daily Trojan, Univ. of Southern California.
We apologize for irregularities and omissions in this issue. Power cuts are mainly responsible for them. We have rejected entirely a gossip column on Tournament and a libellous "poem" on the Exec. debacle. We hope to publish a literary page of allegedly poetical character next issue.