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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 8. May 27, 1953

Where Credit is Due

Where Credit is Due

We are inclined to agree that Cappicade this year was weak and puny. It it a view which we have heard often expressed against students. We wondered, when reading some of the articles alleged to be funny, whether a false standard of values had not been adopted. We do not need to judge these articles on any moral basis, for they stand condemned on a purely material and literary basis. Too often the attitude is adopted that what is coarse is, ipso facto, funny. More correctly, the humour it not in the crudity, but in the cleverness. It is easy to be low; to be clever requires a more exacting standard.

It is a simple transition from a consideration of Cappicade to a consideration of Procession. Here, indeed, the prospect is a brighter one.

In general it was better, funnier, and less crude than any procession since the war. The large crowds who went out of their way to wait for it seemed on the whole to be relatively pleased with what they saw. That much is a tribute to student ingenuity. The excursions which went with Capping this year, too, showed at long last a visible awakening of enterprise. From the herculean labour outside the Duke of Edinburgh in the small hours of Friday morning, to the final audacious presentation to the President in the evening there was shown a capping spirit—or at least the nearest thing to it that Victoria has experienced in recent years.

Nor can we permit to pass unremarked the episode at the Taj Mahal. It is to the credit of students that they have not deigned to reply to the disgruntled letters which have appeared in the daily newspapers—many from persons who had not even seen the episode. The satisfaction that such people obtain from writing petty letters should be their only reward. Let us not grace them with that dignity with which a reply clothes them.

The episode at the Taj Mahal was directed not the the Moslem religion, but at the architectural monstrosity which lies sprawled at the base of Courtenay Place. If there was any ridicule of a religion involved, than it was accidental, and this fact, if not exonerating the participants must at least lessen their culpability; after all, we must concede that some Moslems may have been offended. We hope that this is not the case, but it may well be that some are hurt. So far, no Moslem has said so, though 'Pro Bono Publico. 'Disgusted,' and 'Civis." have. We have no doubt whatsoever, that if called upon to do so, every member of the happy band of 'worshippers' would willingly apologise to any person who was offended by a slight to his religion. That is the nature of students: for though some may doubt their sanity, none can honestly doubt their sincerity.

We wonder, when reading the pithy epistles of the critics, whether those same persons are willing to take arms against intolerance and spite that they see around them from day to day; and fear not. Capping receives en the whole, more criticism in the correspondence columns, than does any other single episode which occurs throughout the year; the T.A.B. is perhaps an exception, but then no prises are offered for the best letter on Capping. We read, and weigh facts. We see that intolerance is practised around us unrequited; in religion; in colour; in politics; in our very day to day intercourse. Can we be blamed for wondering whether perhaps those who write are more moved by malice than by sincerity? We do not form a final judgment, for that is the error of letter-writers. Rather, we doubt, and because we are human and at least a little irrational, our doubt, if unallayed, turns to certainty.

The advice that we offer is not born of superior wisdom, but of common sense: and if these words should ever come to the eyes of those of whom we have spoken, we suggest that in future they be moderate, for in moderation is tolerance, and if tolerance is the virtue which they extoll then they can more rapidly achieve their end by practising it.