Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 13. July 15, 1953


There were three people in the Concert Chamber this year who heard Plunket Medal and thought that a speech on Keynes had won the contest. These three were the judges. While it is true that every year there are people who disagree with the adjudicators, there are very few, usually, who would say that the judges were wrong. This year was an exception. Not only did the winner not attempt oratory but, even as a speaker, he did not appeal. When one of the judges advised speakers to consider the effect a speech has on the audience, it was a suggestion which he might well have adopted himself.

Logically I cannot, nor would I. disagree with the decision on the ground that it went to a speaker who had not learned his speech off by heart: on this point I am one with Mr. Whitta, whose letter will be found on a later page of this edition, but in all humility I would maintain that a fairly high degree, of fluency is required, and that a speaker should not attempt an extempore speech until he in sufficiently experienced to know that his flow of words will not be interrupted while he, pauses, either to consider his notes, or to calculate with a fair amount of certainty what should come next. Any break of this nature serves to remind the audience that the speaker is not really immersed in his subject, and that therefore he does not possess the conviction that he would instil in his audience.

It is true that there was no really outstanding oratory presented in the contest, but that cannot Justify the judges for going to the opposite extreme.

Unfortunately, all that is said now cannot recall the mistake, but it can serve an a warning to the future, so that the mistake will never occur again. I understand that steps are to be taken at a general meeting of the Debating Society to be held this Friday night to provide safeguards for future contests.