Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 18. September 20, 1939
To speak of "pricked ears" is to use a delicate expression, to have, for any extreme reason, to enunciate "stretched ears" is too painful, but to be able to say that the Phoenix Club [unclear: ws] "all ears" is to be, we Imagine, utterly satisfactory. Last Wednesday evening a discussion was held by the Phoenix Club on War and Culture, in which four people took part to their own immense and their listeners gratification.
A speaker's power undoubtedly is contained in his capacity for believing in himself. He gets Impetus from the strength of his personal convictions. And once he ceases to be convinced of what he is saying, he's sunk. Once sunk he'll not so much as blow the tiniest bubble to the surface.
The convictions of Misses Smith and Johnson gave us an impression somewhat of simulation. Their force was like that of a man in a sideshow paying threepence in order to see if he can burst a balloon. "Blow hard, George!" And it goes off with a mighty—pop. What is more, in these days there are so many digest- and fact-magazines spreading a thin fabric of information ail over the place, and so many free discussions in universities, that it takes a really clover and diligent speaker to take hold of a spade and dig up something from deep down. Because most intelligent people today are In possession of the superficial points of a wide range of subjects, they are no longer impressed with them, and hence no desirable motion is set up inside their heads, And then, practically no one would refute the statement that war has a disastrous effect on culture, or at any rate that war yields no artistic stimulus. So that in a discussion of this sort we think it a pity that so much time should be devoted to saying that it is so.
But anyone who can get up and talk coherently, having first of all assembled some matter, is definitely no object for derision. So while having to admit that by neither Miss' Smith nor Miss Johnson were we awakened from our age-old lethargy, we admire and respect them infinitely. Miss Smith's matter was the better of the two as Miss Johnson who followed her was inclined more to trivialities, and to our mind, missed the point rather, once or twice. It is not good for a speaker to miss seeing something which the listeners are bound to see, while she, or he, is gaily sailing on.
Father and Son
Dorian Saker then opened the scoring for the men, the women having retired about fifty-fifty.
Now Mr. Saker entertains his convictions with the utmost importance, Actually, we feel there's something quite life-and-death-ish about him. To one or two this may seem pretty ghastly, but there's no doubt at all that this is the only way of creating a disturbance. And if you do not wish to create such, then what's the use of your talking? Further, Mr. Saker, whether unwittingly or not, is influenced to take what promises to be a quite scholarly view of things. As yet, whenever he feels compelled to make public his utterances he lacks comprehensiveness and co-operation in his material. At present, baby's learning to crawl beautifully, thank you.
But it took the only mature speaker of the evening, with both comprehensiveness and co-operation, to tackle the subject politically. Mr. Scotney started gilding off with fine edges to his skates, cutting a clear and concise figure on the ice, which was not, as we might have thought, thin where he did not touch ... we wished to throw up our caps when he said that imperialism offered him more, freedom at the present moment than pazism. Apparently there's life in the old dog yet, And when he advised all [unclear: tie] pacifists that they were wrong, we could have done it again. But owing to import restrictions, etc., etc . . . .
To put it briefly, as outsiders, we find the Phoenix Club, with one or two exceptions, to be lacking in intensity.