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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 8. October 6, 1942

Don Quixote and the Windmills or "Spike"

Don Quixote and the Windmills or "Spike"

This Spanish knight won an immortal name by tilting at windmills, imagining they were the foes of chivalry. But one can't tilt where even windmills are absent, and "Spike" seems to me to lack even the ghost of a windmill. What astonishes and hurts is the total absence of literary competence—after we exclude such practised hands as O.A.E.H. and J.C.B. I know the editorial informs us with apparently flawless sang-froid that "love and indeed all emotional disturbances" were kept at home, but did the well-meaning editors also leave their English at home? Did they have any to leave? Or did they deliberately plan this somewhat sour and unripe "unadulterated fruit of the brain"?

A critic of "Salient," in 1940, asked, is it not normal for a half-baked idea to be generated in an immature individual? "Spike" of 1942 certainly is not half-baked; it was not put into the oven. And so these articles and these poems do not seem immature because they lack that fault, or that blessing of immaturity, aspiration. Do not go to "Spike" to look for experiment or amusement; the writers, except the author of "Our Heritage," have prematurely passed the age of innovation, and have reached the years of disillusion and didacticism. "Spike" this year will not receive sudden visits from the police; it will not be criticized by any controller of publicity. For the time being the role of the University seems to be outplayed, and invention, like the College clubs, is moribund.

Have I created windmills, only to tilt against? Let us remember that this is the fourth year of war; that those who would have invented for "Spike" are now inventing new ways of war, and that paper is precious. It is indeed something that, unlike the extravaganza, "Spike" keeps its head above water, and that is the best thing to recommend it to your consideration; that, and some of the photographs.