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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 8 July, 3, 1946

Debating - Glib Tongues Slash Osseus Rind

Debating - Glib Tongues Slash Osseus Rind

The slightly one-sided, but nonetheless eventful debate held in the Gym on Friday 14, dealt with the subject "That NZ offers ample scope for creative intelligence." The variety of interpretations put on the wording of the debate gave considerable scope for the creative intelligence of many of the speakers, anyway. The judge was Mr. F. L. Combs and Nig. Taylor was in the chair.

Mr. D. Saker, polished and persuasive, opened the attack for the affirmative. He outlined N.Z.'s superior education system, which gave a N. Zer every chance of developing his creative intelligence, and instanced the extraordinary number of newspapers. Repertory Societies, etc., as vehicles for expressing that intelligence. Reward for work did not have to come from within N.Z.—writers, living in Ireland, Scotland and Wales ("and in sin"—interjection) sent their work to London for publication. N.Z. offered ample inspiration and the lack of "hide-bound tradition" here should make our work free and experimental.

Mr. J. Ziman, for the negative, asserted that creative intelligence implied two things, (a) a problem to be solved, and (b) an original solution to the problem. He intended to deal only with one branch of the subject—science. The small number of publications dealing with original research was a good indication of the amount of it done in. N.Z. Radio Development Laboratory had done some good work, but not much of it was original. ("Mr. Evison made rather a good magnet.") Still, not everyone wanted to go into specific fields of work.

Mr. John Scott, seconding the motion, dealt with the "social" side of creative intelligence. In N.Z. we might well be proud of our original social legislation. America had shown creative intelligence by producing films ("and Readers' Digest"—interjection.)

Miss Joan Taylor asserted for the negative that lack of scope was partly due to our extremely small population. N.Zers were philistines, she said, and they owed it to their ancestry, while the fact that Mr. Saker found no difficulty in getting work published only indicated a field for hack journalism. We were hampered by the tradition that what came from overseas was good, and the home product bad. This lack of sympathetic understanding caused inertia in the artists themselves.

The subject up to this point had been apparently well covered but many surprises were yet to come. The last speaker from the floor. Mr. W. Oliver, asserted that the words of the debate were all nonsense. He said that a creative work need not be put before the public nor sold, and therefore scope was not necessary.

Other interesting, and at times startling slants on the subject, were as follows:—

Mr. D. Collins: "That incredible blockhead" Justice Cornish said that the spiritual home of the progressive is the USSR. He was wrong. Their spiritual home was the world, and beyond it the universe (voice from the back. "Blithe Spirit"). Everywhere there was evidence of the beginnings of a National Culture—"we are becoming a Nation."

Mr. McCreary (aff.): NZ exports were our contribution to world culture. Our ancestors used their creative intelligence in clearing bush and building homes—literature was not important. "Those who like can go and tickle tiddlers on the Thames, but give me the man who'll go tramping up the Tasman."

Mr. O'Flynn (aff.): "Painting, sclupturing, writing and other pastimes! "

Mr. Winchester (aff.) Mr. Holcroft had sold 2,000 copies of one of his books, equivalent to about 80.000 in Great Britain on a population basis. NZ might have a small population but so did Athens anti Shakespeare's England, and one day I think we'll equal them."

The motion was put and carried almost unanimously. Mr. Combs, after saying he was feeling a bit under the weather (sympathetic laughter), proceeded to sum up in a masterly way the speakers for the evening. He gave his own opinion on the subject to an appreciative audience, stating that he believed New Zealand culture to be of a distinctly copycat nature. His placing of the speakers was: his Taylor and Mr. Collins first equal. Mr. Saker next, followed by Mr. Winchester and Mr. McCreay.