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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 1. 4th March, 1957

Whacko Passion

Whacko Passion

"The passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence": an American professor of fifty years ago defined the object of university education in these terms. He has been widely echoed by academicians ever since, and some have even suggested that his formula should become the motto of the student press.

But the professor's name has been forgotten, and his dictum has reached posterity solely by virtue of its having earned a blistering attack from Jack London engaged at the time on a lecture tour of American colleges on behalf of the Socialists: "The reflection of this university ideal I find—conservatism, deadness, unconcern towards those who are suffering, who are in want. . . . Raise your voices one way or the other! Be alive!"

The same words were used by Dr. J. C. Beaglehole in a symposium conducted in this college eighteen years ago on whether the one-year-old "Salient" was fulfilling the requirements of a college newspaper:

"The main thing in university journalism is that it should be alive. It can't be alive without a series of rows, and the noise of battle which surrounds 'Salient' is therefore a healthy sign. It should also, I think, be in a broad sense political, if it is to have any relevance to life in our time—and in our time academicism and private jokes would be too sterile and intolerable. ... It should be indignant, and 'Salient' is sometimes indignant. On the other hand, I should like to see the paper more consistently grappling with books, pictures, music, and the problems of the University; also ... I should like to see it play the fool a bit more often."

In those days "Salient" set out to fill a fairly ambitious role. The previous year when it replaced "Smad" as VUC's newspaper, it had announced, "The change has been made . . . because it was felt the spirit of Olympian grandeur or academic isolation from the affairs of the world should be dropped and replaced by a policy which aims firstly to link the University more closely to the realities of the world; and secondly to comment upon, rather than report in narrative style, the activities of college clubs."

In nineteen years the tide of radical thinking which brought forth the first "Salient" has ebbed and flowed and ebbed and flowed again; and the faults of "Smad"—grandeur, isolation, narrative-style reporting and all—have become characteristic of "Salient" also.

Now "Salient" 57 proudly announces that this year we have adopted new editors, new printers, new regularity and new policy. Conservatives will note with relief that we retain an old name, if they dig deeper they will actually discover that we are merely turning back to the vision of 1938. The Editors are are idealists and (what usually goes with this) dogmatists, if we find a "Truth" we will bash you over the head with it—whatever your own beliefs may be: no punches barred and no apologies to anyone. We are happiest in the midst of controversy, our paper will revel in stirring up trouble. We shall dig stale fish out of rubbish bins and instead of decently burying them will flap them under your noses.

Our columns are open to all creeds, all people. For, more important to us than being of our way of thinking—is Passion. Don't forget that nos habebit humus (or avernus, according to tsate) a long, long while: so while we are alive, let's live!

B. and W.