Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 8. 1961.
Phipps Pounced Upon
Sir,—Mr Phipps's naivete about world affairs would be most touching, did he not imagine that his naivete was cynicism.
Mr Phipps appears to believe that Communists are wicked and omnipotent beings who can turn any protest, demonstration or public action to their own use. Mr Phipps is out of date.
Even more out of date is his belief that Moscow is using the "idealists, zealots, and their hangers-on in this university." Does Mr Phipps really believe that idealism and zeal are such dirty words? One had believed only Senator McCarthy thought in those terms.
It may well be that Moscow can use people who "race protesting in the streets just because there is an issue which they may or may not take the trouble to understand." It seems dubious, however, to me. What evidence does Mr Phipps give that anybody anytime, anywhere, has participated in any demonstration unthinkingly? None. And if people have understood the issues about which they demonstrate, what objection has Mr Phipps to this? Does thinking about politics somehow help Moscow?
Mr Phipps, unhappily, gives us no details: the matter is no doubt self-evident to all good anti-Communists.
Does a demonstration help Moscow by challenging government policy? Mr Phipps gives no evidence that it does. If Mr Phipps prefers not to participate in demonstrations because they are non-U, I have no objection to his saying so. What I do object to is an incompetent rationalisation of his subconscious prejudices. Even Mr Dulles rationalised his prejudices intelligently.
A demonstration, surely, is an act of faith in democracy. Mr Phipps has obviously not much faith in the common sense of the ordinary man. If he has no faith in the ordinary people how can he believe in democracy? If he does not believe in democracy, must he not believe in dictatorship? And if he believes in dictatorship, is he not—in all sincerity, of course—a tool of Moscow?
The not should not call the kettle black.
A Ridiculous Idea
Sir,—Congratulations to Mr Phipps for the fine piece of old-world melodrama published in Salient 6! Such cloak-and-dagger intrigues are worthy of our man in Havana.
Mr Phipps is a master of the well-known techniques of generalisation and hyperbole. He takes last year's "No Maoris—No Tour" march and the "Ban the Bomb" march over the Rimutakas, and comes to the conclusion that we make "a hobby and a habit" of such pastimes. The Rugby march was initiated and supported for the most part by students; the Wellington public looked up briefly from its beer-mug and had a giggle at the "show-offs." The Rimutaka march had such a small following as to be ridiculous. When we remember this, we must draw the inference from Mr Phipps's article that if this is the best the Ministry for Advancement of World Domination can do, then we have nothing to worry about.
I am assuming, of course, that Mr Phipps does not intend his article to be taken seriously. This is based on his fears that New Zealanders will one day "race protesting in the streets." The mere thought of our countrymen getting off their fat, State-fed backsides to march in their thousands, or to storm the Embassies, is just too ridiculous for words, and can only produce a hysterical shriek of disbelief.
I am, etc.,
Sir,—As the greater part of Mr Gager's letter is a personal attack and has little constructive value, I shall let the good sense of the reader answer it himself. In the letter I am misquoted and my first name has been changed. The only relevant point raised occurs near the end.
When any person or persons wishes to put "a case as openly as possible to ordinary people, and believing that, if this is done, people will arrive at a right decision," then I can only be in sympathy. Democracy makes provision for the airing of such issues through free speech, the Press, and action through the M.P. whose job it is to be aware of the opinion and feelings of his constituents.
A demonstration, as its name implies, is not a means of airing an issue, but direct action indicating the opinion of the group who are demonstrating. It is a means of indication opinion, not forming it. A demonstration implies that constitutional means are not sufficient to gain the desired objectives, and thus cannot represent an act of faith in democracy.
We in New Zealand are fortunate enough to have inherited the British tradition of political behaviour which ensures political stability and also allows for change in the light of new situations and ideas. I do believe in "the common sense of the ordinary man," and I also believe that if an idea has merit then he may come to a more rational decision based upon the rights of the case if given more time and information than is present in the inevitably emotional atmosphere of a demonstration.
I hope that the quality of argument in Mr Gager s letter is not a reflection upon the quality of argument used by the demonstrators. I also hope that Mr Gager takes more trouble to understand why he should rush into the street than he has taken to understand my article before rushing into print.
Davidson on Hell
Sir,—A large number of contemporary " Christians," believing in the immortality of the soul, do not believe in punishment after death. They dismiss this as old-fashioned. But is this reason valid, or just the result of modern wishful thinking?
I define a Christian as "a person who believes in, and is endeavouring to follow, Christ's teachings and example." Christ taught that there is a real Hell. It seems that a Christian, therefore, should believe in Hell, or question whether he is a Christian.
According to the "non-Hell" school of thought, the teachings and the tradition of the Church are wrong. If we shall not be punished in an after-life for any morally wrong action that we have done—for turning down Christ, even—why be a "Christian": it's easier not to be.
This denies that God is infinite perfection, for if he has given us a free will, and lacks the perfection of judging, then we are governed by a finite God.
The "non-Hell believer" argues that a God of love would not condemn a soul to punishment and quotes "I come not to condemn but to save."
This, however, means that God does not condemn man, but that He gave man the right to be judged. It would be contrary to God's love to condemn without trial.
Another objection is that contemplation of Hell must destroy our happiness. But contemplation of Hell warns us of the consequences of rejecting God's love by sinning, and a Christian is only happy when he has God's love.
Despite some modern views. Hell is necessary for Christian belief, and a professing Christian who does not believe in it should re-examine his attitudes.
G. J. Davidson.
Sir,—I welcome "Meha's" letter on the dangers of the Soviet Peace Movement.
I should like to add that his conclusions are evident to all those people who came from Communist countries. A little knowledge of Marxist theory and Communist practice is enough!
The Soviet restriction of the freedom of thought is not merely a result of an authoritative regime, but it is a historical tradition of the Marxist movement which began by renouncing every group that did not agree with every detail of Marxist theory.
I think there is a remarkable ignorance among New Zealanders about the life of the satellite countries, though thousands of emigrants are living here. I think there should be articles on the life of Eastern European countries and the dangers of Communism. Yours, etc.,
Not for Animal Farm.
Dear Sir.—Your front page treatment in the latest Salient of the Graduands' Supper certainly leaves a bad taste, not only on account of the incidents which are alleged to have taken place, but also on account of the sensationalist tone of the article itself.
In Cappicade 1961 we read a stirring article by John Gamby decrying the scurrilous rantings of certain dailies subsequent to last year's Hastings Blossom Festival. The article was moderate and sincere. That Salient should degenerate to the same type of hysteria and use such terms as "orgy," "swinish" and "shocking brawl is not in the best traditions of our University newspaper.
Please do not think that we condone the behaviour of certain people at the Graduands' Supper—far from it, but we think that there were mitigating circumstances which should be considered by the Students' Association when planning next year's function.
Graduands could be taken as a fairly representative cross-section of the University population. This year, as has been normal in the past .the Students' Association provided a supper and liquor. Obviously these were not provided for guests to admire, and being relatively normal, graduands and staff members present availed themselves of Student Association hospitality.
But this was where the Student Association blundered in their organisation of the programme: what student group, after two hours of fraternising, would be prepared to sit quietly through a whole hour of speeches? Why were these speeches not given at least an hour earlier?
Certainly, very few people felt disposed to listen for such a time to speakers who, with the best of intentions, spoke for an unnecessarily long time. Furthermore, with the notable exception of the Hon. J. R. Marshall and Professor Gordon, t he speakers were extremely hard to hear. The noise from the "noisy, drunken throng" resulted from this futility of trying to listen to something which was inaudible.
Remember that "this excessive liquor" had all been consumed by the time the speeches started; had the speeches been arranged to start an hour earlier, less embarrassment to the speakers would undoubtedly have resulted.
In conclusion, may we say that we think that Salient would do a more responsible job by trying to ascertain the causes of such incidents, rather than by seeking to iay the blame upon the great mass of graduands after a hasty examination of the facts. The sensation-seeking presentation of this article did not impress us. Yours, etc.,
K. M. Johnston
F. P. Crotty
S. M. King
P. L. Shaw
C. J. Hagam
R. N. Rankin
T. J. Young
Sir,—Is it right to criticise a critic? I feel that "Peccavunt's" letter (Salient, April 7) needs a little clarification. Our nauseating friend wrote in a style dripping with impassioned implications about the activities of Weir House at the Orientation Ball.
It seems to me that if "Peccavunt" is one of his self-styled "Cream of the Country" it's about time somebody tipped the cream down the nearest drain.
Our friend, no doubt, was one of the "helpful" volunteers who did Not help during festival week to sell treasure charts on behalf of the Students' Association. He conveniently overlooks the fact that Weir-men averaged over £5 per head in their sales. Indeed, Weir-men were the Only students to assist on this occasion. Doubtless, "Peccavunt" will not deign to dabble his delicate little fingers in any work for Capping Procesh. If it were not for Weir this part of Capping would not be the success it usually is.
"Peccavunt's" polemic piffles about Weir House's "pollution"' are no more effective than the pollen of an hermaphroditic petunia carried by a sterile bee, and no student should give them credence.page 3
However, I do not wish to place "Peecavunt" in any position of financial embarrassment and I am quite prepared to refund his .4835 of a penny which he donated for the refreshment of the Haka Party through the Association.
I am not going to hide behind a nom-de-plume, but I would like to correct "Peccavunt"s quotation by a small addition—Non Peccaverunt!
Dear Sir.—It is with some concern that I read the article headed "My West Side Extrabner" in the last issue of Salient. Although it contains several expressions of opinion with which I most definitely disagree but which I respect and regard as being fair comment, It also contains several misstatements of facts which, if allowed to pass without correction, could cause considerable misunderstanding as to the place of Extrav. amongst student activities in the University. As the article was unsigned I am entitled to presume that it was editorial comment. However, I suspect that It was not, editors are usually more careful with their presentation of facts. I would be obliged if the Editor would clarify this point. [See editorial comment below.]
The article states that other organisations have been compelled to vacate rooms for Extrav. and examples inter alia the Jazz Club in 1960. This particular instance is a case where there could not have been better co-operation between two student groups—although Extrav. had booked the room the Jazz Club wanted well in advance and was accordingly entitled to the use of it, the Extrav. committee went out of its way to make it available for the Jazz Club on Sunday afternoons and at no time did Extrav. interfere with their activities as a result. This is far from riding "roughshod over the interests of other students" as the article alleges.
The article continues on to say that the show is becoming more and more like an American musical. Although this may be a matter of opinion, I would point out that 90% of the songs in this year's show were plaigarised from English musicals or were original compositions. The reference to "Peter in Blunderland" and "Jubileevit" makes one wonder whether the writer of the article actually saw either of these shows, for if he did he must have gone to a matinee with his kindergarten teacher. They were both played in the 1940's.
The statement that the show can't exist without non-students backstage and in the show shows a great lack of understanding and observation on the part of someone. In the Opera House (or any other Wellington theatre) it is compulsory that Extrav. employs a minimum of at least eight registered Theatrical Union professional employees. I assure you, that if we could avoid doing so, we would. The writer agrees that non-students should not play the leading parts in the show. I would inform Salient that this year all leading parts were played by bona fide students. There were only two non-students in this year's cast, one of which was there only because a student, whose father became very ill. had to pull out of the show quite late in the piece. The other person concerned was a girl who, until just after the show, I was under the impression was a student. I endorse the article's opinion that only students should participate in the show—I kept this principle in mind this year and succeeded in adhering to it strictly, save for the one exception. In the past the practice has been to obtain Executive approval for a non-student to play a lead part. This year we had no occasion to seek this approval.
The article refers to "the emphasis given to alcoholic refreshments." This year there were only three official Extrav. socials at which the liquid refreshments were provided by Extrav. for the company. Beer was provided only (coke and punch for the girls. The total cost for liquor for the three nights was £39, and an average of 120 to 130 people attended on each occasion. Rather than spend any extra Extrav. funds on liquor for the final function, two members of the committee between them shouted the company nine gallons of beer to ensure that there was an adequate amount lo provide for everyone. I regard the amount spent on liquor by Extrav. as a very small reward for the great job all those connected with the show do, particularly the cast. The article made reference to bad public relations, but to my mind Extravaganza is the best public relations improver that we have at University and let's face it. our public relations with the city in general are not the best.
Your article mentioned that Extrav. made a loss in 1959. If the facts had been checked it would have been found that it, in fact, made a profit of just over that year. Over the past few decades the several thousand pounds earned by Extrav. have given the Student Union Building fund quite a considerable boost. But, despite this, Extrav. is refused any space in the new building to store its equipment and we all know that Hut II is due to come down in the near future.
Generally, the reports and articles in Salient are accurate, but I suggest some (the minority) Salient writers would do better if they provided the students with facts instead of relying on hearsay and half-informed comment. I do not mind criticism—it's a good and healthy thing-but I do like a fair presentation of facts. I trust that there will be more accuracy among the critics of Extrav. in the future. Yours, etc.,
Latham Stubbs,Extravaganza Organiser, 1961
(The article was not editorial comment: Salient reporter Mr D. Flude wrote that article, though his name had been inadvertently omitted. It is also fair to point out that not all of Mr Flude's article had been printed—owing to the shortage of space in issue 7. Regarding Extravaganza administration, however. Salient would point out that at a recent staff meeting the following motion had been passed: ". . . In all cases, the Salient staff completely support our Editor." Carried 28-0. This motion was related in particular to certain unfortunate aspects of Extravaganza administration: (i) The treatment of the 1960 Jazz Club— to which Mr Stubbs replied, (ii) The treatment of Salient 1961 Mr Stubbs may care to reply to this, (iii) The treatment of the 1961 Judo Club (see elsewhere in this issue)—Mr Stubbs or whoever responsible may care to reply to this. Regarding the theatrical side of Extravaganza, the Editor has no adverse comments to make. He was invited to see Extravaganza; he saw Extravaganza: and he enjoyed Extravaganza.]
Dear Sir,—I feel somewhat compelled to reply to "Fred Spit's" article on "what sort of Election is this?" published in your issue of May 22, because of the unfounded remarks directed towards myself.
If the writer is who I think he is, then he should have known better. What does he want me to do? Am I expected to chase after the Editor of Salient immediately I hear of anything I consider worthy of printing in Salient?
At this stage I would like to point out that by virtue of the regulations constituting the Public Relations Committee, the Editor of Salient or his nominee is the Press officer of the Committee. To date Salient has been represented at three Public Relations Committee meetings.
If the Editor of Salient or his nominee had attended the meetings of the Committee, they would have perhaps learned more of the presidential election. They would also have found that I would be only too willing to assist them with facts.
The minutes of the meeting of the Public Relations Committee on November 24, I960, contain the following motion:
That we recommend the Executive to write to the Editor of Salient re-informing him that he is a member of the following committees—Publications and Public Relations, and that the Executive direct that either he or his nominee attends all meetings of the above and of the Executive.
Such a letter was written and it was quite some time before a Salient reporter attended an Executive meeting or sat on the Public Relations Committee. It was not until March 28, 1961, that Mr Moriarty presented himself at a Public Relations Committee meeting and stated that he was representing the Editor.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the Public Relations Officer is only too willing to assist Salient, but when the Editor of Salient is a constituted member of the Committee, then it is his duty to keep in touch with his chairman. Yours, etc.,
J. A. Tannahill,Public Relations Officer
[My mistake. Unfortunately the comment on the P.R.O. was put into bold type, which gave it far more importance than it was ever intended to have, and then on top of that it turns out to be rather unjustified. But, heavens above, what a committocracy this place is! I am delighted to record that I am not who he thought I was.— Fred Spit.]
Sir,—The "Dominion" informs us that Messrs Kitts and Conibear intend to change, by Act of Parliament, the Victoria University of Wellington into the mere University of Wellington. We are to be no longer "Vic" we will be "Wgtn."
It is my contention that this in but the latest move in a hideous conspiracy. I quote as evidence the abolition of tramcars. One of those tramcars has a door bearing the poem,
"Victoria, thou art greater than the city that lies beneath thee. . ."
Is it not plain what fell philosophy underlies these activities?
Why must these men be allowed to destroy our traditions and take away our heritage.
"Victorians! Rise up and Fight!"
"Thou Art Greater than the City that Lies Beneath Thee! ! !"
Dear Sir,—Your report on the Sex Debate has done me a grave injustice. You have put words in my mouth—dark and salacious thoughts which I did not advocate in any way—in the course of your unscrupulous if adept journalism.
Sir, I have a large mouth and despite its capacity I have always reserved to myself the privilege of putting things there. Happily, I hasten to assure readers that I have not, and never intend to receive inspiration from Salient staff. I am not given to saving such trite trash: "you are all familiar with the matter"—or for that matter be so unfeelingly presumptuous.
I recall that Mr Hogg said something of the kind—"familiar with the process" to be exact. I protested against this outrage against the virtue of the virgins present. Most distressing! I know, for I am a virgin! I demanded that Mr Hogg withdraw his remark and apologise. Inexplicably the chairman did not sympathize.
Time and space do not permit me to comment on the other misrepresentations. But I would like to mention that the ingenious use of abridgements suggested more than was said expressly or implicitly. Dear readers. I pray for your indulgence, that you may spare me from the ferocious claws of the lean and hungry lion, namely, the extraordinarily manured imagination of university students.
Yours shamelessly misrepresexed,
Human Rights — No Such Thing
Sir,—I wish to comment upon the declarations of the Ninth International Student Conference regarding Racialism. Section four of the declaration mentions "human rights."
It is about time that we remove these delusions. There is no such thing as human rights. Human rights are non-existent. There may be racial rights, national rights, political rights, etc.—but there are no "human rights." To speak of "human rights" is analagous to speaking of a "round square."
Let us forget this rot about "racial equality." There can never be "equality." There can never be anything which we can truly label "rights belonging to All humans without exception." So long as we are in this hateful world, there shall be despair for some. To admit that there are "human rights" (laughable term) would be to construe that man can achieve perfection. Always there shall be the superior and the inferior; there shall be the mighty and the weak, and there shall be the hopeful and the desperate, the .privileged and the unprivileged.
These blatant declarations about racialism, etc., by the International Student Conference—admirable though that organization may be— serve only to raise the bitterness of those born to be worshippers and slaves. To talk about human rights—when every person knows too well that they can never be simultaneously available to all in practise— would be to add insult to injury. I cannot but sneer at the stupidity and hypocrisy of those who tight for "equality." Yours, etc.,
W. P. Airotciv.
Editor a Communist?
Dear Sir.—On the front page of your issue dated May 22 you strike at the very foundations of our university. I refer, of course, to your article on our holy and sacred Extravaganza —Allah —Allah.
You are obviously a Communist and an anarchist and what is more you are trying to terrorize the cast. I say that the Party dictated this article to you in order to make up for the crushing defeat our great democratic institution gave them when last year they sent their envoys to destroy our earnest end humble efforts.
Do you realize that you would deny some people their only chance to attend university, which is to take units in Extravaganza (Stages I-XXI). I see that we will once more have to announce to our audiences that you have nothing to do with Extravaganza or with the university for that matter.
What is more we will continue, (in our democratic belief in the divine right of Extrav.) to place on the stage-our clever interpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein for the enjoyment of the people, who would rather pay too much for a show than revert to the old type show which was only a revue anyway. These patrons really give their money to the Students' Association and would much rather see it in the form of elaborate stages and costumes than see the money spent where it was meant to go. They don't really enjoy student-type revues, anyway. I am, etc.,
Auremmagis Rire Desideranda