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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.


page 3



Sirs,—Mr. Robertson, in his letter published in your edition of March 1, makes several interesting statements, and as he signs his name above a recognised student organisation I presume that his is the "official" viewpoint.

He states: "new literary ventures are continually facing the scythe of mental barrenness." As a comment upon this modest assertion, I quote. Sirs, from your supplement of March 1: "If you haven't heard of intellectual arrogance now is a good time ... steer clear of it like the plague."

In Mr. Robertson's opinion "solidarity and continuity are essential in something as necessarily transient as a campus newspaper." Perhaps compulsory subscription is "solidarity." I would be grateful, however, if he would explain how "continuity" can be "essential" in something "necessarily transient." Does not this implicitly assert that Salient should not exist! You, Sirs, will no doubt be very interested in this official proclamation. Of course, as Mr. Robertson mentions, all universities face tremendous problems in running a student newspaper—Mr. Robertson is perhaps stating the official solution to these problems.

Several of Mr. Robertson's statements seem noteworthy. In particular. I suggest, Sirs, that the "inexperience" of editors which results in "costly legal actions with resultant loss of faith" is essentially similar to gross irresponsibility. That "astronomical subsidies" are paid to student newspapers is indeed true, as every fee-paying student well knows.

It is. I think. Sirs, very significant that "five years' intensive study and two very fine reports" culminate in compulsory subscription. What dynamic initiative!

With all the complex problems enumerated by Mr. Robertson, one may very well wonder whether or not student newspapers should exist. It is remarkable that despite complaints of rising costs, £200 will be added to every year's expenses — regardless of Salient's financial strength that year.

An increase of £450 on last year's subsidy of £750 (over 50 per per cent) would certainly be grave—hence the intensive study and the fine reports mentioned by Mr. Robertson. A 10/- "flat amount per student" is a very euphemistic phrase for compulsory subscription; and that each student may now obtain his own copy of Salient "at no further cost"—one would hope so! That Salient can now budget for larger issues" may be compensation for this flat amount": what this means in actuality is that there will be larger issues of something for which the majority of students in the past have shown no particular desire.

We are indeed fortunate Eulogistic adjectives come easily from Mr. Robertson: "solidly-backed" is apparently synonymous with compulsorily purchased "securely organised" (whatever that means in relation to newspapers) results from the panacea of compulsory subscription. What a face-and-job-saver compulsory subscription must be.

The real force in Mr. Robertson's letter lies, without doubt, in the final paragraph. After five years' intensive study and two very fine reports culminating in compulsory subscription the climax is attained: "we can only hope ... brighter things may be seen in the future." Sirs, is comment necessary?

Ventry Gray.

Our writer feels that comment is necessary. He is entitled to his views, but not to distort the facts.

As an ideal, student newspapers should stand by their merits, but in practice their economics forbids them the chance to do so. It Is an accepted system, both in New Zealand and overseas, that student newspapers be subject to a per capita compulsory subscription.

No delay of five years exists. Each year for the past three years, students aware of the economic pressures threatening Salient have proposed a compulsory subscription.

Far from being apathetic, students have demanded that Salient play a greater role, and Salient has expanded over recent years from a pamphlet to a proper newspaper. Excluding purely social activities, probably more students work or write for Salient than are involved in any other student activity.

The editors' scholarship is experimental and for one year only initially. If continued, outside sponsorship is proposed, and its award is not automatic. In relation to the amount of work involved, it is merely a guarantee of financial stability.


Down wiv' everything

Sirs,—Contrary to your assertion (Editorial, Salient 1), the public official is an idiot.

He is an idiot who expects you and me to believe that he doe; not enjoy the authority he wields. Or, he is an idiot who is too dull to realise that if he really want to serve the community, the best thing to do is die.

Yours to the barricade,

David Wright.

Haas's Holy Cow

Sirs,—It seems a little ridiculous for an obscure student newspaper to call a "little magazine" "obscure," but it deserves such treatment for casting vile things at Mr. Haas's Holy cow, "The Arts In New Zealand," I suppose. When you consider that the article was written by Louis Johnson, a man who is still writing poetry, why the sole voice of criticism becomes laughable.

The gospel according to the "Arts In New Zealand" is that the creative artist should be kept well away from art. It is for we students studying English at stage two and three levels who have a monopoly on culture in our society. At our Student Congress we will discuss for hours what an artist is and how many garrets the public purse will set aside for him and then go back to our cabins and read the best imported approved poets from overseas. So it comes to pass that our university is a perfect institution of middle-brow critics and poetasters a la Dwight MacDonald's mid-cult, with the number of students pouring out what the critical pack would call "pubescent nonsense" becoming less and less, and the contributions from students poorer and fewer, to the fly-by-night little magazines.

But it is not only in creative writing that the critic mentality has made students middle-aged. For some number of years the drama club has been a little elite group which casts and recasts a limited number of actors and actresses in productions throughout the year. This is not due to any conscious attempt to create an elite, but rather due to the fact that the number of students who can even walk from one side of the stage to the other grows fewer and fewer. The Drama Club has gone a long time without a real success and it appears unlikely to occur this year because everyone wants to be sitting in the auditorium watching with their lecturer.

I say the tv set for the coffee bars a good thing to help these people out. Yours, etc.

M. C. Rowlands

Rankine Brown

Sirs, — So the Rankine Brown building is nearing completion, at God knows what expense. The Lecture rooms look lovely with all that carpet—everything is really the latest that modern architectural techniques and expert planning can provide.

So why is it that when the classes are full only those people in the front few rows or on the ends of the other rows can read all of the blackboard?

Oh, for another E006.

Dale Ashenden.

Not Our Fault

Sirs,—On behalf of the committee of the International Club I must protest at the treatment the club received from those arranging the Orientation programme. The insertion of an "International Club Evening" in the official orientation programme without any notice of this being given to the committee members not only resulted in much embarrassment to the club officials, but also gave the club a bad name amongst this year's freshers.

We apologise to all those turned up on the evening March 8 to find that the advertised meeting was not on, but at the same time we must point out that this was in no way the fault of the International Club.

M. L. Walker

(President, International Club.)


Sirs—As the excellent article in the last issue of Salient suggests, the forthcoming visit of Thelonious Monk is probably the most important event to date in the history of jazz in New Zealand. Monk and his fellow-artists arrive at Wellington Airport from Christchurch at 12.10pm on Friday. April 2, the day preceding only Wellington concert. On behalf of the Wellington Chamber Music Society, may I extend an invitation to jazz lovers in the university to go to the airport to give this great artist the welcome he deserves.— J. D. Gould, Professor of Economic History.


Sirs,—Two points. First, with reference to Salient, Mr. C. J. R. Robertson states in a letter (March 1): "With seven editors in three years matters were rapidly reaching panic and standards suffered accordingly." Perhaps "three years" should read "two years," as I recall that, in 1962, my term as Editor was uninterrupted throughout. Second, my congratulations on producing the best-looking Salient to come out in the past two years.

Murray White.