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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

marx — Joy, Happiness and Humour


Joy, Happiness and Humour

At twelve I arrived with pen and paper to report on, (as duly assigned), the Thursday debate.

The Union Hall was unusually empty and when a man stood up to announce a talk on Consumer Affairs I knew I had the wrong venue.

I was greatly tempted to stay and eat my lunch but Mr Pro said find the debate'.

I dashed off to the Memorial Theatre to find 60 people quite attentively watching the Young Socialists and the Debating orate on the proposition:

"That Groucho Marx made a greater contribution to mankind than Karl Marx".

The debate was full of humour and personal or at least ideological attacks and as a good 40 minutes of lunch time entertainment, went down pretty well.

The Young Socialists represented by one male in American revolutionary hat and another in a Chinese revolutionary hat claimed Groucho used humour, the reaction of his depression period upbringing, to alleviate the suffering of people. They called his humour racist, sexist and deadly cynical. And went as far as comparing the relationship of Groucho & Karl as artist and scientist, or if you like Isaac. Newton and Vera Lynn. Hardly compatible and a good point.

The Professional debaters spoke with considerable skill explaining that the swear words used by the Trotskyite Marxists was the result of the inarticulates trying to express themselves.

A Moonist began singing in the stalls and our chairperson whom the debaters tried not to label with sexist words like "chairman", called the debate a draw. She did however have an unfortunate problem with her foot which was used as a substitute for a bell.

During the debate, one Young Socialist fell off the stage and the general message I got was that Communism killed humour while Socialists didn't want to laugh at the world but to change it.

Red Papers on New Zealand

A compendium of 19 sociological analyses of New Zealand society, primarily through Marxist perspectives. Orders can be placed in Studass Office. Price $1.50