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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1933. Volume 4. Number 6.

Letters to the Editor

page 11

Letters to the Editor

Lamp sitting on top of a book

Photography at V.U.C.

Dear "Smad,"—

In the last "Smad" we see that as far back as 1903 the ugly accusation that we are tending to become little more than a night-school, was levelled at Victoria College. The seriousness of this charge and precisely what it would signify if true, there is no need to emphasise to all staunch sons of the College. Truly it is impossible to permit this venerable institution of ours to become such a poor and futile thing, as a building made of brick wherein we crammed for examinations, a place where true culture is of no consideration at all! And yet, let us seriously consider the matter; are we doing all we can to prove this charge a false one?

To be sure, worthy and commendable efforts in the right direction have been made in the past; but are we accomplishing enough? With due deference the answer is definitely no, and for this reason: It has been said that every man (and woman) has the instincts of an artist.

Unhappily the great majority of us lack the skill in draughtsmanship necessary to give us true satisfaction. Let us not despond. Science has given every one of us the perfect means of self-expression. That is the art, the glorious art of Photography. The ease and simplicity of this art, and yet the difficulties encountered in reaching its pinnacles, must appeal to all.

Therefore support is wanted for the V.U.C. Photographic Club, whose birth is predicted next year. From the button-presser to the most practical reflex-wielder, you can, every one of you, gain great benefits from such a club.

Otago, Canterbury, and Auckland Colleges have a Photographic Club. Why not Victoria?

—H. L. W.

John Reed as a Plunket Medal Subject.

Dear "Smad,"—

Tardiloquent's sneering reference to John Reed as "just a second-rate Yankee reporter," and his rebuke to the Debating Society for allowing so cheap a character to be spoken on in the Plunket Medal Contest is further proof—if any were needed—of the vicious parochialism that so stultifies our cultural life.

Disregarding the moot point of what a person must be to be "noted in history" and the extremely relative nature of such distinction (how famous is Te Rauparaha in Japan or even in the United States?) it did not require a Plunket Medal address to establish John Reed's name, nor can it be detracted from in the columns of "Smad."

The most concrete testimony to his fame are the memorial John Reed Clubs—numbering more than 500 throughout America—composed of revolutionary students, writers, and artists. My copy of his book, "Ten Days That Shook the World," dated 1932, was in the twelfth (English) edition of 100,000 copies; the book, of course, has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and is famous everywhere as the finest brief account of the Russian Revolution of October, 1917. John Reed and his work are known and cherished by all fighters in the great revolutionary cause in which he died.

Alfred Katz.

'Varsity Blazers.

Dear "Smad,"—

Is it not about time that the present creation was scrapped and a blazer introduced? During recent years 'Varsity blazers have undergone few changes, usually from bad to worse, and this is especially so in the last transition.

The present effort's immediate predecessor was not attractive, but if one wanted a blazer of some kind or another one might perhaps buy it. The present creation seems to be unsaleable—for obvious reasons. Occasions where free and easy dress is the order of the day (such as Freshers' Welcome) demonstrate that almost any blazer is preferred to the present 'Varsity one.

Now that the various Old Boys' Associations are issuing attractive blazers, an effort should be made to produce a 'Varsity one which appeals. The blame cannot be placed on the colours— the present "Blue" shows that they can be used to good advantage.

My personal view is that the present form of "Blue" (green blazer with gold braid, and pocket) should be the standard, ordinary 'Varsity blazer, page 12 but I realise that a howl would probably result from "Blues" if some distinction is not made

I suggest that the Executive give the matter careful consideration, and, if necessary, obtain supplies of different combinations of colours and invite opinions thereon from the Students.


(We understand the matter has been raised at a recent Executive meeting, and is being gone into thoroughly by the Executive.—Editor.)

Let's Get Airminded.

Dear "Smad,"—

It was recently suggested that a Volunteer Unit should be formed at V.U.C. I observe, by notice displayed, that such a unit would become attached to the Artillery or Machine-gun Section. Might I suggest that the unit, if it does eventuate, should endeavour to become attached as an Air Force Section.

Defence by air would undoubtedly be a great factor in the event of war involving New Zealand. It is worthy of note that all the leading nations of the world are paying ever-increasing attention to this important branch of defence.

The qualifications necessary for the Air Force demand not only strict physical fitness, but youth and intelligence—such attributes are to be found in University students.

There is reasonable hope to suggest that should University students show sufficient keenness then the necessary facilities for training would be established.

I suggest that this proposal should be fully investigated before a decision is reached as to what branch we are to become attached.

L .R. Sceats.

Executive Letter.

Dear "Smad,"

I have to report the following activities of the Executive since my last letter to you.

A new supply of College pads has been printed on heavier paper, and these will be sold at the Cafeteria at sixpence each instead of ninepence as previously.

Mr. J. B. Black, B. Com., has accepted the position of Honorary Auditor to the Students' Assn. for this year.

New cover designs for "Smad" are being considered, and any suggestions will be welcomed by the Executive. Any students who are so inclined are asked to forward their designs (drawn twice the actual cover size) to reach the undersigned by 15th February, 1934.

A grant of £75 has been made to the V.U.C. Cricket Club.

The V.U.C. Harrier Club has been granted permission to promote an inter-University-College crosscountry race next year.

A proposed design for a Weir House blazer has been approved by the Executive.

As this is the final issue of "Smad" for 1933, I wish, on behalf of the Executive, to take the opportunity of wishing students a pleasant Summer vacation and the best of luck in the Exams.

D. M. Burns,

Hon. Secretary V.U.C.S.A.

"Spike" Articles.

Dear "Smad,"

I wish to make clear my position with regard to articles by "Perseus" and "X.Y.Z." in the last issue of "Spike."

These articles were accepted in pursuance of a policy of endeavouring to present both sides of the questions dealt with in the magazine. Though not a member of the S.C.M. or the Evangelical Union, I went out of my way to invite their contributions: and in the same spirit, though not a Communist, I asked students of communistic leanings to present their points of view.

With the methods of Communism I personally do not agree. What is more, I went to the length of an article attacking communist conceptions in the "Spike" of 1932, and there expressed views which I still hold. But I considered this no reason for not publishing articles devoted to their views, and I am convinced that this was a fair interpretation of the right to free expression of opinion.

That the articles can be considered as transgressing the law of sedition did not occur to me at the time of publication, and the articles were published in all good faith. Furthermore, I wish to point out that the action of the Executive in recommending that the offending portions be blocked out was taken with my strong approval.

I should add that both these articles came in at the very last moment, and for this reason did not come before the notice of the sub-editors at our ordinary meetings, and were published without their knowledge.

I. D. Campbell.

Printed at the Printing Works of Messrs White and Sons, Printers and Bookbinders, Aitken Street, for V.U.C.S.A.