James Bruce.

College journalism online

. (page 8 of 14)
Online LibraryJames BruceCollege journalism → online text (page 8 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

sipidity of Ibe wboir ri'lie\c'd by more or less irrelevant anecdotes,
obviously dragged in to serve as oases in the otherwise insu])-
porlabU- barrenness. Tlis supi)ort for solidity is upon facts which
are tin- common propt-rly of ;dl real seaicbers into the subject ;
his support for i-nteitainmcnt, as a substitute for geiuiine in-
terest, is upon inanely incidental stories. Of that suggestive
inslruilion wbicb leads sindi-nts step by step into the delights of
a new lield, ;md points out in ;my topic bilbeilo unseen relations


to many oilier topics, establishing a dozen ])()iiils of tontael be-
tween new and old interests, he knows nothing,'; and be lares
notiiing about exbibiliiij^^ llutse traits of individuality which made
Garlicld see in Mark llti|ikins, seated upon a log, all the essen-
tials of a great university.

"Jt is thus," says a IMiiiceton senior, "that our lecturers talk
to us. rile professor enteis (be room and begins sjjcaking
loudly in order to be heard above the noise, '(Jentlemcn, this
morning 1 wish to take up the subject treated in the ah' —
(refers to notes, — 'ah, twenty-second chapter of the ab, llallo-
wcll. "riic principle here laid down by I lallowell is that the
exegesis of metempsychosis is correlative to the corresponding
strata of the discrete consciousness. Ah, on the other hand this
theory was attacked on ibc subjective side by the great au-
thority, Zink, who said, ah' - (refers to notes)^ — -'by the great
authority Zink, who said, ah' — (runs through several pages of
notes to fmd what Zink said. Finds the place and continues.)
'The great authority, Zink, who was a (lerman, and one of the
greatest authorities on this subject. Me died in 1H43, at Prague,
where there is a moimmcnt 70 feet in height, situated in the
|)ublic scpiare, to commemorate the fact that he was one of the
very greatest authorities on this subject. An interesting anecdote
that will possibly i)ring him closer to you is told to illustrate
his extreme absence of mind.' And so he goes on, ad inlinitnm,
sic ad nauseam, until an hour has passed."

There are enough analogues to this Trinceton teacher at
Illinois to convince us (bat such a description is not wholly
fanical. — The Daily lUini.


The ancient saw runs "A day in the Michaelmas term is
worth two in the Easter session," and as the University is now
well into its yearly stride, we might venture a word or two on
the moot question of study. The wise ones will attend at least
fairly diligently to work every day, and thus will escape the
heavy "grind" at the end necessitated by early neglect. This
reminds us that certain students, who mayhap are not painfully
brilliant, and who often are earnestly striving to make the best
of their opportunities (for, after all, football is not the chief
end of a University course), are often scornfully termed "plug-
gers" by certain vanity-choked, supermen among their fellows.

These individuals of the pyrotechnic intellect can discover no
good in the pluggcr, and predict but mediocrity as his life por-
tion. This view is very universal and very old ; it is also very
silly. While we decidedly do not advocate study to the exclu-
sion of every other interest, yet all maxims and examples urge
steady work and rebuke fitful, firefly efl:"orts. The student who is
not asiiamcd to be seen mentally drilling, who can be respectable
and rule-keeping without being unctuously virtuous, may be
derided as a "plugger" ; but he perceives the real reason for his
being at college, and he wisely is anticipating the "one dem'd,
horrid grind" which continues after school years are finished.

High-browed brilliancy will not burn away opposition as ef-
fectively as will continual fire; pretty effervescent waters will
not force the way as clearly as the headlong torrent. Remember,
we do not mean to encourage the merely foolish plugger who
memorizes always and reflects never. He is a calculating ma-
chine without the accuracy. Every one pities him and under-
stands when he draws a blank in the lottery of life. He is
consuming his years by ceaselessly polishing a firebrick, and
trying to impart a lustre to it.

But he is an extraordinary sort. The garden variety of
plugger is capable of immense development. Go to it ! Let the
superficially trained egotist poke fun at your labor. He, be sure,
will return four or five mouldy and stunted talents. Let your



one or two be thriving at least. Join the sensible plugger band and
what you study will stick to the ribs of your intellect. Let the
scoffer go for ten years — and then make comparisons.- — The
Varsity, University of Toronto.


At the stroke of ten to-night, the freshman gives the decision
which largely determines the particular kind of college influence
which he is to enjoy. No other influence in college is so close
or permeating. The college gives environment ; the classroom
gives knowledge; activities give training; but to all of these the
fraternity gives distinction and color. It is not a specific but a
general influence which modifies all others.

Fraternity influence is no more indispensable than cream in
coffee ; but when either is added, it changes the nature of the
original. And the nature of the freshman will be very largely
influenced by the ideals of the fraternity he joins.

At the beginning of each year, fraternities to many men seem
as much alike as soldiers in a line ; for neither the fraternity
nor the soldier present individuality to the uninformed observer.
Yet fraternities have personalities as distinct as persons. A fra-
ternity whose life is integrated has a distinct manner, a persisting
standard, an ideal consistently followed, the composite effect of
which, becoming inherent in its members, is a life possession.

The fact that fraternities are as distinct as persons implies
a difference sufficient to induce careful choice. Fraternity life
in the wrong fraternity is worse than no fraternity life at all,
for as Bacon says in his essay on "Friendship," "a crowd is not
company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but
a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love." That no man should
yield to glamor in which he will not be congenial, is a truth
which many learn too late. He who seeks true fraternity satis-
faction will not be deceived by the illusion of fine house, and
college honors. They may represent no more than an elegant but
friendless office-building. He will, rather, choose the fraternity
whose spirit is closest, most congenial to his own.

Success and happiness most certainly do not depend upon
making a fraternity. P>ut if a choice is to be made at all. it
should be the right choice. — The Dartmouth.


Many of those who have attended recent University dances
declare that there is a growing tendency to go to extremes.
There is no question but that many dancers forget themselves
and so deport themselves on the floor as to excite undue com-
ment. The editor of the Daily News is not willing to look for
bad in everything; he believes that the worst evils connected
with the ultra-modern tango and similar dances is the gossip
connected with them, the inevitable imputation of evil. If we,
all of us, stop looking for evidences of salaciousness, in our
dances, but regard them as the spontaneous, natural expression of
society, the "spice" would at once be taken from these dances.
You can't very well compromise on this dancing proposition:
dancing is either immoral or it is not. To select any one dance
and make it the "goat" is not a sound position. Let us forget
some of our prudishness, refuse to be delightfully shocked when
a dancer holds his partner unorthodoxically close, stop all argu-
ment regarding the relative morality of the tango and the waltz,
and give the whole proposition an opportunity to work itself out
naturally. You cannot cram dancing reforms down society, for
dances are an expression of society itself. If we run a riot of
ugly dancing for a season, it is more than likely that society will
become surfeited only the sooner and resume more normal dances.
But to tell the student he must not tango is like telling Johnny he
must not play with matches. The tango is a bad dance only
when we tell somebody he must not dance it, and he then goes
and dances it.

It is not the purpose of the writer to defend the dance as it
is danced in many cases. He believes that many are ugly ex-
hibitions, mere prostitutions of music. But the fault does not
He with the dance ; not by a long shot. The evil, if there is any,
is more fundamental. You and I, all of us, are the dance. If
we ourselves are "rotten" our dances will reflect ourselves ac-
cordingly. It isn't the tango that is bad, but we, the student
body. And most of us have lOO per cent more respect for the



man or the woman who tangoes unblushingly than for those smug,
hypocritical followers of Madame Grundy who would like to
tango, but who prefer to pose as the censors of society. Let
us be natural and sincere and this dance question will be devoid
of hypocrisy, at least. — The IVisconsin Daily News.


It is impossible for us in any adequate degree to express the
profound sorrow with which Professor Stockton Axson's resig-
nation as professor of English has affected us. The news came as
a distinct surprise. Closely allied as he has been for fourteen
years with the best interests of Princeton and Princeton men,
we cannot conceive of our University without him.

To Princeton men Mr. Axson typifies the ideal professor ; an
inspiration in our English courses, a warm sympathetic friend
and counseler — a man who has found the best things of this life,
and whose pleasure it always has seemed was the imparting of
this secret to his students. No other man has been able to inspire
us with the great moral truths of existence to such a marked
extent as he. No other man has been able to stimulate in his
students such desire for work, such pleasure in that work, and
such genuine enthusiasm for literature, for reading, and for all
those finer pursuits of the mind which are included in the word

One of the needs of the University education to-day is a
closer correlation between students and Faculty. Undergraduates
admire above everything else a man, and the popularity based
upon the charm and power of a refined personality, as in the
case of Professor Axson, is the greatest honor that they can
bestow. Education needs more men of the Axson stamp ; Prince-
ton cannot do with fewer. Mr. Axson holds a peculiar place in
the affections of Princeton men that no one else can fill.

The following words, written for a book and ascribed to the
President of the United States, most admirably sum up our
appreciation : "To Stockton Axson. By every gift of mind a
critic; by every gift of soul a friend." — The Daily Princctonian.


Educational pessimists who have regarded themselves as
voices crying in the wilderness find a hopeful sign in the interest
being manifested by the college youth of the nation in the new
extracurricular science of social service. Education, it is argued,
is being humanized, socialized; its learning and training is being
turned into channels of civic usefulness. And well may we praise
the attitude that undergraduates are now assuming toward the
state and society. A recent issue of a northern college daily
carries an editorial outlining and commending the work ac-
complished by students in this field of social activity. But,
strange to say, the University of Virginia is not even favored
with mention in this running summary of the social service
work at the various institutions. We can attribute this sin of
omission not to the ill-will but to the ignorance of the editor.

The study of the negro question prosecuted by the student
committees last session was the most successful as it was the
most ambitious program attempted by any group of university
students during the collegiate year. The students in the northern
institutions have their slumming expeditions ; under the tutelage
of a professor, they make isolated visits or investigation tours to
the ghettoes, the jails, the houses of correction. The impres-
sions that they receive and the information that they gather in
this way will serve well to equip the student for future citizenship.

But the social work of the Virginia students last year was of
a more substantial, useful character. Our fathers ate sour grapes
and their children's teeth are set on edge. We are paying the
penalty of the institution of slavery. We have in our midst
some twelve million negroes most of whom are illiterates, delin-
quents and dependents. Their presence combined with their
deficiencies creates a great problem, the real problem of the
century for the South. Those who are trusted with leadership
have chosen a definite line of conduct in dealing with the ques-
tion. They have committed us to this choice. The relation that



must obtain between the advanced and the backward race is
one of social adjustment. — College Topics, University of Virginia.


Poor deaf, bhnd creature, you are our victim to-day. We want
to try to pry open your eyeHds that you may see the possibiHtic:
in your work. We desire that you hear the sounds of the living
world about you.

The grind has one conspicuous merit, in that (unlike the mark
seeker) he is sincere in his devotion to study. Like the mark
seeker, he is often ambitious for Phi Beta Kappa or Senior
Honors. He seeks these, however, not as a satisfaction to his
vanity but rather because they represent achievement in study.
The grind deserves our pity rather than our contempt, for his is
a case of misguided zeal and effort.

He works like a Trojan in his courses. His themes are always
handed in on time, his outside reading is promptly done. He
devours the textbooks from cover to cover. He takes almost
verbatim notes on lectures and then commits these notes to mem-
ory. Wlien called upon to recite, he pours forth the contents of
the book and then stops. When he writes a quiz or exam, he
usually gets a high mark, for the professor cannot well take ex-
ception to a recital of his own words. At the end of his course
the grind often lands Phi Beta or Senior Honors, by the sheer
force of his high marks.

What has he obtained from his university course? Only a well-
trained memory and a mass of useless facts. He has lost the
entire significance of education, for its chief aim is the liberal-
izing of the individual. He has failed to realize that mere
knowledge is worthless, that it becomes valuable only when ap-
plied to life. His knowledge is a jumble of uncorrelated mean-
ingless facts. He has lived with his eyes glued to a book and
with his ears closed against the sounds of life. Furthermore,
he has not learned to think. It never occurs to the grind to ques-
tion the opinions of a book or a professor. His mind is a mere
storehouse for the ideas of others.

Thus unequiiii:)ed, without personality, thinking power and
originality, the grind goes out into the world. What wonder that
he usually makes a failure of his life. — JJ'iscoiisin Daily Cardinal.


There was enacted at the University infirmary yesterday after-
noon a scene which cannot but be construed as an argument of
burning intensity against the system of final examinations — the
departure from the Infirmary and from Cornell of a man in the
prime of youthful strength and vigor, his nerves shattered, in-
jured perhaps for life as the result of a three weeks' strain of
preparation and trial of final examinations. It is not the first
scene of this character, nor will it be the last until the unhealthy
unfair, and altogether unwholesome system of final examinations
is done away with.

The argument for a system of University classroom grading
which will settle the destiny of every man on his actual classroom
record — the record of a term instead of a day — have been re-
peated ad infinitum. To the authorities of Sibley College, their
justice has appealed, but in the other colleges, particularly Law,
Arts and Civil Engineering, much of the term's success or failure
depends upon a final examination and to these colleges, we can
but say, "How long, how long?"

The average freshman who enters the university from pre-
paratory school, and whose head is not turned by the lack of
home or school restraints or by the lures of fraternity house ease,
works, and works hard, earnestly and consistently. But there are
always those who are wise beyond their University age, and
the undercurrent of advice of these, and of the men who have
formed the "final examination habit" during their longer resi-
dence in the University, may be expressed by "Never mind if
you are down in your work — the final will save you."

And here another picture comes before us, the halls and
study rooms of Mr. Sturgis' School for the Feeble Minded, and
the days which precede it — rooms crowded to their utmost
capacity and a hundred or so sponge-like brains soaking in
knowledge ready for the examination day squeezing on the mor-
row. And we maintain emphatically that such a scene is by no
means the result of laziness or natural procrastination alone,



but the result of a system the very scheme of which encourages
the postponement of work, the eleventh-hour study which breaks
the nerves and shatters the health of men who, under sane
intellectual systems might be made into students in the better
sense of the word.

We make no plea for the loafer. We ask no pity or considera-
tion of the man whose very purpose in college is to escape
work, and who toils unceasingly to avoid labor. We believe
rather that a wholesome system of class grading which does
away with the final examination, and puts the emphasis of value
on each day's work will produce better students and better men,
and raise the standard of college work all along the line. But
for a system, the main feature of which is a temptation to
procrastination ; a system which has resulted entirely in the
formation of that brain-pail habit by which many a student fills
his brain with knowledge as he would a pail, ready to pour forth
on examination day ; a system which to many a thorough but
nervously inclined student, has resulted in permanent injury;
we can see no excuse. And just so long as such a system of
examinations is continued, just so long will the general academic
average of the American college and university remain at the
low mark where it stands to-day. — Cornell Sim.


There appeared in one of the New Orleans afternoon papers
an editorial in which the Tulane student body was characterized
as "quitters." It was stated that, as soon as several unfortunate
accidents had deprived the Tulane football team of about half
of its best men, the scrubs quit for the season and Coach Hoffman
was unable to get together enough second string men to scrim-
mage the Varsity. The writer went on to say that as long as such
a spirit prevailed at Tulane we would never be winners. Quitters
are never winners. And he is right! If Tulane men are so con-
stituted that in the face of adversity they cannot stay zvith the
team, but instead must lay down and quit, then indeed it is time
for the Board of Administrators to take notice and abolish
football, of which we are unworthy exponents. — The Tulane


The first competition for an editorial position on this paper,
open to the members of the Freshman Class, starts this after-
noon. There are altogether seven such positions to be filled from
the class of 191 7, the selection to be determined in each instance
upon an absolute merit basis, consisting both of the work which a
man does, and the proportionate amount of results, in the form
of accepted "news stories," which that work brings. At least
one man will be taken on the Board at the end of every com-
petition, each of which runs for approximately two and a half

All of us who are on the Board feel that we have derived very
distinct benefits from our connection with the Princetonian.
Naturally we are a bit prejudiced in advising prospective fresh-
man candidates to enter our own field of undergraduate work.
We firmly believe that there are certain valuable and lasting
advantages to be gained from trying for the Princetonian, that
no other phase of undergraduate life can supply.

First and foremost, every candidate gets an intimate knowl-
edge of all undergraduate activities, and he gets this knowledge
at first hand, coming into contact with the men who are at the
head of things in the University. And a man cannot come into
contact with such men without being influenced to a great
extent, without being broadened in many ways. We emphasize
this point particularly at this time, for freshmen have practi-
cally no other opportunity of getting such wide acquaintance,
not only with the life of the campus, but witl; the members of
the Faculty.

Then there is another side ; the valuable instruction received
from the work itself. It develops self-reliance, initiative, com-
mand of language and facility of expression. It teaches a man
how to think. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that practically
everyone had the same amount of brains — that the best mind
was only a fraction of an idea ahead of the worst — the trouble
is that most of us are such intellectual non-combatants that we



don't use them. While a Princetonian competition does not
necessarily charge every candidate with mental power, it cer-
tainly helps in its way. Then there is also offered an opportunity
for the acquaintance of the knowledge of the rudiments of journ-
alism, limited though it he.

Previous experience in work of a similar kind is not requisite.
In fact it is often a draw-back. Come out with a determination
to stick at it, and all the inherent ability that is necessary will
uncover itself as you become interested. Real determination
is what wins Princetonian competitions. — The Daily Princetonian.


The communication from the officers of the Freshman class
published in this issue of the Crimson, transfers the responsibility
for the disgraceful disorders at the recent 1913 class dinner
from the class as a whole to a small body of men. These men,
according to the report of the proprietor of the American House,
were intoxicated when they arrived at the dinner ; and after
assembling at their table they began the disturbance, in which
they took the leading part. It appears that most of these men
were members of a single freshman organization, the Polo Club.
It is manifestly unfair that the class should bear the blame for
an exhibition of vulgarity actually occasioned by a small number
of distinctly non-representative men ; and in view of the pub-
licity which has unfortunately attended the incident, it is im-
portant that the responsibility and attendant disgrace should be
placed where they properly belong. — The Harvard Crimson.

[Editor's Note. — The Polo Club was a freshman organization
that had long been rather unfavorably known. At the 1913 fresh-
man dinner, held in a Boston hotel, there was much riotous be-
havior, resulting in broken dishes and general scandal in the
College and in the public press. Investigation proved that the
Polo Club members had started the trouble by coming to the
dinner in an inebriated condition. Steps were at once taken,
as this editorial shows, to have the club demolished. The Crimson
was much criticized at the time for its stand, but the thinking
men in the clubs saw that the stand was right, and in the fall
of the next year abolished the Polo Club.]


Critics of the American university, applying to our system
the standards by which tliey judge Oxford, Heidelberg and
Berlin, admire the American student for his wide range of ac-
tivity and his diversity of interests, and then deplore the fact
that he is not a student! The deeper ways of learning are to
him as unplumbed wells, say the critics, but the things he does,
even if they might profane the musty old walls of Oxford, are to
be admired and rejoiced in.

Scholarship — the lack of it — might be termed our natural aca-
demic vice. In this University from two to three hundred stu-
dents are dropped from the rolls at the end of every fall term for

1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryJames BruceCollege journalism → online text (page 8 of 14)