A QUESTION OF TASTE.
I WAS surprised to see in the last Advocate the expression of the Editors' opinion that the likenesses of the members of the Faculty, which have begun to appear in the Lampoon, are in bad taste. Of course it must be admitted that there is room for difference of opinion on such a point, and my view of the matter differs from theirs. If the likenesses were grotesque burlesques of the features represented, or if the texts placed under the pictures could in any way give offence to the persons whose faces are drawn, I can understand very well that objections might be made on the score of taste. But in these matters care seems to have been taken, and nothing has so far appeared that seems to me even of questionable taste.
When the Advocate makes the sweeping statement that the Faculty are not proper subjects for satire, it forgets that a very short search through its back numbers would show that this opinion is either something new, or that it has many times been disregarded in the paper that expresses it. In point of fact a large part of the humor of every college publication is at the expense of the instructors. It is natural, too, that this should be the case. The members of the Faculty are the public men of what the Lampoon calls our "little world," and the faces of public men are public property.
The Advocate says that it would be better to have the pages of the Lampoon blank than to have these pictures on them. So far from agreeing to this, I think that the Editors of the Lampoon have made a very happy hit in giving the features of men known to us all, and putting beneath them lines which indicate the estimation in which they are held by those whom they instruct. Ten or twenty years from now they will be of great value, and if they are ever published, as the verses from the Advocate have been published, we who are now undergraduates will regard them with an interest equal at least to that which we feel for the book in question.
The Editors of the Advocate may be right in their views, but I am glad, for my part, whenever I see anything, in any of the papers, as strongly characteristic of life in Cambridge as are these portraits.