Mr. William Whitman, 3d. '22, who reviews the April issue of the Advocate coming out today, was president of the Advocate board in 1921-22. He is now with the Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.
"The Newer Republic," the April issue of the Harvard Advocate, deserves an honored place in that portion of the Hall of Fame devoted to parodies. The Editors are to be congratulated. They have created a journal, if anything, more imposing than the original. The only fault to be found with this number is that occasionally the likeness is too painfully like. This is inevitable, I suppose, under the circumstances, and the Editors of the Advocate have made the best of a difficult situation.
The most pretentious and in many ways the funniest burlesque is "The True Story of the Herrin Massacre" as recounted by Bruce Blithers. This blithe gentleman attributes the disaster to an error of philology.
Passed Out, Not Away
"The guards meantime were carousing drunkenly in the woods. So deeply did they drink that a number of them passed out, and it was the confusion of passed out with passed away, combined with stories mentioned above, that completed the false tale of the massacre with which America has been regaled."
This is strictly burlesque bordering on parody, a distinction which is often overlooked. What seems to me to be more nearly parody in the true sense of the word is the next article entitled "The psychology of Fossils" by the scholar-philosopher, Eustis Alderbee. This, while it lacks the spontaneity of its predecessor, is more in accord with the underlying spirit of the New Republic.
Hartford Wins New Laurels
"Practical Religion" by the devout Herbert Poley argues eloquently for the Hartford Plan to remedy ecclesiastical ills, the essence of which is to embrace theoretically opposite views at the same time, and then to live according to the mean. Hartford, I predict, due to this article, will become the center of the next world movement for something or other.
"Whether" by the chaste Vesta Volodia is out of the Russian spirit, though in itself a good story. In this it is robbed of the gentle sting of parody. "Silent as a cat he rose to his feet and swung his great two-handed sword over her head." This is romance, not realism. And I feel sure Vesta's compatriots wouldn't let their sense of romance run away with them after her fashion.
These are the more ambitious features, which I have mentioned in what is necessarily a rapid review. There are many other pleasant and witty titbits." "A Sad Case" of Mr. K. O. Rockcracker, who was dismissed from the chair of Biblical Geology in Jehovah University, is a delightful little ironic sketch. "The Week" and "Paternalism" and the "Theory of Democracy" are so like serious New Republic editorials that it robs them of the zest and humor which make the rest of the number so attractive. And yet in their way they are the best parodies of all.
The poetry, the book reviews, and the contributors' column all add to the general deception. To mete out critical justice is far beyond the powers of a humble reviewer. I liked particularly the two little poems hidden within the book reviews of which this is the first:
"Angleworm upon the hook
Gave it a rectangle look
Said to Dame, 'So please you mum,
I hate to be trapezium.'
She laughed and let him go at that
He sounded like her tabby-cat,
He said, 'I'll angle far and woid
Until I make a trapezoid'."
Like the Dove of Noah my winged words of praise must return to the ark from which I sent them with this olive branch: the editors are to be congratulated