HUMORISTS EXPATIATE ON THE READING PERIOD
DEBUT OF NEW BOARD HAS STRONG SUBJECT FOR THEME
The following review of the current issue of the Lampoon was written for the Crimson by K. E. Branstad 1G.
In the first issue under its new staff the Lampoon is fortunate in having a strong subject for its theme. The Messers. Blackburn and Company have sunk their teeth into this morsel with appetites appropriate to their journalistic age. The Reading Period is past, but the clouds have not disappeared over the horizon, and the Lampoon staff is concerned with some of the results.
It would be futile to deny that any criticism of the late experiment were unjust. If there have been ears to hear there have been complaints aplenty, and no good can come from the over-optimistic view that everything has been of the best in this best of all academic stunts. What Lampy has tried to do is to show this as a link in a chain of policy, the policy of withdrawing from active interest in the undergraduate element at Harvard to concentrate on the more esoteric functions of graduate study and research. Whether or not this is a sound conclusion is a question for careful reflection.
Perhaps Lampy has failed to remember that the experiment should not be condemned after one trial. Doubtless even the mighty ones of Harvard are not above learning by experience.
It will be admitted that several well-defined opinions are gathered up by the editors of the Lampoon and marshaled in effective array. Mr. Blackburn has put his staff of specialty writers in touch with the man of the street, and has acted as mouth-piece to those who would not have had any other means of formal expression.
The material gathered to illustrate this thesis is of no mean quality. On the title page the editors confess their mission. The illustrations and text bear out the promise. One who has passed through the experience of an examination in the New Lecture Hall cannot fail to get a quiver or two out of the cartoon The Retreat from Moscow. To most readers of the Lampoon this will be the appeal to strike him most strongly. A modest Proposal after the pattern of Swift is very amusing. It is enlivened with sketches portraying the dismal fate of the Harvard Undergraduate if the Proposal is ever taken seriously. A drawing on page 20 reveals some of the difficulties involved in the production of the Decameron. The whole Boccacio household is pressed into service to find some dirt for the use of the head of the family. We are not told what connection this has with the Reading Period, but the inference is obvious.
Professor Kittredge comes in for a crack, and there is a new department, The Old Grad.