THE STUFF OF NONSENSE

Life, for the humorist, is a bizarre thing. He views it through eyes that select fancies and foibles and reduce all else to hazy indistinction. Only occasionally, when fads are scarce, he must turn to what is merely new, whether or not it possesses the gaudy qualities that best suit his vein. In hard times like these, when Mah Jong, Princeton, the crossword puzzle, channel swimming, Lindbergh, Mayor Thompson and Hickman are no longer news, he is obliged to seize whatever the day offers. Such understanding of an old, yet somehow ever new, problem explains the consideration of the Reading Period in the current issuse of the Lampoon.

The limitations of the stuff of humor are not merely those of subject matter. One may learn to countenance the abnormal interest shown by columnists, particularly of tabloid newspapers, in the crime of passion. Such writers are rarely credited with sober or mature thought on the evidence at hand. The penalty of an otherwise happy profession is that all ears are turned to the wisecrackery of the fool and none to the expressions of his opinion. There is thus a peculiarly personal application of the law of conservation of energy in the life of the humorist.

If the reader opens the latest issue of the Lampoon in his customary mood of funmaking, the content of the paper is harmlessness itself. If there be any who are not acquainted with the traditional undergraduate attitude, they may be shocked to find the Lampoon, far from grateful for the manna let fall by heaven in the lean weeks between Christmas and Saint Patrick's Day, snarling at the generous hand. The consequences of such misinterpretation would not, however, be great. The only possible tragedy resulting would be that of one who took seriously what is clearly humor.