ON THE SHELF
The Guardian: December, 1942
With its December issue, the "Guardian" suspends publication for the duration of the war. That decision, forced upon the editors by a shortage of manpower and of the time necessary for publishing a magazine, is an occasion both for regret and for respect. Any new excursion into the field of journalism soon becomes a first love with its leaders, and the duty of laying the periodical down to sleep can be truly painful. But the staff of the "Guardian," realizing that publication can continue only at the expense of the quality of the magazine, have chosen to put aside the type-ruler and the copy-pencil until the more important task is finished.
This final copy is much like the "Guardians" which have preceded it. As so often happens, the best article in the issue is not by an undergraduate, but by a Faculty member. Charles H. Cherington '35, instructor in Government, discusses "The Rising Profession of Public Administration," pointing out both its attractions and its disadvantages. This article, dealing with a subject which will perhaps be of Central importance to most "Guardian" readers, provides a clear guide to service in the civil branches of the government.
Both undergraduate articles somehow fail to click. "Rome Denied," by Peter Ward Fay '45 combines clever phraseology with a thesis that is neither original nor stimulating, for he holds that Italy's trials during the past seventy years are a reflection of a second-class power striving vainly to reconstruct the grandeur that was Rome. Samuel Perry '45, on the other hand, has an important subject but fails to express it well. Perry is defending the Negro press, an institution well worth both defense and encouragement, but whose existence and importance are virtually unknown except among its own subscribers.
In announcing their decision to suspend the "Guardian," the editors express an expectation that it will be revived after the peace is signed. That hope will be shared by the readers of the magazine, for it fills a gap only too evident in American collegiate journalism. Six years ago, the first "Guardian" was a frank experiment, and it is correct to say that subsequent issues have been a series of them. Some of the experiments have succeeded; a few have failed. Throughout its existence, however, the Guardian has always been something new under the sun. It has managed to present an undergraduate viewpoint without degenerating into a Junior "Annals of the American Academy," and through it all has avoided the intellectual arthritis which follows the adoption of any sectarian dogma. There will be an even better place for such a journal when the problems of peace and readjustment are the issues of the day.