There is a poem in the April Lampoon that charges local reviewers with not reading "the journal they wish to undo." In an unexpectedly good issue, advance defense of this sort seems wasted.
Showing a good deal of journalistic know-how, the 'Poonsters have determined the trend of public sympathy. They have hit spring, and hit it hard. On the cover, somebody called Updike has drawn a parody of seventeenth century German wood cutting. Naturally, it depicts spring, and features a shepherd scattering what seem to be peanuts to indignant sheep and goats. With woodcut rampant on a green field, it is one of the best covers in a good while. In the editorial, too, Jester weighs the memory of faded beauties with the immediacy of a fine spring day, and the latter triumphs.
"Cash Cache" by John Limpert, although a little tedious in spots, shows what a Mosler impregnable, atomic-proof safe can do to the perishable thought of a spring morning. And the "Charles River," Updike's contribution to the frontispiece, cites the popular misconception about springtime joys on the banks of the Charles. He sums up his feeling with: "I'm just a creeping socialist, and you can be sure as shootin' that the next TVA-like project I sponsor will be a dam to head off the Charles at West Newton." Not neglecting baseball, G. E. Vaillant has, written "Dink Stover at Sarasota," in which the fabled athlete tries to make the major leagues in the best Yale manner. He fails.
Two poems, "Sackcloth and Ashes" and "Canossa in April" reveal the individual authors' exultation at various aspects of spring; one praises the dormant appeal of the Radcliffe girl, the other ridicules the idea of wearing clothes in the warm April days. Both are amusing despite some incredible meter.
However, when the Lampoon neglects spring, and turns to thoughts of pointed satire, the percentage of good pieces returns to the old, sorry norm. "His Object All Sublime' is a thinly veiled parody of a local figure. Besides not being especially funny, it's taste is questionable. And "The Future of Shakespeare at Harvard" revolves on the worn theory that the verbose extension of an absurd idea is uproariously funny.
But "Vanitas," a clever editing of the Harvard Review's remarks on individual Houses, is a biting comment on so called "House character." "The Cask of Amontillado: A One Act TV Adaption" raps the current television trend of insufficiently presenting the works of great authors. Sid Ceasar in Montresor; Peter Lorre plays Fortunato, etc.
L. D. Hill, a freshman cartoonist, has done four cartoons for this issue, and J.F. Fletcher, another freshman, contributed two. Although Hill's Greek with soda machine is somewhat funny, his other efforts are not even up to that level. "April Showers," especially, is a poor attempt at Charles Addams. Both of the new cartoonists show promise; Hill needs a little less obviously painstaking drawing style, and Fletcher could do with some original ideas.
Among the other cartoons are two by Updike which are easily the best in this issue. Eric Wentworth's "Hometown Newspapers" is amazing because of the presence of a small thatched thing which defies description. It is perhaps the most ludicrous creature ever drawn.