To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Anyone who has read Gadfly cannot fail to see the superb butchery done to it in Mr. Ashcraft's review. Perhaps Mr. Ashcraft alone is blind to his literary crime, having somehow forgotten to read Gadfly himself.
Mr. A.'s critical technique is one of exposing through quotation. Using this technique, the critic must be careful that the words he quotes actually appear in the work he attacks, and are not drawn from obscure slots in the CRIMSON files or from even dimmer recesses in the Cambridge collective unconscious ("other-directed," "sibling rivalry," "residual bitterness," "bubble gum," etc.). In Mr. A.'s review many words are enclosed by quotation marks, but few of these words may be found enclosed within the covers of our magazine. By giving us credit for sentences which pour out of his own head or somewhere, Mr. A. blights Gadfly with a tone not there.
When Mr. A. does condescend to quote sentences which exist, he substitutes three dots for crucial grammatical features. He is thus able to turn English into Incoherence. His careless pen cannot even copy titles of articles correctly. By dropping an 's' from "Pigs" Mr. A. transforms the author's scholarly announcement of her subject into name-calling.
Mr. A.'s textual piracies pave the way for his ideological sneakiness. Terrified to read our articles closely enough to see what they say and how they say it, Mr. A. is a moral as well as an aesthetic coward. Dogmatically he extracts a sentence from an article--rather than troubling to restate the argument of the article in his own terms. Then he sneers. A few steps in the critical process seem to have been left out or aped.
Finding two articles which rise above the sub-mediocre and "enigmatic" norm, Mr. A. can find no words to explain his sense of their quality or their meaning. He only mentions them briefly in a negative context. He also conveniently avoids a judgment on the sincerity or validity of the point of view expressed in Mr. Smith's letter.... Sara Dakin
(The omission of the "s" in "Pigs" and the insertion of quotation marks around the sentence beginning "Why aren't I concerned..." were proofing errors. Technical terms ("other-directed" etc.) were quoted 'because they were not the author's own. The CRIMSON regrets the confusion caused readers.