"G. E." says that "Ossip" "argues that `the popularity which the independent man professes to scorn is the esteem, the respect, and the friendship of manly men.'" No argument was used. It was simply a statement, and one that "G. E." declines to admit, because he does not look upon popular men as manly.
"The aim of the article is to demolish the `independent man,'" says the critic, "and, we infer, to disprove the existence at college to any great degree of that fungoid growth, toadyism." Nothing was further from our purpose than to disprove the existence of that "fungoid growth"; on the contrary, we regret that there is so much of it here; but we ventured to suggest that the epithet is often applied too indiscriminately. The misinterpretation of our meaning is so obvious that we do not see how it could be made accidentally.
It was our purpose to show that the standpoint of the self-styled independent man - a phase of college character which we felt sure every one would recognize - is a ridiculous one, and to open his eyes, if possible, to the fact that his independence is not the only line of conduct open to manly men. Now "G. E." denies that the "independent man," as we have tried to portray him, exists.
No one could have given a more striking example of this "independent man" than "G. E." has done in setting forth at length his own opinions. They are precisely the sentiments which we have so often heard advanced by men who boast of the exalted moral pinnacle they occupy above their classmates. What is "G. E."'s treatment of Hollis Holworthy, whom he seems to consider the typical popular man, but a case in point? H. H. avows his intention of getting "as full as a goat." "G. E.," whose opinion is not asked, intimates, "delicately but intelligibly," that he is "gabbling like a gosling." This he calls "fearlessly acting in accordance with the dictates of a manly conscience, with absolute disregard of popular opinion." Granted that there is a "principle at stake," granting that H. H. is "going to the dogs," does "G. E." rescue him from the abyss of ruin by intimating, "delicately but intelligibly," that he is "gabbling like a gosling"? No; he admits that he only expects the reprobate to reflect upon the sally of wit in the future. He does not hope to improve his morals. Then his only motive in speaking must be the assertion of his own principles of morality, and his oracular opinion. We cannot see what good or what harm it does H. H., but the harm it does "G. E.," in establishing his reputation as a meddlesome character, is manifest. If this is not blurting out his opinions, what is it?
That man must be very illogical or sophistical who intentionally twists another's words from their original meaning, draws false inferences, and then denies the existence of that phenomenon, the independent man, of which he seems to be a very example.
The trouble at the bottom of this matter is, that some persons are possessed with the idea that there is no mean between officious independence and toadyism. This fact "G. E." has avoided. He merely says that popularity is the result of insincerity. If he will take the pains to look through college, he will find that the really popular men are those who maintain a manly independence, but do not let their tongues run away with them.