IF Harvard graduates were in the habit of reading our College papers, they would be surprised, not to say bored, by the recurrence year after year of the same topics of discussion. The debate on pessimism and the Nation had a long run; then came, at intervals, satires and poems condemning annual examinations; and as lately as last week the Advocate confessed its lack of originality by renewing the time-honored attacks on the marking system. The Crimson has also returned to a well-worn subject in printing, in the issue of April 18, an article on public opinion.
It is not my intention to enter into a discussion with the writer of that article, as I believe that arguments in college papers, as a rule, carry with them very little conviction in matters of this nature; but I think one of his statements, at least, should not pass unchallenged. In alluding to the influence exerted by the "popular man," he says, "It is Gosling's [the would-be 'popular man'] private opinion that he ought not to drink, and also that he does not like the taste of liquor; but if he hears that Swellington [the real 'popular man'] has been 'jolly drunk,' he will straightway get miserably drunk, and will brag about it for the rest of the year." If this had appeared in the Herald, no one would have been surprised, for it corresponds with the pictures of college life which appear from time to time in the public prints; but to find such a statement in a college paper is certainly startling.
That any one who knows much of college men and college manners seriously believes this is true, I doubt. Who ever heard of a man who, in spite of his dislike to liquor, drank to excess because he heard it was the "proper caper"? A great many hard things have been charged against the Harvard undergraduate; but this is the first time, to my knowledge, that he has been accused of imbecility.
Even if there is a person in college corresponding to the imaginary "Gosling," - a phenomenon whose real existence one is inclined to question, - he will never become popular by pursuing the policy suggested by this social critic. The man who will make a fool of himself because "Swellington" does, and will then "brag about it for the rest of the year," cannot be familiar with the ways and means of social preferment.