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Once upon a time the "Advocate" parodied the Dial, and swarms of little magazines settled like locusts upon the country. More recently "Time" appeared under the Pegasus hoofprint; everyone knows what that did to life. Now fortune sndles on the "Saturday Review of Literature," just fathered by Mother Advocate. Run to your newsdealer, buy a copy, be in the thick of the fight. The "Saturday Review's" circulation soars; the "New Masses" vituperates; the Writers' Congress passes posthumous deprecation Number 33; Bernard De Voto glows and expands!
In parodies the first thing to consider is make-up. This issue, like its predecessors, attains perfection in this respect. The cover, except for the Pegasus that has replaced the Phoenix, looks like the real McCoy. There is a brief resume of the contents and a startling picture of the latest "Wunderkind", to whom the feature article is devoted.
This treatise upon the discoverer of "Realmism," perhaps the most revolting iam yet produced, is followed by reviews which set a standard of literary excellence Mr. De Voto's more pedestrian reviewers might do well to emulate. I shall not tell you the books mentioned, nor the reviewers named, but a reader aware of Harvard's famous or notorious will find much that sounds familiar. Professor S-r-k-n, Professor J-n-s, a brace of instructors in the -c-n-m-cs Department, Messrs. M-rq--nd and S-nt-y-n- and Colonel -pt-d all go along for the ride.
The editorial page is an excellent transcript of the original, but what has become of Pegasus? Does the Phoenix rise triumphant after all? In a Sullivanesk manner the Editor takes the stand and reveals the cliches of his trade. Several letters, ranging from the violent to the academic, follow in their usual place. More reviews bring us to "The Bowling Alley," where the King of the Kinsprits gets what's been coming to him these many years. The person who ghosted this feature deserves to be congratulated on having imitated Morley's manner so well, even to the footloose anecdotes and the triple ambersands.
William Rose Benet suffers less successfully in "The Phoenix Nest"(which should, of course, have become "The Mare's Nest"). The first part of this article on Poetry is better than the second which goes Esquirish in its strain for 'satire'. George Jean Nathan comes out second best too, despite the fact that his parodist has chosen a subject close to the Nathan heart. Neither the virility. nor yet the scurrility of Nathan's style is well imitated.
After these miner lapses, however, there is a rush toward better things. "The Criminal Record" guides the reader expertly through five masterpieces of 'tee' literature, and serves as a fitting prelude to the agony columns that have made the "Saturday Review" famous and may do the same for the "Advocate". The Personals and the Classified ads alone make this issue worth any man's, or, better still, any maid's, quarter. There is also a double-crostic, no harder to work than those Mrs. Kingsley usually presents. The faint Limerick tinge to this one merely shows we are in Boston, not New York, "Bilge Water," a good copy of Quercus' column for the trade, brings up the rear.
There are only a few faults, all miner. First, some of the illustrations appeared 'n the "Time" parody. What with the cost of cuts, however, and the boom just on its way, the business board can't be blamed for skimping. Second, the literary services offered by the Harvard Square Bureaus of Culture should certainly have appeared under Classified ads. Third, none of the articles is signed; hence no individuals can be congratulated. This smacks of collectivism, but, Red or not, this issue of the Advocate deserves to be read.
Those who think the world is going to the dogs will find now justification for their beliefs. Those who trust the undergraduate will be amply rebuffed. And those sensitive souls who forever find evidences of bad taste, who always abhor the slightly libelous, and, tender-nosed, continually ferret out the scandalous will be well titillated.
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