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The Advocate

By John R. W. smail

Back this fall with new makeup and a crop of good stories and poems, the Harvard Advocate has got off to a running start for what promises to be and interesting year. Last winter the Advocate arose reincarnated and proclaimed an end to its previous reputation of academic dehydration. The magazine began to publish interesting discussions of controversial topics; its fiction content showed improvement. And judging by the first issue of Volume 133, this new policy will be continued.

This year for the first time the Advocate has adopted an editorial position. Certainly this is a valid move. A college literary magazine with a tradition as old as the Advocate's should take interest and express opinions in college affairs. Last year's article on "The Jew at Harvard," and later the discussion of the club system, were directed toward this end. By editorializing on some of the controversial problems of college life, the Advocate gives impetus to its descent from the yellow pedestal of pure letters.

Of the stories contained in this issue, "Buddha and the Fat Boy," by Aristides Stravrolakes, rates top billing. Entertaining and readable, it makes a small boy alive as he loses his cap and encounters a bronze idol. It captures the flavor of the West Side with earthy but unforced dialogue. Best of all, it tells a story which could easily happen, and with a touch of surprise which separates it from point-to-point narrative. The article is neatly packaged and easily unwrapped.

George Bluestone's "The Sewing Machine" commands the most respect. The characters are shrouded in pages of dialogue; at first they seem to exist as impersonal objects, not speaking but spoken about. Yet gradually they assume personalities, and fall into a pattern from which emerges a sympathetic story of disjointed family life.

A new wrinkle in an old face, "The Long Wait" spans the brief interval between an impending automobile collision and the death of one of its occupants. Author Daniel Ellsberg takes his central character through a dreaming flashback and unconquerable optimism before the car hurtles off the road and overturns.

In closing, a comment on "Confidential Report on the Confy Guide:" Not wishing to provoke a professional war, and fully aware of the shortcomings of the Confy Guide, the CRIMSON does wish to point out a great many polls are thrown out each year because they represent insufficient sampling. "There's not enough on this guy to write about" is a common occurrance while compiling the Guide; praise or vilification, recurring in a number of polls, is the basis for the CRIMSON's judgment. A more complete polling would undoubtedly produce more accurate estimates; under the present system, each evaluation is as faithful as the information permits.

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