Happy New Year

It has come to light that a great many students spent their vacation in at least public, if not private, unconsciousness, in the hope that things might somehow look better when they reconverged on Cambridge for a bright new year. It is a sad duty for us to report that, if anything, things look worse now than they did on December 22, 1951.

Even the least observant have noticed the deterioration of local thoroughfares. When holidays started, they were relatively clear; now they are coated with a most unpleasant layer of slippery material. The shortest reading period in the memory of most inhabitants does not add any discernible note of joy, either. It was inevitable, of course--a confluence of the phases of the moon and the by-laws of the Corporation--but its immediate presence lends it no special enchantment.

On a more world-wide scale, the United States disbursed $120,000 to free four American fliers held for ransom by the Hungarian government, and half the American people criticized the State Department for not being firmer and sending a gunboat or something like Teddy Roosevelt '80 would have done, while other influential quarters critized the State Department simply through force of habit. The negotiators for both sides in Korea thought up some new sets of conditions and called each other a few more variations of scroundel, while the fighting front sputtered sporadically. Andrei Vishinsky suggested the truce talks be moved to the Security Council, where all good disputes go to die, and then gave Western diplomats a few more gray hairs by hinting that events "were about to take their course" in Southeast Asia. It was small wonder that people and newspapers took their minds off these depressing facts for a while to be with Captain Carlsen in his lone and valiant fight against the sea in his cracked, listing, storm-tossed "Flying Enterprise."

Even the small news reflected general unhappiness, despair, and ill will. A soldier killed in Korea had some trouble being admitted to the cemetery for veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, because he was a Negro; Maxim Litvinov, old Russian diplomat and symbol of Soviet cooperation with the West before and during World War II, died in Moscow while the Russian government did not exactly wax lyrical over his accomplishments; Governor Talmadge of Georgia complained about Negro and white entertainers appearing together on television; Boston's Mayor Hines cracked down on certain night spots for lewdness, condemning female impersonators and ordering burlesque performers to exercise more discretion; five hundred criminals were rounded up in a nation-wide drive on narcotics peddlers; battered reputations came flying periodically out of the doors of various government agencies, swathed in mink coats and attitudes of aggrieved righteousness; President Truman and the Republicans fought to see who could be most for clean-up in government during the election year, the former having an advantage because he was in a position to do something.

There were a few rifts in the clouds, of course. The normal quota of good deeds were done as a result of the Christmas spirit, at the same time that the normal number of people died in automobile accidents. Winston Churchill came for a visit and, even if it wasn't quite the same old Churchill and the English newspapers did warn he was going to get a cold reception from the U.S. government, he looked impressive and hopeful in his "sawed-off stovepipe hat," and he said that chances of peace in 1952 seemed good.

This may yet be a year of improvement and hope; the dismal trends of the recent season may dissipate quickly and make these dire forebodings look ludicrous. We simply felt it was our duty to bring our readers up to date and to inform them that, as of now, 1952 was no geranium.