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'I Will Not Philosophize, I Will Be Read'

The Crimson Staff Editorial


In every class there are 20 men at least well qualified and willing to conduct a paper, nor are the rest at all backward with either their money or their good wishes. There is no disparagement in saying that the Advocate does not cover the whole ground; indeed, it does not pretend to. The perception of these facts has induced the Editors of the Magenta to offer a new paper to their fellow students. Its general plan is as follows:

The book notices and exchanges will be written with the design to place before our readers only what is likely to interest them. Generalities are seldom read, and therefore will be omitted in these parts of the paper, and in the column devoted to the theater as well. From time to time we shall review in a more conspicuous place than usual books that treat of education, or otherwise have a relation to college life.

There will be occasional criticisms upon the methods of instruction and government followed here. We may differ from those who teach us, but in every case we shall be careful not to say anything unworthy ourselves [sic] or them. Wild and general accusations, in which the plainest thing is the author's bitterness, do not get or deserve much attention. But to a carefully considered, temperate article nobody ought to object; for, though its ideas are unsound, they are less likely to be harmful if stated fully and clearly than if left to spread through the college in the disjointed form of conversation. The error will be detected sooner, and, as a rule, college men are too honorable to side with what they see to be unfair even if it chimes with their prejudices.

Concerning news it is hard to say enough and not too much. The rights of the gossip must be held sacred, and it is unnecessary to trespass upon the domain of the childish. There is still room, however, to tell many things that should secure us the patronage of students and graduates. We cannot hope to excel the Advocate in our treatment of sporting matters; to equal it in this, and to supply a long-felt deficiency in other respects, are chief objects with us.

Our work, as a whole, is meant to show no affectation of fine writing, not does it lay claim to literary excellence. The Advocate has this ground by right of possession; we do not attempt to rival it in deux d'esprit, or in cunningness of speculation, or otherwise poach upon its preserves. We shall be content with the humbler task of satisfying the curiosity of our readers about what is going on in Cambridge, and at other colleges, and of giving them an opportunity to express their ideas upon practical questions. It ought to be added perhaps, that, while we made no pretension to wit, we hope not to be dull. There will be several poems and lighter sketches to prevent any impressions of heaviness.

To conclude, the low price at which the Magenta is offered necessitates a large subscription-list. Let our friends remember this if they would see an enterprise flourish whose success will be, we do not say an honor, but a convenience to all.

College journalism has a borrowed vice. Young men, getting a pen into their hands, use it recklessly in spite of the warning of good taste. They forget that they pretend to be gentlemen, hence unpleasant contests. Hard words, we believe, should be reserved for those cases where men willfully persist in wrong action. Such cases, it is needless to say, rarely occur in college. It is an evil of the same kind, though not of the same degree, to try to convince by epithets, as to have recourse to bowie-knife and revolver when the pen has failed.

In our connection with the Advocate we shall avoid all quarreling. There is no reason why we should not be as courteous in our public conversation, when all the world may hear, as on more private occasions.

There are those in college whose opinion we respect, though it is likely to be unfavorable to us. They are interested in important social and literary questions, and would gladly discuss them in a college paper or magazine. It is possible they may be dissatisfied with us because we do not offer the opportunity. Let them, however, consider the matter candidly. The Yale Lit is of the character proposed. As a rule it is "intolerably dull"--we use the Courant's words--in those parts where it differs from less pretentious periodicals. The same was true of similar magazines formerly published in Cambridge. Few read them, and they soon died. The reason is not hard to find. The thoughts of very young men are usually crude, and to every one but themselves almost worthless; besides, it is hard to find more than half a dozen interested in the same subject at once. It appears to us quite out of the question to speak to the half-dozen and neglect the hundreds. Let those who think differently consider well this line from Byron, that served as the motto of one of our predecessors,--"I won't philosophize, I will be read."

This is the first editorial published in The Magenta, the predecessor publication to The Crimson, in 1873.

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