THE KENTUCKY KERNEL
A Suggestion of a Possible Remedy for
Suffering of College Oratory
Editor of the Kernel:
Five literary societies and two political clubs, the Democratic and the
Republican, have scattered the undergraduates who are Interested In pub-li- e
speaking, Instead of bringing them
together; have dissipated the Interest
and the efforts of undergraduates in
speaking, ilnstead of focusing interest
in one place. The result Is feeble effort. It is hard to speak with fervor
to empty benches. It is hard to debate with careful skill when an echo is
likely to be the only answer evoked.
What could be a more fertile field for
Yet how can politics be discussed in a
Democratic Club 3 Who will take the
other side? Who will answer the vehement Invective; who will counter
the acid wit; who will puncture the
fallacious reasoning; who will curb
the extravagant claims of the young
democrat, if there are no .Republicans
present? Will not the absence of Republicans rather encourage him to outdo his fellow clubmen in scaling the
dizzy heights of hyperbole, than train
him to reason cogently and speak convincingly? And so of the Republican
Club. The value of both clubs as promoters of useful political discussion is
thrown utterly away by reason of
there being two of them. What fun
they could have profitable fun if
they would but amalgamate!
One University debating society
call it what you will; the name doesn't
matter one assembly, in which could
be brought together once a. week all
members of the University who are interested in public speaking to hear
and to participate in a keen discussion of some question of wide interest, would almost certainly become in
time, if not at once, one of the most
lively, most solid, and most useful institutions in the University. It is not
well to be too sanguine, but it may be
safe to say that quite possibly such a
University forum might so far stir up
interest in public speaking as to necessitate a revival of the five literary so-- ;
cieties and others as training quar-- :
ters for beginners too timid to ad-- i
vance with confidence upon the big!
floor. Until that time, as schools of
oratory requscant in pace these so
cieties have been weighed in the balances, and found awfully light.
Not only would such a society preserve and give a cumulative effect to
all that is good in the numerous literary societies. It would also afford a
means of escape from the thralldom of
"Inter" speaking contests. Next to the speakers, the audience is the thing. What better audience can a speaker have than one
which may rise up quite decorously
and in turn and answer him; which
may poke fun at his bombast, be visibly bored by his dullness, expose the
thinness of his thought?
audience induces a speaker to talk
sensibly with elegance. It encourages
the promising beginning; it discourages the tiresome old hand. It effects
a survival of the fittest more surely
than contests do. It is responsive. It
must be persuaded; it cannot be ignored, for it is "the judges."
What is the winning of a medal on
an isolated occasion in formal competition with utter Btrangers by the
award of Judges who are strangers,
compared with the satisfaction of having gained and held the ear of those
who know you well? Any contest may
turn on a fluke. The presidency of
the University Debating Society, if
that honor went always by custom, ns
It doubtless would, to one of the two
or three most powerful undergraduate
speakers who had risen from the
ranks; could never be attained by a
fluke. Persuasive charm or charming
persuasiveness would be the only
means of reaching the top or of
climbing at all, for that matter.
Which, again let us nsk, lis the more
solid achievement, to win a medal single handed or perhaps only as a member of a "team," by impressing favorably three strangers once; or to win
and hold for years a position of real
leadership among your fellows?, The
first is a game like football.
other is a game like life. About the
first there is the unreal conventionality of sport. About the other there
is the quality of actual achievement in
It might not be out of place to men
tion here that we have in American
history a classic example of a real de
bating contest the
Even in that contest the
winner lost. Douglas won the senator
ship, the immediate prize; but in do
ing so he lost forever his chance of
If the abandonment
speaking contests, which resemble
nothing a speaker is often called upon
to do in real life, and are only a form
indoor athletic sport,
would deprive the college speaker of
one motive the desire to win a game
supply him with a much stronger motive the desire to gain power and
recognized leadership, in other words,
to get on in the world. Those who
should respond to the students of this
motive would be likely to go forth in
life much better fitted to represent
Kentucky dn oratory, and to carry the
standard of Kentucky on the rostrum"
than those who responded merely to
the other motive.
Whatever of good comes through
speaking contests from
contact with students from other colleges and universities can be retained
and enhanced by means of the simple
device of "visitor debates," in which
students from elsewhere come and
participate in the debate within the
society, not all on the same side so
that the taste of foreign blood awakes
cannibal instincts, but some on pne
side and some on the other so that
the vote of the house can by no possibility turn on the fact of "representation" regardless of the merits.
good Is possible,
which none of our small literary societies can have the face to claim for
themselves. To a society of' respectable size, comprising all the talent of
the University, distinguished visitors
might be asked to come and debate.
In such a debate the undergraduate, in
process of being demolished, has the
opportunity of studying at the closest
possible range the technique of a master of the art he is cultivating. One
such encounter Is worth all the
undergraduate could hope to undergo
in a whole college career.
need be said of the direct material
benefits that might thus flow to a
youthful speaker who made a good
impression on the visitor. They might
be quite as tangible as a medal, and
much more substantial than any re
ward that could be hoped for from the
Professor of Elocution In Ashkosh College, Imported hitter as a "Judge."
But it is not within the scope of this
article to say all that can be said in
favor of such a society, nor to Bay
anything of the details which require
to be worked out In order to make of
it n going concern. One of the most
important of those details has to do
with the extent to which members of
the faculty should participate In the
management and the meetings of the
society. So too, It were infinite to
suggest all the advantages to be had
from an abandonment
of that outworn, tiresome, unpopular Institution,
contest, Something must be left to
tlio Imagination of the reader.
WHAT THE LEXINGTON
True, some of the children of Lexington spend a part of almost every
afternoon in the children's library, but
the daily circulation
Jumps from forty to eighty-fivan
This special afternoon
eager group waiting for the door to
be opened, and the first person inside
is the pretty little Jewish girl who,
since she discovered the library about
a month ago, has become an enthusiastic attendant. Today, she returns
her sixth Little Pepper book and
takes out the seventh. She is "crazy
about 'em," she says, and Is going to
read every single one before she
lovers also, are early.
The fairy-talMabel, a tall, boisterous girl in her
teens, begs me to suggest another
good one, as she has already read the
P.rown, Green, Yellow, Blue, Red and
Lilac ones, "Grimm's Andersen's,"
"Arabian Nights," "Russian Wonder
Tales," and the English, French, and
Celtic Fairy Tales. I point out the
"Wonderful Adventures of Nils" and
"At the Back of the North Wind," and
she pounces Joyfully upon the former
because "it is so nice and thick and
will last her all day tomorrow."
Christine Watkins, the other fairytale devourer, does not ask my opinion; she has a highly satisfactory
method of her own. With a solemn
look on her black face, she stalks to
shelf, glances lovingly
the fairy-talthrough the soiled pages of the "Blue
Fairy Book" for perhaps the fiftieth
time, replaces it lingeringly, and beginning at the "A" fictions, dips into
volume after volume until Alden's
Knights of the Silver Shield" satis
fies her critical taste. She slaps it on
the desk, produces a ragged card that
smells of smoke and bacon grease, and
stalks out, as a .chubby
Showing me her new card, she asks
for animal book like "Uncle Remus."
I show her other things by Harris,
"Just-sStories," Burgess' "Mother
West Wind," and Paine's "Mr. Turtle,
Mr. Rabbit,' etc., but she shakes her
head. Oh, she believes she wants a
fairy tale. I hand her four or five of
these for inspection, and she becomes
noticeably bored. Ah, she wants a
funny book, something that "makes
you laugh, you know." And she forsakes me in disgust, selecting a battered Mother Goose on the opposite
side, while I gain the desk Just in
The boys are coming in, and boys
want their books checked off immediately. Beach, Heyllger, Zane Grey,
Burron, and the
together with numerous "Electrical
Boy," "Model Aeroplanes," "How to
Make Electrical Toys," "Boy Scout
Year Books" they pile up on the desk
Before the last young
ster in the lino can pass me Scovlllo's
"Boy Scouts In the Wilderness," which
he took out only yesterday, the boy
at the other end, breathless from his
rush for the Altsheler section, hands
over the book he has been trying to
get for two weeks. The boys are seldom undecided about what to read.
The only question a boy ever asks
when getting a book for himself is:
"Why don't you buy the Tarzan books
and the Rover Boys?
A pale, stunted-lookinchild shoves
four heavy volumes before me and
lays his father's, his mother's, his little sister's, nnd his own enrd beside
them. I stamp the heap of Boy Scout
Action, attempting a bit of a Joke,
meanwhile. "Think you'll enjoy this
one?" I ask, as I pretend to substitute
A Little Maid of Massachusetts Col
ony," for the topmost one. He does
not smile. "That was fine, but I fin
ished it last week. 'Hidden Aerial' is
what I want today."
An overgrown boy, evidently in his
first long trousers, here bashfully
edges nearer, and entreats me in a loud
whisper to show him where "Peter
Pan" is. It is for his little sister, he
stuff," she departs.
The town clock strikes five and I
close the doors. The circulation for
these three hours has been over
fiction, Altsheler and the "Little Pepper" hooks In the lead.
ORA LEE JONES.
Editor's Note This is the Urst of
the contributions made by the English Club for the Literary section of
THE WAY OF
Did you ever see the look In the eyes
of a dog,
When you sat by the fire smoking,
And dreaming of a girl,
Or n fortune,
Or something equally as pleasant?
Then, old man, you've missed
The greatest thing In life.
doe alwavs rennectai vmir
When you sit In a revery,
When you're having a rollicking old
Or when sorrow hangs around you;
What's the need of telling things
Your dog knows,
freckle-facenegro And responds to every heart-beaBehind him, a
girl is waiting patiently for my assistance in finding "Twice Told Tales." Dogs are dumb, but their eyes speak
She has forgotten who wrote It. The Words that you can't misunderstand
two friends with her, in the same They have a way about them,
breath, inquire for "Grandfather's Gestures, and everything
That you love;
Accompanied by the gaunt Watkins No other animal,
mother, a second Watkins child, his Or any man or woman
expression almost stolid in Its Wat- Understands you like your dog.
R. F. PETERS.
kins solemnity, brings "Pyle's Christmas Angel" to be stamped.
SENTENCES OF SORROW.
Several disappointed girls of varying ages turn away from the Little
((Showing why a man's affection
Colonel shelf. "I'm Just crazy for the stayeth not long at one place).
next one, and I never will find it in.
Yea, verily, a man's affection
Say, do you know who has "The Little
not long in one spot. His eye
Colonel at Boarding School?" Can't roameth restlessly from one place to
you tell me the name of some other another, and his heart readily
school story? Are the Patty books
itself from all entangling al
liances. The list of his telephone
I tell an insistent
child numbers swelleth into the hundreds,
that both copies of "Anne of Green and the number of his girl acquaintGables" have worn out, and yes, they ances runneth well into the thousands.
may be replaced soon. The little Even so, ennui taketh possession of
ghost story fiend frowns mildly as I his soul, Boredom mocketh at him
politely explain that Smith's mystery from every street corner, and he pray- books are still out, that I know of eth all his days: "Oh, for a real girl!"
nothing exactly like Seaman's "Board-ed-uHe seeth Anne upon the street cor
House," and that Poe's Tales ner. She hath powdered her nose and
are downstairs. The boy who is near hath wrapped herself in goodly rai
her waiting for Robt. Wheeler's "War ment. It maketh a man to feel proud
in the Air" to be stamped, tells her to be seen with her. Verily, she is
that Verne's "Mysterious Island" is a beautiful, and insplreth admiration
corker," but she says the pictures wherever she goeth. But lo, she is
don't look "Ghosty," and slams it on devoid of reason and understanding.
the nearest shelf, wrong side up.
He sltteth for long hours with Mary
As the hour hand creeps closer to of the dark eyes and the soulful look.
five, the crowd around
me grows Her intellect is as the giant PolyphemThe one
"Geographical us, even to being
Readers," "Life of James Lane Al- eye seeth only poetry, art, beauty,
len," McNeil's "Kit Carson in the love, and ethereal things. No man dis- Rockies," the "Stories Polly Pepper cusseth with her earthly things, such
as prospects, careers and current hap
Told," "Nellys Sliver Mine," five
Verily, Mary is good, but
in quick succession, "Blue penings.
Bonnet on the Ranch," three copies of sufficeth not to fill the void in a man's
"Little (Women," "PhronBie Pepper," heart.
In his ceaseless endeavors to dodge
and "Five Little Peppers at School,"
"Tin Woodmen of Oz," "FamouB Melancholy, he meeteth Josephine.
Scouts," all the remaining Lang Fairy She talketh much about nothing, even
Tale Books, two more Altshelers "Five tho she hath exceeding beauty and
or great wisdom. Men
Little Peppers and How They Grew," appearance
and many others, the titles of which I may come and men may go, but her
cannot take time to notice I stamp talk runneth on forever. When at
them all hastily, drop the last book- - last the torture ceaseth, he knoweth
card into the filing tray, and urge the less than he did In the beginning.
fat colored girl to hurry her search Verily, Josephine
among the "C's." Thus admonished, grata.
Thus, the germ of Discontent play-Bhe becomes so bewildered that I am
Mo- eth havoc with man, and causeth him
forced to find "The Last of the
hicans" for her, myself, and with a to mourn all his days in sackcloth and
muttered comment on the "Literature ashes. Selah!
teacher who makes them read such