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10 > Image 10 of The Kentucky Kernel, April 30, 1920

Part of The Kentucky Kernel

THE KENTUCKY KERNEL A Suggestion of a Possible Remedy for Th 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 perennial disputation than politics? 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 Such an 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." stage-manage- d 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 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 world. the work-n-da- y It might not be out of place to men tion here that we have in American history a classic example of a real de s bating contest the Even in that contest the debates. winner lost. Douglas won the senator ship, the immediate prize; but in do ing so he lost forever his chance of the presidency. Lincoln-Dougla- of "inter' 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, of rhetorical would deprive the college speaker of one motive the desire to win a game suggestion, would the alternative 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, An additional 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 the most undergraduate could hope to undergo Nothing 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, the contest, Something must be left to tlio Imagination of the reader. "lnter"-speakln- stage-manage- g STYLUS. WHAT THE LEXINGTON CHILDREN READ. True, some of the children of Lexington spend a part of almost every afternoon in the children's library, but on Saturdays the daily circulation books. Jumps from forty to eighty-fivan finds 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 stops. 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 enters eagerly. e e e d 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 time. The boys are coming in, and boys want their books checked off immediately. Beach, Heyllger, Zane Grey, Altsheler Burron, and the together with numerous "Electrical Boy," "Model Aeroplanes," "How to Make Electrical Toys," "Boy Scout o ever-popul- Year Books" they pile up on the desk alarmingly. 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 adds apologetically. stuff," she departs. The town clock strikes five and I close the doors. The circulation for s 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 Kernel. two-third- THE WAY OF A DOG. 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? Haven't? Then, old man, you've missed The greatest thing In life. Your doe alwavs rennectai vmir moods When you sit In a revery, When you're having a rollicking old time, Or when sorrow hangs around you; What's the need of telling things To others? 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; Chair." 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 as good?" 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 Carpenter's denser. 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. Is persona non 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! SOLOMON ir. teacher who makes them read such t. d sit-let- h dlsen-gaget- d p one-eye- h