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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 22, 1886)
ESPE A I A N .
The November issue of the Wi Princeton AWieto is un
usually full of mailer both interesting ami valuable for refer- j
cnec. "The Modern Novel" is discussed by Thomas Ser ,
geant Terry; "Realism" by President James McCosh, of
Princeton. "The Resurrection of lluricd Languages" by
Francis llrown shows the triumphs and achievements of mod
ern arclueoloyy. In an article on "Railroad Abuses at Home
and Abroad" Arthur T. Iladley, the political economist of
Yale, presents a conservative view of a much discussed piob
lcm. lie compares our own railway system with that of for
eign countries, and it is noticeable that on the subject of gov
ernment ownership be takes a position directly opposed to
that of Prof. Ely of Johns Hopkins. Among other articles
are "The Kulislmcnt of I.afayelte" and "Sham Legislation,"
the latter treating chielly of methods in the N. V. Legisla
ture. The publishers of the Century have embarked in a grcal
and commendable enterprise in presenting to the public a
new life of President Lincoln, the first installment of which
appears in the current number. The work is edited jointly
by John Hay and John CI. Nicolay, both of whom were in
timately associated with Lincoln, and it is intended that this
biography shall be the most complete in detail and the most
authentic in information of any yet written on the same sub.
ject. It is of the utmost importance that the real fact- re
garding the life of the "martyred president" should be secur
ed while those 'vho possess them are still living. Future gen
erations will demand an authentic history ol one who will
doubtless appear to them as the statesmen of the Revolution
ary epoch do tons -as one of the central figures in a most
critical period ol our history. The publication of such a
work is moreovei a matter of national pride lor Lincoln's ca
reer was a typical American one, and illustrates most clearly
the vast possibilities of American citizenship.
Some time since, an article appeared in the Worth Ameri
can A'tfien; with the somewhat peculiar title of "The News
paper Habit." lis sentiments were immediately taken up
and confirmed by an editorial in the Nation and the two tak
en together will be of much value in solving a problem which
usually arises in the mind of every thoughtful student. lie
is ambitious to be abreast of the times to keep posted on
current events, but with a full course of study besides society
work ami other duties not less important, the question is,
how much lime if any, can be profitably devoted to periodical i
literature of auysoit.
The article mentioned above takes a very unfaxorable view
of the aveiago newspaper. (Quoting the late Ur. Rush of
Philadelphia as declaring thai newspapers were "tcacheis
of disjointed thinking" it seeks to show that this judgment,
harsh as it may seem, is in the main correct. True to his
text, he declares that indiscriminate newspaper reading is an
injurious habit, and that like others of its kind it consumes
valuable time, unfits its devotees for more substantial work,
and that the strongest inducement which il offers is not self
improvement, but the gratification of an inordinate thirst for
scandal, because the average newspaper is only the lineal de
scendant of the town crier. Taking up the two classes of
journalistic literature, the editorial and the reportorial, the
author seeks to show that the former is not a safe guide in
forming one's opinions upon the questions which it discusses.
Members of the ordinary editorial staff, he insists, do not
seek to reach the truth regarding a certain object, but to per
suade their readers into a line of thinking in harmony with
he interests of the political party, or more probably tit fi
nancial syndicate, which they represent. This is well illus
trated by the case of those editors who, while professing one
political faith, hire themselves to the opposite party to pre
sent its views. The same fault is found with the teporlers,
viz: that thoy persistently distort and pervert the truth to
make it fit the views of their employers, and their statements
are, theiefore, not to be relied upon. The author attacks
most especially the popular conception that the newspaper is
"a history of the world for one day." The reporter is above
all things, he declares, a writer of sensational literature; he
collects all that is abnormal in the life of mankind, crimes, dis
orders and monstrosities, and he presents anything but a
faithful picture of society.
It must be admitted that this wholesale indictment of
newspapers contains much that is true. Hut it will be well
to note in this connection the views of some who are more fa
vorable. Mr. George V. Childs gives as his opinion that
newspapers arc "purer, less sensational, more independent,
better informed, less blindly and unjustly partisan than ever
before." And although he is himself a journalist and
is perhaps on this account somewhat prejudiced, yet his ex
perience must certainly count for something.
Philip Gilbert Hammcrton discusses the subject of newspa
pers in one of the chapters of that admirable work, "Intel
lectual Life." lie recognizes the many deficiencies of the
popular journals, notes the time that is wasted upon them, and
alludes especially to the immense importance which they at
tach to novelty, ignoring all else in their efforts to publish
something new and striking. Yet he does not advise an hab
itual disuse ol newspapers on the part of educated men. He
believes that without them the scholar would sever his con
nection with the outside world, and that though they contain
much that is objectionable, they nevertheless afford the best
if not the only means. As long as editorials are one-sided,
and the work of the reporter sensational and untrustworthy,
one need not take these as unerring guides in forming opin
ions, but may simply accept them for what they are worth.
There are other parts of a newspaper to be considered as well
as these. The foreign dispatches, for example, consist of
matter which is not generally controversial, and which is,
therfore, less often subject to misrepresentation. The average
newspaper may have all the defects which the above named
article claims for it, and yet have some uses even to students.
'Tis said that llartlett University is flourshing.
A fine site of fifty acres has been purchased for Lincoln's new
University. The location, is in the section south of the col
lege farm, between it and the line of the Missouri Pacific.
(Jood taste was certainly shown in the selection.
The facilities of Crcighton csllege for the study of astrono
my arc perhaps unequalled in the state, with a fine observato.
jy, a powerful instrument and nn able instructor in Father
Lambert. Would that other departments were as strong.
Did you ever think over the fact that girls predominate in
graduating classes from high schools? Notice the proportion.
In the class of 1882 at Omaha, out of a class of nine there were
eight jjiris; of 1883, in a class of seven, the rougher sex was
not represented; of 1884, two of a class of ten were boys; of
1885, seventeen out of twentyfive wore ribbons. Why, this?
Dcjthe boys, quitting high schools, go east to college? No;
fully as many girls attend college or seminaries as there arc
boys who drop out of the' high school for that purpose. Hust-
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