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The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, September 07, 1901, Image 1

Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99066033/1901-09-07/ed-1/seq-1/

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KKTKUonr thk postoftccb at Lincoln as
Office 1132 N street, Up Stairs.
Telephone 384.
Subscription Rates.
Per annum il 50
8ix.montha 1 00
Rebate of fifty cents on cash payments.
Single copies 05
Tbx Couxikk will not be responsible for vol
nntary communications unless accompanied by
return postage.
Communications, to receive attention, mnst
be turned by tne full name of the -writer, not
merely, as a guarantee of good faith, but for
publication if advisable.
The day of the portentous ex-cathedra
editorial has passed away. The
best editorials of the day are but ob
servations such as one man makes to
another over a pipe, before the library
tire or on the way to his otlice. There
are no great editors as in the days of
Greeley. Few editors write with the
consciousness of a calling, a mission
or of special inspiration. They mod
estly make observations about the
events of the day before, because cer
tain columns of the papers they edit
are devoted to comment on current
If they desire to mould public opin
ion and they are crass enough to let
evidence of their intention appear in
their editorials, the purpose is by this
means self-defeated. Easily, uncon
Vtiously, obviously.with perfect breed
ing and again effortlessly as one man
speaking to another at the club, the
most readable editorials are written.
University extension is doubtless a
feasible way of piping information
from the university to the men and
women of the state who are too busy
to go to school any more, but the tn
formatory manner of the teacher is
fatal to an editor, who addresses his
audience from no elevation whatever.
Even the publishers of Harper's
Weekly have at last appreciated the
distaste of the general for airs and
have discontinued their old editorial
department, which was very heavy
and somewhat stilted. In its place
appears a department labeled "The
Observer," readable, pertinent, un
labored. Mr. E. S. Martin, who for
some years has written the paragraphs
contained under the heading "This
Busy World," has monopolized the at
tention of the subscribers to Harper's
Weekly who are interested in com
mentary. It lias required a long time
for the publishers to appreciate the
fact that the subscribers were reading
not the first pages of the paper, but
the last ones which contained Mr.
Martin's graceful, pointed observa
tions. The transition to another edi
torial style was made a month or so
ago under the plea of hot weather and
the need for relaxing summer reading.
The weather is cooler, but there is no
indication that the lower tempera
ture will be accompanied by a return
to the long-winded, profound man
nered editorial affected by "Harper's"
lor nearly forty five years. Notwith
standing the great and lasting merits
of the periodical in question I know
of no other publication so slow to re
spond to the changing tastes of a so
phisticated people. Therefore, Harp
er's abandonment of the formal, por
tentous, didacic and high-moral-grcund
editoral is significant.
The Conservative.
For the same reason that people are
fond of looking at photographs of
places they have seen and of people
whom they know, newspaper and
magazine readers like to read reports
of meetings they have attended or
critiques of theatrical performances
they have witnessed. Fond of novelty
as we are, we like enough of the old,
the familiar and the expected to make
us feel at home in new experiences.
Like a man being lowered into an ex
cavation, the rope which connects
him with the uninterestingdlrtabove
ground is, for the time being, more
precious to him than the prospect of
finding gold in the deep hole. It is
conceivable that if the rope should
break and leave him balanced on a
narrow shelf which revealed the rich
est ore vein he would only have eyes
and hands for the new rope. There
may be other ways of extricating blni
from his perilous situation, but the
man down below can think only of
a rope with three or four muscular,
friendly human bands at the other'
end of it. When he is drawn up into
safety, when he is standing once more
on the familiar, commonplace, unin
teresting dirt piled about the open
ing, the rope is again ignored.
There are millions of feet of rope
piled in the stores and it is a barren
subject of thought and of conversa
tion. But that dull, yellow, thick vein
of gold which he caught a glimpse of
as he stood on a narrow, crumbling
ledge of earth, waiting for death or
life in the shape of a rope, has infinite
possibilities of romance and his imag
ination still returns to it.
People who leave their homes to
travel in foreign countries do not
think in leaving that they will be
glad to see the faces they have seen all
their lives with no desire for further
knowledge. Yet everyone is familiar
with the thrills, the enthusiastic
affection with which travelers greet
travelers, who at home are mutually
repulsive. Travelers whose homes are
in villages affectionately read the ad
vertisements of their grocers and
druggists in the home papers. These
advertisements recall the familiar
"store fronts'' and satisfy the Hinging
of the eyes for a view of which the re
tina has received thousands of im
pressions. The novelist or the writer is most
popular who in a way photographs
what the people are thinking, and
presents it to them as his own idea.
The man who ignores tradition and
the rules ot the profession he belongs
to, does so invariably at the cost of
popularity and of contemporary ap
preciation. In the next century men
may have progressed so far that what
was ridiculously impossible in the
prophet's time is in the way of an old
story then.
For being born with a prophet's
vision John the Baptist was put. to
death and Galileo was racked. The
multitude moves slowly, and woe to
the man who attempts to accelerate
its progress Ridicule, or the punish
ment of isolation, as a child is put in
the corner, has superseded death by
stoning for the man who dares to see
further and clearer than the process
ion whose vision is clouded by the
dust of its own marching.
But because most of the people live
but a trilla above sea-level, because
the mountain peaks occur only occa
sionally, because most of the people
work themselves along cautiously
from the known to the unknown and
still cling to the old, because a tree or
any sort of vegetation of permanent
value to a generation grows imper
ceptibly, because it took God thou
sands ot years to make gold and silver,
jewels and coal for man, because evo
lutiun itself is an interminable pro
cession, because seers, poets and geni
uses are impractical and make a
mess of their own lives and of all
others with whom they come into in
timate contact, finally because of the
noiseless, unhurried centuries, dec
ades, years, months and days, 1 believe
that God's way is the best way, and so
long as His way is slow it is expedient
for us who have not the Promethean
tire to patiently keep step and shoulder
to shoulder with the rank and file of
the great procession, that procession
of man that begun- when the first
monkey had an inspiration to be
something more than a monkey and
whose van reaches farther forward
than mortals can see.
The vogue of silk skirts and silk
linings, the fancy for stiff crinoline
and the comparatively high price of
eilk inspired an ingenious man to in
vent a substitute which is stiff and
rustles opulently. 1 suppose the man's
name was Mercer, for his invention is
called Mercerized fabric. It is a good
substitute and the inventor is doubt
less proud of his ingenuity, for he
gave it his own name and it is likely
to become as well known as silesla.
A professor in the state university
of Nebraska has invented a method of
teaching literature which in justice
to him should hear his name. His
process imparts a certain lustre and
style to the student of English, but it
lacks body and permanency. The
process has not been patented and is
still unclfristencd, but it Is unique.
Its usefulness has nob jet been dem
onstrated. No other educational in
stitution of standing has adopted It.
When theShermanizcd methods of
teaching the theory, history and prac
tice of English arc generally adopted,
they may be known by the name of
Sherman and the inventor's name
will add a new gloss to the fame of
the Nebraska state university.
In reading "The Confessions of a
Psychologist" by Dr. CStanlcy Hall,
president of Clark university, I was
impressed by the Houndoess of Dr.
Hall's views in regard to the manner
of lecturing to undergraduates, "l
have also long been convinced that
the mediaeval method of lecturing is
unpedagogic and ought to be obsolete.
It strove to present with a systema
tization too ostentatious a view of a
subject so complete that reading wa.s
almost unnecessary. Students re
corded with great assiduity the words
of the master as dictations.
The idea of the best student was to
have a fui! and beautiful heft or body
of notes for his own future reference
and for the use, perhaps for pay. of
his less diligent classmates. They
made little or no use of libraries, but.
attended lectures sometimes many
hours a day. This method naturally
tended to preduc&scbwolsof disciple.
Imputations grew great in
the perfervid minds of youth in this
feudal, if it be not better called tribal
stage of deve'opment. This was the
direct continuation of the method or
the porch, the grove and the academy.
It gave the mastersa moral and there
fore a disciplinary eminence and de
veloped the instinct of fealty and dis
cipleship in youth. Jt tends
to develop an hypertrophled amour
propre in the professor. All
have heard anecdotes of professors
who announced to their classes with
an air of slightly veiled omniscience,
that they would, the next day, demon
strate the existence of God, as though
he had been waiting all these years
for such demonstration. The
mediaeval method also de
veloped the professor who ignores all
other authors, and who lectures en
tirely upon his own discoveries."
'The customs of professors in the
guidance of research differ as widely
as human nature. Some reduce th
student almost to the condition of a
famulus, who must fetch and carry,
hew wood and draw water at first. I
can name books of much srope and
value, wherein all th"e work has been
done, not by the professor who ap
pears to be its author, but by his stu-
t A
I w
Ci- fl

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