The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 1881. Society Journals.
A new and undesirable element has, within a comparatively recent period, made its appeareance in colonial journalism, which, having been successfully introduced in Australia, is now, it is to be regretted, apparently making some headway in this colony. V/e allude to the so called “ Society ” journals, which, in the colonies, differ considerably from the Home periodicals so designated The latter are perhaps not all that can be desired ; far from it. They often contain a great deal of twaddle that would be better omitted, and their articles are not remarkable for good taste, but they are for the most part well written, and avoid the gross and indecent personalities so common in their would-be imitations at our end of the world. The fun—if such it can be called—of the latter is-Qf a, very poor kind, but their vulgarity, in every sense of the word, cannot be surpassed. Their columns are filled with short paragraphs, in which an attempt at smart writing is painfully apparent, and arc chiefly noticeable fbr their fead taste
and often for their downright indecency. That people can be found to read them is only less surprising than that men can be found to write them. Wherein consists their attraction ? Is it such a matter of all absorbing interest to,know that “ Crawford says he won’t hire a buggy at the stables, for if he did M’Curdy says he would make him pay for it ?” Can there be people of such a speculative turn of mind to care to be asked, “ Who were the young ladies that indulged in nap and 100 in the train on the night before Good Friday?” Another paragraph, even more offensively caddish than either of the foregoing, is “ Didn’t the Canon put on jam last Sunday because the Bishop
was there—and how impressively he read the prayers !” Miss , who is the subject of a paragraph in another of these literary treasures, will doubtless feel gratified to learn that “ her costume was one of the most striking in the Park on Wednesday,” and it- may easily he imagined how proud the “ Commission Agent in street ” felt when he had pointed out to him the announcement of his “ approaching nuptials with the young lady from together with a reference to his honeymoon trip, and is offered the congratulations of the writer in a tone of familiarity that renders it, we should imagine, fortunate for that worthy that he is out of kicking distance. But, shameful as are these things
(selected at random from sundry “ Society ” publications now before us, the names of localities being alone suppressed), they pale before the scurrilous attacks and disgraceful inuendos often contained in the pages of the journals referred to. The Society journals — the colonial articles at least —are not particularly happy in their choice of titles, which do not sufficiently indicate their character. Let us suggest something more appropriate. The “Washerwoman,” or “The Back-biter” would, we think, be an improvement, while, if a monosyllabic title is aimed at, what could be better than “Garbage,” or
“ Scandal ?” It used to be jocularly said of a great London daily, the chronicler of fashionable b'fe in die metropolis, that it must derive its information relative to the inner life of the beau vwnde from John Thomas the flunkey and Mary the parlor-maid, for from no other source, it was argued, could such details emanate. But here things are different j Mary would be afraid, in a small colonial town, or even in a large one for the matter of that, to tell tales of her “ Missus ” and the young ladies, for fear they should be traced home to her, and she should lose her situation. As for John Thomas, the flunkey in livery, that magnificent individual is unknown in New Zealand. The genus is peculiar to the old country, if not to London ; but of flunkeys out of livery their appears to be no lack. Writers in these Society journals prove themselves to be not even possessed of anything more than weak and confined sentiment, trifling interests, and vulgar inclinations, and as such usurp the title of journalists. We feel that they should be addressed the same way a vulgar satirist was by a well-known journal, namely,—
O Tongue, the most accurst ! With pen proscribed the worst! Still on the gall you give, Instead of honey, live. In your delirium fierce Our .tendh'est lambs you pierce. Look on your back to bear Due stripes from twigs severe. Like them will be your fate. That, raging in their hate, Ravage our flocks around; Short is the triumph found: While yet their reign extends, Contempt their doom suspends; But to the fallow beast The date of life is least. The scurrilous writers should take care to protect themselves, or else their fate may be a similar one to that which happened to an Auckland editor. We reprint in another column a fair specimen of what may be expected by them even in such a law-abiding place as New Zealand.