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The Speaking Disease

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From the líostou Pust. We incideutally recorded the f act in yesterday's Post that Michigan Uuiversity omitted the speaking exercises at the recent couiinencement and that the latter was all the more brilhantly successtul in consequence. It was an exaniple, boldly as it was inaugurated, that deservea to be rospectfully considered by the other universities and colleges iu the land. They znight advantageously look this matter over reflectively, with a view to discover if the occasion of graduating several scores of youths that have passed through a course of study canuot be more felicitously, as well as appropriatel}', celebrated in some other way than declaiinïng the set essays which those young men, carei'ully coached by rhetorical professors, have laboriously produced and committed to meuiory. A dagree may be given by the President of a college as a part of a genuine festivity. It ueed not be prefaced with an exhibition of the recipieut's fluency in declamation. The season of college couiuiencements is always hot, and the audiences assembled are sweltering and uncomfortable. Fans aud sinelling-bottles are in more constant requisition than fraguientaryrevivals of rhetoric and recondite learning. It is sisters and sweethearts who compose the more considerable portion of the assembly, and these suggest bouquets and ices, with music from string baads, far more than disquisitions on Demosthenes or orations of twelve minutes each on the whole population of the intellectual pantheon. In a word, the speaking inrliction is fastly becoiniug a bore. If our colleges, old and youug, exercised a more visable iufluence upon the social state than they do, we might the more readily oharge thein with the unenviable respousibility of haviug set and kept on toot that dreadful tendency of the English speaking race, on the male sido, to indulge in speech-making at all times aud on all occasions. They have to carry their full share of suca respousibility, however. And uow, if they will cousent to alter their course and lead off in eradicating the ha bit, they will make ameuds in a very large degree. It is time the uational habit received at least a modificatiou. There ought to be some vital resources yet left in conversation, which noisy aud halting declamatory exercise caunot wholly overshadow. The colloquial delights attend ou a skillfully managed diuner of a iiumbor of persons adapted to mutual intercourse and enjoyment ought not to be smothered, as they too generally are, with the speech-making blankot that custom throws over theni with no good reason. There has, up to the present time, been protests enough, spoken and unspoken, against what is conceded to be a national bore to deserve to be heeded in quarters recognized as iufluential. We regard it as a hopeful symptom that one university in the country has at length snuffed out the speaking mania. It will certainly increase the attractions of commencement by multiplying the real festivities. Youth and beauty, crowned with flowers and stepping joyously to strains of niU8Íc, will better express the sentiment of the occasion than volumes of speeches, all stainped, like crackers, by a single maker.


Old News
Michigan Argus