Editorial: "Higher" education (4-5-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (April 5, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

We are armored for anything these days – except the appearance of striptease artists on university lecture platforms. Yet the newspapers solemnly inform us that Margie Hart, Manhattan burlesque queen and advocate of beauty unadorned, gave the students of Columbia University a rare treat not long ago when she appeared before them with all her clothes on.

Her lecture on “Sex Appeal” was wildly applauded. And when she finished with the statement…

Look at me; I never went to college and here I am giving a lecture to a group of college students.
….the crowd went wild and education slumped to a new low.

Amazing – and, we might add, crazy. And yet not entirely out of liner with a good many mad happenings in this mad world. Naturally parents living in the hinterland, many of whom have to scrape the cash register to send their sons to famous institutions of learning, will be interested to know from Miss Hart that Columbia students rate first in all round sex appeal, with Yale, Harvard and Princeton running far behind. It’s a tremendous boost for Columbia.

Of course, at first glance, we thought it might be just a mad prank by a few callow freshmen which appealed to some reporter, but we read that Miss Hart actually was invited down to talk to the young men about Communism and considering herself less well informed on that subject, she wisely switched to sex.

These odd aspects of American education often startle the conscientious taxpayer out of his doze. If born with a modicum of common sense, and lacking the advantages of higher learning, he may be inclined to question certain school trends. However, it is always easy to put him back in his place by calling him names like “milksop” and “old fogy.”

Doubtless in many quarters this story will pass as humorous. We think it’s just about as funny as the bathroom wit.