Dziennik Chicagoski -- March 03, 1892A Picture of the Polish Press in America (Editorial)
Once a week, or perhaps every other week, we will endeavor to publish an article which will give in concise from a cross-section of the Polish press in the United States. The aim of these articles will be twofold to acquaint the public with some of our outstanding developments in the field of literature, and to add impetus to the advancement of journalism.
The articles, which will be treated with exactness, will impart a pleasant point of view, and only those of interest to the reader will be printed as an example of Polish effort. In addition we will publish 'Sine ira et studio' articles, 2that is, articles without anger or partiality, intended to better the mental horizon and spirit of sportsmanship of our younger generation.
We do not intend to play the mentor. Not being infallible, and our indigence being already known, we will limit ourselves to articles touching upon religion and customs as concern Catholic principles. Lay subjects of popular discussion will be handled as logically as possible, in accordance with the opinion of prominent persons, who will be freely quoted. Ideas contrary to popular belief will also be given notice, as long as they are of a peaceful nature and not too radical, and provided they meet with the respect of the public. All articles will be treated objectively.
Commentaries will be gladly accepted if they are objective and impersonal. We are interested in what a person writes, not in what he is.3
The Pole in America, edited by S. Slisz and published in Buffalo twice a week, has taken a definite step forward in the field of journalism. The emulation of this publication has brought many fine results.
The publication by this paper of anonymous stories is decreasing and each day there is less copying from other papers, which results in a greater amount of original material. These original articles have a style of their own, a style belonging to the writer, who may be the editor himself or a correspondent of the paper. At times these articles may be long or condensed, but whatever their form, they have sense and substance, particularly those the object of which is righteousness instead of personal interest. It is true that we all cannot agree on the same thing. Sometimes it happens that an article that is not very clear or authoritative has to be re-written by the editor from top to bottom before it is published. We have hopes that someday all this will be changed; that an awakening will envelop the Polish press, an awakening 4from which will evolve better understanding, peace, and harmony both in religious and patriotic matters. The Pole In America will then be able to progress more rapidly and serve its native and adopted countries better.
Of one of this paper's correspondents, from St. Paul Minnesota, we can say that he writes with sagacity, clearness, zeal, and a bit of humor, irony, and satire. Although he claims not to be a subscriber of Wiara I Ojczyzna (Religion and the People), or familiar with the Dziennik Chicagoski and the Zgoda, he can figure out something to write about them. When he begins to read these papers, his hypochondria, which often seeps out of his writings, will leave him, and his pen will be of greater advantage to the Pole In America.
However, we must point out to the editors that advertisements of saloons, cafes, breweries, and distilling companies do not harmonize with the nature of Catholic writing. It is bad enough that a drunkard finds his way to the source unaided, let alone giving him directions on how to reach perdition. This is also true 5in the case of the Toledo publication. This policy should be abandoned.
Zgoda (Harmony) is the organ of the Polish National Alliance. Noble as its title is, does Zgoda adhere to it? The late Bishop Krasicki said, "To bellow freedom is to silence freedom." What has the Zgoda done in this direction?
The Zgoda is actually adding "liar" to its title. Quarreller' should be its true name. For the past three years this weekly has been setting examples and showing us how not to write in the Polish language.
This publication, according to its constitution, is intended to be educational; a guardian of the pure Polish tongue, a model for style, and a pioneer in the elevation of the spirit of the Pole. Does the Zgoda follow these precepts? This may be possible, because the members of the Alliance keep silent and delight in its literature, particularly those who are as concerned about the 6purity of the native tongue as we are about the change of cabinet for the queen of Honolulu.
We will remain silent about the retrograding, anti-religious and anti-nationalistic policies of this paper and center our attention in its style, Polish language, logic, grammar, and even orthography, in which it is a true monster. This, however, does not cause much harm, as the average member of the Polish National Alliance who receives this weekly does not understand the articles anyhow. An intelligent person must toil long over the contents before he can grasp the meaning of this monstrous publication. At times he must fill in the gaps himself. As to its editor, it would not be amiss to say, "No one will give anything, if there is not anything to give," for he exemplifies the biblical saying, "Minus habens," that is, in order to write, one must know how to write.
We will not offer this weekly any suggestions because we know that they will be disregarded entirely or accepted with insults. We would rather have the 7articles as they are than to put up with polemic editorials so written as to make a colored person blush.
All we ask of the Zgoda is to print verbatim articles it gets from other papers, that is, facts after facts, without distorting them or treating them with insulting criticism. As to the correspondents of Zgoda, no matter where they may live, we can only thank them for defending us, and we ask them to continue this support. We also ask Mr. Tomasz, of this city, and Mr. K. F., who do not share the beliefs of the Polish Catholic priests, to respect the Catholic religion and those practicing it.
Having a great deal of patience, we will await the end of the play "Goddess" (Bozenna), which has been fabricated and patterned after a Chinese drama.
The people's weekly, Wiarus, published at Winona, Wisconsin, has managed to 8acquire a wide following in the country during its three years of existence. Its readers are varied: both the intelligent and the spiritual-minded emigrants have become subscribers. Adherence to the policies of the Catholic Church has brought this paper unlimited rewards. All the articles, editorials as well as news, are free from prejudice and always exact. Papers such as this, with this type of journalism, are valuable to the people and the Church.
However, it would be much better if the Wiarus would devote more space to the road of Faith than to sensational articles, especially as less publicity to scandals and dubious stories will do more good than too much of it. One bad article can do more harm than a hundred good items can do good.
Great sadness overcame us a few weeks ago when we came upon an article of this kind in the Wiarus. The article was entitled "Chamy" (Peasants), and was illustrated with the picture of a gallows for debtors. Pictures such as this 9should be kept out of a paper, for their publication will destroy rather than promote good will. To indulge in this, throws a paper out of the road of stars of the path to fame and popularity for poking fun at others has never brought any laurels to anyone. One can operate on a boil only with a delicate instrument, not with a rod or a mace. A boil can be burst open with a stick, but the patient runs the risk of being mortally wounded. Such procedure would not be a medical feat,-it would, be murder. And what about the rod that has been wielded by the author of 'Chamy'? What will be its result? Since hatred and scandal follow vengeance and dishonor, the author's reward will be nothing but disgrace.
The only remedy is to forgive and to forget these mistakes. We entertain the hope that the Wiarus will alter its policies in the future for its own good and the good of its readers, its crude rod to be replaced by the delicate pen as an instrument of operation. Not until then will the evils of society be treated successfully. Providence has given editors more than one measure of talent. Let them use it in the name of God, for the profit of their 10readers and the betterment of the people.
There are two Polish dailies in the United States: the Dziennik Chicagoski [in Chicago] and the Polish Courier in Milwaukee. About the first we will not try to write any comment, as we hope the day will come when some Polish person of authority will write to the editors of this paper stating his opinion, pointing out the bad and giving us credit for the good. We shall be grateful for any criticism, provided it is just, for we know that a few editors pattern their style of news after that of Mr. Slisz.
The Polish Courier, although small in size, plays an important part among the Poles of Milwaukee. Its literary style is comparatively good, and it follows its aims and policies to the letter. In our opinion, this paper deserves the support of the Poles, Its editorial section shows maturity; its style is bright and understandable; its criticisms not severe; its writings impersonal, even though at times the bitter truth has to be told 11about some papers and individuals. But all this is done without insult to anyone.
The Courier's editorials, which appear daily, are intelligently written. Their meaning is understood by the average reader. The popularity of its editorial section and other features is well deserved and worthy of mention. The road to this editorial page has not been an easy one, but one full of hardships and freelancing. Important articles from other papers are given and reference made to their sources. A publication that treats everything with fairness, as well as the men who represent it, not only deserves support but also merits praise for its efforts.
In order to give the readers an example typical of the treatment the Courier gives to various important questions, we will cite excerpts from one of its articles.12
The article in question deals with the work of Father V. Barzynski, whose efforts to bring the Poles closer together have brought many jeers from some papers of importance. The Polish Courier in Milwaukee treats the matter as follows:
"The benefits of the attempt of the Poles to share the olive branch are so apparent that no one is trying to distract his neighbor from that direction. The results of the protest against Russia are so outstanding that it would take an abnormal person to disregard them. For they flow with the understanding of Polish hearts and patriotism. Truly it is something to be regarded as good.
"Yet, the efforts of Father Barzynski are considered fancy creations of the mind; the protest question being taken as an undertaking doomed to failure, despite the fact that the Polish press, even the liberal New Life (Nowe Zycie), 13has accepted and recognized both.
"This kind of propaganda fails to succeed because it lacks observance of formality on the part of the initiators, who injure the pride of those who control the right of patriotism. The seed of this propaganda fell upon unfavorable soil, a soil overgrown with the weeds of private warped views full of low ambition and culpable selfishness. The idea of peace was interpreted as a desire to fuse various groups, to discontinue the struggle for certain rights and to put fire and water together. The protest was taken as a move harmful to the good will of our people and unsuitable to the task of rehabilitating Poland. Manifestoes filled with fancy phraseology which could hardly gain a single applause began to appear. Pobudki (Inciter) and Wolnego Slowa (Free Word), papers which are not read by anyone in this country, became in the eyes of some of our leaders the last word in patriotism.
"This situation is sad but true. Some men like to become great through their ideals alone, and in the attempt they necessarily clash with others. Soon 14heated arguments result, and out of them chaos, from which nothing of value will come."
In order to show with what fairness the Polish Courier treats certain news, we will give another example.
In the every day routine of an immigrant, many situations arise. Many times it happens that the revelation from the immigrant's own judgment, conviction, or mere opinion, carries with it many unpleasant consequences.
We live in a country where lies and sophisms are more favored than truth and sincerity. When a person of our Catholic faith makes a conservative statement relative to a popular question of the day, he is immediately showered with criticism from all sides, including the liberal, the non-religious, and even the anarchical factions.
The affair, or rather scandal, of the apostasy of the Holy Trinity parish of 15Chicago is well known to all. A majority of our people are familiar with the entire situation and many of them lament the outcome because they see and feel the kind of fate, verily disgrace that awaits our immigrants. But as soon as someone from the conservative side raises his voice against this disgraceful schism, or just permits someone to mention a favorable word or a word of admonishment, he is received with a barrage of blasphemous insults, which pagans even avoid to use. He will be called narrow-minded; a servant and a slave of the priests. This same thing happens to the priest who tries to voice his opinion; he will be greeted with epithets of obstructor, greedy, parvenue, and extortioner. Therefore, it is laudable that the Courier, which has no affiliation whatsoever, keeps to the road it now follows, i. e., that it continue treating delicate subjects not only with sincerity but also with the power of conviction and truth.
The Zgoda, organ of the Polish National Alliance, has made public a scandalous 16announcement about some kind of non-religious parish committee, alleged to be the source of a Protestant questionnaire. The committee's headquarters were closed by the authorities of the Holy Trinity Parish, but the body operates without the latter's knowledge and permission. The purpose of this committee is to get a new pastor for the church. While making a bid for priests, the committee at the same time stipulates as a conditions that the priest to take over the parish must be independent from other priests, especially from the church authorities of Kolasinski, in Detroit.
We did not say a word about this because we do not want to be open to any new attacks and intrigues, but the Polish Courier of Milwaukee comes to our assistance as follows;
"The parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago are looking for a "Catholic" pastor. They are advertising in certain Polish newspapers that belong to the association of Polish editors. The Zgoda, which received the blessing of a Catholic bishop at the last diet in Detroit for its work, belongs in this group 17by also carrying the advertisement. Among the requirements demanded of a candidate, we do not see the one requiring that he be installed by the authority of the Church. Parishes get their priests through the mediation of a bishop, not by public vote. Because of this, we have reason to believe that something unpleasant is brewing in Chicago, especially since we have been informed that the parishioners are contemplating legal action in the Chicago courts to force the Archbishop to relinquish his title to the church and grounds of the Holy Trinity Parish. No light is thrown upon this situation by any of the Chicago papers. What is this all about?"
We have already explained the reason why the Polish papers of Chicago have kept silent about this matter.
A reply to the Polish National Alliance by "The will of the people," has also been left alone. No mention has been made of the affair because the manifestos given to the people by Zgoda have been written in the spirit of Slisz and Malek. This style of writing moves us to laughter and pity, for we are used to usurpers and their empty idiotic phrases. The Courier, upon commenting on this question 18says: "We do not agree with the Alliance's idea that it is 'the only organization formed by the will of the Polish people in America,'
As we cannot see how we could deny the same right to the Polish Roman-Catholic Union or other organizations.
"We also do not agree with the type of treatment given to the European political situation by the Central Committee.
"It is true that we stand on the cross roads and that European relations can change any minute the entire course of the situation, as it is, we lack sufficient data to substantiate rumors about the rebuilding of Poland. The small number of Poles scattered in France and Switzerland can not exert enough pressure to alter the present political set-up.
"For Poland the days of conspiracy, rebellion and insurrection are gone forever.19
The Polish people will not be sidetracked from their present road of organization by the Knout of the Tsar, the lofty promises of Wilhelm and Franz Joseph, or the latest suggestion of the Central Committee of the Polish National Alliance.
"This suggestion, lacking in intelligent action and abounding in empty phrases, does not bring any laurels to the Polish people in America, for it does not tend to unite those who have been guided by a spirit of patriotism. In other words, it is not in line with the conservative faction, which has agreed upon a resonable method of protest against Russian violence, a method formulated by the Polish Catholic societies and supported by all Polish papers of importance."
In another article of the Courier, written in a pleasant style and under the title "The Polish People and Immigration," this paper deals in the following manner with Polish revolutionists who desire to create new revolts by propaganda and uprisings in the ranks of our already unfortunate people:20
"What right have we to determine the fate of our people? What right to take interest in a political policy that will only bring bloodshed to the people of Poland? Is it because we have a large group in the ranks of the Alliance, the Union, and other similar organizations? Do these organizations expect to boast of a strong character just because they have incorporated in their constitutions the rebuilding of Poland?
"It is evident that we must do something. In view of this, we are doing everything within our power, but we are not prepared to tackle anything unfamiliar that spells inevitable failure and that will only bring ridicule upon us. Our ship in America is too weak to withstand the elements of the raging sea; we must protect it from falling apart and forget that it is iron-clad.
"Our fortresses are our Polish churches, schools, reading-rooms, books, and periodicals. Let us protect these strongholds and unite for greater protection 21by banding together in organizations, church or national, as long as they are Polish.
"Whoever is making declamations about rebuilding the Polish nation and at the same time discredits the efforts of the priest or teacher, performs no public good. The person who supports the church and at the same time despises activity in the cultural field or other national endeavor, also serves no good. And the one who serves only his own clique and ridicules the efforts of his neighbor, sows the seed of weed upon the place where hardy seeds of fruit and clover should sprout."
In concluding this critical study of the Polish Courier in Milwaukee, we can only thank its editorial staff for shouldering the responsibilities of telling the bitter truth to our adversaries. This ought to serve a much better purpose because not one faction made an attempt to disclose the truth, although they were familiar with the situation.
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