[Albert Einstein's influence]
Saturday, April 23, 1955
This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Gilbert Seldes says there is no obvious connection between the scientific work of Einstein and the popular arts. His work is so remote from what even the most educated person knows anything about. Einstein is a universally known person. Herald Tribune printed one of his great theories took up two pages of formula - astounding feat in journalism. One thing that was referred to several times - a saying "God doesn't play tricks." There has to be an orderly world. Give us the formula for the order that prevents us from thinking that nature works by whim. Seldes is surprised that no one brought up the opposite view found in an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "the dice of the gods are always loaded." Very cynical statement - opposite of Einstein's saying. Interpreted: any game that we attempt to play, the gods will get theirs first. Important to people who believe in education to be watchful of what our mass media does to people. Reads part of an article by Frederick C. Othman.
Seldes talks about juvenile delinquency. Murder movies gives children an outlet for their emotions, while Snow White does not. This is credited to Eleanor E. Maccoby of Harvard University. Testified before committee investigating the alleged bad effect of television on the young. Children average two hours a day watching tv. A child learned her first word, "cake" from a television. Seldes sees no relevance to television's effect. Dr. Maccoby discusses a case about two boys who tied up their little brother like they saw on television. Clergyman reading a detective story. Any difference between him and the boy watching a violence on television? Dr. Maccoby claims "no." Both were obtaining emotional outlets which were good for them. Talks about educational and cultural programs. Report titled, "Unwary kids get shots of culture." Must have been about the time the Salk vaccine was being talked about. Talks about a kid who learned about della Robbia on the Pinky Lee Show. Talks about Howdy Doody teaches natural science in rhymes. These songs are to be sold on records. This is what education is. You have to get it when you are not paying attention.
Seldes talks about progressive schools - they are on the right track, if not absolutely right. Many who equate progressive education with radicalism. The great decisions on radio and television should be discussed on radio and television.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70365
Municipal archives id: LT6404