[Army - McCarthy TV coverage]

Monday, June 07, 1954

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes mentions the Army - McCarthy trial coverage on television.

He moves on to talk about the Dodd Hearings / Reece Committee. He describes the foundations being investigated as ones which often fund scientific exploration and support other fields in a way no other organizations do. He describes the hearings as "investigating the right of people to investigate."

Seldes speaks positively of variety and change. Perfection is less important.

He then moves to a discussion of stereotypes. He talks about McCalls magazine, which is positioning itself as the magazine for women and the home, through a recent 8-page article about the man's place in the home. He talks about the stereotype that men should not assist in household chores. He talks about the male phobia of being called a sissy, and those stereotypes of the mother.

Seldes moves back to the discussion of foundations. The foundations, he argues, move away from the stereotypes. They fund 16mm film work - such as documentaries, which is a contrast to the fiction film.

Seldes speaks against an effort to stop people from thinking. He also mentions the Kinsey Report, which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

He then discusses television viewership of the McCarthy - Army hearings. He believes that television stations should be required to air this sort of public event, even at a financial loss to the network. Seldes recommends that a network pool could have been created so that no station lost too much of their regular air time. The networks, however, do not like to admit that other networks exist.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71531
Municipal archives id: LT3101

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


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About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


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