This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Maurice Dolbier introduces Caroline Bird, author of "The Invisible Scar," a work about the Great Depression. She discusses the difficulties of gaining employment during the Depression - particularly, she notes the impact on women. She also discusses the role of sex during the depression, for both the married and unmarried. She says that the risks were much higher and that having more than two children were a luxury.
She contrasts the generation of the Depression to the one that followed. Bird sounds almost sentimental about the generation who grew up in the thirties - she describes a closeness with neighbors and a spirit of unity that no longer exists. She describes her generation's clear goals, which are a contrast to the generations born during the Depression and those born after World War II. The Depression babies yearn for attention, and the baby boomers - the generation raised with television, and who protest simply to protest. She describes them as selfish, she insinuates that they are not truly interested in racial equality and the plight of the Vietnamese, and rather just crave attention and expect the middle-aged liberal to fix things.
Next, Dolbier introduces Dr. Eric Berne, author of the bestseller, "Games People Play."Berne discusses how he became a poet and writer and eventually a psychiatrist, then describes the mapping of interpersonal relationships which lead to the book and the development of transactional analysis.
Finally, Dolbier introduces Elie Abel to speak. Author of "The Missile Crisis," Abel shares his thoughts about book publication. He speaks also of the reviews, noting that he doesn't understand the term "nonfiction novel." He speaks about President Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the process of writing a present history.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71394
Municipal archives id: T2549
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Mater edition of The Herald Tribune a B a book and author luncheon a panel of America's leading social scientists wrote in the spring of nineteen twenty nine A nine hundred fifty page study of the country's economy it found our situation fortunate and our momentum remarkable there was a pause of several months between the writing about book and its publication and by the time it appeared our situation was remarkable and our momentum unfortunate downhill all the way the Wall Street crash had come and the Great Depression had begun an event that in Carolyn bird's eye view packed a big a wallop that anything else would happen in America between the civil war and the atom bomb why it happened how it happened how it affected individuals in every walk of life how it was met by America's political leadership how it was ended when World War two began these things were described with great clarity and in copious detail in Mr Byrd's book but also and as importantly the author tells how and why these painful years were forgotten so soon by so many Americans although the great depressions effects some invisible some highly visible still remain to influence the destiny of what we hope to call the Great Society it is my pleasure to present to the author of the in this a postcard Miss Caroline Byrd. For nearly four years now I've been asking people my age what they were doing in the Great Depression at first they are startled What do you want to write about that for they say that's something I want to forget but it isn't very long before they remember something that happened back then and pretty soon they are telling you how tough things were. People tell the stories with a certain amount of relish some of them are even gay Earl Wilson the columnist save the Christmas cards he got and mailed them back to their senders the following Christmas to save money but some of them are humiliating too I remember coming home from college unexpectedly and discovering by accident that my parents did not heap the up stairs of our house when I was away banks were closing up and people certain simply weren't paying their lawyers one day a truck came up to the house with some huge dreadful old paintings my father had taken in payment for some legal work by that time I was working in my father's office because he couldn't pay the secretary we couldn't afford to pay the cook either but she stayed on because she had no other place to go people thought of all sorts of ways to get money for college farmers paid their children situation in eggs the college could see distance families a silver tactic medical students sell their blood if you couldn't get a summer job you could try selling something on commission in those days the fellow peddling real silk stockings at the door really was working his way through college landing a job of the stroke of luck the most encouraging thing President Hoover could think of to say to an audience of college boys was it the people who had jobs would die off some day so if they waited long enough they'd have a chance we used to argue about whether it was better to show that you really needed the job or make as if you were all ways you could do the work of two for the price of one a lot of people thought we could solve the problem of unemployment by sending all the married women home and giving their jobs to a married man I know girls who took their wedding rings off the morning after the wedding to look for a job schoolteachers had to quit and they married some of the married secretly and lived in fear they would be found out. And gossip had it that some were so afraid that they just lived in Centurion after you landed a job you had to hold it what the experts called labor discipline was simply smashing office girls came to work on time even in snowstorms they had eaten breakfast and remove their curlers they were fully clothed they were so afraid of being caught using the phone for personal calls that they made them without bothering anyone they could always be found at their desks they stayed where you could find them instead of gossiping in the halls they did not take time off to go to the dentist or the psychoanalyst they brought their lunches in brown paper bags and ate them in the ladies' room and they never complains at least out loud over late hours or extra work because they knew there was always someone waiting around the corner who would be only too glad to take the job in some ways the worst of it was that young people had to wait a long time to get married furniture was not one of the things that were cheap in the Depression you had to have cash for it people who brought their French were on the installment plan reckless what would happen if they lost their jobs right thinking young man thought he ought to have a thousand dollars saved up start housekeeping but it took a long time to save it up on fifteen dollars a week in Gage means we're long in the big question facing the young people whether they ought to wait for marriage but soon took money most young people did not have cars of their own contraceptives were not as reliable as they are now so if you didn't wait you had to worry. Sex with her to get in return your minute is now and it is my impression that it was a little more exciting. Like the other good things of life sex is taken for granted by young people now I don't think they even call it topic anymore. It wasn't just the unmarried who worried most young couples didn't think they could afford to have a baby whilst weren't supposed to work but many marriages were possible because they did for them a baby with a natural disaster income down expenses up as soon as you got pregnant people started telling you how much you'd probably have to spend straightening the baby scene someday. And even if you are rich there is something positively indecent about having more than two children once people start talking about the bad old days you simply can't stop them sooner or later there are they always get around to young people today and how they have it so good the kids now expect to have everything handed to them if they don't like the work they want to stay at the job it's our fault because we spoil them we had a hard time with a builder character and it's about time somebody told them what it used to be like I could see some of these people handing my book to their children but I couldn't see the children really and I couldn't see them thrilling over the troubles they didn't have the will to grow up their character. But my surprise the college kids I met didn't the same nobody had told them that their parents roll their own cigarettes and repair their own shoes or that in many families Christmas is the time you got your winter clothes nobody had told them that some grey haired hundreds they considered stopping at study communism when they were young because they thought the Russians had the answer and we did not and it sounded pretty quite that some people in this country actually thought the only point would start a revolution. But mainly they were interested in us and how we had taken it all you were the one who had it so good right college girl burst out once you had a depression we kids have nothing. She said to pair father is branded a silence there she was off all of which are the current of fellowship and an airline ticket Italy everything I could have wanted at her age and her it was nothing but good about the depression not the hardships in waiting and doing without of course but something that are gone with them something she sensed in our talk that we did not realize we were saying I began to try listening to myself with her ears and I began to hear values that are rare today first of all we talk as if we've been personally involved with the people around us people always draw together when they're threatened and I think our friendship show that we dance she could cheek instead of doing double solos on the dance floor we make the whole depression sound like a long blackout a transit strike and strangers pitching in to help each other things weren't so well organized then which meant the people were not so well protected from each other the boss may have been a tyrant but he stood there larger than life and you could get mad at him today he was a personnel system and you can't have so much fun getting mad at the system and then I think we sound as if we've been closer to real life than young people are allowed to get day we did not have to go kiting off to Africa to make personal contribution when we got a job and they had been dull but it was real We're not pretend we're cooked up to train us youngsters don't know much about our political activities in the thirty's but I think they might be interested because some of our causes are coming back in the fashion. Politics were real it meant doing something to make jobs and that meant you and your family neighbors gathered around the radio to hear Roosevelt talk some because they didn't have a radio of their own and some simply to share the excitement today politics has become a sort of spectator sport unless you're a Negro or a draft dated isn't going to change your life I'm sure to the young finest amusing like pop art we must sound divinely square and looking back we really were terribly serious and terribly simple we knew right from wrong the big issues were as clear as a Saturday Evening Post cover or if you prefer a post office mural of social significance painted by an artist on the B.P.A. there were things we didn't understand but we were sure we could figure them out in time now the world is full of problems you can't ever unravel like the intentions of the Chinese Communists but the biggest thing young people in the I think is that we knew what we wanted we wanted college a job decent working conditions a home of our own security some of the goodies in the ads and a set up that made all these good things easier to get for everybody well look at us now we've got almost all of it with the exception of the hereditary poor the people the new deal just forgot most of us don't have to make a soup superhuman effort to keep body and soul together the material things we yearn for have become the casual birthright of the younger generations following us I say generations because you have to distinguish between two First there is a slim crop of depression babies we had when we finally got around to having children they were around thirty now and very busy seeing their big families through school and taking on responsibilities at work. Then there are the war babies born in the baby boom of the late forties they are in their teens and twenties now and very busy getting into college and screaming in the streets the Depression babies in the war babies are as different as the Times in which they were born but neither has reacted affluence the way we think we would have reacted if we had had it is good as a our own children the Depression babies were too cool for us they were too eager Pradelle security too apathetic politically too wrapped up in their babies and cars and washing machines too compliant to bureaucracy at work and togetherness at home it seemed to us we had not bought Depression and War with this mess of pottage we call them names conformist organization Men the uncommitted the other directed We did not want to admit that we were the ones who were taught them to grab we did not want to admit that they responded not to what we said we believe but to the yearning for the things we had missed they sensed in us the war babies are even more dismaying they are too hot for us they create the things we yearn for likely next they expect them to court come along effortlessly like the procession of boxes that roll towards them when they were babies writing in supermarket carts they are politically incorrect but not like we were when we were young we probably had say we shake the system but now the system seems all too solid and needs no help from them they are against the system because it leaves them out they sympathize with Negroes in the poor not because these victims need their help that because they are fellow exiles who have been left out of forgotten to their goal is not reform it is much simpler all they want is attention. They're the first adults who are kept quiet as babies by television they have to act every thing out they don't talk as much as we did instead they sit in and lie down and burn draft cards and they jump up and down on the dance floor they shock us by frankly admitting that they are protesting for the sake of protest doing something about their protest it's up to us not them they don't seem to be as interested in civil rights or voice in the colored ministration or the rights of yet not me he says they are in embarrassing us. And he's a duck to burn the war boom babies are playing a game well known to the parent of every four year old the game could be called I'm so bad you got to look at me to this day had another game that makes us furious this game could be called no matter how you try you can understand me in both games are attracted to children whose parents buy them a lot of toys so they'll run away and play and not bother the grown ups both are game to middle age liberal can't win the only thing for us to do is to give up the game of understanding mother and confess that we're dating. If anyone were to write a history of sequels and some desperate graduate student may do it yet I think you'd find the Dr Burns experience as a unique one some years ago Dr Byrne wrote a book called transactional analysis and psychotherapy I don't know how many copies it sold I imagine the figure was a modest one so I did sell extensively in colleges then he wrote a stick will which as of today has been on the bestseller list for thirty three weeks is in its twenty first printing has two hundred seventy five thousand copies in print and is selling well over one thousand copies a day. This book was called games people play and the games that refers to as you all know by this time are not according to Hoyle and certainly have nothing to do with a mock was of Queensbury they are the extraordinary old nerdy games that people play in their social into cause they are inductive tunes with a series of moves with the snare all gimmick at the end and they're all basically dishonest Dr Ben is often aims for the game's names that include Look what you've done to me now Gio wonderfulness to make a Troy and let's you and him fight the object of his book is informational and therapeutic he says he says it is hoped to provide insight rather than ammunition Broadway produces boy and Martin noted such previous game shows as Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying have the optical plans but Dr Brown's book which would be adapted by Peter Stone the librettist th