[Language on the radio]

Monday, December 07, 1953

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

Seldes discusses phrases used on the air. These talks are more or less ad-libbed. He has some notes he wants to talk about, and he has a rather glancing mind. The result is that some minor items don't get mentioned at all. Those mount up until he feels he hasn't done his job well at all. Admiration for a Dylan Thomas program on television. Admiration for "Omnibus" and Jack Benny. Admiration for a program about the ACLU.

Avoids circumlocutions. Jacqes Barzun article about the use of language. The word "process" used as a verb. Rudyard Kipling's use of language, creating verbs from nouns. More examples of objectionable use of language in television, radio, and advertising. Lubitsch touch.

A new profession: the "personality."

Death of Eugene O'Neill.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71509
Municipal archives id: LT3081

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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