[Low regard for artists, composers, and thinkers in the United States]

Sunday, July 08, 1956

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

Quotation from former ambassador to Russia (Kennan?): the artist, writer, composer, or thinker is held in general low esteem in the United States.

Cover story in Time about the current situation for intellectuals in the United States.

Another article in Time about a radio figure, R. Todd Stortz, who has radio scavenger hunts.

Kennan thinks any artistic development must be connected to international contact. Mass media eradicates divergences that create creativity. Motion pictures and television have a narcotic effect. His program is part of the same system.

McLeash's (?) radio dramas. Jacques Barzun article in Time magazine.

It's nothing new for the cultured person in the United States to retreat himself from society. James Fenimore Cooper and Van Wych Brooks. Mortimer Adler.

At the time of the New Deal, an influx of artistic people, a "brains trust." ALl of us who discourse in anyway value those who do the same.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71534
Municipal archives id: LT7530

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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