[Politics in the arts]

Saturday, October 30, 1954

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

Seldes discusses politics. New York Herald Tribune is a traditionally Republican newspaper. Political bias in news coverage. Hearing covering whether or not crime dramas are increasing juvenile delinquency. FCC's responsibility. Job of a broadcasting "tsar." The air is our air, and we have set up guardians of the air only technically, to see that broadcasting is done so that we can get programs, not what those programs can be. A code for broadcasting. It is dangerous to elect a tsar to control programming. An organization says that a show with "mental poison" costs more to produce than many of the "best" programs for children. Juvenile delinquency exists where there is no television at all. Faint connection between horror books and juvenile delinquency. Broadcaster should try to find out if this connection exists. Possibility that, in the case of two shows on at the same time with the same content. Laws should take in to consideration audience convenience. Sunday afternoon belongs to the egghead. Criticism of a Mark Van Doren show.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71495
Municipal archives id: LT3115

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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