This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Richard Powell, author most recently of "I Take this Land," discusses women. He speaks of the two archetypes in the masculine mind: the 'femme fatale' and the 'little woman.' These, he notes, do not really exist. He goes on to discuss feminine idea of women - an unappreciated creature struggling through life - which he also deems inaccurate. This leads to a comparison of the sexes, which places women as the better sex. He uses the Greek gods and Biblical stories and folklore to illustrate these points.
His satirical speech argues that this is a "woman's world" after all, arguing that it was woman that developed agriculture and held the understanding of how babies were created. He says, that while women lost power when they lost this mystique they gained the power of wives. If women ever decided to move into the work force in large number they would take over.
Next, Walter Slezak, discusses his autobiography "What Time's the Next Swan?" An actor, Slezak gives a comedic speech about how he came to write his book. He notes that writers have much more dignity than actors, mentioning his role in "Bedtime for Bonzo." He compares the reviews process for actors vs. writers.
Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., author of "The Age of Jackson" and "The Age of Roosevelt" speaks about the role of the historian.
For more on Schlesinger please see: http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/neh-preservation-project/2012/dec/19/arthur-schlesinger-jr/
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70965
Municipal archives id: LT9508
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Philadelphia. Is a city that during the past month they have to parochial or have a defense of New York of the come quite knowledgeable about it. And we now know more about Philadelphia perhaps than we really want to know. At least those of us who don't now know more about Newark than we really want to know. This applies only to an accumulation of facts New Yorkers find Philadelphia delightful as a fictitious city. As was evidenced when I first speaker's first novel became a bestseller here some years back it was called the Philadelphia Richard power was born in Philadelphia in ninety eight graduated from Princeton in one hundred thirty worked for ten years in the staff of the Philadelphia even the ledger served during the war with the board apartments bureau public relations and with General MacArthur's public relations office in the Southwest Pacific following the war he became vice president of charge of Information Services at the N.W. end so an advertising agency a position from which he retired in one nine hundred fifty eight to devote full time to writing his novels have included pioneer go home and the soldier its latest book is along with exciting Chronicle novel about the conquest and development of southwest Florida from eight hundred ninety five to nine hundred forty six called I take this lead it is my pleasure to present our first speaker of the New Year Mr Richard public. Thank you very much for stopping ladies and gentlemen. Today I am going to talk about women that make sure of women. Is the most interesting and least understood subject of any on which the human race can get a lot of first hand information let's look for example at the average man's idea of the nature of the Web deep in his heart a man carries a portrait of two idealized women one is a fallen fatality the creature of great sex appeal who drives other mad mad but who cannot resist him as the other portrait is of the Little Woman of the class and happy and patient creature who asks nothing more of life than to serve her man do these two creatures exist and do. But man is continually seeking them and the search colors his attitude toward all women not finding these two perfect creatures he decides that. It's woman's fault that his search is a failure and he decided that women could meet one of his two ideals if they would only stop being frivolous extravagant talkative gossipy emotional nagging tearful and unpredictable. Well there we had the average man's reaction to women now how do women look on themselves I could go into a lot of psychological proof of what I'm about to say but since all that you ladies have to do. To prove my statement is to examine your own thoughts we can dispense with the preliminaries. So here we go the average woman looks upon herself as a rather unappreciated creature who is struggling bravely through life. Now that we're all in agreement on this. Let me add that this time and concept is just as wrong as any of the masculine ideas about women what are women really like let's not waste time on the well proven fact that women are healthier than men and live longer that they spend most of the nation's income and on most of the nation's wealth these are dispiriting things for a man to think about. Instead let me compare the basic traits of men and women it's widely believed that women are romantic creatures they are not they're very realistic it's men who are romantic it's widely believed at least by men that women are impractical this also is wrong when they are far more practical than men I don't claim that men are impractical I merely wish to point out that men are hindered from being really practical by a strong trait of sentimental ism which women do not have women are conservative men tend to be reckless women are highly civilized men are rather primitive creatures and would like to be even more primitive if women would only let them. Now let's see if we can prove all these claims we cannot prove them by taking testimony directly from each sex because each sect would lie too much. What we have to do is look over the history of the human race and examine testimony which neither sex thought it was giving. To get the truth about men and women we have to catch the human race off balance and unprepared to tell lies and this isn't easy. It can be done however and the way to do it is to look at the great figures of mythology and literature and folklore. And see what we find there because in creating Gods and Goddess's heroes and heroines and recognizing them throughout history as archetypes of their kind. The human race unconsciously testifies to the truth anyone who studies Greek and Roman mythology cannot fail to be struck by the fact that the goddesses represent all that is civilized and praiseworthy whereas most of the gods are some things primitive woman chasing drunken louts. But the leader of the gods in Zeus or Jupiter and he's the turnip Playboy in fact he's the originator of a classic theme of comedy that of a husband who cheats on his wife and gets caught at it in embarrassing situations and what is due to the God of Wiley God of the thunderbolt rather useless thing when you come to think of it. Now however when you come to his wife here or Juno you find that she is God it's a practical things marriage and maternity. Apollo going back to the man is god of song music and poetry a collection of the practical arts Aries or Mars it God of War the most primitive activity of mankind Mars needs weapons so we have had to fight this or Vulcan The God of the fire forge Hermes or Mercury is the patron of merchants of eloquence of conning fraud and incest. Dayana sister Backus it God of Wine and drunkenness there's very little here for men to be proud of and these assignments of duty seem to bear out the claim that men are romantic sentimental reckless and primitive the goddesses on the other hand have nearly all the practical useful and civilized duties we've already noted that they do know is in charge of marriage and maternity arguments or Diana's goddess of chastity morality the harvest and the forest Aphrodite or Venus is Goddess of Love as seen or Minerva God of the wisdom and all the useful arts the major or series is the goddess of agriculture now if we jump from novelist to the Garden of Eden we find a similar situation according to the second and third chapters of Genesis Adam apparently had very few original urges except to lie around eating and sleeping a state of being which many Manchu out history along the return. Adam may have looked at the tree of knowledge which he was forbidden to touch but obviously he had no interest in knowledge it was up to leave to do the investigating and to sample the fruit and give some to Adam and it seems unlikely that any eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge that Adam took as many fights as he did. Now if you examine the great story the folklore and the case for women being smarter and more realistic and more practical the man stands up quite well. Who is the important person in the story of Goldilocks and the three there who comes out ahead Little Red Riding-Hood or that perfect male types the big bad wolf. Who wins in the story of Blue Beard and his seventh wife who outwits home and the legend of show how it's not a and the Kaleb of Baghdad who is the star of the fable of Cinderella in which the hero is nothing more than a sort of glorified shoe clerk. Well all this evidence proves that women are more practical and more sensible and smarter than men but if women do have these advantages over men why isn't this a woman's world rather than a man's world the fact is and I realize that every woman here is going to be neither hot light that this is a woman's world. We can prove it very easily if it were really a man's world or would it be like this one not at all a man's world would be a primitive place it would have a lot of bar S. where a man could hunt whenever a pleased and streams and lakes where he could go fishing here and there and this wilderness would be cabins where a man could get comfortably drunk and sit around telling lies to his friends about is very sex toys. Actually in a man's world and every man would have a harem. Incidentally this harem concept which is so popular among men is one more proof of man's impractical nature because men simply aren't up to it. Well that's what a man's world would be like and I again point out that the real world is very different but man keep trying to reach this dream world by going off on hunting and fishing trips men are forever trying to get back to the primitive life while women are forever trying to achieve a more civilized one. Once upon a time the hunting and fishing world really existed what happened to it well the anthropologists tell us that women gathered berries and nuts and edible seeds while men were out hunting and fishing and probably by the chance dropping of berries and seeds in fertile soil women found they could grow crops and there seems to be no doubt that women developed agriculture all the old religions of course have a goddess of agriculture rather than a god the anthropologists also tell us that for countless centuries during the early history of the human race only women knew the secret of how babies were created during this time the structure of society was not meant to be archaic in one way it may have been on the stake when women finally let men in on the secret. Because it gave men that they got the idea that they played an important role in the creation of babies. And when men learned that. Women didn't create babies just on their own out of thin air men stopped thinking that women had magical powers so women had a loss there but however in exchange for this loss of power as magicians women gain something much more important our lives and this as all married men can testify they have never lost are women smarter than men they had to be because men started with they I did with the advantage of greater physical strength so and don't last Ikeda a man women had to turn Men's of strength into a source of weakness for them and they did this by inventing a technique which we might call they owe you a great big strong man technique. And this turns almost any man weak and helpless. It's true that women have not been responsible for all the developments of civilization but only for the ones that interested them no woman is going to sail off to try to discover a new world when her present world needs a new set of curtains. At least this has been the case until recently in the past when I have allowed men to handle business and trade in the professions because women were interested in things of more practical value to them but if women ever do decide to enter the business and trade in the professions in real force and to apply to these activities all the practical and realistic talents then great changes are coming it's true that today the career woman bumps into difficulties in the business world that men don't meet but those who decided to make a career of business are relatively few in number and they're invading an area where until now men have made the rules I have no doubt that if great numbers of women decide to make a career out of business the rules are going to be changed when they're too smart to allow men to continue to set the rules for any activity in which women want to engage I hope that I've given you a little food for thought with this talk in closing I would like to point out that as a man I don't believe a single word of what I've been saying thank you very much and. Early in the one nine hundred twenty S. a nineteen year old youth who worked in a Viennese Bank met in a Viennese by. A motion picture director who wanted a beautiful young man to play in a film called Sodom and Gomorrah. Before the decade was over the world of finance would succumb to other dictators but it had escaped this way also slaves I became an actor not a banker as an actor he has achieved fame in many fields motion pictures plays radio and television opera and musical comedy and now he's well rounded career has entered another phase of office. He has written one of the most entertaining books you'll find anybody on the status quo pop times the next swarm I want to slice like I was told to Smith corrode on Model eighty eight. It is not only a charming and candid autobiography but a biographical tribute to his father the great operatic kind of player slaves I was a giant instructor of as intruders ladies and gentlemen a man who thinks the world is wonderful friend of yours and he's around just what it's like thank you. Thank you very much Mr Dudley and. It's wonderful to be we have introduced I was in the election to enough alone to go and the president of the club that hired me went up to the lectern and straight from a cocktail party and she was a little higher than that she was not how she was drunk. And she clutched the lectern and she said Water sleighs I was born at that early age. And then she fell on the floor. And not I would like to talk to you about something that is very dear to my heart the sale of my book. First I have to explain to you how an actor gets to write a book it's not an everyday occurrence actually. It started with my sensible attitude towards children we have a friend of the very last minute I believe Gene Kirk where I don't have to explain to anybody and one day Jean who has five children we only have three we killed on production after the third. Called me and said Walter I have twelve kids coming in for lunch what do I get. I said Fife elf plastic bags. And there was another time when I was in the hospital having my appendix sticking out in the few days after the operation there was a knock at the door of my room. And I didn't answer right away and there was a strong but not family said Come in and a strange nurse I had never seen before walked in put down the basin took off my blanket took off my shirt and even a sponge bath when she was all through and walked out from the door I said to her why did you not been. In an open. Now to. These two stories Jean career about two and a half years ago told at the luncheon where can McCormack was present and being terribly intelligent and brilliant man he said you think there's a book in him. And she. Got out of the I think there is called him up well Mr McCormick took me to lunch a very good laughs incidentally and suddenly he said I will give you. A thousand dollars if you write the book for me. And I took the money and only wrote the book he doesn't want to give back the money. Now the first thing I discovered in my new career as an actor and as a writer is that a writer has much more dignity than an actor you see things can happen to an actor that can never happen to a writer I was in Hollywood once and of course stop with the sheen pansy in a picture c