[Science and communication]

Tuesday, March 27, 1956

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

Seldes discusses receiving several anonymous letters that question his political affiliations, he jokes about a cold that has been troubling him, and then discusses a letter from a teacher. The letter is regarding Seldes mention of the poor portrayal of teachers in media. The teacher goes on to lament the difficulties of getting students to pursue maths and sciences.
This leads Seldes to discuss the relationship between teaching and the communication arts.
He discusses the relationship between science and culture. He notes that the current number of American engineers versus Soviet engineers is quite low. We are losing the "battle of the PhDs."
Seldes returns to a subject discussed the previous week - noise and redundancy, and individual's natural tendency to hear things through their own personal filter. He speaks of briefly of computers and their synthesis of information.

Finally, he tells a story about Steve Allen and Fred Allen.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70602
Municipal archives id: LT7556

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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