[Scrabble and books]

Wednesday, September 02, 1953

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

Seldes discusses a new use for the game Scrabble: you can play it against yourself while watching television. Two ways of passing the time in which you do positively no harm at all. New ways of playing the game.

Books he read on the way to Canada about John Maynard Keynes and taxation. Canadians keep the tax rate high and invest that money.

Deficiencies in his education, specifically the history of the United States. You can go through college without learning the scientific method. Freshman course in Economics. Come out of college unprepared, but an aesthete.

He is probably the only person to write a completely stupid review of a book by Gertrude Stein, "Tender Buttons." A letter to Stein from Mabel Dodge (?). Overvaluation of art drives people away from it.

Almost every person who came in to contact with Stein felt his or her life had been changed.

Editors at the time just didn't dig her at first. She was symbolic of the ex-pat in France.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71538
Municipal archives id: LT3625

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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