Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

We Should Be Ashamed to Be Ill

Condensed fom Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (April '26)

Gerald Stanley Lee

TI

HERE are several ways people can The man who is loose about his own take when a man is not well. health, or other people's health, finds

One way is to laugh at him and he is as intolerable to people as the get him to see that he is a ridiculous

man who is loose about his own money object. If 10,000 men in New York

or about other people's money. would agree tomorrow publicly to People are beginning to look on 111 make fun of fat men in the streets, health in the way they already look so that only people in taxis could af- upon a bad cough in an audience. ford to be fat in New York, everybody People look around and say, "Why did knows what would happen.

you come?" and the time is not far off Another way is to rouse up his in

when ushers will step up to people tolerance, start him up into being

coughing in a theater and say: ashamed of himself.

“This audience and the players are It sounds extreme but when one

asking you to go home. These seats comes, as one does in Samuel Butler's

you have paid for will be reserved for Erewhon, on a whole society regard.

you if you want them two weeks ing a man's being sick an act of ag.

later." gression, it is astonishing how sensi. When it is considered by everyone ble it seems.

unnecessary and shiftless to be ill, it People can already be arrested for

will be bad manners to ask about a spitting and very soon people with

man's health. The weak, kind person colds will be sent home to breathe, or

who meets a really well, chronically be put in jail for doing public breath

robust man in the morning by saying ing.

"How's your health?" will get his

head taken off for it. People already feel there ought to be a law enacted to have a man arrested

The whole clinging idea, even now, in a street-car for spraying a cold at among women-the idea of pitying them.

weakness and deferring to it-has

changed. With the modern girl, a Even a stomachache, though it is

young man who offers to help her over not showy, is quite as much an act

a fence, or around a puddle, takes a of aggression on civilization as a cold.

chance. She waves him aside. Sbe When a man takes the liberty of be

wants to be treated politely-treated ing a father, who is an addict of a

as if she knew how to handle herselt stomachache, a chronic or confirmed

as well as he does. colic-he is committing an act of ag. gression on a nation. He transmits The present spectacle of civilization, a complex of habits to his children, of thousands of contented men bent and to others.

with work, pampering themselves in It is an insult to the next thousand parlors, rolling around in limousines years to be chronically not well. And with their insides burning up, is not society is getting to be as intolerant much longer going to be before our toward a man who compels his stomach eyes.

With our modern knowledge to ache, as his stomach is.

people are getting too ungentimental. Millions of us are seeing the thing as worked out, every man who knows it is and are acting on it. The taboos, anything about business or human styles and customs of society are nature knows that, next to his job, turning the other way. A stampede it is the personal habit a man has for wholesomeness sweeps us along. from day to day that makes or un

makes his value to the factory. The Now the most powerful of all lures

business concerns which first find a in making health catching is the lure

decent way to do something about set. of money.

ting up in each man they employ the Samuel Vauclain, the President of daily habits that keep him fit, are the Baldwin Locomotive Works, whose going to have on their rolls everywhere time at the office is rated as being the pick of the labor and the pick of worth $500 a day, has his office time the executives of the country. contracted for with his doctor. He

In the Dennison Manufacturing pays his doctor a salary of so much

Company the health of the executives a year for keeping him well and gets

is made as definite a part of the man's a rebate every day he is sick.

contract as his salary. A man's health Health is being treated in big busi- comes in as the first part of his job. ness in America reverently, like

When Mr. Vauclain's idea is carmoney. Health is money.

ried through to its logical conclusion Anyone can see what is happening. people will expect to pay a rebate for When a natural and reasonable ar- being bilious on company time. It is rangement like Mr. Vauclain's be- as unpractical in a business way for comes general among large employers a saleswoman to have a headacheto it logically leads to the large employ.

take 30 per cent from her power to er's wanting some similar arrangement

please customers and make sales all for his executives. He wants the men

day and draw pay for it—as it is to he has to work with as fit as he is.

leave the counter at three o'clock and

go and sit down at the movies and This arrangement for executives

draw pay for it. logically leads, as anyone can see, to

The general recognition of a new some similar arrangement for all labor

standard of health as part of common about the place. It is just a matter

honesty in business is taking shape of working out details, and working all around us, and the arrangement men all over the country-union men Mr. Vauclain has made with his doc. and non-union men-will soon be tak- tor is really a typical, standard, raing their doctors as seriously as tional arrangement that all of usVauclain does, regarding doctors as employees and employers would belonging to a really great and serious make if we could. profession and letting their doctors, as Vauclain does, finish their job.

Each man should have his own pri.

vate appetite for health, which makes If working men don't do this, firms itself catching to others. will. Labor turnover will make them. No big company very much longer is

There should be a public conception going to be caught spending three

of the duty and obligation of health. years in educating a sick, unguaran. There should be a personal techteed man-a man they will lose or nique for keeping one's health which as good as lose in a few years—when one knows and is ashamed not to use. with the same time and the same Each man of us can always be sure money, they can educate for the same what he must do, and what he must job a man they could keep 40 or 50 not do, in order to avoid illness. years.

Let each one of us be ashamed to However the technique may

be be ill!

The Strangling of Our Theater

Condensed from Vanity Fair (April '26)

Walter Prichard Eaton

THE

HE American theater today pre- The most picturesque happening sents a curious paradox. On the one in our theater in recent months has

hand, in New York City are more been the foundation of a closed shop playhouses than in any other world among the dramatists, as a direct recapital. On the other hand, outside of sult of conditions caused by the movNew York City, in practically all cities ies. Nearly 200 dramatists have band. of less than 100,000 people, the theater ed together, drawn up a new contract is dead, is non-existent and in most which lodges with them, not the procities up to 1,000,000 population, is ducer, all motion picture rights in rapidly dying.

their plays, and sworn a mighty oath

to have no traffic with any manager Thirty or 40 years ago actors like

who isn't willing to sign on the dotted Edwin Booth played in towns like

line. Scranton and Bridgeport. There was a whole year of profitable business for

The matter came to a head when cera star of a successful play in the one

tain motion picture producers began night stands alone. The local man

to furnish to play producers the coin ager knew the tastes of his audience;

with which to mount the play, and he came to New York, saw all the

expected in return the screen rights plays, and then booked the ones ne

if such rights seemed worth purchasthought his people would most enjoy.

ing. This cut out competitive bidding There were no motor cars then, no

for the rights, and frequently resulted radios, no golf clubs, no motion pic

in great potential loss to the authors. tures. The spoken drama was the

It is a well known fact that Famous. chief form of entertainment for every

Players controls the so-called Charles body. In the '90's, however, with the

Frohman Company of play producers. formation of the Theatrical Syndicate,

It is admitted that Fox and other local managers were reduced to jani

motion picture magnates have furtors; they had to take any and all

nished financial sinews to Sam Harris, plays sent out from New York (often

Al Woods, the Selwyns, and others. with second-rate companies). Then in

The consequences are so serious, that the 20th Century, came motor cars, mo

a good deal of alarm is justified. If tion pictures, radios, and jazz dances.

a man is putting up $50,000 to produce

a play which he hopes will make him The old-time theater found itself con- a good motion picture later, he isn't fronted with an unprecedented situa- likely to put it up for plays of a kind tion, because a large proportion of its experience has shown will not screen. former patrons, who had known no Consider, then, the average motion other place to go, now had plenty of picture, and ask yourself if this doesn't other places, and places where they constitute a possible menace to true could find entertainment really much drama, the drama of spiritual values, closer to their mental capacities, find social criticism, poetic elevation. an art that was created for them, in- How far the ruck of playwrights deed. Meanwhile, a smaller proportion have for some time written with one of the theater's patrons had already eye on the screen, and hence cheapbeen alienated by syndicate methods ened their product, nobody of course which had been cheapening and dis- can say. I think considerably, just honest. The theater was left high and as many of our second-grade novelists dry.

have. Of course you cannot serve both

now so nearly dead outside of New York, must die everywhere, and the sooner the better. On its ruins the intelligent minority must rear the new theater, which holds no trafic with Moronia, which is true to itself and the age-old ideals of spoken drama, which is an aristocrat of the arts, which, in time, will bring thousands of people up to its level, attracted by its sincerity and the spiritual nourishment it affords.

God and the Movies; you cannot write for the approval of the intelligent minority and for the pennies of Moronia.

What the motion pictures have done to the theater by way of reducing its patronage has been inevitable, & part of our democratic, social, and economic evolution. It has been to separate the public into layers that hitherto were potential, but largely unrealized. It has sorted out the vast army of morons or child-adults, in this democracy of ours, given them their own art, their own playhouses. It has been to show us (which we ought to have known) that the true theater, the true spoken drama, is an intellectual and spiritual aristocrat; that true plays are written and produced-like true music and sculpture and poetry-for the intelligent minority, and that only by con: solidating, organizing, and consistently appealing to this intelligent minority can the spoken drama now survive. It used to do that, because the majority, having no other place to go, followed the lead of the minority into the theaters. But they are quite out of hand now.

The "movies" have got them.

Already such theaters are coming. We have no less than four of them in New York. Boston has a ne v theater which has been made tax-ex. empt, which is starting a school of the theater arts, and which has played this winter Sheridan, Ibsen, Shaw and Shakespeare, in addition to lighter works, and with matinees crowded with school children brought some. times from as far away as Nashua, N. H.

The theater of commerce has answered the challenge of the movies by producing well-nigh as much hokum, slush and flap-doodle as they have, by making no effort throughout the country to consolidate its theaters to a number that the intelligent min. ority might support, to give those the. aters only the best, the real plays. In city after city you find a Shubert house and an Erlanger house, competing against each other, when perhaps one theater, well conducted, managed by intelligent local people, might survive and enable the drama to survive. Nothing is done to get school children into the theater, and let them feel something of the thrill of real drama. The next generation is left worse off than the present.

All across the continent, north and south, Little Theaters and Community Theaters are springing up. Mostly they are amateur, and will be for some time; but already a whole new profession has opened--the profession of paid director for such theaters.

Some day a dramatist of skill and power, with something real to say, will find that he can place his drama in 40 Community Theaters across the Continent, for a week's run or more in each. He will not have to consider the Broadway managers, nor write with one eye cocked at the "screen possibilities." He will write solely for the inspiration and approval of the intelligent minority of his country. men, living their normal lives in their home towns, and thus he will produce real drama, and we shall have a real theater. In time, we may be 80 proud of it that we'll build for it lovely playhouses on our civic squares, and over the portals carve the name of Shakespeare instead of Shubert or Erlanger, and into its portals lead our children to hear once more the mighty music of our English speech.

As usual, G. B. Shaw has put his finger on the solution. The existing commercial and syndicated theater,

[blocks in formation]

O

NE of the principal industries in

Minnesota is the fatter of liv

stock for market. And in that State today, the most envied children are 16 juvenile farmers who, because of their proticiency in the art of feeding live stock, were the guests last fall of the Great Northern railroad on a six-day tour of Minnesota and North Dakota in a special "de luxe" train. Each of these youthful farm. ers was accompanied by his or her prize-winning head of fat live stock.

Ten years ago, far-sighted business men and educators of Minnesota or. ganized an annual Junior Live Stock show at South St. Paul-a live stock exposition in which exhibits may be entered only by the farmers of tomorrow, the farm boys and girls of today. The project was an immediate success and last November, at the most successful show in ten years, more than 500 Minnesota boys and girls exhibited live stock. Since only exhibitors who won prizes at their county fairs may show at the Junior Live Stock show, these more than 500 animals were the very best picked from the inest in the State.

When the judging was concluded, the entries were placed on the auction block and St. Paul and Minneapolis business men purchased the prize animals at unheard of prices. Ibe champion steer was sold at 80 cents a pound for a total of $777. An. other steer, exhibited by a 14-year-old girl, was sold for $859, or 71 cents 4 pound. The champion hog brought its youthful owner $438 for his sum. Der's work. When the auction was conciuded, virtually every large busiDess house in St. Paul had purchased one or more of the entries.

Then Louis W. Hill, chairman of the board of the Great Northern rail. road, and son of James J. Hill, “The Empire Builder,” had an idea. "These prize-winning children," he said, "are heroes and heroines in the eyes of all the other farm children in the State. Why not send them out with their prize animals to show other children what they can do and to tell them how to do it "

The plan was enthusiastically indorsed. Four days later, every one of the 16 children left St. Paul on il special train which included a sleeping car, a diner, and a palace horse car for the animal nobility. And what a time they had! Many of the young farmers had never slept in a sleeping car or eaten in a dining car. From every indication, they were the happiest 16 young farmers in the United States.

The six-day itinerary of the tour included 21 cities and towns in Minnesota and North Dakota and at every one of these stops the special train received as warm a reception as the spectacle operated by Messrs. Ringling. In every community visited, schools were dismissed so that every child for miles around might attend the show and from the size of the crowd that greet. ed those barnstorming agriculturists in every town one judged that every child for miles around took advantage of the opportunity.

Brass bands turned out in full re. galia. Local talent participated in entertainment programs. The travel. ing farmerettes did their share by pointing out the fine points of their exhibits and explaining in detail how valuable beef, pork or mutton may be grown. They advised their young auditors to "come on in." And the ad

« AnteriorContinuar »