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We Should Be Ashamed to Be Ill
Condensed fom Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan (April '26)
HERE are several ways people can
One way is to laugh at him and get him to see that he is a ridiculous object. If 10,000 men in New York would agree tomorrow publicly to make fun of fat men in the streets, so that only people in taxis could afford to be fat in New York, everybody knows what would happen.
Another way is to rouse up his intolerance, start him up into being ashamed of himself.
It sounds extreme but when one comes, as one does in Samuel Butler's Erewhon, on a whole society regarding a man's being sick an act of aggression, it is astonishing how sensible it seems.
People can already be arrested for spitting and very soon people with colds will be sent home to breathe, or be put in jail for doing public breathing.
People already feel there ought to be a law enacted to have a man arrested in a street-car for spraying a cold at them.
Even a stomachache, though it is not showy, is quite as much an act of aggression on civilization as a cold. When a man takes the liberty of being a father, who is an addict of a stomachache, a chronic or confirmed colic he is committing an act of aggression on a nation. He transmits a complex of habits to his children, and to others.
It is an insult to the next thousand years to be chronically not well. And society is getting to be as intolerant toward a man who compels his stomach to ache, as his stomach is.
The man who is loose about his own health, or other people's health, finds he is as intolerable to people as the man who is loose about his own money or about other people's money.
People are beginning to look on ill health in the way they already look upon a bad cough in an audience. People look around and say, “Why did you come?" and the time is not far off when ushers will step up to people coughing in a theater and say:
"This audience and the players are asking you to go home. These seats you have paid for will be reserved for you if you want them two weeks later."
When it is considered by everyone unnecessary and shiftless to be ill, it will be bad manners to ask about a man's health. The weak, kind person who meets a really well, chronically robust man in the morning by saying "How's your health?" will get his head taken off for it.
The whole clinging idea, even now, among women-the idea of pitying weakness and deferring to it-has changed. With the modern girl, a young man who offers to help her over a fence, or around a puddle, takes a chance. She waves him aside. She wants to be treated politely-treated as if she knew how to handle herself as well as he does.
The present spectacle of civilization, of thousands of contented men bent with work, pampering themselves in parlors, rolling around in limousines with their insides burning up, is not much longer going to be before our eyes. With our modern knowledge people are getting too unsentimental.
The taboos, society are A stampede
Millions of us are seeing the thing as it is and are acting on it. styles and customs of turning the other way. for wholesomeness sweeps us along.
Now the most powerful of all lures in making health catching is the lure of money.
Samuel Vauclain, the President of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, whose time at the office is rated as being worth $500 a day, has his office time He contracted for with his doctor. pays his doctor a salary of so much a year for keeping him well and gets a rebate every day he is sick.
Health is being treated in big business in America reverently,
money. Health is money.
Anyone can see what is happening. When a natural and reasonable arrangement like Mr. Vauclain's becomes general among large employers it logically leads to the large employer's wanting some similar arrangement for his executives. He wants the men he has to work with as fit as he is.
This arrangement for executives logically leads, as anyone can see, to some similar arrangement for all labor about the place. It is just a matter of working out details, and working men all over the country-union men and non-union men-will soon be taking their doctors as seriously
Vauclain does, regarding doctors as belonging to a really great and serious profession and letting their doctors, as Vauclain does, finish their job.
If working men don't do this, firms will. Labor turnover will make them. No big company very much longer is going to be caught spending three years in educating a sick, unguaranteed man-a man they will lose or as good as lose in a few years-when with the same time and the same money, they can educate for the same job a man they could keep 40 or 50 years.
However the technique may be
In the Dennison Company the health of the executives is made as definite a part of the man's contract as his salary. A man's health comes in as the first part of his job.
When Mr. Vauclain's idea is carried through to its logical conclusion people will expect to pay a rebate for It is being bilious on company time. as unpractical in a business way for a saleswoman to have a headache-to take 30 per cent from her power tc please customers and make sales all day and draw pay for it as it is to leave the counter at three o'clock and go and sit down at the movies and draw pay for it.
The Strangling of Our Theater
Condensed from Vanity Fair (April '26)
Walter Prichard Eaton
HE American theater today presents a curious paradox. On the one hand, in New York City are more playhouses than in any other world capital. On the other hand, outside of New York City, in practically all cities of less than 100,000 people, the theater is dead, is non-existent and in most cities up to 1,000,000 population, is rapidly dying.
Thirty or 40 years ago actors like Edwin Booth played in towns like Scranton and Bridgeport. There was a whole year of profitable business for a star of a successful play in the onenight stands alone. The local manager knew the tastes of his audience; he came to New York, saw all the plays, and then booked the ones ne thought his people would most enjoy. There were no motor cars then, no radios, no golf clubs, no motion pictures. The spoken drama was the chief form of entertainment for everybody. In the '90's, however, with the formation of the Theatrical Syndicate, local managers were reduced to janitors; they had to take any and all plays sent out from New York (often with second-rate companies). Then in the 20th Century, came motor cars, motion pictures, radios, and jazz dances.
The old-time theater found itself confronted with an unprecedented situation, because a large proportion of its former patrons, who had known no other place to go, now had plenty of other places, and places where they could find entertainment really much closer to their mental capacities, find an art that was created for them, indeed. Meanwhile, a smaller proportion of the theater's patrons had already been alienated by syndicate methods which had been cheapening and dishonest. The theater was left high and dry.
most picturesque happening in our theater in recent months has been the foundation of a closed shop among the dramatists, as a direct result of conditions caused by the mov. ies. Nearly 200 dramatists have banded together, drawn up a new contract which lodges with them, not the producer, all motion picture rights in their plays, and sworn a mighty oath to have no traffic with any manager who isn't willing to sign on the dotted line.
The matter came to a head when certain motion picture producers began to furnish to play producers the coin with which to mount the play, and expected in return the screen rights if such rights seemed worth purchasing. This cut out competitive bidding for the rights, and frequently resulted in great potential loss to the authors.
It is a well known fact that FamousPlayers controls the so-called Charles Frohman Company of play producers. It is admitted that Fox and other motion picture magnates have furnished financial sinews to Sam Harris, Al Woods, the Selwyns, and others. The consequences are so serious, that a good deal of alarm is justified. If a man is putting up $50,000 to produce a play which he hopes will make him a good motion picture later, he isn't likely to put it up for plays of a kind experience has shown will not screen.
Consider, then, the average motion picture, and ask yourself if this doesn't constitute a possible menace to true drama, the drama of spiritual values, social criticism, poetic elevation.
How far the ruck of playwrights have for some time written with one eye on the screen, and hence cheapened their product, nobody of course can say. I think considerably, just as many of our second-grade novelists have. Of course you cannot serve both
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, a part of our democratic, social, and economic evolution. It has been to separate the public into layers that hitherto were potential, but largely unrealized. 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.
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 minority might support, to give those theaters 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.
As usual, G. B. Shaw has put his finger on the solution. The existing commercial and syndicated theater,
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 traffic 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.
Already such theaters are coming. We have no less than four of them in New York. Boston has a new theater which has been made tax-exempt, 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 sometimes from as far away as Nashua, N. H.
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 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 countrymen, 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 so 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.
Builders of a New Empire
Condensed from Success Magazine (April '26)
NE of the principal industries in Minnesota is the fattening of live stock for market. And in that State today, the most envied children are 16 juvenile farmers who, because of their proficiency 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 farmers was accompanied by his or her prize-winning head of fat live stock.
Ten years ago, far-sighted business men and educators of Minnesota organized 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 finest 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. The champion steer was sold at 80 3 cents a pound for a total of $777. Another steer, exhibited by a 14-year-old girl, was sold for $859, or 71 cents a pound. The champion hog brought its youthful owner $438 for his summer's work. When the auction was concluded, virtually every large business house in St. Paul had purchased one or more of the entries.
Then Louis W. Hill, chairman of the board of the Great Northern railroad, 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 a 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. 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 greeted 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 regalia. Local talent participated in entertainment programs. The traveling 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