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Franklin in Paris
Condensed from McNaught's Monthly (Sepiember, '26)
HEN at the age of 70 Benjamin
he was to remain for nearly nine years as the American representative, he soon found time to write to Elizabeth Partridge of Boston as follows:
"Somebody it seems gave it out that I loved Ladies, and then everybody presented me their Ladies (or the ladies presented themselves) to be embraced, that is to have their necks kissed. For as to kissing of lips or cheeks it is not the mode here, the first is reckoned rude, and the other may rub off the Paint. The French Ladies have however 1000 other ways of rendering themselves agreeable; by their various Attentions and Civilities, and their sensible conversation.”
There is perceptible in this letter a foretaste of the exhilaration which Franklin was to feel on being set down in a social milieu exactly suited to his tastes. Here he found women not only inextinguishably feminine, but cultured enough to appreciate his oracular sayings, gay enough to enjoy his wit. ticisms, leisured enough to sit for hours at his feet-and sometimes on his knees; and practiced in all those gracious arts which few of his hardworked countrymen had had either the instinct or the cash to cultivate.
The hour of the French Revolution, in which so many of his friends were to perish, was approaching. Paris was deliriously squandering the wealth skimmed from the toil of millions of workmen and peasants. The upperclass men of France were busy with a thousand money-making, power-winning intrigues, leaving their women bored, and in a mood to welcome this novelty from the New World.
Franklin made the most of the opportunity which his immense prestige had won for him. He ejected from his memory the Poor Richardisms of his
young manhood; shed the horny integument of a colonial shopkeeper and politician; and stood forth, with the adaptiveness which had ever been one of his most distinguishing traits, as a courtier, diplomat, and squire of dames-suave,
mirthful, expansive, roguish to a degree. Crowds gathered at a respectful distance when he ap. peared in the streets. Medallions bearing his likeness were purchased and treasured. Proud houses opened cager doors at his approach. Learned men became credulous in his presence, and lovely women flouted distinguished followers to call him “três cher papa.”
Years previously he had committed certain "errata" for which the moralists of Puritan American eyed him askauce. For the purpose, no doubt, of grouting his personal structure at its weaker points, he had drawn up for himself a creed composed of the following points: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humanity. These ideals he declared he should ever keep before his eyes. There is no evidence that while in Paris he sinned against cleanliness, but some of the others suffered at least a temporary eclipse.
His cellar at Passy contained more than 1000 bottles of well-chosen vintages. He taught his French friends a boisterous drinking song which he had laid aside for 40 years. He dined out six nights a week, and to his lady friends he addressed letters which have scandalized biographers.
Franklin, however, did not lose his head. Amid the towering coiffures, the whitened wigs, the glittering sword blades and the velvet cloaks of Paris, a pawky someihing-perhaps an old showman's instinct-caused him to appear in public with straight, un
powdered hair, russet dress, and a cap Gabriel, made me laugh, but I would of backwoods fur in the style made not accept it..." famous by Davy Crockett. Such novel We must not take these passages too simplicity was pronounced delicieuse.
seriously. In these merry tilts with Nor did he neglect his real job, French dames he was merely respond. which consisted in maintaining the ing to the demands of the age, and prestige and credit of the far-off new giving his nimble pen good practice. republic. He repeatedly raised indis- Eight and a half years after Frank pensable loans, circulated incessant lin had landed in France, Cornwallis propaganda, outfitted cruisers, settled suddenly surrendered at Yorktown, disputes, and kept the British ambas- and Três Cher Papa's mission was at sador sulking in obscurity.
an end. Painfully-for his most fruMeantime he explored the 1000 man- gal admonitions to his countrymen ners by which, as he said, the ladies had not averted gout in himself-he of France knew how to render them
set off for Havre in a litter lent by the selves agreeable. He held his own Queen of France-loved and pampered against the most gifted beaux of belle to the last by ladies. France. He was in turn father, uncle,
Franklin wrote his many maxims in confessor, and hovering lover.
an endeavor to incite himself, if poscharmed the young with his sportive sible, to obey them. He was naturally lightness; he made the old laugh with slothful, careless, improvident, tibuhis unblushing effrontery. Though
lous and amative. He successfully then well beyond his three score and concealed these weaknesses by preachten, Mme. Helvetius, in whose salon he ing against them until he was sufiwas a favorite, was provoked to write ciently powerful, through the acquisi. him, apropos the possibility of their tion of property and position, to worry both rejoining their deceased mates in about them no longer. Like the good heaven: "but I believe that you, who American that he was, he loved to have been a coquin, will be restored to publish precepts for the other fellow more than one."
to obey. Among other feminine admirers of His frequent falls through his own Franklin were the Duchess d'Enville, shop window had the effect of render the Comtesse d'Houdetot, Mme. de ing him tolerant, sagacious, and amiaForbach, Mme. Lavoisier, Mlle. Flainu, ble. He acquired a mellowness and and Mme. Brillon. The last-named ripeness of observation which, added was a woman of undoubted brilliance to his natural shrewdness, made him and force of character. Franklin, who highly companionable. He increased dined at her home twice a week, paid in stature as the years went by. He rather ardent court to her, but in her despised superstition, war and cant. he more than met a match. She kept He was avid in pursuit of truth, him at arm's length with the greatest knowledge and recipes for cheese-makskill and humor, and even declined to ing. He helped to drive squalor out of consider a marriage between her municipalities and a decent comfort daughter and Franklin's son, an alli- into the average home. By his examance upon which he was decidedly ple rather than by his hard and disbent. Nevertheless, she seems to have mal precepts, he showed men that had a very genuine affection for him, achievement comes less by hard work for in after years the American Philo- than by keeping one's eyes open. He sophical Society came into possession everywhere introduced good books, of 119 letters written by her to the good printing and good conversation. festive doctor. She once wrote, “I find One of the finest traits of his matured in your letter evidence of your friend. character was his generous appreciaship and a tinge of that galety and tion of excellent women. He was & gallantry which make all women love tremendous lover of the world and its you. Your proposal to carry me on people. He was our first civilized pubyour wings, if you were the Angel lic man.
Advertising High Hats Itself
Condensed from The Bookman (February, "Z7)
HE advertising man in the United
special. He is in a business swol. len with pride and dollars, a faint relative to art and literature, and a still fainter relative to social service. He knows that he has an explosive influence on the mechanism of existence and the shaping of thought.
But when he goes to France he gets a shock, for he finds that there he is considered a rather low sort of thing. In England he is only a bit better. In Germany he feels happier, because its advertising is much like our own, except that the illustrations are bet. ter and there are nothing like so many billboards.
In the 19th century advertising was considered undignified in the United States, as it is in France today. Being considered undignified it naturally was so. Until recently solid concerns in France thought that advertising was a symptom of a sick busi
Now, however, they are beginning to have Rotary Clubs in France and soon everything will be all right.
Toward the end of the last century advertising here was gaining in money if not in prestige. Harper's Magazine was started with the single purpose of advertising the firm's own books. No outside publicity was accepted. The Singer Sewing Machine Co. offered $18,000 for the use of the back page for a year and was refused. But the pressure was too great and the management contemptuously turned over the whole of its advertising space for a small sum to a young man named J. Walter Thompson. And young Thompson triumphantly put his first ad in Harper's Magazine. It sold jackstones—with which the most fascinating game of my childhood was played--and was enormously success.
ful. In a few years the magazine bitterly regretted its long contract with the bright young man, for the space soon became very valuable.
But that time was not yet. In those simple days The Delineator, whose annual income from advertising must now run into millions, gave all its advertising space to an ink maker in return for ink.
And then along came the machine age; where 50 had bought your goods before, 50,000 had to buy now. The most dignified concerns, even national banks, began to preen themselves in type. And so advertising is now a solid moral citizen talking enthusiastically about truth and ideals. I think it is billions that are spent every year for advertising, but I am like the old lady at the lecture on astronomy. She arose aghast and interrupted the lecturer to demand, “Did you say the world was coming to an end in 34 million years?" "No madam, I said 34 billion.” “Oh," the old lady sat down relieved, “I thought you said millions."
For years advertisers tried to sell only specific products on the printed page. But during the war a new grandeur arrived. It is known as “Institutional Advertising." It scorns any attempt to ask your patronage. It tells you something you want to know-or don't want to know—and trusts you to be so grateful that you will come to the advertiser in time of need. Some of this advertising is very able; some far fetched and absurd. If you want to know what has happened to American advertising in the last 25 years, try to recall the Ayer's Sarsaparilla wisdom of your youth. Then look in your current magazine at the advertising of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. The basic appeal is re
ally the same, the modern method immeasurably more far sighted.
There is a distressing story about a sentimental butter and egg man who used to say to the light ladies whom he supported, “Lie to me. Tell me you love me. Lie to me, kid." Now that is what in essence the public says to the advertiser. It supports the advertising, pays for it, and likes a little glamour for its money. It is pained when an advertiser tells the raw truth.
A few weeks ago the owner of one of the country's largest department stores spread a month's advertising before me and asked, "What do you think of it?" When I told him that he had a fine combination of institutional copy and bargain talk, he looked disappointed. “I hoped you would say that we ought to cut out the bargain talk.” And to my questioning air he added, “Because it isn't true and I'd like to stick to the truth. You know there can't be many bargains in the course of a year. If there are a dozen in one store, it's a miracle. The only bargains there are come from some bankruptcy or other disaster where goods are sold in odd lots. And every big store in the country is fighting for these odd lots. Why I should think any woman would know that there couldu't be all the bargains that we all advertise."
"Oh, they know all right," I assurdhim, “but they want to play the little game with themselves .... they want an excuse to spend the money they ought not to spend and the bar. gain gives them an urgent excuse to do it at once. They are really grateful to you for giving them the excuse. Most people love to spend money; all they want is justification in their own minds."
I told him about an incident where truth with a small “t" defeated Truth with a capital "T". A few years ago the Hurley Washing Machine Co., whose president was Chairman of the U. S. Shipping Board, was having some difficulty in selling its machine. The company went to a large adver
tising agency in Chicago. “How is your machine different from the others?" the copy man asked. “No different," the Hurley people told him. "It's just a first class machine that will do the work."
“Oh, that doesn't get us anywhere," said the copy man, impatiently. “It's got to be different. Say, what's this in here?"
"This in here" was the reversible motor which turned the clothes first one way and then another. "Other machines got it?" demanded the copy man. "Sure." The Hurley officials were a little contemptuous of his ig. norance of machinery.
"Well, never mind.” The copy man was now aflame with creative fever. "We'll take this reversible motor and call it the Atlog. See? Buy the ma. chine with the Atlog. Turns the clothes first one way and then the other. Look for the Atlog."
"But the other machines have one too," objected the client. “Well, we don't have to say it, do we?” demanded the copy man. "We'll just act as though this were the only machine that had such a thing. First we'll copyright the word Atlog. And then we'll say, 'The only machine with the Atlog'."
The conference ended in jubilant admiration. “But where'd you get the name?" He pointed to a catalog lying on the table. He had taken a couple of letters out of the word "catalog" and there you were.
No actual lies were told, but it was truth with a very timid little "t". To show you what I mean by Truth with a large "T", I have prepared a little ad:
I make the best tooth brushes that can be made. Twenty other manufacturers make just as good tooth brushes as I do. But I don't make any profit on theirs. So never mind theirs. · Buy mine. It's a good one and no dearer than others. Buy mine and I will make a profit.
I wonder how many devout believers in commercial honesty would buy from this piece of copy.
The Boy and Sex
Condensed from Physical Culturo (February, "77) Dr. George A. Dorsey, Author of Why We Behave Like Human Beings EX is the artifice evolved by Na- strated in class with a model, as in ture to insure the human family the study of anatomy. There should
against extinction. The sex im- be no smirking at the mention of sex, pulse is and must inherently be as and it should be taught the same as strong as the impulse to live. The hygiene. study of biology is gradually destroy- The physician-instructor should talk ing the unnatural doctrine that the
to these boys about the future imsex-impulse is man's sign of degrada
portance of taking care of their retion. Nature knows better. Modern productive organs. Boys should be science has to fight the superstition told that gonorrhea and syphilis are that the subject of sex must be kept definite things that inevitably come on ice.
from abuse of the body and promiscuiIt is fear that makes us let sex ty. Venereal disease is a terrible in. alone. It is mock modesty that tells ductment against civilization. It is us the human body is somethiug to the direct result of keeping boys in conceal, and that its reproduction ignorance. There is no justification function is a taboo subject. Marriage, for it. It is not a necessary evil. we are told, is a divine institution and In every community there is at least the God of love is a saint; but sex is one enlightened physician who will do shameful and Cupid is a carnal beast. it. Pay him to come into your home The paradox!
and talk with your children. Where We make no secret about the heart the mother becomes emotional about and lungs and the stomach; we should imparting sex information to her boy, be even more frank about the repro- the physician is unemotional. He can ductive organs because they are more talk about it as he does digestion. delicate. A mother tells her boy to In this matter of sex knowledge eat slowly; the teacher of hygiene tells there should be no procrastination. him to breathe deeply; but who is Nature never procrastinates. A mother there to tell the boy of the grave may once or twice successfully dangers that threaten his sex organs? divert her child's curiosity about sex Most mothers are so fed up on the into other channels, but nevertheless belief that sex is something shame. Nature is on the job. Nothing 80 ful that it is painful for them to talk stimulates a boy's curiosity as to feel frankly on the subject.
that something is taboo. And curiosiThrough tedious and painful refine- ty about sex is just as normal as curi. ment, the human being has learned osity about engines or the moon.
On that the world is a more comfortable the other hand, to force knowledge place to live in ii people obey certain about sex on a child who has shown rules of law and order. They have no curiosity about it is to overplay it. yet to learn that much heartache, dis. I repeat, treat sex as impersonally ease and even death can be eliminated as you treat the power of speech and by tearing the veil of mystery from the tongue. Promiscuous bathing in sex.
the family won't hurt, either. There The schools could greatly assist the should be no secrets about the human mother in this important task. It form. If a boy has always seen his ought to be that at least once or mother's body he knows what she twice a year a competent physician looks like and how she is made. Later, should be brought in to instruct the when he takes in burlesque shows or boys and girls in the matter of re- is inveigled into a corner to look at production. This should be demon- some pictures of nude women, he