A while back, I purchased a May 29, 1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post,
because it contained one of Charles Schulz's Li'l Folks (which became Peanuts)
comics. I paid 99¢ on eBay. There were a couple things that stood out as I perused
the magazine. First was the vitriolic tone of the Letters to the Editor, ripping
the publication for articles in previous editions. Another was that the majority
of the artwork for stories and advertisements was either a painting or a pencil
drawing - almost no photographs. There was not a single ad for any television set
- B&W or color - even though RCA had been selling color sets for four
years by that time. The following story was on the last page of the magazine. You'll get a kick out
of its premise.
U. S. Noise Production
Reaches New High
since man began to think has the escape into the quiet of his thoughts been made
more difficult than it is in America today. To blame radio for. this is to oversimplify.
The industry is properly held responsible for the many sins it commits in the name
of entertainment. and for its often hideous irrelevance, but the hand controlling
the buttons of the individual radio receiver is the prime offender.
There are so many hands controlling so many buttons that to hope
for relief from the scourge of radio noise seems almost foolish. It boils down to
a question of manners. Is it foolish to hope that the member of the family who loves
noise for its own sake will develop the decency to limit his odd appetite? Or that
the apartment dweller who keeps his radio going loudly most of the day and night
will have mercy on his neighbors cowering behind thin walls? Perhaps, but there
is no harm in hoping.
There is no harm, either, in hoping that the newsreel companies
will someday refrain from enhancing the horror of disaster pictures by the addition
of apocalyptic commentary and foreboding music jerked from the bowels of Wagner;
that the listening public will someday get hep to the fact that the squalid self-dramatization
of the loud-mouthed journalistic statesmen of radio is merely so many unnecessary
decibels; that someday the American hostess will abandon her notion that a perpetual
yackety-yak, however pointless, is necessary to the success of her parties; and
that municipal authorities will get tough with the mobile loud-speakers which range
the streets, expectorating racket into the ears of workers who are trying to think.
Meanwhile, for the protection of the harassed fugitive, there remain
these three retreats-the soundproofed room, total deafness, and the public library,
and the greatest of these is the public library. May God rest the soul of Andrew
Carnegie, who fashioned better than he thought.
May 29, 1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post
Posted October 15, 2019
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