Puslapio vaizdai

It is unnecessary to teach a child obedience: that is instinctive. Every parent can testify to the beautiful, implicit obedience that children yield—sometimes. In other words, it is not respect for authority which is needed, for one cannot help respecting it when one meets it. What we need to teach is, how to recognize authority and how to tell the spurious from the genuine. Now, the trouble with the conventional school is too often that the teacher, though but a scribe, as Dallas Lore Sharp points out, attempts to exercise authority. Of course, when the children find it out, as they do, they resent it, and thus definitely learn disrespect for authorityclaimants in general. In the new schools, no one claims the respect due authority, but everyone, teacher and pupil alike, strives to earn it.

Much the same reasoning applies to the discipline in doing what you do not want to do, which is thought so necessary. The only true and useful discipline is that which is self-imposed. And that sort of discipline is abundantly present in the progressive school. Does anyone think that the sometimes elaborate projects get miraculously done without tiresome details and hard work? Can it be imagined that a school which deliberately seeks to keep its pupils under real life-conditions could or would eliminate the 'irksomeness of the steady grind'? Drudgery it does virtually eliminate, for drudgery is a state of mind, due to being compelled to labor without illumination and without understanding and without joy. The pupil in the progressive school knows full well the weariness of routine'; has learned what the pupil in the conventional school rarely learns, that 'the world's work must be done somehow' -what has the orthodox curriculum got to do with the 'world's work'? But he learns also why it must be done, and how it may be made a thing of joy because of some underlying purpose. The curse of our age is that so many are asking whether the world's work is worth doing. Is this because so many are more-not better-educated? The aim of education for life is to send the child forth to do the work of the world, even the weary routine (no longer unintelligible drudgery. however) with eager zest, because the adventure of life is worth while. HORACE B. ENGLISH.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

A Jew of Jews, like the undersigned, stands aghast before the present-day flood of articles on the Jewish question. "T is a veritable pogrom in printer's ink. And inky pogroms are deadlier than bloody ones, and blacker.

As a Super-Jew, I feel at any rate grateful for the sympathetic tone of Paul Scott Mowrer's disquisition on 'The Assimilation of Israel.' But how weak in its argument! The Jew, forsooth, does not assimilate: he refuses to intermarry, and occasionally attends the synagogue. Ergo, his is a double allegiance! And this in the same breath with the statement that the Jew has given evidence during the great war of his loyalty to America. In what way, then, does religious loyalty interfere with political allegiance?

And the solution of the problem? Intermarriage-Q.E.D. But this is no solution of the Jewish question; rather, a dissolution of the Jewish people. It means, let the Jew cease to be a Jew, and he will have no trouble.

Mr. Mowrer's article is an illustration of the greatest of all sins the Sin of Being Different. Life is a monstrous rubber-stamp affair. Liking depends on likeness. The Unlike must be annihilated. The sympathetic ones, like Mr. Mowrer, would kill the Jew with kindness. Euthanasia

To many a thinking Jew, as to a few thoughtful Gentiles, the remedy seems to be, not in the Jews ceasing to be Jews, but in the Christians becoming Christians.

All this is said with no malice, and with a painful consciousness of the nearness of the wastebasket to the editorial desk. But I feel that there is a great deal of amateurishness in all these discussions of the Jewish problem. The expert has not yet been heard from. The undersigned does not claim to be an expert. But he proudly proclaims himself a Jew of Jews, and a Pharisee. And while everybody has something unbecoming to say about the Pharisee, why should not the Pharisee be given a chance to state his own case?

Respectfully, JOEL BLAU.

Rabbi, Temple Peni-El, New York City.


If ever we showed disrespect toward the art of Charlie Chaplin, may we be forgiven! Here's matter worth reading.



The interesting article on the movies in the current number of your magazine omits what seems to me to be a very important feature of the film pictures. People leading the monotonous lives that the largest numbers of our population do- and it is the same all over the world - are patronizing these shows for the hypnotic effect produced. Charlie Chaplin is not merely a great artist, but he is a careful student of psychology, and he has proved that it is the gliding movements of his feet and entire figure which carry the minds of his guests along with the smoothly flowing current of a pleasant dream. He carefully avoids changing the focus of the eyes of the spectators by forcing them to read any inserts, and keeps cleverly devised scenes moving swiftly across the screen. The audiences are lulled into rest and forgetfulness of the incidents of everyday life, and are unconscious of the lapse of time.

The movies take the place of alcoholic stimulants or drugs, and are so much cheaper that they would be used to a much greater extent if the scenarios were only written in the proper way, without any attempt to transpose literature. Old and young, rich and poor, alike enjoy a pleasant dream while harmlessly hypnotized. In my opinion there should not be a line of script; there should not be the slightest attempt to instruct or elevate or degrade - just scenes from life and action. Music can be introduced if the musicians are kept out of sight, and if it is of the same soft and low and sweet kind that comes to us in pleas ant dreams. Nothing must be allowed to happen in the theatre to arouse us from our hypnotic state. There is no telling what pleasure may be given to a world-weary race by the development of this new discovery of a practical method of sending us off into those wonderful regions which Shakespeare alone could describe. If he could only have had this new medium, instead of the crude genre of language, we should now be reveling in visions such as we have no conception of in the dull lives we are now leading, amid the confusing noises and ugly surroundings of our so-called civilization. The newest art may easily become the greatest of all, and its development cannot proceed too rapidly if it only moves along the right lines; and so far Charlie Chaplin is the true pioneer who is pointing the way to better days.

Yours very truly,


And, speaking of movies, here is another letter with a different story.


Katharine Fullerton Gerould's discerning and thought-provoking article on Movies,' in the July issue, seems to me of not quite the even excellence of most of her papers. In the second and more academic section, on what the movies might be, her analysis is penetrating. In the first section, on what they are, she tends to illustrate her opening remark that there is a lot about movies she does n't know. On any such ignorance, however, she is to be, in some ways, congratulated.

Incidentally, there are a number of irresponsible statements or implications: that Aristotle ordained three sacred' unities; that an epic need have no unity of action; that movies can be justified if they keep their patrons from something worse; and that the notion that saloons were vicious is a joke.

The assertion that the peril of the moving-picture is sensationalism and cheap sentimentalism, rather than salaciousness, is eminently true. Life once had a picture of the front rows of children watching wholesale murder on the screen, with the title, 'Passed by the National Board of Censorship. Annette Kellerman sans everything is wholesomeness itself, compared to such free play of jealousy, hate, and murder.

But I cannot agree that 'motion-picture producers are much more scrupulous than theatrical managers.' The salaciousness which is, to a considerable extent, kept out of films by the censors is worked for all it is worth in uncensored advertisements. The movies have made 'vamp' (a savage euphemism for courtesan') a word lightly used by young girls, have familiarized patrons with low dance-halls and dens of crime, and, if 'they have closed up' any 'literary red-light district,' it was only to reopen it under new manage


The one fault, sex-appeal, which has been partly checked in moving-pictures, is, except for an occasional undesirable crook play, about the only positive moral charge which can be brought against the regular stage. (Even here the sometimes under-dressed chorus is balanced by the bathing-girls so featured in the movies, and the most undressed revues are often quite free from vulgar lines.) On the other hand, moving-pictures have evil contacts with many more phases of life. They are at their worst when they take themselves seriously, and they do preach incessantly. The movies have taken over the problemplay and are always attacking marriage, divorce, or birth-control - championing some supposed reform which will give them license to portray what may be advertised, and to some extent filmed, pruriently, or in some other sensational


The film comedies have this much of palliation, however: they do not insist on being taken seriously. No wonder Mrs. Gerould is not proud of Charlie Chaplin as American Ambassador-atLarge. But this much can be said for the stock characters of slap-stick comedy (those of the old Italian farce, Punchinello, Mutt and Jeff, Charlie Chaplin): the whole point of them is their indestructibility, though they 'die daily,' and their lack of amenability to moral sanctions, — that is, their unreality. It is not Mutt or Charlie (or the characters of the real stage, for that matter) whom romantic youngsters pattern after and so get into trouble - as in the last of the Juvenile Court Sketches' in the June Atlantic; it is the characters of the movie 'dramas,' for they seem convincing and real.

A last serious charge against the pictures is that they disregard the laws of physical and moral cause and effect, except for a few yards of hasty, hypocritical reconciliation with them at

the end of the film. A man or woman may go the limit; but an easy reformation, feebly motived, the opportune deaths of a few extra wives, husbands, or incriminating witnesses, and other deus-ex-machina contrivances, readily clear the way for them to retain, under a semblance of righteousness, their ill-gotten gains or pleasures. Whatsoever a man soweth, he can reap something else with a little manipulation at the studio.

Mrs. Gerould's constructive criticisms of the cinema are admirable; in her destructive criticisms she has praised them with faint damnation. CLYDE MURLEY.

And, by way of final suggestion, this:


Mrs. Gerould's article on the movies is one of the happiest of her many delightful contributions to the Atlantic. She pungently phrases what many of us have been soberly feeling about the movies' vulgarity, sensationalism, and sentimentalism. She also feels the big epic and realistic appeal that may be made, and, for that matter, has been accomplished, to a certain extent.

May I make a supplemental suggestion, along the lines of what we want the movie to become namely, a work of art? The movie is not drama, says Mrs. Gerould. Very true. But it is a picture

not necessarily a realistic or epic picture, at that. All the world loves good pictures. We hang them in galleries and call them art. A movingpicture has all the advantages of a static picture, save one, color, and that, we are told, will soon be supplied by a new process of color-photography. Moreover, the movie has an advantage which the painting has not, namely, motion.

Why can't we have the tragedy and comedy of life portrayed by motion? In other words, why should not the art of pantomine be revived? Likewise, the art of dancing. Sculpture, too, might come to life. New phases of art might be tested, cubist, futurist, what not, and new theories of stagecraft would inevitably develop. As for suggestions from the past, I can imagine a farcical skit, Molière-like in texture, in which grotesquerie would prove an art; another, a dancing pantomime of lyric love, a veritable spring song; Judith of Bethulia, a pantomime of tragic intensity; and the Book of Ruth, one of solemn beauty.

If only the movie would stop trying to talk, it might act. It could move the world with the poetry of motion. LEROY ARNOLD.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

scription to Boston's only magazine has expired, and I must decide between two alternatives: shall I renew my subscription immediately and live for a while on beans, which, though a Bostonian, I dislike, or shall I expend the money on food for the body? Here is where the inconvenience of being poor but honest comes in. I might borrow the magazine from some good Samaritan; but I very much doubt if the ranchers around here ever read the Atlantic.

I must confess, Atlantic, that I have literary ambitions, which one of my English professors in college seemingly tried to destroy; for he had a very disagreeable habit of selecting my themes and exposing their crudeness to the public gaze. According to him, my sins of ommision and commision were like the sands of the sea. First, he began to howl over my scarcity of commas; and when I tried to satisfy him by scattering them liberally around, he objected very sarcastically. Then, at another time, he read a short story of mine in which the hero's name changed very frequently. I wrote that story in a hurry and could not remember my hero's name. Fortunately, I did not have a heroine. I hope, Atlantic, you are not so particular as to commas and the changing of the hero's name.

During the past few months, the Atlantic has contained many articles on education, and I think that something is the matter with our educational system, for, in spite of a college education, and some experience in teaching, I am having the deuce of a time to spell some words, and I have no dictionary here. If I have mispelled a few words, please overlook them and blame it not on my ignorance but on the system.

Sincerely yours,

ABRAHAM SEGAL. P.S. Have decided to live on beans.

How we came to say it is past understanding, but say it we did. We make tardy amends to our readers by printing these pleasant paragraphs from a friendly reader, Mr. H. W. Yozall.

I am sorry to see in the June Atlantic one of your contributors assigning Lewis Carroll to the University of Cambridge. Shades of Wolsey and Henry VIII, the faculty of whose great Edes Christi Dodgson so originally adorned!

My father once told me of dining at the high table of the House, and listening with eager expectation for the witticisms of Dodgson, who was sitting opposite. But not one word did he speak during the whole meal. They adjourned to the senior common room for nuts and wine, and talk fell on the subject of notes used by famous speakers and various systems of memorizing. The Dean told how Charles Dickens always visualized his lecture as a wheel, with the different divisions as its spokes. After completing each division, he would strike away a spoke with a curious gesture of the right arm. And when he came to the last spoke,' said the Dean - "Then he had spoken,' Dodgson interrupted, and relapsed into silence for the rest of the evening.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Many readers to whom Miss Converse's miracle play gave pleasure will care to learn that, besides a great number of performances in many American church communities, the play was given by the International College in Smyrna, under extraordinarily picturesque conditions.


The Best Country in the World

There are a lot of people out here in Smyrna, and in other parts of the Near East, who are very grateful to you for publishing in your March issue that beautiful little play by Florence Converse, "Thy Kingdom Come.'

Each year we hold a student conference here at Smyrna. The conference is held on the campus of the International College at Paradise. (We did not name the place. The Romans called it Paradiso long years ago. We try to make good on the name.) This year there were delegates from the Balkans, Asia Minor, Greece, Syria, and Egypt.

On one evening of the conference, just at sunset, we presented Miss Converse's 'Thy Kingdom Come. Faculty, students, and faculty children took part. Some three hundred watched the play in reverent silence. The play was given outdoors, in a little natural theatre on a hillside overlooking a valley, where the ruins of old Roman aqueducts added to the impressiveness of the hour. In the background was a hill that might have been Calvary. Natural rocks formed the tomb.

The parts had been studied for weeks, and the costumes were perfect. The speaking and the action were so natural that one forgot for the time that it was but a presentation. It thrilled with present life. Of course the conference helped create an atmosphere almost ideal, and the play was given the week following the Eastern Easter. We left out a little of the doughboy slang, which many of these students would not have understood, and we added one thing. As the angels came over the brow of the hill, to roll the stone away, a chorus of girls, hidden in a cleft of rocks below in the valley, sang,

[blocks in formation]

Not the lost Atlantis, but the lost Atlantic, gives the fine tragic note nowadays. Here is a sequel to the grim story in the June Column.


I was more than ordinarily interested in your published account of the man who stole a copy of the Atlantic Monthly. Here in Portland, Oregon, I stepped to a newstand at Morrison and Fourth streets, to buy a Saturday Evening Post containing an article by H. G. Wells, and had recrossed the street, when two men came running up.

'You got an Atlantic,' one of them said. 'No,' I replied, thinking they had brought me a copy they supposed I had bought and left on the counter. 'I got a Saturday Evening Post.'

'No, you got an Atlantic on the stand across the street.'

I did not yet grasp the situation, and replied that I bought my Atlantic some days before.

'But you were seen to take it. You took it from the stand.'

Then I understood what had happened. Someone not myself had stolen a copy from the stand. It appears that out here the Atlantic is one of the fundamental needs of the human race; so much so that, lacking the price, one must steal it. The incident you publish seems to prove that human hunger for the Atlantic is not confined to the Pacific Coast. M. O. N.

Now and again brides have written us that they are taking the Atlantic with them on their honeymoon. Those were pretty compliments, of course; but here is incense. DEAR ATLANTIC,

This is not Boston-far, far from it. Yet the other day, when caring for a young mother (a country girl-Texas-born and bred), I entered her room and found the young mother lying beside her half-hour-old son, happy and comfortable reading the last Atlantic. Our Texas sunshine seems to produce vigorous bodies and minds. ALICE I. B. MASSEY.

Why drag in Texas sunshine!

When Miss Dora M. Briggs wrote us the interesting letter regarding her unpleasant experience before a Naturalization Board, which we published in the Atlantic for July, she dated her communication from Springfield, Massachusetts. We published the letter with the date-line, and thus passed on to our readers the mistaken impression we ourselves received that it is upon Springfield that the stigma rests. At the time it seemed extraordinary, for Springfield is famous for its civic sense. We are glad to announce that the responsibility should be placed elsewhere.





A YEAR ago I sat in a meeting of schoolmen and leading citizens who were wrestling with plans for a new high school and technical college. The leading citizens were manufacturers of motor-cars, because our town's reason for existence is the production of such cars, of which we can be relied upon to deliver upwards of one hundred thousand a year, when the public buys them fast enough to clear the loading-docks. Our leading citizens, consequently, are leaders in their industry as well. For downright public spirit, no more satisfactory group of employers can be found anywhere. They took it for granted that our new high school and technical college was to be keyed to utility. They wanted practical education, or, as one phrased it, 'education for life.' As their programme unfolded, it seemed that their goal was rather education for production. They may have seen new light since the wheels slowed down, but neither then, nor later, did the school-men offer any protest.

As an outsider, a member of neither group, I sat there, dazed, silent, a little dashed and fearful, as one amid new ruins. I knew there was something wrong with the programme of these

VOL. 128-NO. 4



manufacturers; but what it was I could not say. Now I know, because I have been studying the reactions of automatic machinery upon social relationships.

There is no better place for such a study than this town of ours. It exists for, and accepts the dictation of, industry highly automatized. In brisk times more than twenty thousand men and women work for three corporations, whose plants are full of automatic machinery. When these marvelous tools are busy, the town is prosperous, gains population, spends lavishly, yet saves much withal; when the tools are stilled, the town loses population, develops poverty, and lives on its savings.

In 1900 this was a quiet little manufacturing city of 13,000. In 1904 it produced its first motor-car, and growth from this time was rapid and sustained, draining away the surplus labor of nearby farms and villages. The 1920 census showed 38,550. In the next ten years, the city achieved a population of nearly 100,000, acquiring, among other interesting phenomena, a Little Poland, a Little Hungary, a Little Serbia, other immigrant colonies, and a Cosmopolitan Club financed by the Chamber of

« AnkstesnisTęsti »