Build Wisconsin [1925, no. 15], pp. -5 PDF (1.7 MB)
Page 5 of the comic supplements. I don't moan to say that you can got rid of tho comic supplement; it can't bo done. At least I havo not been able to do it in my home, and I eonfems to you that I thoroughly enjoy "Mr. and Mrs." by Briggs; it is so much like home at times that it is almost heart-breaking. These things that deal with the fundamental emoticns and interests are the things that after all, in the long run do appeal to people. Newspapers are responsible, if you please, for the use that the American people make of the English language. That is a sta~gcring rosionsibility. In the play, "So This Is London," it apparently was tho idca that the only way to lepict an American family by way of comparison with the British family was to iake the boy of tho family say "goe" and "kiddo" and to assume that all tho moe - :ers of the family, including editors of papers, are splendidly skilled gum- chewers. We are now reaching that stage where we have a right to insist that the world shall recognize that we have moved up on a higher plane, where these things are not actually a part of the thing that America idealizes. Could Drop Some of Slang E DO not think we need to stoop to the low-brow journalism which uses all the slang of the day. I think we ought to get rid of some of the American ex- plotivos; it will have a bearing upon the nation as a whole in the interpreta- tion that other nations have of us. Newspapers are accepting the responsibility very splendidly, particularly in their editorial columns. It seenms to me, however, that editors should not say that "We must give the people what they viant." I would challenge that unqualifiedly. Otherwise we are caught ina vicious circle. The most powerful agency in American life today has a duty to lead and to accept responsibility for the things which will make America what sho ought to be. I don't mean to say all should publish Christian Science Monitors, but I do mean that the servile, supine, weak, son- tiil-ontal acquiuscurce in the idea that newspapers must furnish the people only what they want is challungod by the fact that we don't know what people want. It can be found every time that the American people will rcspond to something that is at least a bit higher than what they have bocn accustomed to. People in their best moments want something better than thoyaro. Silence May be Convincing 1HE newspaper that I like has the right emphasis; it has a certain brcadth; it gives evidence constantly that it is accepting its responsibilities. But I want to get to this: T.hat are its methods? Well, the paper I like, first of all, is the one that has the dignity every now and then quietly and silently to ignore certain things. I don't mean that it should suppress the truth in any of its aspects, but I do mean that it should recognize that certain things can best be disposed of by not paying the slightest attention to them. There is running in my mind the phrase or sentence of some artise who said: "If you cannot praiso a picture, curse it; silence is the one thing I cannot stand." That is the method for some people. And, finally, I like a newspaper which holds its readers to the recogni- tion that there Ls in the universe a line and that on the one side of it things are wrong, and on the other side things are right; that the American people will insist upon the recognition of moral issues; and that selfish, aggressive special interests that dominate the people shall be attacked, just as the official who stands for honosty shall be supported. Theodore Roosevelt was the one who roaliy made this true in Amorican political life.
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