Sunday, November 25

Entertaining Ourselves

Artist's Studio, West Barrington, RI, 2007

Unlike my children, I don't write only when I have something to say. I'd rather write a non-memorable paragraph every day than less, just for the practice of seeing my words in print, and for the discipline. Maybe a new winter's resolution is to do just that.

Here's a passage from one of my favorite books, Now That We Have to Walk by Raymond Tifft Fuller (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943):

"... a dismaying proportions of us Americans buy too many superfluous gadgets to save time and labor (working still harder than ever to possess and maintain them); neglect our health and our insurance, and live always above our income-level; we have put far too much of our 'saved' time into being entertained. Seductively placed before us is a variety of more or less effective diversions perhaps never equalled since the days of the Caesars. Eighteenth century royalties never had the time-killing opportunities we common Americans have. We are being painstakingly trained to regard entertainment and ever more entertainment as the crowning feature of civilized life. Subtly the passive role has been glorified into being the characteristic element of a high standard of living..... Millions of Americans have surrendered all personal sovereignty over their fun and their interests."

Zow. I say this all the time. Or, rather, I think it but do NOT say it, as I have an antipathy toward stating the obvious. And it's been said many times, probably centuries before Fuller. But this is from 1943 -- how long must the prophet speak in the wilderness?

I had a couple more passages to copy here, but this is enough food for thought for one session.

1 comment:

bri said...


we have put far too much of our 'saved' time into being entertained. . .

I recognize the photo!

and thank you for the post.