Wednesday July 31, 2013
Say Kids, What Time Is It?
“Howdy Doody was the sub-basement of a Shirley Temple movie. It was about a marionette—and not a very good one ... if you wanted to be kind about it, you'd say it would be amateur hour, but why be kind about it? It was something that couldn't get into a Shirley Temple movie, but its advantage was that it was in an advertising medium, and you didn't have to be so good because you weren't asking people to leave their houses and go and buy a ticket; you were simply there, you were a delivery system for advertising, and you were operating in perfect harmony with a generation that was appalled by its lack of access to the real power vectors in the world; and I'll just repeat that because one day soon, everyone's going to want to know the history of the war babies and the baby boomers, and why most of us acted in a culturally dysfunctional way, and the answer is that as children we felt we were marionettes and we were appalled by our lack of access to the real power vectors of the world. The H-bomb of it, the Winston Churchill of it, the coal miner of it, and, through no action of our own, but just mysteriously and magically we got sat in front of these boxes, which spoke to us to perfection. Here you are, a little Howdy Doody marionette.”
-- George W.S. Trow, ”My Pilgrim's Progress: Media Studies 1950-1998,“ pp. 133-34