CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 6 Dore Schary "The Art & the Sexual Image"
Young people have no way of knowing what it is to be an adult. This morning we learn much from our distinguished speakers Dr. Eisenberg and Mr. Denham and Mr. Kirk and all have raised issues and suggested answers they provide a background for discussion and action for many years. For your information their papers will be published and will be available in the Proceedings of the conference. We're grateful for their contribution today and when we read their papers we will be grateful all over again for this session. We tried and succeeded in getting the kind of speaker who brings a well balanced point of view to our subject. He is not from the academic commit community but he holds two doctorates. He's a truly deeply religious person but he is not a churchman. He was a leader in organizations promoting civil and
minority rights. And in his daily life. And his books and his plays he demonstrates his awareness and sensitivity and a deep understanding of human beings in diverse situation. He's a philosopher who lives and acts dynamically. It's my pleasure to introduce to you the playwright Mr Dorrit Cher. I. Thank you. This is how I'm staying. This is Jonas Congressman government. Distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen. I must say I was in pretty good shape until I got here. And I took a look at this. Quite amazing mass of educators and professionals and I couldn't help but be
reminded of a favorite story of the Hadley Stevenson story having to do with Prime Minister Disraeli just before a a meeting in parliament that involved an important issue he was approached by a young member of the house. He said Mr. Prime Minister. Do you think I should become involved in the discussion and Disraeli said. After a moment. No I think it's better that people wonder why you didn't speak rather than why you did it. But having a fair sense of responsibility to commitments I decided to proceed. My title is the arts and the sexual image. And
it appears that your committee has an extra sensory perception. Stanley Kauffmann of the New York Times water car on the road Tribune and Emily Jan are of the same paper have recently written on this subject and of course quite depressingly he would have to write incessantly. I am. Trying in a valiant way to lift a pleasant enough erotic magazine into a way of life. I confess that I enjoy the sight of a good looking female body. With the delight of any normal 100 percent red blooded American boy. But for the life of me I cannot determine why families photographed in magazines should appear so delighted that their daughter is being exposed so thoroughly. It apparently is a new status symbol. The following
are new credentials presented by some people for membership in the country club. I own two cars a split level house I've never belonged to an organization on the Attorney-General's list and my 18 year old daughter appeared absolutely stark naked in Playboy. However I think the sponsors of this 40 second annual conference expect me to dwell on something less obvious. For instance the nude figure and Matt at Saab. While that's fairly obvious and hardly shocking the second act curtain of tiny Alice perhaps as I was writing this a flood of images paraded or rather ran across my stream of consciousness in previous speeches and articles I have dealt with these sex images and talking of the theater motion pictures and TV and the conclusion is inevitably and obviously the
same. The arch reflect the society which nurtures it and support. Now I do not argue they should do only that. As a matter of fact many of us tried to do more. But we fall as victims before they title wave of comedy music some of it very good indeed and so call sick plays. But if they are sick they are symptoms of an epidemic. If we are appalled by some things we see on stage or screen aren't we just as appalled by the terror of bigots and racists are by the pollution of air water and earth. If nudity is available to the mass public in Kodachrome prints isn't the natural consequence that it be available in large screen Technicolor. And finally on public display in restaurants saloons and
theaters. If I press is blotted with stories of violence and crime shouldn't it follow that it be reflected in fiction. But as we are preoccupied with the need for and detain the subject has to be made palatable and salable so it follows that sex and violence be glossed over and satirized and out of this need comes the new school of camp which permits us to laugh heartily at copulation and mayhem with no feeling of guilt. Isn't this too a reflection a desire to turn away from the anguished realities. Now if your committee intended that their speaker today be one who would indict the theater and all art as the culprit responsible for what appears to be and indeed an escalation of licentiousness and a fracturing of our moral standards. They got the wrong number. The arch are guilty but so
are we. Bad Art of any kind. Him are a LART irresponsible art cannot exist without a buying public. And the public is buying. And as a sales increase the product is applauded for the simple reason that the buyer does not choose to be considered a dolt. Or a dupe. Search for its hidden meaning. My friend says to me regarding the can of Campbell's soup paint that on canvas two feet high. Now I cannot find any meaning except that an actual CAN SO BIG could feed a lot of hungry migrant workers who would view this present conference as not too related to their own happy state. They'd happily skip the talk on the significance of the Roy Jones or the toilet. For a decent place to sleep. The truth is that this huge world which
everyone persists is growing smaller but actually it's getting bigger all the time. Is the churning boiling mass of contradictions paradoxes in predicaments an art in the sex image in the arts has darn little to do with it except provide in most cases the tired business man and his lady with titillation and fun. And if the language is often riddled catch tomorrow as cocktail party conversation on a recorder the loose and easy language of social dialogue and of the novel and theater is designed we are told to release us from bondage. The brilliant Kenneth Tynan startled BBC by saying a four letter word to an audience of millions. Motion pictures in Technicolor and 20 feet tall present for our enjoyment. Indeed our amazement a bevy of bosoms and box.
So duction is no longer the problems of the cab and we learn that rape is actually something some young ladies look forward to much like a high school diploma. TV deals with sex as casually as do the other arts but perhaps not as candidly. But don't lose heart. If the competition gets tough enough they'll have to sell soap by selling sexuality a smaller image it's true but so intimate right in your bedroom. And of violence is so easily and blandly accepted. Why not six people are killed off and spy stories by the hundreds. And it's fun and no one cares. Spear guns pierced throats knives split bellies bullets plow into skulls knees are thrust into grinds face smashed into mouths
but no one ever cries. The mass of murdered tortured raped brutalized victims are never buried and never mourned. It takes too long and no one cares and sensitized to feeling by excess the audience only asks to make it more lurid. We are excited stimulated amused and alas we do not care. Our attitude about sex is I fear in the same state. We no longer care. The yearning for privacy has disappeared. Sex has gone as public as a T and T. A logical question pops up and I'm ill prepared for a definitive answer I offer only an educated guess as to how we got into theirs. The state of Texas. They also told of World War 2 amounting to forty five million deaths. Left our feelings paralyzed. How can we feel
the extermination of so many. The death of one person we knew can shock us. But if we tried to absorb in our senses a slaughter of forty five million. We would go mad. So we build a callous. And as the wars begin again over 40 of them in 21 years. Yes 14 just count them. Israel Indonesia Cyprus Yemen Egypt India Korea Hungary Iran Iraq all man Malaysia Vietnam to name a few. The callous thickens. Not all big wars it is true. Not nuclear wars true but the ones who died in those small wars are as dead as those who died in Hiroshima or on Omaha Beach. And since we are involved in these discussions with sex and family behavior let's think for a while about our families since World War 2. My children as did your children. Grew
up in a shadow of conflict. As children in school you and I were instructed against disaster by fire drills. Our children were drilled on our drill against the disaster of a nuclear blast. A final eloquent goodbye. Might serve them better at such a time. However they go on being drilled. They are aware of the Cold War with its constant threats and the long roll of casualties of the many other wars in strange far off places war certainly has improved our knowledge of geography. The ever present political climate haunted by the fear of communism is another bar the burgeoning strength of the far right. The missile crisis. All these add to tension. Let us be candid. We have given our children a series of nightmares some of which remain and they are sob and unconscious.
Our family units have been distorted and often broken. A family night at home is usually a prolonged battle over which TV program is to be viewed. Our children fly to far off colleges and may travel 2000 miles for a weekend and a desperate desire perhaps born of guilt. Our permissiveness has made us afraid to exert parental will. We walk in circles so as not to be called a square. And if I daughter speak quite casually of contraceptive pills we dare not ask the natural questions that come to mind are children in the main Our generation of dissenters and protestors. They must look at us and wonder with some justice. If your ways are so good. How the hell did we get in this mess. We find no immediate answer if we do. We're too frightened to voice it and often our answers are much too pious. And much too
glib. We're apprehensive to speak of personal responsibility because we're not sure that we have performed up to par. We are shy of speaking of morality because we have sinned or believe we have. We recognize that morality is not a status quo of any society. Our generation of the 20s and 30s were to our parents a rather wild group of moral delinquents. And so we are cautious to render a bill of indictment arguing to ourselves that everything changes. And indeed it does. But to what. Posed against the keystone of behavior of the 50s which were based on a desire to be well liked and we worked very hard at that is an attitude of the 60s. Who cares. Single equations are out. Along with God when we say freedom we are asked what kind of
freedom and for whom. When we say peace we are asked what kind of peace and for whom and how do we propose to achieve it. When we say democracy we are asked to define it and for whom and when. It is no wonder that so many of our young people rallied to the civil rights struggle. This was an effort with an end result to be envisioned and achieved. This was something their parents had permitted to endure and which they the children would not tolerate. This was an IOU they could pay off and proudly say to us what other unfinished business is Iraq. The protests abuse the youth against the Vietnam struggle is not merely a left wing movement. Of course there are some communists involved Russian or Peking oriented but
we play ourselves false if we think the motive is purely Communist inspired. It is again the young are asking to be heard. Asking for new ideas new constellations of power politics asking for an abatement of All Fears and a recognition of new truths. If we think they are to be denied we are totally on learn. So these young people as did the Talmud student rush about saying Ask me a question. I have an answer. They also have questions to which they hear no adequate answer. I believe then that we calloused and cautious are facing a new breed who are eager for new sensations and bold and by victories much of what they say and do. We have to encourage other actions we must be courageous enough to oppose. We are of course
intimidated by the guilt and fears which I have already mentioned another albatrosses our feeling that we are hypocrites. Since we have had in the past as Kinsey reported our own sexual adventures which were handled more covertly we are embarrassed to address ourselves to overt sex aren't our entire social scheme today is based on exposure. We have to know everything columnists report daily on items fed to them by eager press agents and publicity oriented personalities. Our modern dances are public exhibitions with no inhibitions crime is reported luridly and we are led to believe that history now demands of the medical profession that they tell us following surgery on any one of note. The first precise time that they had their first bowel elimination and even a president.
Is obliged to exhibit a rather new surgical scar. This desire for exposure My belief is reflected in our attitude about sex anything and everything goes just so long as it remains public. Anyone who views with alarm is a blue nosed old folkie of a Puritan. I dances by rhythm and movement suggests the sexual act that we might become more concerned if the parties involved stayed closer together. One of the delights of the old generation was the act of taking a girl close in your arms and holding her as you danced and such simple pleasure is now as outmoded as the anti Macassar. And this tendency to expose has however some positive results. The debate is open and blunt regarding the war in Vietnam is good exposure
the bustling debates on a score of other subjects concerning us is good exposure. What we must guard against is the exposure that is brought upon us. Under other disguises. As Free speech does not entitle us to yell fire in a crowded theater. So an open society does not give us a license to embrace a horde of social evils. It is not hypocritical to stand firmly for a code of decent behavior. The question we ask is how far and in what direction are we heading. Are we on the path to total Maro annihilation or are we on the path to a new way of life. So free that psychiatrists will have only themselves left for the cultures. There are signs of mortal. Mortal moral injury crimes of youth Spouter our front pages and these crimes do not only spring out of
jungle slums and rich families are tainted by their children who drink too much smoke pot use the mainline murder vandalize rape and steal but we hope we do see signs of how colleges are more crowded by industrious and committed students. Some weeks ago I watched a meeting of young editors of college papers interviewing Senator Robert Kennedy the young men and women while groomed spoke intelligibly and ask intelligent questions. Theaters and civic centers for music art and dance are sprouting out all over the country. There are new centers for the Humanities. The best of our young people go into the Peace Corps some to be frustrated it's true others to be fulfilled. Young men fight heroically on strange battlefields even in wars they don't quite understand. Some say there
is a revival of religion. Well true the evidence indicates it's a new religion however with various rejections of God. But there is a willingness to accept some ethical concepts free of dogma. So then there are three forces working in our society. We're the older generation often puzzled and Bunny and the new don't care. Young men and women and the third is the intense liberated young men and women who reject some of our old answers to ancient problems and seek cogent answers of their own. They reject war as a panacea and are horrified by it. They believe and world government. They know what the civil rights struggle all over the world really means. They are generally disabused with communism and fascism. They seek out new definitions of democracy
and they want to know as we want to know where do we go from here. They have rid themselves of the neurotic tendency to be simply happy. They want to know about automation and what it means. They do not in greater numbers in the past choose to be anti Catholic anti-Semitic ranting you grow. They are not as possessed of ancient fears if properly supported they are the champions of the future but their destinies cannot be determined by cliches and hortatory can't they prefer the candid admission that we too do not know all the answers they can fish. Heck a confession of ignorance brings them closer to us as allies in these anxious times. Nothing irritates them as much as the wheezy when I was your age. And indeed it is that we for the plain truth is that when
I was a boy has very little to do with when my son was a boy. I grew up in an age of illusion banners waved and drums rolled and we walked along with the doughboy as they set off to lick the Kaiser. Our boys were all heroes. Indians were all villains. It was a simple age when we really believed the Emancipation Proclamation way back in 1863 had solved everything for the Negro. When every world crisis could be handled by a regiment of United States Marine One it was clear that Europe and Asia were too far away for us to be alarmed by empty threats. And that time planes which could carry twenty people were speculations on the cover of Popular Mechanics and radio television satellites and space vehicles were as visionary as unemployment insurance Medicare and old age
pensions. So the one of today is what we have to contend with. Weary as we are we have to Renu our energies calloused. We have to rub our skin free and be prepared to be hurt and sensitive. Otherwise we will miss what our young people are trying to say. I hazard a guess they want to stop being so permissive to them to everything they want to join with them in fashioning fresh affirmations of faith. They want some deep and righteous not self-righteous moral indignation. I believe that in this widespread preoccupation with sex and violence we are forgetting to be indignant about the horrible and try to sense of some of our Southern politicians are the stultifying influence of 90 percent of our television
programs. All the overwhelming drive that force us to send to obnoxious conformity are the shifting bad news that have substituted status symbols for lofty ambition or of our deteriorating position and world affairs or of the helpless and almost prone position of our teachers. Are all our commercials. That assures that life can be sublime. If only we smell sweet. I have white teeth you soft tissue and smoke a cigarette that is tar free. How can we carpet our children if they know papa and mamma get fairly was known at the Country Club and that papa foxed the Internal Revenue Service out of a fact check by phony expense accounts. If Mama spends each day with hair set and bleach to hide the gray so only her hairdresser knows. How does she persuade little sister
to act her age. This breakdown within the family cuts across all class lines. The slum families provide little incentive by coming home drunk from the corner bar. All by proudly citing a stolen transistor radio set on the table public and private schools bare scars of the tormented family structure and what is required is a clear eyed recognition of the unpleasant truth. And then our hard nosed determination to do something about it. What I am urging is a whole lot of attempts at individual responsibility and every activity of our lives as with bad art we cannot legislate bad behavior out of our lives nor wish it nor talk it out of existence. We can only act it out by personal behavior. The preoccupation with sex should be deplored. If only if only because were ruining the best private
enterprise with which we that have been blessed. And like General Motors I'm all for private enterprise. There is a joke about two ladies discussing a vacation and one lady says she has no idea where to go she's been everywhere and the other lady asked where the first lady went last year and she answers I went to Aruba. Where is that she's asked and she answers I don't know. We flew. Well as with all pretty good jokes there's truth to behold. I submit that we today know we have gone someplace and how we got there. But I submit we haven't the foggiest idea where we are and if we don't. How do we expect our young people to know. I think together we can find out. It means stripping away caution worn out custom and newfangled permissiveness.
It was said by Tolstoy that all of us want to change humanity but we are not willing to change ourselves. Why let's change ourselves. We might be amazed at the fine reception we get from some of our kids and how eagerly they will change with us. And to stick to my subject art will also change because it's marrow of cash. A different reflection. But the arts and the people who work in IT have an individual responsibility to beyond their own enclave of movement of endeavor. They are the communicators in theatre films TV the written word and the painted form. They have to move out of the ivory towers and the smoke filled pads and do something beyond just report what goes on. They could and should blow the whistle. Ring the alarm sound the toxin and wake up the people they have to get over the uneasy
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- Chicago: “CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 6 Dore Schary "The Art & the Sexual Image",” 1966-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-599z432c.
- MLA: “CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 6 Dore Schary "The Art & the Sexual Image".” 1966-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-599z432c>.
- APA: CSAA Annual Conference: Sexual behavior and social ethics; Reel 6 Dore Schary "The Art & the Sexual Image". Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-599z432c