As I Please
Tribune, 16 June 1944
times, by word of mouth and in writing, I have been asked why I do not make use of this
column for an onslaught on the Brains Trust. [NOTE 1] For
Christs sake take a crack at Joad, one reader put it. Now, I would not deny
that the Brains Trust is a very dismal thing. I am objectively anti-Brains Trust, in the
sense that I always switch off any radio from which it begins to emerge. The phony
pretence that the whole thing is spontaneous and uncensored, the steady avoidance of any
serious topic and concentration on questions of the Why do childrens ears
stick out type, the muscular-curate heartiness of the question-master, the
frequently irritating voices, and the thought of incompetent amateur broadcasters being
paid ten or fifteen shillings a minute to say Er er er, are very
hard to bear. But I cannot feel the same indignation against this programme as many of my
acquaintances seem to do, and it is worth explaining why.
One cannot buy magazines from abroad nowadays, but I recommend anyone who has a friend in New York to try and cadge a copy of Politics, the new monthly magazine, edited by the Marxist literary critic, Dwight Macdonald. I dont agree with the policy of this paper, which is anti-war (not from a pacifist angle), but I admire its combination of highbrow political analysis with intelligent literary criticism. It is sad to have to admit it, but we have no monthly or quarterly magazines in England to come up to the American ones for there are several others of rather the same stamp as Politics. We are still haunted by a half-conscious idea that to have aesthetic sensibilities you must be a Tory. But of course the present superiority of American magazines is partly due to the war. Politically, the paper in this country most nearly corresponding to Politics would be, I suppose, the New Leader. You have only to compare the get-up, the style of writing, the range of subjects and the intellectual level of the two papers, to see what it means to live in a country where there are still leisure and woodpulp.Note 1: The Brains Trust var et populært BBC-program med lederen af Dept. of Psychology and Philosophy ved Birkbeck College, Dr. Joad, i spidsen for et såkaldt "ekspertpanel", der besvarede spørgsmål fra lytterne.
Copyright The Estate of Eric Blair