Editorial: 'Glamorizing patriotism' (8-2-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 2, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

If patriotism is at such a low ebb that it must be bolstered with the sort of propaganda shorts now being put out by the movies, then I’m ready to view the future with Ickish alarm.

Certainly we’re ready to do our bit for democracy; we shan’t flinch at sacrifices for America and freedom, but in Heaven’s name why must we be afflicted with pictures of the gob who marries the Admiral’s daughter, and of an Army life that is all sweetness and light?

The Hollywood approach to the crisis walks a chalk line halfway between an Atlantic City beauty contest and a Wyoming rodeo, presenting a mixture of glamor and trick spectacles which, we suppose, adds up to patriotism in the opinion of the producers.

We can forgive the producers, if we have to, but we can’t forgive the War Department or whatever group in Washington it is that authorizes and collaborates in the making of these moronic films.

War is a deadly but a dignified business. It has never been really funny, although comic relief must appear in spots, since it bobs up in every other enterprise. However, when we have it dished up in country-club settings with only God’s noblemen taking part, then the stomach as well as the head rebels. One hears with relief the groans of high-school kids in the audience who reject made at some expense to encourage their patriotism.

Gentlemen, have pity! If we’re in a total war effort, let’s call off the maneuvers in Southern California and relieve Louella Parsons and Walter Winchell of recruiting duties.

National morale is not so low it needs Hollywood hypodermics.