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Salient. An organ of student opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 5 April 19, 1939



It is important to realise that what has happened with the ordinary commercial bookshop has happened also with every agency that sells entertainment, the means of occupying leisure time to the people. It started when the relatively stable social and cultural traditions of Western Europe began to disintegrate before the new conditions created by mass production in the search for profits and power began to exploit the leisure lives of people on a vast scale. This is the new and alarming difference between to-day and a not very distant yesterday—that to-day we have for the first time in history great industries, with a capital running into hundreds of millions of pounds, existing solely to sell the art to the largest possible number of people, and in so doing, to make the largest possible profits. The result is that the true educational and cultural influences in our Society now are not the schools, where the standards of Shakespeare and Swift are still, though rather shakily, upheld, or the theatre, or the church but those means of popular entertainment that modern inventions and industrial organisation have made it possible to provide for the multitudes our State education has taught to read—the romantic novel, the romantic fiction magazine, the film which is in essentials the romantic novel transferred to the screen, the daily and weekly newspapers with a circulation of millions.