Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Sundays and Cinemas (attitudes in 1930’s Leith)

Sundays and Cinemas (attitudes in 1930’s Leith)
We take the liberty of quoting the following
pungent comments on this subject by Dr. Archibald
Fleming, of St. Columba’s, Pont St., London:
” One cannot help a feeling of sadness — perhaps even
of disgust, at the sordidness of much of the discussion
of this tiresome and difficult question. It has been
mainly on so low a level. Hospital chairmen have not
been much better than the rest — we need the money,
and we are not going to he squeamish about the source
from which it comes, seeems to he their argument ;
cinemas to-day, sweepstakes to-morrow. The “hospitals”
argument leaves the present writer cold. If
they cannot be adequately supported by the cheerful
giver, better just fall back on the taxpayer and ratepayer.
Clean causes can never thrive in the end on
tainted money. And hypocrisy and cant have played
so great a part in the discussion. No one, for a moment,
thinks that the largely Jewish promoters of cinema
combines (even to the religious Jew Sunday is, of course,
a secular day) and the millionaire monopolists of Hollywood,
California, care a rap for the unintermittent
need of rational recreation for the people, the saving of
young folks from boredom or “stravaiging,” and so forth.
They are out to make money ; and were it proved to the
hilt that the cinema was the most degrading influence
in the world, so long as it commanded crowded houses,
they would be for everyday opening all the same. The
quota for charities, paid as hush-money to simple-minded
philanthropists and churchmen, will, it is easy to
prophesy, soon disappear when the complete secularisation
of Sunday by cinemas, theatres, and prize fights has
been safely entrenched behind statute law. Indeed, it
may well be argued that this sanctimonious blackmail
ought, in any case, to go ; for stripped of cant, the charity
quota are no more than a moral variant of “graft” ;
and graft ceases to be paid when the scruples it was
designed to overcome have been sufficiently silenced.
The claims of the spiritual life, and the peril to a nation
that neglects them ; the recognition of God as an element
in corporate life ; the fact that even the mind is
best recreated by intelligent diversion, not by sensationalism,
slobber, and sex — these considerations, when
hinted at at all, were, in Parliamentary debate, passed
by with obvious impatience by our popular-press-ridden
legislators, to whom cheap sneers at Scots and Puritans
(there are worse things) seemed more congenial.”

source-South Leith Magazine 1931

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