this may be rather an awful thought. I wonder if it is，
Although musical comedy, or, more properly speaking, musical farce, is becoming more and more popular in both Europe and America it is also becoming proportionately more farcical; although in many theaters it is staged as often as the more serious drama, in some having exclusive dominion; and although theater managers find that these plays draw bigger crowds and fill their houses better than any other, in the large cities running for over a year, I cannot help regarding this feature of theatrical life as so much theatrical chaos. It lacks culture, and is sometimes both bizarre and neurotic. I do not object to patter, smart give and take, in which the comical angles of life are exposed, if it is brilliant; neither have I anything to say against light comedy in which the ridiculous side of things is portrayed. This sort of entertainment may help men who have spent a busy day, crowded with anxious moments, and weighted with serious responsibilities, but exhibitions which make men on their way home talk not of art, or of music, or of wit, but of "the little girl who wore a little black net" are distinctly to be condemned. Even the class who think it waste of time to think, and who go to the theater only to "laugh awfully", are not helped by this sort of entertainment. Such songs as the following, which I have culled from the `Play Pictorial', a monthly published in London, must in time pall the taste of even the shallow-minded.
"Can't you spare a glance? Have we got a chance? You've got a knowing pair of eyes; When it's 2 to 1 It isn't much fun," This is what she soon replies:
"Oh, won't you buy a race-card, And take a tip from me? If you want to find a winner, It's easy as can be When the Cupid stakes are starting, Your heads are all awhirl, And my tip to-day Is a bit each way On the race-card girl."
Yet this, apparently, is the sort of thing which appeals to the modern American who wants amusement of the lightest kind, amusement which appeals to the eye and ear with the lightest possible tax on his already over-burdened brain. He certainly cannot complain that his wishes have not been faithfully fulfilled. It may be due to my ignorance of English, but the song I have just quoted seems to me silly, and I do not think any "ragtime music" could make it worth singing. Of course many songs and plays in the music halls are such as afford innocent mirth, but it has to be confessed that there are other things of a different type which it is not wise for respectable families to take the young to see. I would not like to say all I think of this feature of Western civilization, but I may quote an Englishman without giving offense. Writing in the `Metropolitan Magazine', Louis Sherwin says: "There is not a doubt that the so-called `high-brow dancer' has had a lot to do with the bare-legged epidemic that rages upon the comic-opera stage to-day. Nothing could be further removed from musical comedy than the art of such women as Isadora Duncan and Maude Allen. To inform Miss Duncan that she has been the means of making nudity popular in musical farce would beyond question incur the lady's very reasonable wrath. But it is none the less true. When the bare-legged classic dancer made her appearance in opera houses, and on concert platforms with symphony orchestras, it was the cue for every chorus girl with an ambition to undress in public. First of all we had a plague of Salomes. Then the musical comedy producers, following their usual custom of religiously avoiding anything original, began to send the pony ballets and soubrettes on the stages without their hosiery and with their knees clad in nothing but a coat of whitewash (sometimes they even forgot to put on the whitewash, and then the sight was horrible). The human form divine, with few exceptions, is a devilish spectacle unless it is properly made up. Some twenty years from now managers will discover what audiences found out months ago, that a chorus girl's bare leg is infinitely less beautiful than the same leg when duly disguised by petticoats and things."
Chapter 16. Conjuring and Circuses
After what I have said as to the position of the actor in China my readers will not be surprised at my saying that the performance of a conjuror should not be encouraged. What pleasure can there be in being tricked? It may be a great display of dexterity to turn water into wine, to seem to cut off a person's head, to appear to swallow swords, to escape from locked handcuffs, and to perform the various cabinet tricks, but cleverness does not alter the fact that after all it is only deception cunningly contrived and performed in such a way as to evade discovery. It appears right to many because it is called "legerdemain" and "conjuring" but in reality it is exactly the same thing as that by which the successful card-sharper strips his victims, viz., such quickness of hand that the eye is deceived. Should we encourage such artful devices? History tells many stories as to the way in which people have been kept in superstitious bondage by illusions and magic, and if it be now held to be right to deceive for fun how can it be held to have been wrong to deceive for religion? Those who made the people believe through practising deception doubtless believed the trick to be less harmful than unbelief. I contend, therefore, that people who go to see conjuring performances derive no good from them, but that, on the contrary, they are apt to be impressed with the idea that to practise deception is to show praiseworthy skill. It is strange how many people pay money to others to deceive them. More than ever before, people to-day actually enjoy being cheated. If the tricks were clumsily devised and easily detected there would be no attraction, but the cleverer and more puzzling the trick the more eagerly people flock to see it.
Christian preachers and moralists could do well to take up this matter and discourage people from frequenting the exhibitions of tricksters. There are doubtless many laws in nature yet undiscovered, and a few persons undoubtedly possess abnormal powers. This makes the cultivation of the love of trickery the more dangerous. It prevents the truth from being perceived. It enables charlatans to find dupes, and causes the real magician to be applauded as a legerdemainist. This is what the New Testament tells us happened in the case of Jesus Christ. His miracles failed to convince because the people had for a long time loved those who could deceive them cleverly.* The people said to him, "Thou hast a devil," and others warned them after his death saying, "That deceiver said while he was yet alive `After three days I will rise again.'" When people are taught not only to marvel at the marvelous but to be indifferent to its falsehoods they lose the power of discrimination, and are apt to take the true for the false, the real for the unreal.
-- * This is a rather unorthodox view, but nonetheless interesting, especially as it pertains to his following statements. -- A. R. L., 1996. --
article title：this may be rather an awful thought. I wonder if it is
Address of this article：http://dgkwy.iwfinews.com/html/121e199470.html
This article is published by the partner and does not representHuchaolongxiang.comPosition, reprint, contact the author and indicate the source：Huchaolongxiang.com
current location： power > >this may be rather an awful thought. I wonder if it is