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propaganda of materialism than American advertising. Is it
therefore just plain and unqualifiably wrong in any
serious, moral philosophy? No. Not at any rate in
Christian morality. For Christian morality based on
Christian theology does not separate matter and spirit into
two worlds of evil and good. Concretely, it is the first
job of Modern Living to show how the multiplicity of goods
in an industrial age can be used towards relatively better
rather than relatively worse taste. A broad the latitude
is of course left to the winds of fashions, in clothes,
food, architecture or anything else. Being so deeply
involved in the contemporary, Life can't, for example,
refuse to have anything to do with clothes if it thinks
that contemporary fashions as a whole stink. But it can,
without becoming hopelessly eccentric, choose the less bad
among the bad, and with a combination of subtlety and
earnestness try to point the way out of a period of bad
taste in anything, toward good taste.”
This is 1946. Have any memories of this, of that department being--?
Yes. Maria Sermelino. That's when we hired Maria
Sermelino, as I remember, and created the Modern Living Department.
I don't think that Maria Sermelino or anybody else thought in
theological terms about modern living. [they laugh] They just looked
at what's hot and what's fun.
But in terms of this nexus between advertising--did the
publishing side concern itself with the Modern Living Department?
So this is just Henry Luce justifying what?
Just his theories. [laughter] He had theories about
everything. Nothing was any good unless it could be phrased in
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