Snippets 205. Comments about the pace of life are ubiquitous in the media nowadays, but this is far from being a modern concern, and a generation “living too rapidly” was already a worry over a century ago. The following quote is taken from the 18th February 1909 edition of The Bioscope:
Mr. Charles Urban’s operators are getting more ubiquitous than the “Daily Mail’s” special correspondents. Their feat in getting pictures from Berlin to the screen at the Palace Theatre on Wednesday was a splendid piece of work.
So were the pictures. But this rush to get news pictures on to the screen is a trifle worrying to the nerves of a generation that is already living too rapidly. Our forefathers would have been content to see pictures of the King in Berlin reproduced in “The Graphic” or “The Illustrated London News” about a fortnight after the visit was over.
It really would not be surprising if in the near future the newspaper is superseded altogether by the news screens. If daylight projection becomes a fact, and Socialists capture the Government, we may live to see a municipal news screen erected in Trafalgar Square, and crowds gathering round to see how Comrade Grictor Vayson threw the Serjeant at Arms out of the House of Commons, or how Comrade Heir Kardie kissed his brother Hoodoo in the wilds of Timbuctoo on his fifth famous world tour—undertaken at the expense of the State.
Charles Urban was a pioneer of documentary film. The year before this article he had launched a two-colour motion picture system (Kinamacolor), which was enormously successful worldwide, until his patent was successfully challenged in court in 1914, and he lost exclusivity and therefore profitability.
“Grictor Vayson” and “Heir Kardie” are of course deliberate spoonerisms of the names of socialist politician Victor Grayson and founder of the Labour Party Kier Hardie. Hardie was in favour of self-rule in India and had spoken out against racism towards the Indians. These progressive opinions are probably why the author of the article in The Bioscope included the racist joke about his “brother Hoodoo”. Kier did actually have two half brothers, David and George, both of whom became Labour MPs.
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