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Not All Propaganda is Art 5: The Play’s the Thing

In the fall of 1958, Kenneth Tynan moved from London to New York and upon arrival, clashed with Hollywood mogul Samuel Goldwyn over socially engaged art and the politics of apolitical culture on live TV. At the same moment New Yorker writer Dwight Macdonald went West to report on “New” Hollywood’s ambitions to create commercially and artistically successful films. We also meet two of Professor Macdonald’s former students from a Mass Culture course he taught at Bard College in 1958. Meanwhile in France, Richard Wright suffers a number of disturbing attacks, prompting him to channel his frustrations into a revealing radio play.

Shownotes: Tamara Walker is the author of Beyond the Shores, Hugh Wilford wrote The Mighty Wurlitzer, Tom Benjamin and Frances Hodes were both students of Dwight Macdonald at Bard College in 1958 and Dan Sinclair is the author of  Courteous Enemy.

Support ToE and get access to the incredible exclusive bonus companion series to Not All Propaganda is Art by subscribing at https://theoryofeverything.supercast.com/, or subscribe directly in Apple Podcasts by hitting “Subscribe” right on the show page.

Not All Propaganda is Art 4: Propagande Noire

In 1956, Richard Wright spoke of islands of free men at the first Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris. James Baldwin critiqued the event for Encounter, the CIA’s propaganda magazine. We take a close listen to the original recordings. 

Shownotes: Merve Fejzula and Cedric Tolliver both wrote about the 1956 Congrès des écrivains et artistes noirs. Darryl Pinckney wrote on Norman Mailer and Denis Leroux wrote on Antoine Bonnemaison

Support ToE and get access to the incredible exclusive bonus companion series to Not All Propaganda is Art by subscribing at https://theoryofeverything.supercast.com/, or subscribe directly in Apple Podcasts by hitting “Subscribe” right on the show page.

Not All Propaganda is Art 3: The Man Who Was Thursday’s Children

In 1956 London Theater critic Kenneth Tynan helped launch a youth movement committed to exposing social and political issues on stage, on screen and in literature. We take a close look at the operators and opportunists behind England’s Angry Young Men.

Shownotes: Michael Billington wrote for the Guardian, Celia Brayfield wrote Rebel Writers, Clare Bucknell wrote The Treasuries Laura Bradley writes on Brecht.

Not All Propaganda is Art 2: Outsider Influence

In 1956, New Yorker writer Dwight Macdonald joined Encounter, a magazine secretly backed by American and British security agencies. He arrived in London just as British Influencers turned a young Existentialist named Colin Wilson into England’s answer to Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, the CIA incited a youth rebellion in communist Hungary. We investigate the covert propaganda behind Operation Free Youth Action and Operation Anti-Sartre and the Outsider’s influence on Macdonald’s famous critique of Mass and Middlebrow Culture.

Shownotes: Carole Ann Gill  is the author of Carole Ann, Sarah Roth wrote on Operation Focus, Hugh Wilford is the author of The Mighty Wurlitzer, Jelena Ćulibrk writes on IRD and Newsreels, Gary Lachman is the author of Beyond the Robot, Alfred Betschart writes on Sartre, Stefan Collini is the author of Absent Minds, Geoffrey Wheatcroft is the author of Absent Friends.

UK recording assistance from Hannah Uguru

Excerpt from Dec 6, 1956 Radio Free Europe report by Samuel S. Walker

Not All Propaganda is Art 1: Operation Younger Brother

Introducing a new ToE series Not All Propaganda is Art

In the 1950s the CIA weaponized culture to capture hearts and minds in Europe and Africa. We meet three writers (Richard Wright, Kenneth Tynan, and Dwight Macdonald) who got caught up in this battle both as collaborators and targets between the years of 1956 – 1960. We also meet a propagandist responsible for the CIA’s cinematic version of 1984 (Operation Big Brother) and “books that don’t smack of propaganda” aimed at European Intellectuals – including James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son.

Shownotes: Françoise Vergès is the author of A decolonial Feminism, James Campbell is the author of Paris Interzone and Talking at the Gates, Jelena Ćulibrk writes on IRD and Newsreels, Tony Shaw writes on British Cinema and the Cold War,

Support this show and get access to the exclusive companion series (audio footnotes!) by subscribing at https://theoryofeverything.supercast.com/, or subscribe directly in Apple Podcasts by hitting “Subscribe” right on the show page.