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Gunther's survey of the American public's weekend mores might have been titled The Lonely, Lost-Weekend Crowd. Friend, we waste our weekends conforming--having ""visible fun"". Under the Puritan compulsion to work, we work at having fun and our games have all the leisure of baling wire constricting a packing crate. Take the swim: the chores behind a simple dip are ungodly. Visit the supermarket for an hour, get charcoal, pack the picnic basket, gas the buggy, double your fun by the distance you drive, then worry about the trip home with the kids. Why go through it all? Because Work is our weekend god and not Fun. Even when we deliberately, visibly go against our own tastes and fly into the face of obloquy by watching Gunsmoke, we are working toward a conscious ideal of conforming to Kitsch. What is Kitsch? Middleclass art: bloated, buttery, phony, but likeable. You can't even not like Kitsch without cheapening Work. It's Work to dislike Kitsch with proper dis-idealism idealism. This doublethink typically preoccupies the American weekend, of which only 12 of 63 hours are wasted at anything comparable to fun. As a General Electric V-P said: ""It's not this company's policy to send people home on Friday as tired as they come in on Monday."" Despite ambivalence between the serious and meretricious, Gunther's study makes telling points.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1964
Publisher: ippincott