EB White In 1956: Candidates Only Claim 'Unconventional Thinking'

IkePostI previously highlighted a 1964 piece beloved Charlotte's Web author and long-time New Yorker editor EB White wrote about the rise of robo-calling.

"The phone should be live, with someone talking into the thing at one end and someone listening at the other end, even if it's only a French poodle," he wrote at the time, decades away from Apple, Steve Jobs or the iPhone.

Well, in 1956, three days before incumbent Republican Dwight Eisenhower trounced Democratic rival Adlai Stevenson, White penned another awesome piece, this time addressing the "unconventional" policies politicians claim as their own while on the campaign trail.

Read an excerpt AFTER THE JUMP.


From the November 3, 1956 edition of The New Yorker:

The impression one gets from campaign oratory is that the sun revolves around the earth, the earth revolves around the United States, and the United States revolves around whichever city the speaker happens to be in at the moment.


During a presidential race, candidates sometimes manage to create the impression that their thoughts are ranging widely and they they have abandoned conventional thinking. I love to listen to them when they are in the throes of these quadrennial seizures. But I haven't heard much from either candidates that sounded unconventional - although I have heard some things that sounded sensible and sincere.

A candidate could easily commit political suicide if he were to come up with an unconventional thought during a Presidential tour.

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  1. It should be noted that Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower, endorsed President Obama.

    Posted by: CB | Nov 1, 2012 7:09:55 PM

  2. Do Apple, Steve Jobs or the iPhone actually have anything to do with robo-calls? I feel like robo-calls precede those things by a long time, and so I don't understand the question or what they have to do with each other—and I can't respond.

    Posted by: ggggb | Nov 2, 2012 12:04:27 AM

  3. unfortunately editorial hook...:
    "decades away from [prior to] Apple, Steve Jobs or the iPhone."
    ...really has anything changed?

    Posted by: my2cents | Nov 2, 2012 1:29:31 AM

  4. Things have changed since 1956. In the year 2012, I doubt if a campaign poster like the one above would ever see the light of day.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Nov 2, 2012 11:29:46 AM

  5. @Jamal49: I think you're giving too much credit to the Republicans. Remember the Religious Right's "America is going down"?

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Nov 3, 2012 2:03:51 PM

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