Lipton’s Journal/December 17, 1954/64
Advertising and television and radio and newspapers and movies, but especially advertising are society’s war upon each individual. It is the place where advertising reaches deep into each man’s soul and converts a piece of it to society. So there are good ads and bad ads but the good ads must always be studied for they sink deeply into the soul, and we receive them because finally material commodities are like petrifactions of love and of power, the two things the soul seeks for in life, legitimately, finely, the two things for which it entered its contract with society. (Power understood of course as the extension of one’s faculties which is noble; but in society we can extend our faculties only by control over other people.)
So, too, do mass entertainers accomplish bastardy. They join men in false brotherhood, link them in sentimentality. But one hopeful sign is that the hipsters have entered mass entertainment, and preach anarchy and disrespect, à la Ernie Kovacs.
- One of the pioneers of television comedy, Kovacs (1919 – 1962) was irreverent, improvisational and satirical. In a series of weekly programs and specials in the 1950s and 1960s, his wildly varied sketches breached the fourth wall, taking the camera behind the scenes and into the street. His work influenced the formats of many future comedy series, including Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and Saturday Night Live. Mailer praised the unscripted and unhackneyed television antics of Kovacs, George Goebel and Steve Allen in his February 22, 1956 Village Voice column.