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U.S. Has No Monopoly on Idiocy, Says Jean (the Sorehead) Shepherd
Airdate: Friday - May 15, 1959

Last Update: 04-22-2017

Show Description
Jean Shepherd, the poet of the sorehead, rambled along about the foibles of mankind for 2-1/2 hours last night at Lafayette College. "We're all fatheads," Shepherd said. "It's a matter of degree." Approximately 500 people - fans and followers really - heard the program in Colton Memorial Chapel. "This wasn't the same crowd that was here for Clement Attlee," said Lafayette student Bill Cameron of Allentown. "There is about a one per cent overlap." When Shepherd first walked to the microphone, there was extended applause. When it died down, he observed, "Since the days of Rome there hasn't been a good angry mob like this." Shepherd has a music and conversation program Saturdays and Sundays on WOR. He is known also as the spokesman for the night people. "Here we are, the results of millions of years of evolution," he said. "We've gone through it all - Beowulf, Disraeli, Ed Sullivan. We're the end product. "Does it make you a little frightened?" The Recurring "This is part of the recurring theme through all writing - the past was magnificent, the future is going to be even greater. It's only now that it's rotten. "This is one of the great human problems. This is particularly true of American life. "We think everything we do is temporary, that I will begin living at any moment, that this is just ad-libbing. "Most people feel when they are in school that it's going to be great when they get out. It isn't. It's going to be more of the same - only worse. "There are guys who have rooms, and there are roommates. If you're a roommate now, you're going to be one when you get out " About the Beat Generation. he said: "The whole concept of the beat is the retreat from making a decision. The beat has the attitude of a man with talent - who says. 'I have something to say,' but has nothing to say. "As a non-member of the beat, I feel it's my duty to attack the problems I see in life." The beat is "like a man writing how bad television is in the Partisan Review. The only place he should be saying this is in the programming department of NBC." Shepherd termed the Pulitzer-prize play. "J. B.," a "prime example of superficial treatment of a profound thing. It is one of the great hoaxes of our time It never turns to the audience and says. 'You're not going to make it'. " No Monopoly America has no monopoly on idiocy. "It's a world problem. We just package it better. "I talked to Castro. He's a prime example. He's got the world completely fooled. He does one thing typical of our age - nobody associates what he says with what he does, "He says he's a peace loving man - all the time the executions are going on. "He walks into the ballroom of the Plaza with three hand grenades strapped to him. Then he says, 'I am a peace-loving man.' And everybody cheered." "We will live to see the day in 10 years when Castro will be the Nasser of Latin America." Other Shepherdisms: "There isn't an American alive who doesn't believe that God is an American and probably a Republican. And he's well adjusted. "When we think in terms of progress, don't we think of the world becoming American? Don't we think when the world gels on the stick, it will look like Trenton?"
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May 15,1959
The Morning Call

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

Airdate History ' - Original' date is earliest known broadcast)
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