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Topical Guide 5
Babbington; Clams, The Babbington Clam Council
Here is another of Dudley Beaker’s ads for the Babbington Clam Council from the time just preceding “My Mother Takes a Tumble”:
Here is one of the Clam council’s ads from a much more recent period (not one of Dudley Beaker’s efforts, though it does use the slogan that he created, which had become a registered trademark of the Council’s):
Work, Labor; Art, Play
He relished this work as he never had any other, and he labored at it long and hard, working on into the night . . .
Little Follies, “My Mother Takes a Tumble”
Whatever we do, we are supposed to do for the sake of “making a living”; such is the verdict of society, and the number of people, especially in the professions who might challenge it, has decreased rapidly. The only exception society is willing to grant is the artist, who, strictly speaking, is the only “worker” left in a laboring society. The same trend to level down all serious activities to the status of making a living is manifest in present-day labor theories, which almost unanimously define labor as the opposite of play. As a result, all serious activities, irrespective of their fruits, are called labor, and every activity which is not necessary either for the life of the individual or for the life process of society is subsumed under playfulness. In these theories, which by echoing the current estimate of a laboring society on the theoretical level sharpen it and drive it into its inherent extreme, not even the “work” of the artist is left; it is dissolved into play and has lost its worldly meaning. The playfulness of the artist is felt to fulfil the same function in the laboring life process of society as the playing of tennis or the pursuit of a hobby fulfils in the life of the individual. The emancipation of labor has not resulted in an equality of this activity with the other activities of the vita activa, but in its almost undisputed predominance. From the standpoint of “making a living,” every activity unconnected with labor becomes a “hobby.”
Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
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You’ll find an overview of the entire work in An Introduction to The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy. It’s a pdf document.