Posted by Bob on May 14, 2003

In Reply to: Humanize posted by TheFallen on May 14, 2003

: : Hi,

: : Could anyone help me with the following bracketed sentence. I am not quite sure what it means.

: :
: : (President Franklin Delano Roosevelt humanized radio in a great government, national sense as it had never before been humanized). The use of radio by politicians was not a new development.

: : Thank you very much.

: : Celia

: That's a particularly hideous piece of writing and I'm not sure what it means either. To "humanize" something usually means either to imbue it with human characteristics, or to make it more humane, or civilised. I don't think that either sense fits the sentence that you quote.

: I think that the writer's trying to say that when President FDR gave radio broadcasts, they were done in such a manner to be more accessible to the general public, rather than just to politicians or the intelligentsia - ordinary people could relate to whatever he was saying. However, I am not at all sure.

: Opinions, anyone else?
Yes, that's about it. The forgettable stiffs before FDR in the radio era (Harding, Coolidge, Hoover) all tended to Orate, while Roosevelt spoke warmly, personally, in a conversational tone. It was reassuring to a frightened country in 1933.
Partly it was his personality ... but part was a big advance in microphone technology. In the 1920's, one had to speak very loudly (or sing very loudly) in the available microphones. When newer technology made mics more sensitive, a few people understood that, and became overnight "stars." FDR was one; Bing Crosby was another. Bing was the first "Crooner" who sang in a more natural, intimate voice. No strident shouting. He became wildly popular.