The Depression didn’t stop professional theorists from working on the issue of what people should do with what was seen as the impending explosion of leisure time. Arthur Pack (The Challenge of Leisure, 1934) for example wondered about the impact of free-ish time and the implementation of “constructive leisure”. Walter Lippmann worried about the impact of “commercialized pleasures” rather than those that were creative and involving an idea. Still, in 1934, the ideas of leisure and pleasure as institutions were a distant, deeply fuzzy notion to most Americans.
But that doesn’t mean that the other segments of the American economy, those happy and personally unaffected in the Depression, couldn’t remain so: there was money and money to be spent, and spent well in the dwindling power of the mid 1930’s dollar, the purchasing power of the wealthy growing as the economy declined.
Which brings us to this pamphlet for Flaming-Arrow dude
ranch and the kids outfitted in the high, big-chaps fashion of thin-lipped,
vocabularily-challenged cowboy stars of the 30’s matinee. But by Neptune
I’m not so sure why this cover is so disturbing to me—maybe it is just something so simple as the war between the enjoyed leisure time of people with money and the enforced unpleasant leisure time of the unemployed and unmonied.