You can practice persuasive writing by taking a position on one of several issues illustrated in the collection. For example, throughout Calvin Coolidge’s presidency, his likeness and comments were used to sell a variety of products without his permission. A search on Advertisement Exploitation locates correspondence regarding ads that irritated the president and examples of several questionable advertisements. Defend or reject the notion that since Calvin Coolidge was a public figure, it was acceptable for his name to have been used in advertising.
In an article by Jason Joy entitled "Nation-Wide Saturday Morning Movies,” Will Hays, the head of the Motion Picture Distributors of America, guaranteed that children going to movie theaters on Saturday morning would enjoy wholesome entertainment.
The very best sort of movies will be displayed for the youngsters. . . . Parents and guardians may send their children to these performances with complete confidence that what they see will be altogether wholesome and beneficial. Ever since motion pictures became a familiar public service institution, there has been talk of a so-called problem, ‘What of the Child and the Movie?’ This arrangement, the Saturday morning movie, is the complete answer to the situation.
An article from the September 1924 issue of The Playground entitled, "Should Children Go to the Movies?" estimates that 90 percent of school children between ages seven and fourteen go to films on a regular basis. Questions of content take a backseat to the negative health effects of the movie-going experience:
Motion pictures may exert a bad effect on the immature nervous system of the child. The brain in young children is very immature, and it and the nerves should be very carefully protected. Children who night after night gaze open-mouthed at exciting episodes and thrilling escapes become peevish and irritable. They have restless nights and nightmares.
Choose one of these quotes (either a critique of content or the movie-going experience itself) and defend or reject the validity of the statement as either a parent or a child of the era.