Whenever some public-spirited savant brings forward a method of dealing out information wholesale, by means of "predigested news" or "educational films", or "fifteen minute-a-day" reading courses, there is usually more or less definite disparagement by those who are devoted to the "good old days" and apparently want every man to decipher original Greek manuscripts for himself. A case in point is the making by the Yale Press of a motion picture to cover American history, from its earliest beginnings to the present. This film is labelled with the damning title of "tabloid history"; and the intellectually elite are shocked to contemplate the masses absorbing history or what not without effort or reference to authentic written texts. It is sometimes even argued that such substitutes for real education will eventually supplant the orthodox methods, and that everything will be simplified, condensed and given out in the popular "tabloid" form.
It should be needless to point out that any information which can be given to the public, if it be correct and unbiased, must prove valuable in creating that background which is now conspicuous by its absence. It is equally obvious that the motion pictures have no rival for spreading any kind of propaganda; the best of the best sellers never reaches a fraction of the multitudes who see every widely-advertised "movie". And if historically accurate films are produced with the proper regard for dramatic effectiveness, as are those being prepared under the Yale authorities, they will not be shunned as "educational"; and the impressions left will be far more vivid and lasting than those created by any public-school history one can think of.
Of course, for those who are really interested in history, no synopsis or mere condensation will ever replace the voluminous fascinating sources themselves. Those who will profit will be those who would otherwise never trouble themselves with history at all.