Eavesdropper, Ventriloquist, Signalman

in Theater of the Mind

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780226853505
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226853529 | DOI:
Eavesdropper, Ventriloquist, Signalman

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This chapter offers readings of radio plays concerning three archetypal characters that each pull the aesthetic framework of wartime radio until it begins to fray: The ventriloquist, the eavesdropper, and the signalman. Eavesdropping requires an “active” receiver while ventriloquism requires a “passive” transmitter; both are confessions of the inadequacy of the whole notion of using acts of communication to structure a theater of the mind. Signalmen amalgamate with an information system, and thus do not simply interact with media, but act as media. Ventriloquists, eavesdroppers, and signalmen stand in for (and fantasize about) the unobtainable object of radio aesthetics: The listener at home.

Keywords: radio plays; ventriloquists; eavesdroppers; signalmen; eavesdropping; active receiver; ventriloquism; passive transmitter; theater of mind; aesthetics

Chapter.  10206 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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