From the April 1948 magazine.

Pros and Cons on Applause for Speakers

Too Drastic

It seems to me that your make-up editor, who placed the A.A. slogan "Easy Does It" immediately after Detroiter F.C.O.'s article in your March issue gave (probably by pure accident) the short answer to F.C.O.'s closing query "How about ending applause at A.A. meetings?" Such slogan, and indeed the whole of our A.A. experience, would indicate that we should "make haste slowly" before embarking on radical experiments. And, in my opinion, the elimination of applause might well change the essential nature of an A.A. meeting, because in our meetings the audience is far more important than the speaker, who is just another alcoholic who reflects in his talk not only his own experience but that of a large part of his audience. The audience feels with him and, when he concludes, it is only natural that they should give vent to their emotions with applause. Handcuffiing an A.A. audience may kill the enthusiasm which differentiates our meetings from those of other organizations. If we do that, it may not be long before we become just another sect or cult in which there is a wide gulf separating the preacher from the "preached at."

It is true, as F.C.O. points out, that now and again an A.A. speaker misinterprets applause and gets egotistically "puffed up" but, after all, that does not happen very often and, when it does, the "self-executing" remedy in our disease is very likely to quickly correct the speaker's misunderstanding. In other words, he is very likely shortly to find himself drunk.

-- J.A.D.

New York, New York

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