As a journalist 50 years ago, I interviewed native Utahn Philo T. Farnsworth, father of electronic television, for KCPX-TV. Phil, as he was known, talked about virtual reality, television without tubes and living in apartment houses under the sea, in addition to other subjects.
Though I (and many others, to be sure) couldn't understand virtual reality and television without tubes at the time, these forecasts have come to pass. A year or two ago, there was even an ad in Time magazine seriously espousing family life in buildings under the sea.
If I remember correctly, Phil held more than 300 patents involving original inventions, as well as significant improvements on a number of some well-known inventions by others. His genius has touched virtually everyone in a modern society in one way or another throughout the world.
In spite of all he has done, however, a Deseret News editorial ("Martha goes to Washington," April 7) states that removing his statue from The Statuary Hall Collection in the nation's capital "does not diminish his important contributions to the state and the world."
I respectfully disagree. The action of our state legislators is both a put-down and a letdown. There are other ways of honoring Martha Hughes Cannon besides sending her statue to Washington to replace that of Philo T. Farnsworth. The editorial talks about "a subtle gender bias." Isn't that really an issue here, in reverse?6 comments on this story
It is hard to imagine that viewers will be moved and impressed more by the presence of Martha's statue than by Phil's statue in Washington. The editorial writer's psychological evaluation that young girls "subconsciously internalize a belief that they cannot become leaders" has no realistic bearing in this case. Replacing Phil's statue is certainly not a solution to the problem.
Having interviewed a number of famous people, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Leonard Bernstein, Phil Farnsworth is still at the top of my list as the most remarkable. The man was a pure genius, with a mind beyond comprehension for his time — and perhaps ours. Utahns should be proud to have him represent the state.