Monday, November 01, 2004

Due Thursday

I think I went cyclic in my thinking while writing this.

What We Really Miss About the 1950's - a summary

Basically, the 1950's was an island of economic and relative social stability, wedged between the war-torn 1940's and the activist 1960's. After dealing with the decades of uncertainty before it, people needed and wanted a "better way" and set about as a society to create one. Using mass media techniques, the American public was introduced to a new "traditional" family - one superior than the miserable one they were raised in, as penicillin was superior to sulfur powder in the treatment of infection. The solution was the creation of the nuclear family and the suburban lifestyle.

The author does a very good job of describing the instability that existed in the 1940's. Those of us who grew up after 1960 tend to see the 1950's as the era of traditional family values. Though history classes taught us about the Great Depression and WWII, the prevalence of old Hollywood movies and early television shows have also convinced the following generations that this was the way a family was meant to be. Like Spain sending her best warriors to bring Christianity to the New World, Hollywood only showed movies that reinforced the image of the perfect nuclear family. Visually, it is very hard to find examples of real families that existed before then. So effective was this indoctrination by mass media that its vestiges continued on in television shows like The Brady Bunch and The Cosby Show.

But perfection is what people wanted. As the author stated, they didn't want to see their own lives reflected back at them - they wanted an example to follow that would give them an alternative to the family structures of their families of origin. However, the author neglected to add the mind set created from the technological advances made during WWII. People believed that there was a solution to everything and it wasn't in the ways of the past.

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