Outline+12+Culture+of+the+1950s

Outline+12+Culture+of+the+1950s - Cold War, Warm Hearths:...

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Unformatted text preview: Cold War, Warm Hearths: American Culture in the 1950s Theme: Much like the 1920s and the 1980s, the 1950s (1945-1962) saw a retrenchment, an escape from (New Deal) Liberalism, a stifling of dissent, and a new embrace of consumer culture. The symbols of the 1950s were not "flappers" but suburban housewives and Elvis ’ Presley. As in the 1920s, an undercurrent of resistance and rebellion existed in the 1950s - angry black Americans, frustrated middle-class women, and alienated "heat generation" writers. 1. Postwar Prosperity: malls, super highways, credit cards, television, McDonalds, and Disneyland II. Suburbanization A. Demography: Baby Boom B. GI Bill C. Eisenhower's Federal Highway program D. Levittown: From Long Island to South Brunswick Ev1s Presley Raches out to His s, c. 1955 III. Finding Happiness in the Suburbs A. Happy Wives - Father Knows Best (TV Video Clip) B. Healthy Children — Benjamin Spock C. Good Sex - Alfred Kinsey D. Rebellious Youth? - James Dean and Elvis Presley Movie Clip: Jailhouse Rock D. Men JuSt Want to Have Fun — Hugh Hefner IV. The Other America Prologue: Ralph Waldo Ellison: "I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those Who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood—movie extoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrOrs of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination -- indeed, everything and anything except me." From the Introduction to The Invisible Man. A. What Went Wrong in Detroit — Deindustrialization and the Rust Belt B. Story of Easby Wilson, 1955 C. Waking Up — Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique (1963) Identification: GI. Bill of Rights, Baby Boom, Levittown,‘the Kitchen Debate, The Feminine Mystique, Ralph Ellison, Elvis Presley, Jack Kerouac, Benjamin Spock, Alfred Kinsey, suburban living LITTLE BOXES, Words and music by Malvina Reynolds. Copyright 1962, Schroder Music Company. Malvina Reynolds (1900-1978) was a “red diaper” baby—born to immigrant Jewish socialist parents and refiised a high school diploma because her parents opposed US entry into WW1. She earned PhD from California-berkeley, but could not find a teaching position during the Great Depression and became a social worker. During WWII, she worked in a munitions fabtory, and only afier the war, and meeting folk singers such Pete Singer, did she return to school to take music theory and begin song writing. She wrote both protest songs and songs for children. Many of her songs grew out of protests against the Vietnam War, environmental concerns, and involvement in the women’s movement, and she was also influenced by her residence in the counter-culture in Berkeley, California. The song below suggests that continuity between the “conformist” 19505 and the white-collar culture that still predominated in the 1960s. Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky tacky Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same, There's a green one and a pink one; And a blue one and a yellow one; And they're all made out of ticky tacky; And they all look just the same. And the people in the houses, All went to the university; Where they were put in boxes;And they came out all the same. And there‘s doctors and lawyers, And business executives;' And they're all made out of ticky tacky; And they all look just the same. And they all play on the golf course; And drink their martinis dry; And they all have pretty children; And the children go to school, And the children go to summer camp; And then to the university; Where they are put in boxes; And they come out all the same. And the boys go into business; And marry and raise a family; In boxes made of ticky tacky; And they all look just the same, There's a green one and a pink one; And a blue one and a yellow one; And they're all made out of ticky tacky; And they all look just the same. ‘ ‘ Figure 3 Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev spar verbally at the American Exhibition in Moscow in 1959. Here they engage 1n the “kitchen debate” eas‘they fight the cold war over the commodity gap rather than the missile gap. (Wide World Photo.) for :1 94995-0 house This was a radical innovation that reflected the new conditions of postwar suburban family life. Now the picture windows that were featured in the ranch house (and we see them here in the Tekula's house, facing the "patio") linked indoor living with outdoor, and made the backyard an extension of the house. After a transitional period, Levitt had come up with the embodiment of suburban living ideals: the house closed itself off from the street, and turned instead back toward the family "garden" and, beyond it, the commons. This was a vision of a house that could be appropriate to the conditions of suburban life, in which work (in the city) was sequestered from life, leisure, nurturance, in the home. Source: Peter bacon Hales, Building Levittown: A Rudimentary Primer, httgg.'//ii gger. uic. edu/~Qbhales/Leviiiown/bui Id in g. hth. Accessed 3 -3 1-2009. ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2012 for the course US HISTORY 512:104 taught by Professor Stevenmcgrail during the Spring '10 term at Rutgers.

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Outline+12+Culture+of+the+1950s - Cold War, Warm Hearths:...

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