Why are the 1950s so idealized?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Cuāuhtemōc, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Sorry for contributing so little but I want to know from people who either grew up during the post-war economic boom (1945-1973) or know about the era in US history. Please?
     
  2. Sol Zagato Well-Known Member

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    I dunno... because they weren't the 1930s? Incredible rise in prosperity.
     
  3. Silver Shamrock Active Member

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    Rose-coloured lenses, perhaps? The nostalgia filter accounts for a whole lot, after all.
     
  4. KyleB Fighter of the Nightman

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    They were a wonderful time because we were deadlocked in a cold war with the Soviets, scared out of our wits by Sputnik, spending our free time digging fallout shelters in our backyards, dying by the thousands in Korea, and running up a national debt.
     
  5. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    On one hand, it was the age of the boom, relative calm, economic explosion, ease for the middle class, the rise of the teenager, etc.

    On the other, people are morons and think "Leave it to Beaver" is a documentary.
     
  6. Westbrook 49 Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget Joe McCarthy!
     
  7. Silver Shamrock Active Member

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    I remember reading a comic - buggered if I can recall the name, but it was part of an anthology. Anyways, it was drawn in this idyllic style, with bright, colourful splash pages, retro-future writing ...

    ... and it was about a group of teenagers murdering a cop so they could get into a street gang. Racism, violence, revenge ... yeah, the writer of that comic didn't have an idealised view of the past.
     
  8. theReturner Well-Known Member

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    Probably because people had just been through the Great Depression and World War Two. Compared too the past two decades, it was probably much better time to be alive in America.

    Of course, things weren't perfect, for alot of people, namely African-Americans.
     
  9. Typo Banned

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    Unrealistic Nostalgia, couple with real statistically proven better income distribution for the middle class as a product of the war and the New Deal. http://www.slate.com/id/2266174/
     
  10. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Taxes were pretty high I heard too.
     
  11. Typo Banned

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    Were they? But the thing is high taxes arn't necessarily a bad thing
     
  12. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Never said they were. I merely asked if taxes were higher then than now - I think corporate taxes were pretty high
     
  13. Typo Banned

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    Ah I see.

    I actually don't know :)
     
  14. Thande Toujours Phrais

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    A time of plenty, improving standards of living, postwar optimism and cultural flowering in the USA, enviously watched by the rest of the world living in bombed-out austerity.
     
  15. LordInsane Supporter of the Alliance

    Most of the world, anyhow. They, er, were not the only country to get a time of plenty, with improving standards of living, optimism and indeed some cultural flowering.
     
  16. Peabody-Martini Well-Known Member

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    You glorify the past when the future dries up- U2, God Part 2
     
  17. gridlocked Banned

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    I am speaking about the USA.

    It really was a golden age especially if you were middle class/lower middle class. People in the 50s were poor compared to us, but things got better every year.

    Television, automobiles, private homes and a lot of other things we take for granted were new and becoming common place. A guy could graduate high school find a job and support a wife and family and retire with a pension. With detergent, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, Tupperware etc, being a housewife was no longer being a family drudge, but a desirable lifestyle that most women aspired too.

    The country was young and extremely optimistic, much more so than even the 1990s. The problems with growth, youth and loosening strict and old fashion standards are simply more edifying than dealing with the problems of decline and limits.

    Objectively in terms of wealth and technology, you are far better starting your life in the crowded and Bankrupt California of today as opposed to starting your life in the California of the 1950s where everything is wide open. However, psychologically I bet it doesn't feel that way and the Californians who have experienced both eras are pretty clear which era they prefer.

    Because of the war and the shut down in immigration, the 1950s were a much more regimented and homogeneous society than today. The exception are blacks, of course, but in the 1950s their life and prosperity was getting better too. This is the era of mass migration to the north.

    Now, I do not prefer male life organized like you were on a big sports team and female life centered on home, children, bridge, and book clubs, but many people would be very happy to live this way.

    In short it was a golden age, but like any other golden age, say USA 1995-2008, it is not ideal for everybody or every personality type.
     
  18. John Fredrick Parker Well-Known Member

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    I think we need to understand part of what, arguably, makes the 1950's so great is the difference between what the country was like when it started vs what it was like at the end. A lot of the cliche bad things about the 50's -- McCarthyism, Cold War paranoia, conformist culture, etc -- are a lot better at describing the early parts, while a lot of really great things about the decade -- middle class prosperity, relative calm, start of civil rights, the permissive society -- became bigger as the decade progressed.

    Well, things aren't perfect now either, but that's not the standard; the standard is the level of progress, and especially compared to the previous decades, the 1950's were huge.
     
  19. The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    I had this great class on U.S. history spring quarter last year. The prof, had things very balanced. We read a Conservative book, a middle ground, and a liberal book. One thing that was brought up was the 50's and the changing scene. Uniformity was the norm, the ideal, and the way the world needed to look to boost competition with the USSR. Reagan was an actor paying 99% if his earning to the Feds in taxes over a certain amount of his earning (one reason he lowered taxes for the rich when he was President in the 80's) There are many more things I could mention, but most of the other details have left me. :/ Working hard on my current history class on African slave trading.....20 page histiographic paper to work on for next week. Wish me LUCK! XD :eek:
     
  20. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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    Yeah, taxes on the wealthy were rather high. They were about 90 percent of income by the time JFK got into office because of the New Dealers, and everyone (New Dealers too) generally thought they had gotten way outta hand so JFK lowered them to somewhere around 70% to try to get them to pay a fair share but not be unfairly burdened. Then Reagan lowered them down greatly, and the Conservatives have been trying to lower them even further for a while (I think it's either 20% now or the conservatives want it lowered to 20%).