By Martin Halliwell
This booklet offers a stimulating account of the dominant cultural different types of Nineteen Fifties the US: fiction and poetry; theatre and function; movie and tv; track and radio; and the visible arts. via distinct remark and targeted case reviews of influential texts and occasions - from Invisible guy to West part tale, from Disneyland to the Seattle World's reasonable, from Rear Window to The americans - the e-book examines the best way modernism and the chilly battle supply frames of reference for figuring out the trajectory of postwar tradition. the 2 middle goals of this quantity are to chart the altering complexion of yankee tradition within the years following international conflict II and to supply readers with a serious research of 'the 1950s'. The publication offers an highbrow context for forthcoming Nineteen Fifties American tradition and considers the old impression of the last decade on fresh social and cultural advancements
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Extra resources for American culture in the 1950s
22 For Potter, not only do critics often overlook the meaning of ‘character’, ‘nation’, ‘group’ and ‘tradition’, but they also underestimate the economic, historical and environmental forces that underpin them. Reacting against vulgar materialist notions of culture in which the economic base determines everything else, Potter adopted a flexible view of culture: at times it represents personal expression, at others an interface between individuals and society, and at others an integrative force that enables individuals to communicate, to reach a consensus, or to cohere around symbols of national unity or group loyalty.
McCarthy’s aim was to purge institutions of those deemed to be holding subversive ideas, but it was his ability to manipulate anticommunist sentiments, particularly during the Korean War, which explains his widespread appeal in the early decade. While many liberals were afraid to oppose McCarthy for fear of being recast as radicals, the newspapers helped to inflame matters by reporting unfounded claims as facts. Straight intellectual discussion could not compete with the dramatic assertions of Tail Gunner Joe and public polemic against him was in danger of being seen as un-American.
In Marxist terms, whereas the economic base was readily discernible in the Soviet Union (at least up to Stalin’s death in 1953) or in Red China (following Mao Tse-tung’s overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949), the complex superstructure of postwar US society often hid economic realities behind the veil of entertainment. 53 More radical critics of 1950s America, such as Norman Mailer and C. Wright Mills, would have agreed with Galbraith that there was too much coming ‘to good terms with life’ in postwar America, and not enough questioning of what is at stake when the vast majority of citizens concur with conventional wisdom.