Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fifties Mentality in the USA Today

Commercials that interview housewives about the efficacy of cleaning products, smiling excessively made-up women going on about their husbands and children, political figureheads, even constructive, liberals like Elizabeth Warren talking about "American families" ad infinitum and the frightening predominance of religious doctrine in political discourse, even progressive political discourse and political landscape, all these factors point to a resurgence of nineteen-fifties-style values in twenty-first century America.

The question I keep asking myself is why is this happening now? In the USA of the nineteen fifties the world was settling in after World War II. and by 1953 the Korean War had also ended. The boys were home and they needed the jobs that women had taken during the war so a publicity campaign was conducted to acculturate women to their new lives as mothers and housewives. Many men had the income capability to support a stay-at-home wife.

We are now in another time of reduced job opportunities. Millions of folks have lost their homes and their assets have diminished greatly. This, in turn, produces great stress causing an increase in substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and economic crime in general; the whole grim package. Part of the fifties resurgence is nostalgia for what was considered a safer, simpler time although, those of us who lived through it, know the fallacy of this kind of thinking.

The lion's share of this mentality is pro-active brain-washing. Don't focus on the money you no longer have or the health problems you may have developed as a result, but instead color your hair, find a spouse, have a baby, go to church and pray for things to get better! What a drag all those heavy thoughts can be!

So, in essence, we are stuck in the nouveau fifties: which means the glorification and idealization of the unexamined life. Instead of fighting back against the Wall Street banksters, the true criminals, we being encouraged to breed like a bunch of fluffy bunnies. But the fluffier the trappings, the more we should worry about the content of the message.

Yet, we must remember that just as dawn follows the longest night, the era that follows the fifties is the sixties. I'm already getting my protest signs ready and airing out my tie-dyed shirts!