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Cold War Culture How did atomic bomb, McCarthyism, and consensus affect American culture and social life?

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Presentation on theme: "Cold War Culture How did atomic bomb, McCarthyism, and consensus affect American culture and social life?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cold War Culture How did atomic bomb, McCarthyism, and consensus affect American culture and social life?

2 Postwar Dissent & Nonconformity Working Outside the Box? CONFORMITY

3 Ralston Crawford, Tour of Inspection, Bikini, 1946

4 Jackson Pollock, Convergence, 1952

5 Jackson Pollock, No. 1, 1949

6 Jackson Pollock, No. 1, 1950

7 Jackson Pollock, No. 31, 1950

8 Jackson Pollock, Blue Poles, 1952

9 Jackson Pollock, No. 8, 1949

10 Jackson Pollock, No. 8 (detail), 1949

11 Jackson Pollock Videos MOMA short video: “The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollock: One: Number 31, 1950” MOMA short video SFMOMA short video: “Jackson Pollock on His Process” SFMOMA short video Longer version of SFMOMA: Hans Namuth’s Jackson Pollock 51 (1951, 10 minutes) Longer version

12 Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942

13 William Garnett, Grading, Lakewood, California, 1950

14 William Garnett, Trenching, Lakewood, California, 1950

15 William Garnett, Foundations and Slabs, Lakewood, California, 1950

16 William Garnett, Framing, Lakewood, California, 1950

17 William Garnett, Finished Housing, Lakewood, California, 1950

18 1950s Horror Films


20 The Fly, 1958

21 Link: Film TrailerFilm Trailer

22 Them, 1954 Link: Film TrailerFilm Trailer

23 Outer Space Anxieties Sputnik, 1957


25 Horror Films, the Atom Bomb, and the Environment Common themes in 1950s horror films?

26 Gender Roles Dissent and Nonconformity: Women, Domesticity, and Work

27 June Cleaver or Not? Conventional Message: Domesticity = Appropriate Gender Roles = Safety = National Security = “The Homeland” Contestation of Conventions o Domestic role conformist or empowering? – using maternal role to protest Civil Defense Drills in NYC o Working outside the home o Women in Civil Rights Movement o Beat women, bad girls o Feminism

28 Traditions: Victorian Gender Roles John Singer Sargent Video J.S.S. Video #2

29 1950s Gender Roles Father Knows Best John Wayne and movie westerns “A Word to the Wives,” 1955 “Leave It to Roll-Oh,” 1940 “Why Study Home Economics,” 1955 “Are You Popular?” (1947)

30 Gender Roles in Yates’s Revolutionary Road? Women Men

31 Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963 Link to Chapter 1 Link Article on Friedan and FM, The Atlantic Monthly Article Another article, The New Yorker Another

32 Link: Film TrailerFilm Trailer

33 Link: Film TrailerFilm Trailer

34 Dissent – The Beats Kerouac, On the Road Ginsberg, Howl, America, Supermarket in CA [audio recordings]Americaaudio recordings Ferlinghetti, I Am WaitingI Am Waiting Ferlinghetti, Sometime During EternitySometime During Eternity Ferlinghetti, Constantly Risking AbsurdityConstantly Risking Absurdity

35 Playful, tongue-in-cheek style Using popular culture, consumer culture, and elite culture symbols and language in subversive ways Subversive politics, sexuality, lifestyles Dissent – The Beats

36 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sometime During Eternity, 1958 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, "[Sometime During Eternity]" (1958) Sometime during eternity some guys show up and one of them who shows up real late is a kind of carpenter from some square-type place like Galilee and he starts wailing and claiming he is hip to who made heaven and earth and that the cat who really laid it on us is his Dad

37 Ferlinghetti (cont.) And moreover he adds It's all write down on some scroll-type parchments which some henchmen leave lying around the Dead Sea somewheres a long time ago and which you won't even find for a coupla thousand years or so or at least for nineteen hundred and fortyseven of them to be exact and even then nobody really believes them or me for that matter

38 Ferlinghetti (cont.) You're hot they tell him And they cool him They stretch him on the Tree to cool And everybody after that is always making models of this Tree with Him hung up and always crooning His name and calling Him to come down and sit in on their combo as if he is the king cat who's got to blow or they can't quite make it Only he don't come down from His Tree

39 Ferlinghetti (cont.) Him just hang there on His Tree looking real Petered out and real cool and also according to a roundup of late world news from the usual unreliable sources real dead

40 Conclusions Total conformity?

41 Conclusions (cont.)

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