The quotation is: ” Its focus is the nation-state circa 1950, romantically unencumbered by international obligations, co-operation and constraint.”
That’s one way to characterize the 1950s.
Conceptualizations of the 1950s
My purpose in sharing the quotation is to introduce the topic of this post, which is conceptualizations of the 1950s.
Another quotation that comes to mind appears in David Lynch (2012), in which a quotation serves to sum up Lynch’s conceptualization of the 1950s. I recall a reference, from the quotation, to the tail fins on 1950s cars, and a sense (in my mind) that summing up the decade in a blurb, whatever shape the blurb may take, may serve to render a decade in a manner reminiscent of a cartoon, wherein by necessity details and textures, present in some other forms of representation, are eliminated. That being said, the blurbs that relate to any decade are of interest. They are great topics for conversation.
The work of David Lynch is a great topic for conversation as well.
The Big Dream
The article notes: “Listening to The Big Dream, the question of why the ’50s are of such interest to David Lynch presents itself again. My theory on it is this: we’re talking about a decade mythologized on both sides of the ideological fence as the most perfectly American of eras, the last flourishing of what we might now consider something both quintessentially and traditionally American, for better or worse – a sort of pastoral golden era of white picket fences and white faces and good Christian values, before the ’60s counterculture came and changed everything forever. If you’re a conservative, it’s an era that you’re forever trying to recreate; if you’re a liberal, it’s a myth to be imploded. The big dream, indeed.” [End of exerpt]
I’m not familiar with Lynch’s work but have borrowed DVDs and books related to his career from the Toronto Public Library so I can get a sense of what his work is about. The fact Lynch has chosen a particular form of meditation, popularized in the 1960s as I recall, as his meditation practice, rather than some other form of meditation, is of interest. His choice is perhaps an inevitable choice in the particular circumstances. To an extent, each of us can be said to be a product of our times.
The Big Sleep
The title “The Big Dream” brings to mind The Big Sleep (1946).
My 50s memories includes Grade 4 at Cartierville School in Montreal. I recalled just now that in the winters, on our way home from Cartierville School on the bus, we would on occasion sing all of the known verses of The Ballad of Davy Crockett (1955).
I can picture the bus, bouncing along in the snow as if in a cartoon, with the sounds of the engine and tires and the sounds of our own voices providing the soundtrack as the bus approached its destination, which in our case was somewhere near the corner of O’Brien and rue Forbes. In the winters there was almost always a great deal of snow with particularly memorable snowstorms in the month of March.
In time I learned to characterize The Ballad of Davy Crockett as a quintessential Walt Disney propaganda tune. In time I learned of alternative perspectives, that I feel more at home with, regarding North American history.