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View Poll Results: What do you think was the best decade in America?
Before 1910's and Before 18 5.47%
1920's 17 5.17%
1930's 6 1.82%
1940's 9 2.74%
1950's 94 28.57%
1960's 46 13.98%
1970's 21 6.38%
1980's 41 12.46%
1990's 66 20.06%
2000's 11 3.34%
Voters: 329. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-21-2011, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Earth
17,440 posts, read 28,600,002 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 90sman View Post
The 1950s...

The good...
the booming economy
low cost of living
middle class families could live comfortably off of one income
The transition to your adulthood (job, marriage, kids, house etc.) was easier.
Parents were parents.
Children were more respectful of their elders and of authority.
There was corporal punishment in public schools.
The 1950s was sort of a combination of traditional/simplicity and modernization going on.
People were actually married BEFORE they had children.
Other than McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and racism, things were quite stable.
Society actually encouraged people to abstain until marriage.
Desegregation was ruled unconstitutional.
The baby boom.

The bad...
Racism, especially in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, etc.
The level of racism in the South (including Texas and Oklahoma) was of a level FAR more severe than that in the rest of the country, but racism was not solely confined to the South. For example, Jim Brown when he was playing for the Cleveland Browns (and was considered the greatest current player in the NFL) wanted to buy a house in the Mayfield Road neighborhood of Cleveland and no one would sell to him ; while Ohio never had Jim Crow laws, there was an unspoken agreement in the real estate profession that even wealthy blacks could only buy in black neighborhoods. When the Giants moved to San Francisco, a similar unspoken agreement prevented Willie Mays from buying a house in a white neighborhood and the mayor had to get involved so that Mays could live where he wanted. Nat King Cole moved into the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles (near Hollywood and West Hollywood) and had crosses burned on his lawn. (Not to mention that Cole's TV series, despite high ratings, was cancelled because advertisers were scared of alienating bigots). Black entertainers at hotels in Las Vegas could not stay in the hotels they were performing in until Frank Sinatra came out and said he would not perform at any hotel in Las Vegas that did not let entertainers stay where they performed. (Sinatra's role as an unsung hero of civil rights is not well known, but he deserves to be commended for that.) If even wealthy and famous blacks had to go through this sort of treatment, it takes little imagination to think of what middle class and working class blacks had to go through. Not that racism in the North and West was on the level of the South or anything close to it, but it existed.

Quote:
TV laws were too strict. You couldn't even show married couples in the same bed nor could you say the word "pregnant" on television. I don't care for the material that's shown on TV and think TV laws should be more strict but not like in the 50s.
I was under the impression that the prohibition on showing married couples in the same bed, which was not in the Hays Code, was due to the British film censorship regulations ; breaking them would have had repercussions in Hollywood's largest foreign market, and that was why it could not be shown. The Hays Code did prohibit the use of the words "pregnant" and "virgin" well into the '50s.

Quote:
Spousal rape was legal.
True in every US state until the '70s, and some states didn't prohibit spousal rape until the last few years.

Quote:
Some women were trapped in abusive marriages due to the stigma of divorce and being unmarried
One of the reasons why there was already a movement to institute no-fault divorce in the '50s, spearheaded by the ABA, although no-fault divorce laws wouldn't occur until the '70s. Divorces were - outside of Nevada - much harder to get. New York, for example, only recognized adultery and physical abuse as grounds for divorce. Many states considered any adultery by a woman but only open and notorious (i.e. public) adultery by a man as grounds for divorce, reflecting societal attitudes of the time. South Carolina still held on to legislative divorce, in which divorces had to go through the state legislature and be signed by the governor. In practice this made divorce near-impossible in that state.

Quote:
Child marriages (marriages of people aged 15 and earlier) were common.
One little known fact about the '50s was that teen pregnancy rates were much higher than any time in the last 20 years (amongst females from 15-19). The reason it gets played down was because pregnancy invariably led to marriage - and the result was the high divorce rates of the 1960s and 1970s. I was under the impression that outright child marriage was more of a Bible Belt phenomenon than a nationwide phenomenon, though.

Earlier in this thread I mentioned the extreme homophobia of the '50s which was universal in all segments of society. Greenwich Village in NYC was the only place in the entire US where it was OK to be gay.

Quote:
Interestingly, if so many people say the 50s were better times. Why don't people try to act and behave like we did then?
Because people don't want the entire package of the '50s, just aspects of the '50s. It has been said the average (presumably white) American male would like something like the '50s only with more open promiscuity and more open pornography.

 
Old 03-21-2011, 02:09 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
15,395 posts, read 22,523,731 times
Reputation: 11134
IMO...The 1970's....great music and a live and let live attitude!
 
Old 03-21-2011, 05:33 AM
 
13,496 posts, read 18,190,645 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majoun View Post
...One little known fact about the '50s was that teen pregnancy rates were much higher than any time in the last 20 years (amongst females from 15-19). The reason it gets played down was because pregnancy invariably led to marriage - and the result was the high divorce rates of the 1960s and 1970s.
I grew up in a small town (5,000 people) in the countryside, and was in jr. high school and high school in the Fifties (college too.) The above observation squares with what I remember of my hometown. "They had to get married" was a comment made about these people. I knew of one - and only one, white girl whose parents did not allow her to marry the boy. They were WASP upper crust and he was Italian, and there was no way they were having him in their family. She was sent across the border to have her child and it was put up for adoption. She returned to school, and later married a fellow from an acceptable background.

Quote:
Earlier in this thread I mentioned the extreme homophobia of the '50s which was universal in all segments of society. Greenwich Village in NYC was the only place in the entire US where it was OK to be gay.
I wonder sometimes if people nowadays realize the homophobia was as extreme as racism was in the Deep South. In our town there was a boy the same age as myself, Joe (not his name) who was quite mentally handicapped. But the town lacked the facilities and his family the funds for anything like today's special education, so he went to school with us, passing from grade to grade automatically with the rest of us...barely able to write, unable to read beyond a lower primary school level, and with really limited social skills. He was totally withdrawn, walked with his shoulders stooped, head down. He was "known" to be q***r, and therefore he was the object sometimes of horrendous ridicule by bullies in school...usually, but not always male.

Twice he was gang-raped - once by six high school boys, once by two, and the perpetrators bragged about it. Even our high school teachers knew about it, and whispered about it in horror among themselves. None of his attackers was ever so much as questioned by the police. One of the pair that raped him, a non-stop bully and wiseacre, later went on to become an elected town official. But then he, like the others, was a regular guy after all.

When I was in my second year of college and came home for summer vacation, my mother mention that Joe had been "put away for his own good." What this turned out to mean was that he had been arrested for minor shoplifting, convicted and put in prison!

Quote:
Because people don't want the entire package of the '50s, just aspects of the '50s. It has been said the average (presumably white) American male would like something like the '50s only with more open promiscuity and more open pornography.
Sounds right, but, of course, if the latter concessions were made it wouldn't be the Fifties.

I think of my personal Forties and Fifties decades as an idyll. I was a child and a youth, our small town in a rural area was the perfect place to grow up...and though both my parents were neurotic, unhappy SOB's, who grew moreso with every year, kids in those years and that place spent most of their time in school or roaming free in the town and country until it was time for dinner, and then out again. From age 14 when you could be legally employed, laboring class kids worked as well as went to school.

And contrary to the Puritan myth, sexual opportunity could be abundant in high school - but very discreet and duplicitous. I do not doubt for a moment that by the time this quiet, obedient, bookish lad left school he had had more sex than many of the adults in town. If you were a teenager, you kept your damned mouth shut about it and used a condom....purchased at the local gas stations.

I can remember sitting there watching The Nelsons and Father Knows Best, and realizing that these TV shows could have been about life on Mars compared to life in my small town. I came to the conclusion that this is how well off people in the rich suburbs of big cities lived.
 
Old 03-30-2011, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
769 posts, read 1,730,999 times
Reputation: 623
The Roaring Twenties! Up until 1929, at least.
 
Old 03-30-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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Reputation: 10270
The 1790's.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 07:33 AM
 
5 posts, read 11,212 times
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It was a hard choice between the 50's & 60's. American tv, music and movies were at their very best and the future held such promise. We became a meaner people after 1968. Everything has been done.
 
Old 05-05-2011, 07:47 AM
 
2,208 posts, read 1,835,880 times
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Between the early 2000s (prior to 9/11) and the late 1990s. Less oppression, a lower deficit, good economy, high technology, overall not a bad period.
 
Old 05-06-2011, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Terramaria
1,804 posts, read 1,953,570 times
Reputation: 2691
I feel like the 1980s are not getting a good rep due to the income redistribution, but people often forget that charities became more important during that decade, so that some of the rich helped the poor out, making some of the salaries deceiving. Live Aid, Farm Aid, We Are The World, Band Aid are all good examples of such charity, and telethons on TV seemed to peak during that decade. But from November 1982 until June 1990 was the longest run of economic expansion in the US at any point in history without any recessions up to that point (there was one in 1958 and another in 1961-62). Gentrification in certain neighborhoods of cities also began as well, especially later in the decade. Technology blossomed here (sure others say the '90s was when it really advanced), but many people first used a PC or computer during the '80s (and the early video games like Atari/NES and video arcades.) The movies, music, and TV, while some are out of touch today, there were many where people just seemed to have a great time and lots of that stuff is still enjoyed today. Iran-Iraq was just a minor war that the US avoided wasting money on, and after a rough start, inflation came under control as well. Sure, the cars weren't the best, but there were some good sports cars and you could by an antique car from the '50s for much less than you do today. Vinyl was still be used alongside cassettes, and later CDs. VHS/VCRs became affordable and it was neat watching movies at home without having to go to the theater. Many classic movies were also released on video making many people watch films they grew up with and enjoyed forever. If you wanted to catch stuff from the '50s and '60s, oldies radio stations were at their peak, many smaller networks would often broadcast old reruns during the daytime, and later Nick at Nite brought nightlong classic TV as well. Cable TV seemed to never make you bored watching TV ever again. Some '50s elements returned to the fashion of the '80s such as Leather Jackets and neon colors, but the women looked cute like they did in the '20s as earlier people posted. Baseball card collecting made a strong comeback as well; many cards from the '80s are now cheaper than they were then since so many were purchased. The only negative I find was perhaps drug usage, but extensive campaigning by the Reagans eventually helped to make drug use decline and credit is due there. It was the last decade before the Internet forever exposed the US to the world and has never been the same since. Overall, my ranking would be:

1. 1980s
2. 1990s
3. 1950s
4. 1920s
5. 1960s
6. 1970s
7. 1930s
8. 1940s
9. Before 1920
10. 2000s
 
Old 05-08-2011, 02:24 AM
 
4,432 posts, read 6,983,545 times
Reputation: 2261
Well the 1940s, yes even though I hate war but the US began the war when it was in debt, but at the end of the war there was prosperity, and one of the few nations that experienced prosperity right at the end of WW2.
 
Old 05-08-2011, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Earth
17,440 posts, read 28,600,002 times
Reputation: 7477
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borntoolate85 View Post
The only negative I find was perhaps drug usage, but extensive campaigning by the Reagans eventually helped to make drug use decline and credit is due there.
The "Just Say No" campaigns had absolutely zero effect on drug use.

The crack epidemic and the closure of many methadone clinics (the only US government antidrug program that ever actually reduced drug use) due to budget cuts led to drug use reaching unprecedented highs (no pun intended). The '80s began with a heroin epidemic, then saw the crack epidemic, and then saw another heroin epidemic at the end of the decade.

What caused the crack epidemic to ebb was kids seeing the damage that crack caused as well as the aging of the population which resulted in fewer people in the age groups most prone to hard drug use in general. The Reagan War on Drugs only further packed jails and prisons and led to an erosion of Americans' constitutional rights, and this isn't even going into the drug links to Iran-Contra.
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