Quotes: The Fifties

Ayyh, remember the Fifties? Remember television, Coca-Cola, and Dick Clark?

Only decade in which it was considered cool to be American.

About as much energy as is now available can be derived from the new sources — but with a far greater expense in man hours, a much larger capital investment in machinery. And the same holds true of the raw materials on which industrial civilization depends. By doing a great deal more work than they are doing now, men will contrive to extract the diluted dregs of the planet’s metallic wealth or will fabricate non-metallic substitutes for the elements they have completely used up. In such an event, some human beings will still live fairly well, but not in the style to which we, the squanderers of planetary capital, are accustomed.
Aldous Huxley, Adonis and the Alphabet (1956)

It is easy to see why the fifties hold such an appeal. They followed the Second World War, the conflict that established “the American century.” Despite some hardship in the immediate aftermath of the conflict, the fifties were economically prosperous.

Sure, the threat of nuclear holocaust loomed large, the McCarthy witch hunts were in full swing, and the Cold War simmered away, but at least people thought they knew who the enemy was. The fifties was a much more stable and consistent decade, one that came before the tumult of sixties. Things were peaceful; or, at least, they appeared peaceful. There was no sexual liberation. Women were still largely confined to the home. Minorities had yet to fully assert their rights. These facts tend to get glossed over when people think about the best decade in which to raise kids...Even then, there’s a sense that the popular image of the fifties does not reflect the realities.

Some fans will always cling to the ‘golden age’ works of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and I can understand why. They provide a magic door back to the simple pleasures of a simpler world – a world before global warming, oil shortages, terrorism, and economic uncertainty; relics of a world where the future was easily understood, and (largely) American, middle class and white in outlook, origin and ethnicity.
Gareth L. Powell, "How to Escape the Legacy of Science Fiction’s Pulp Roots"