April 13, 2011

The Great Double Message of the 1950's - Don't be afraid but be very afraid.

Back in the day when you could blame everything on the Russians, the 1950's were a simmering pot of nothing but paranoia and fear. So much so, that on April 4, 1954 President Eisenhower made a radio address to the nation seeking to allay those fears. Well . . .sort of.

President Eisenhower: “ Sometimes you feel almost as if we could be excused for getting a little bit hysterical, because these dangers come from so many angles and there’s such different kinds. And no matter what we do, they still seem to exist. But underlying all of these dangers is this one thing; the threat we have from without, the great threat imposed upon us by aggressive Communism. The Atheistic doctrine that believes in Stateism as against our conception of the dignity of man is a quality before the law; that is the struggle of the ages.”

One of the many double messages rampant in the 1950's. And it's no wonder the Tranquilizer became so popular. I often wondered if they named it Miltown as an homage to Milhouse (vice-President Richard Nixon's middle name) rather than the borough in New Jersey. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Still . . . .

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