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The 1950s are often portrayed as a period of social cohesion, why is this misleading?

The 1950s as a period of cohesion is misleading because of the great controversy over comic books that divided the nation. Although the 1950s was seen as a great decade of prosperity and the era of the housewife, the post-war decade experienced a baby boom that impacted the way people felt about the influence of the media, especially comic books. Comic books became the target for most dissenters, which is the main reason that using social cohesion to describe the 1950s is misleading. The nation was not united in their thought-process towards comic books. The nation, especially, became disunited when horror comics were first created and grew to become very popular among the youth.

Although we think of the 1950s as being cohesive because of popular television shows from that time period, this was not always the case. After the war, Americans began to experience consumerism, which changed society. Material goods became the concentration of Americans, which also divided society as people were at different economic levels, which affected their rate of consumption. Even as the war ended, there remained the threat of communism that was starting to build fear and tension until it reached its peak in the 1960s.As society changed, it affected the stories found in comic books. One of the main themes in comic books that I believe kept Americans divided was the theme of horror and gore.

We usually see the fifties as a conservative period, but certain comic books did not follow the notion of conservatism. The horror comics concerned many Americans about their impact on children. It became such a wide and controversial issue that many Americans believed that these comic books would corrupt their children, especially Wertham. He was against all horror and gory comic and told stories of children behaving violently because of reading these kind of comics. It became a widespread concern even though the comic book creators themselves did not think of it as being a major issue, which was the reason for such a division among Americans. This concern remained relevant even after the comic book code was made. It was evident that it remained an issue after the code when television specials were made warning people about the negative aspects comic books were causing to society. The television special showed children becoming angry and violent because they spent most of their time reading comic books after school. Specials such as these impacted the thought-process of regular Americans since the media and government had a negative outlook on comic books. For this and many other reasons, the fifties cannot described as a cohesive society.


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