Television in the 1950s: Impact on America

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Holly Tran
October 11th, 2012
History of Television
Professor Celli
Critical Analysis Paper
Television in the 1950’s: The Impact on America
Television. Such a simple nine letter word but this word alone is most likely to be one of the most well known words in the universe. According to the latest Nielson report, on the consumption of television, the average American watches a minimum of five hours of television per day. If we were to estimate that the average American does get at least the recommended 9 hours of sleep then we can conclude that it is about 1/3 of their day being spent glued to the tube. Also if we continue to estimate that the average American lives to be 78. Then that is about 142,350 hours of television or tallied up to be a whopping 16 years of being a couch potato. That accounts up to about 20.5% of their life. Yet this percentage has yet to even include the online and mobile consumption that the average American has each day. Whether we would like to admit this or not, clicking on the TV remote has become second nature to many Americans today. So much that television itself has become a staple in our daily lives (Jason). Regardless of where we may try to go, there is virtually no escape from it. It is with these statistics that help support the idea that it seems almost impossible to even try to fathom a period of time when there were no such things as television sets in the American household, let alone there being no such thing as television. This time period seems to be primitive. Yet the issue at hand is that we fail to realize that television was not always around. Instead it was only first presented to the public less than 73 years ago in 1939. In fact to some, it is extremely surprising that television was not even popular among Americans until the 1950's. It was with this popularity that helped turn the spark, the effect that television had on Americans, into a wildfire that spread all over America. This very effect is one of the most unforgettable and long lasting impacts that this country will ever see (Barnouw). The 1950’s is commonly referred to be The Golden Age of America. A time period that many Americans idolize but sadly understand, that most likely, it will never repeat itself ever again. When one speculates the fifties, they normally do not see anyone being perplexed or afraid. Instead they see a utopia where everything ran so smoothly. There was never any conflict that could not be easily solved. They also see a time period of poodle skirts, home cooked meals, drive-in movies, jello, and television antennas. This is because television has driven us to believe that this was what that era was about. To be fair, in some aspects, it definitely was but one must remember that there was a lot more to the fifties. There were real issues going on such as the Red Scare but this is often overlooked for the brighter, more nostalgic side of things. The Red Scare was the fear that there was a potential rise of communism within the nation along with the fear that it would somehow permeate the federal government. This was not the first time that the Red Scare had appeared but it still struck fear into the hearts and minds of American citizens. This time Senator Joseph McCarthy was trying to scare Americans with the idea of a communist takeover which caused many people to be affected on a more personal level. Thousands of alleged communist sympathizers saw their normal lives being dismantled. They saw that they were being isolated by family and friends. They were fired from their jobs and constantly harassed by law enforcements. Yet no one seemed to want to ponder past this title of being a traitor and realize that it was all false accusations. That all that they had done was just exerting their democratic right to join a political party (History.com). As the famous quote by Thomas Fuller goes, it is always darkest before the dawn and that is exactly what happened for America. After facing...
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