1950s Quotes

Quotes tagged as "1950s" Showing 1-30 of 52
Clark Zlotchew
“Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being "false," "untrue," yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.”
Clark Zlotchew

Christopher Hitchens
“Very often the test of one's allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel's 'Charter 77' committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what 'The Party' had so perfectly termed 'normalization.' As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Clark Zlotchew
“When they reached their ship, Ed gazed out at the bay. It was black. The sky was black, but the bay was even blacker. It was a slick, oily blackness that glowed and reflected the moonlight like a black jewel. Ed saw the tiny specks of light around the edges of the bay where he knew ships must be docked, and at different points within the bay where vessels would be anchored. The lights were pale and sickly yellow when compared with the bright blue-white sparkle of the stars overhead, but the stars glinted hard as diamonds, cold as ice. Pg. 26.”
Clark Zlotchew, Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

Anne Roiphe
“You wanted to live inside the lines where the ordinariness of everything would protect you from the dragons that lay at the edge of the map ready to blow fire in your face if you strayed off course, to the edge of the known world.”
Anne Roiphe, Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason

Patrick Radden Keefe
“The truth was, Librium and Valium were marketed using such a variety of gendered mid-century tropes—the neurotic singleton, the frazzled housewife, the joyless career woman, the menopausal shrew—that what Roche’s tranquilizers really seemed to offer was a quick fix for the problem of “being female.”
Patrick Radden Keefe, Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

“It was like hundreds of roads he'd driven over - no different - a stretch of tar, lusterless, scaley, humping toward the center. On both sides were telephone poles, tilted this way and that, up a little, down...

Billboards - down farther an increasing clutter of them. Some road signs. A tottering barn in a waste field, the Mail Pouch ad half weathered away. Other fields. A large wood - almost leafless now - the bare branches netting darkly against the sky. Then down, where the road curved away, a big white farmhouse, trees on the lawn, neat fences - and above it all, way up, a television aerial, struck by the sun, shooting out bars of glare like neon. ("Thompson")”
George A. Zorn, Shock!

Ursula K. Le Guin
“They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells you about a friend of his in the army whose girl told him she was pregnant, so he got all his buddies to come and say, “We all fucked her, so who knows who the father is?” And he laughs at the good joke…. What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […] It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child. But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children. The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents…. But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear. What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal? – because that is what every doctor who did an abortion was, whether he was an extortionist or an idealist. You know what it was like for her. You know and I know; that is why we are here. We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out. May all of you shine very bright and steady, today and always.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

Clark Zlotchew
“Currents of cigarette fumes wafted through what passed for air. Attractive young women in bright-hued gowns glided through the streams of smoke, like tropical fish in an aquarium. Detecting the white uniforms and leathery faces, they promptly approached the Navy men. Very pretty, Ed thought, but hungry, a school of piranha. Just what the doctor ordered: fun and games with no complications. Right: no complications.”
Clark Zlotchew, Once Upon a Decade: Tales of the Fifties

Alan Bradley
“Have you ever wondered, Dogger," I asked, "if wickedness is a chemical state?"
"Indeed I have, Miss Flavia," he said. "I have sometimes thought of little else.”
Alan Bradley, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd

Hannah Richell
“Patricia Lovell up at the vicarage wants everything "vintage" themed this year. She wants it all 1950s Country Living style. You know the sort of thing: pastel bunting, flowers in jam jars and mismatched teacups.”
Hannah Richell, The Peacock Summer

Marguerite Patten
“The survey of the time spent in the home by most housewives established that, on average, they worked 75 hours a week, with overtime on Saturdays and Sundays. This did not take into account that a number of women were also doing part or full-time work outside the home.”
Marguerite Patten, Post War Kitchen

Edmund White
“In the 1950s the three most heinous things in America were heroin use, communism, and homosexuality.”
Edmund White, The Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading
tags: 1950s

“When your husband's eyes light up as he comes in at night, you're in sad shape if it's only because he smells dinner cooking.”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“The worst mistake you can make is to force yourself to shop. The most important part of shopping is your frame of mind. How can you make a proper choice if you feel like the mistreated heroine of a soap opera?

A frivolous hat or other bit of forbidden fruit are ideal for beating the blues, but stay out of the dress and coat departments until you feel enthusiastic. If your body isn't attuned to fashion, you won't look right in anything. And if you're depressed because you've gained a few pounds, don't buy something too small to grow down to. Lose the few pounds first then go shopping. [i]Remember, diets always start tomorrow.[/i]”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“If you give small, informal dinner parties, have a few long or short colorful skirts and dresses in jersey or flannel with gay party aprons to make your role of hostess festive yet comfortable.

If your husband's work means continuous parties, conventions, and entertainment, pep up your collection of after-five clothes with satin pumps in different colors.”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“Know who you are, what you stand for- your enthusiasms, your ambitions, your hopes, your responsibilities. Remember that it's your husband for whom you're dressing. Keep him in mind when you shop.”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“We wives are emotional beings. Clothes play an important role in emotional control. If you go to work knowing you look wonderful, feeling at ease, comfortable, and appropriately garbed, you're bound to be more alert and more able to cope with problems, including the unexpected. Getting the habit of dressing well every day will prevent panic at an unexpected situation at work, or after work for that mattter.”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“Never ask for whom the belles toil- we toil at our toilette for the approval and admiration of our husbands and the general appreciation of men with whom we work or meet in other outside situations.”
Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife

“Perhaps the suspicions stemmed from the distinct lack of women in Batman’s world. True, he crafted his Bruce Wayne alter ego to be an idle playboy, which meant there were a lot of beautiful women in his life. But, the most important female figure in his world seemed only to be his sainted, slain mother, to whose memory, along with that of his late father, Bruce swore to uphold justice and thwart evil. Bruce and Batman might have had romances with girls like debutante Julie Madison or reporter Vicki Vale, but showed neither any true affection. The one female who generated the most heat with Batman was the seductive, whip-wielding jewel thief Catwoman. Of course, since she was on the wrong side of the law, any chance of a romance with Batman was immediately crushed.
Batman’s sexy foe Catwoman was deemed too racy for the new world of the Comics Code. She was gone by 1954.”
Mike Madrid, The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines

Tori Telfer
“Think of everything cliché you know about the 1950s: housewives spent their days vacuuming with martinis in hand and a look of existential horror in their eyes, and every home was outfitted with a TV set.”
Tori Telfer, Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History
tags: 1950s

Sylvia Nasar
“In 1950, he was accorded the dubious honor of being the first prominent scientist to appear on the earliest of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s famous lists of crypto-communists.”
Sylvia Nasar, A Beautiful Mind

John Osborne
“If one word applied to that post-war decade it was inertia. Enthusiasm there was not, in this climate of fatigue. Jimmy Porter was hurt because things had remained the same. Colonel Redfern grieved that everything had changed. They were both wrong, but that was hard to see at the time.”
John Osborne, Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise

John Osborne
“In truth, there was no systematic policy except that which engaged the various personalities that grew around the original nucleus assembled by George Devine and Tony Richardson. Most of these were, in the mild climate of the time, left of centre, though they would now be regarded as soft-meringue-liberals by the drowsy commissars who have long since taken over.”
John Osborne, Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise

John Osborne
“I must be the only playwright this century to have been pursued up a London street by an angry mob. LIke most battle experiences, my own view was limited by my vantage point at the back of the stalls. There was an inescapable tension in the house. The theatre itself took on a feeling of rococo mockery and devilment, too hot, a snake-pit of stabbing jewellery, hair-pieces, hobbling high heels, stifling wraps and unmanageable long frocks.”
John Osborne, Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise

John Osborne
“(Charles) Laughton was one of the most pugnaciously morose men I had ever met. His huge talent seemed to endorse his implacable resentment. His Caliban self-portraiture must have been further agnozied by being incarcerated, like so many of his unhappy generation, in that closet which dared not speak its name. Even his large collection of Klees and Kokoshchkas was displayed as trophies of martyrdom rather than joyful plunder.”
John Osborne, Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise

Amor Towles
“In the 1950s, America had picked up the globe by the heels and shaken the change from its pockets. Europe had become a poor cousin -- all crests and no table settings. And the indistinguishable countries of Africa, Asia, and South America had just begun skittering across our schoolroom walls like salamanders in the sun. True, the Communists were out there, somewhere, but with Joe McCarthy in the grave and no one on the Moon, for the time being the Russians just skulked across the pages of spy novels.”
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Georges Simenon
“Could you tell me, Maigret, why plainclothes policemen always go around in twos, just like plumbers?”
Georges Simenon, Maigret and the Headless Corpse

“Without even looking at me as he continued to read, holding the book in one hand, he had slipped his other hand through the fly of my Levi denims and was playing with my cock. Though shocked at my discovery, the sensations were so good that I dared not move. As soon as he realized that my eyes were open he lowered the book, turned to me, and smiled. “Good afternoon,” he said very politely, pretending that absolutely nothing was amiss or irregular. “Hello,” I gurgled, not quite believing but thoroughly enjoying what was happening. I wanted to ask him his name but before I could say anything he gently tightened his grip around my throbbing member and made me come.”
Scotty Bowers, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars

Mallory O'Meara
“If a woman drank too much, it was probably because she wasn't fulfilling all her domestic duties. If a man drank too much, it was probably his wife's fault for not fulfilling all her domestic duties. . . . Many so-called experts of the 1950s believed that alcohol abuse was a manifestation of failed gender performance. Which almost shakes out, considering that trying to conform to the role of a perfect 1950s housewife would make any woman want to have a drink.”
Mallory O'Meara, Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Peter Jennings
“By 1957 97% of all marriageable men and women were married, and if they cared to have a social life, they stayed that way.”
Peter Jennings, The Century

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