29 March 2015

Spot the "something from the back of your mind"

"My gawd, Don Draper! Wouldja look at that!!"
I love the 1950's.  

I mean would you look at those specs and shades, and all of those cool de rigueur hats and thin ties and other 50's iconography.  The iconic eyewear brand Oliver Peoples (parent company Luxotica) has fitted me going back 25 years back when I bought my first pair -- and still rock -- straight out of undergrad.  Of course, Warby Parker has some very cool retro specs as well.

This picture (supra) is actually from the 1960's, which was something Matt Weiner noticed about developing and shooting Mad Men, viz., that the iconic "50's style" was really more or less a carryover into the 1960s that just killed it in pop culture repositories of influence from 2008, all of those fashion magazines and mens and ladies fashion lines that love a good atavistic lift whenever they can borrow from a recycled era (not to mention the copycat shows like the excellent The Hour, guilty pleasure Pan Am, and the ridiculous The Playboy Club, as well as revival of award winning How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying -- not coincidentally originally starring on both stage and film Robert Morse who is just an absolute favorite actor).  And, I was, admittedly, not so much a fashion victim, but rather a recipient of compliments because my sense of elan had caught up with "fashion" and had become more acceptable to prêt-à-porter, which is a nicer way of saying I'll wear it off-the-peg my good man.  No, I was definitely fanboy No. 1 when the the show Mad Men first made its debut on AMC, almost because it was so non-PC with all of the cigarette smoking and men-will-be-men memes, Joan Harris hourglass figure, and afternoon cocktails because it's 5 o'clock somewhere (I am such a conservative, Dear Reader! Apologies to my more lib inclined friends if/when I offend on such rants). 

FatScribe avatar with pipe created at AMC.  Give it a try!
As a writer one focuses on transitions as they tend to drive conflict -- and all great stories have conflict.  It's in with the new (hottie trophy wife) and out with the old (ball and chain who put you through medical school).  You want conflict? Add a new, young wife to the mix of teenage kids who visit their now plumpish, late-40's mom.  It's a bit worn, but you get the bromide-cum-conflict.  Which is what I particularly like about this Mad Men show with show horse (and clothes horse) John Hamm holding up fairly well over the long haul of the series 7+ year run. Always those transitions, from one iconic moment fading and mixing in like an afternoon cocktail into the rich sepia tones of the next one, like a nice pair of Foster Grants (was that 60's eyewear?) transitioning from sunglasses to inside lenses. 

Let's play a quick game, you and I, Dear Reader.  Can you spot the public personalities in this photo snapped from a significant public event?  And, can you name that event? I spotted this when I was visiting www.ImogeneAndWillie.com the other day, and I hit on a deadlink of theirs when what should appear, mirabile visu?  This great image above from a bygone era. (update, that link is no longer there, but still visit Imogene + Willie for great UI/UX/CX and hipster and honest clothing.

Anyway, back to my quick and quirky quiz: Whom do you see peering up into the space age (I'm feedin' ya hints here, Harvey!)?  If you see the king and queen of Belgium, then damn et tres bon!  If you spot the man figuratively and literally "in second spot"  in the stands and to LBJ, then "hot dang! (said with LBJ Texan drawl), you've spotted Hubert Humphrey, our 38th VP ... and "good on ya, son!"  I even see a John Hamm lookalike there in the 3rd row wearing his aviators.  Btw, it was LBJ who oversaw Apollo and gave his imprimatur on NASA who then named their headquarters Lydon B. Johnson Space Center due to his influence over the decade-long Space Race.

Yes, in the back of my mind, everything was better in the 1950s, but of course it wasn't.  It was just that our problems were different, less manifold perhaps, more drenched in discussion of duty over "me-me-me" rights ... heated and principled discussions and demonstrations of yesteryear rather than vapid occupy rioting of today.  And, maybe, just maybe, there was some innocence back then that had yet to be sullied by keeping up with so many duckdashians or binge watching addicting House of HoneybooCards or Meerkating Jimmy Fallon as he walks around a set at 9am before he's done his show makeup.

Still in my 40's but feeling every bit the Minver Cheevy scratching my head and thinking.


Dumbwit Tellher said...

Sadly the only face I did recognize was H Humphrey but I do recognize the significance of the 50's. It is a decade that is easier to conjure up thoughts of bliss and forget that there was turmoil just like any other time.

The 50's introduced the hydrogen bomb, Barbie, the pace maker and the transistor radio. Elizabeth II became Queen and Elvis was sending shock waves with his grinding hips and his ducktail do!

We were at war in Korea, and at the end of the decade, on the cusp of the Vietnam war. Marilyn Monroe was showing her assets along with the beginning of a social awakening; a vast number of Americans were begining their rebellion against cultural norms. The 'beat' generation stressed spontaneity and spirituality and asserted intuition over reason. The literary world displayed their impression of freedom, including Kerouac's best selling novel 'On the Road' (written on a roll of paper) and Ginsberg's poem 'Howl'

No body ever made the 50's look more decadent, suave, hip, complicated and alcohol induced than Don Draper and his posse. It'll be a sad day when the final show airs. The end of another era.

Thank you dear Jg, for the trip down memory lane!

Have a terrific week ahead. Spring is definitely in the air. :)

Jg. for FatScribe said...

It is ridiculous how only you could in your comment achieve more than my piece could itself ... I so enjoy and look forward to our interactions Ms. DT (DumbwitTellher)!

Your place in Scotland is looking amazeballs awesome. (Is that what the kids are saying these days on Meerkat or Periscope?) Your style is TDF (To Die For, and not DTF which is something the kids are saying these days, especially on shows like "Girls" and "Sex in the City"), girl, and you should be back in the states getting mid-century moderns ready for sale for their owners who are paying you six-figures.

Thx for the visit, and we'll see you on AMC for the last 7 episodes of Mad Men.

Jg. ;)

Dumbwit Tellher said...

LOL, I wish on ALL accounts and a massive thank you! Blush :) BTW, my dream is to own a Mid-Century modern. I've looked at so many in Palm Springs, including the home of Steve McQueen. One of the worst homes for any architectural value I must say, including his swimming pool that is the profile of Mickey Mouse. So obviously not all homes built in the 50's were great ones.

OK, now I'm off on a tangent and please forgive my previous typo's too. I hate that. Thanks for the great read as always. If I want to jump start my brain and emotions, I read your posts.

Always a great pleasure. Now back to my glamorous life of dust mopping the floor!

Caleb S. Garcia said...

"Sex and the City" ended in 2004 not sure if that qualifies as "these days." Plus the main characters were adults not kids. Sarah Jessica Parker is 50. Doesn't that make her Gen X?

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Oh, Caleb. (long sigh ...) SITC has had a couple of movies since then and they also run non-stop with the re-runs and whatnot (it was mentioned because of its edgy, nothing shocks, motif for promiscuous women). Kids is meant as a sign of affection for those hopeless hipsters still caught up in the latest phraseology and idioms of our time(s) (to which i plead guilty, good sir). And, if you mention one more time about Ms. Parker being 50, It will be my pleasure to slap that boyish charm of yours right off your face on her behalf. Now, good day, kid.

Shelley said...

I've always thought of the 1950s as being a very uptight time. Social rules were more rigid. Perhaps that's what you mean when you say 'duty'? I think it may be true that people had a stronger sense of obligation to others in their behaviour; on the other hand I think they felt quite welcome to pass judgement as well. The 'double standard' for men and women was so alive and well, I'm not even sure it had a name back then; I think that was just 'the way things are.' Clothes were more tailored (so they looked nice, but I think we've been very spoilt by Lycra since). I have to confess to having never seen an episode of Mad Men - I didn't care for the 60s either. Funny enough, much as I love social history, I don't think I go back and re-live any of it.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Shelley -- Have I asked you if you know Lou from Archers at the larches (blogspot)? She sells Lou's Poo (alpaca fertilizer) and has a nice little blog to check out.

Also, Deb at Dumbwit Tellher (blogspot) also is over on your side of the pond -- Ms. DT is in Scotland, but not for long. If you don't know either, please check them out.

Oh, and Emm from from Emm In London (blogspot) is a transplant / ex pat from JoBurg SA.

All are worth a read and a polite exchange of ideas and creative type things that you all are so good at.

Anyhoo, back to your comment:

Yeah, perhaps the 50's were uptight, i'm not convinced on that point, but it makes sense. The 60's agreed, ugh, hated the 60s and everything about that decade's pop culture.

But, we all can't be Miniver Cheevy, as is my wont, scratching our heads. Gotta stay upbeat and positive and affect change for a better world/country/church/family, etc.

Thx for visiting!


Shelley said...

Jg - I have read Dumwit Tellher off and on (I have the impression she blogs off and on); haven't met the others - will go check them out. Thanks!

Caleb S. Garcia said...

The last two days I binge-watched Season 1 of Man Men, an activity which apparently "sullies the innocence" of the 1950s you love so much. I suppose patiently waiting week to week for new episodes makes a person more innocent. I like what Don Draper says about nostalgia "It's delicate but potent. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again." Not that you lived through the '50 or remember most of the '60s but your nostalgia for it is alive and well. You begin with praising the fashion and style which is universally appreciated and end with a confusing diatribe. It's interesting that you refer to them as "our" problems. Problems that are "different" but not necessarily better. You even paint LBJ in a good light which is refreshing because his primary legacy is drafting young men to Vietnam and we all know how that turned out. Maybe it was all this discussion of "duty" and world policing that caused the pendulum to swing the other way. One cannot view the '50s in a vacuum. Are you including the Civil Rights Movement as part of "me-me-me rights" or was that duty as well? And while I'm putting nails in my trivial coffin and dooming what little reputation I have left, the show is Sex AND the City not Sex IN the City.

Lou Archer said...

Not so sure I agree about the 50s after watching a recent BBC series which recreated decades of family food. The 12yo and I were fascinated by this historical recreation http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05nc7ph/back-in-time-for-dinner-1-1950s I so hope you can access this link. The 50s were so dreadfully dreary here in Blighty, maybe the US was the hub of glam but we seemed to be stuck in black and white: Food included!

Barbara said...

The 50's belong to me....my era! I graduated, married (the done thing back then) and had my first two kids in that decade. The back of your mind is right, JG, everything WAS simpler back then. We didn't worry nearly as much. My grandmother loved watching roller derby on our little TV. The kids loved Howdy Doody, I loved the Texaco Theater. The food was not dreary in my house either! Loved the clothes. Loved my (real) woody wagon. Loved our years in the Air Force, the friends we met. The milkman walked right in the back door. The kids went off on their bikes all day and while any parent worries, it's not the way I worry about my grandchildren now. Did NOT love that my ex went to Korea for a year. Looking back, I think it was the beginning of the end of our marriage, although we were together for many years after.
You will be shocked to read I've never seen a single episode of Mad Men. My daughter can't believe it. Perhaps because I lived through it, it's not as novel to me. Or perhaps I ought to watch at least one show and see if I get hooked!
Agree...missing our chats, JG. And Debra. I'm kind of winding down in the food blogging arena. Have lots in drafts so I'll last a bit longer, but it's a tad overcrowded and I'm forever saying, been there, done that, already with most of the blogs. I did start another (somewhat boring and certainly not popular) blog here: http://thoughtsdissectedmusings.blogspot.com/
I'm not a writer and really haven't told anyone about it, so am surprised anyone finds it at all. We'll see. May not find enough to say.
Hoping all is going well with you....I am in good health and good spirits!

Barbara said...

oops! Deborah not Debra. Oh...you know who I mean. :) She's a dear. Clever and smart.

Jg. for FatScribe said...

Barbara -- yes, there are few of us still around since we all started (back in 2009?). I realize that we've read each other's postings (and have sampled each other's recipes) and I've even received a batch of cookies for my kids (choc chip cookies) from our pal Julia Christie up in Washington! (that's not an intimation that I'd like to receive some delectable delights from Florida!)

I LOVE that you're a child of the 50's, and I have absolutely enjoyed your pieces which feature the wayback machine of nostalgia and fond remembrances. Can't wait to read your other writings on your other blog (I seem to have forgotten about that if I ever knew). Do NOT sell yourself short. Your writing is pithy and descriptive, and I enjoy VERY much reading your prose.

I don't think I've ever shared this, but my writings here on FatScribe are purely stream of consciousness. Literally off the top of my head just to get some things and ideas down on paper. I am embarrassed sometimes when I look back and read a post and find some spelling errors, etc., but that's the nature of this website for me, just to exercise my writing chops (limited though they may be), AND to put some ideas out there regarding my personal opinions on how the Left is utterly a way of life that tears down and is not (IMHO) good for any personal life or family or country (or church). But that's for another time!

Anyway, Barb, yes, Ms. Deb from Dumbwit Tellher is a rockstar, as are all of those hyper talented designer and business men and women who have befriended us over the last half decade. Btw, I really enjoyed your daughter's gallery. The apple clearly did not fall far from the tree.

Talk soon! (we need to connect in-person when I'm in Fl next or you're out in LA!)


WomanHonorThyself said...

loving the nostalgia! amen! Blessed Independence Day to you and yours :-)

Sandy K. said...

The 50's. I don!t remember them, but have odd flashbacks when looking through old photos. I started kindergarten in '58. I will say the sentiments of appreciating those earlier, and more innocent times, ring true. Those times also hid secrets, which in this new age of public media and sensationalism will never be hidden again. I am working on a piece of writing now which actually speaks to that earlier time, and now that I am teaching only one University course and have the gift of time, I may finish it!

We traveled for 10 weeks this summer, through the west and up to Alaska, spending a month there. Talk about a simpler time! There is SO much to be said for the wilderness lifestyle, with all of two cities to explore for diversion. Camper living isn't all bad!

Thank you for posting. I am glad to see you alive and well!