1. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    1963 pop-culture

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Commandante Lemming, Jul 20, 2014.

    I'm trying to do some world-building where my near future looks very much like 1963 right before the JFK assassination - Mad Men looking stuff, Jackie Kennedy influenced fashion, etc. But my first crack at it people said it sounded more like the 1930s or 40s - so anyone have a good amount of knowledge on what the early 60s looked like so that I can paint it better?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In the early 60s, just before the British invasion, pop culture was the early rock and roll 50s music scene.

    What is it specifically you are looking for?
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    1963 pop culture - still shaky after the Cuban Missile Crisis...the beginnings of feminism...civil rights movement gaining steam and finding expression...Liz Taylor as Cleopatra, How the West Was Won starring J-J-Jimmy Shtewart and Henry Fonda, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with Spencer Tracy and a whole bunch of incredibly funny people...the Trashmen doing "Surfin' Bird" (the bird is the word)...Irma La Douce, Dr. No, Son of Flubber, The Birds and Bye, Bye Birdie (no, not related to the Hitchcock flick)...the Beach Boys did "Surfin' USA", the Angels did "My Boyfriend's Back" and the Safaris did "Wipeout", but Peter Paul and Mary did Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and Trini Lopez did "If I Had A Hammer", written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes (of the once blacklisted group, The Weavers, who sang a reunion concert at New York's Carnegie Hall).

    Books? Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, Richard McKenna's The Sand Pebbles, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, John LeCarre's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes.

    Martin Luther King wrote "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and made his famous "I Have a Dream" Speech at the Washington Monument during the unprecedented March on Washington.

    In other words, pop culture didn't turn on a dime and become "the sixties" in 1965 or '66. The currents were running deep and strong for years before.
     
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  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    ....Which is the entire point of my story :) The 1950s-ish culture is a facade covering the fact that all hell is about to break loose, and as I reveal undercurrents it's going to get disturbing. So, my 2034 is going to be the last year of a decade-long false sense of security - the countercultural elements are going to roar forward and shatter the reality of those who weren't paying attention. But anyone paying attention will have seen it coming.

    The list of music and books is helpful to try and get a bead on some of the other things I need to look at.

    Also looking for help specifically in how to handle the visuals - a lot of the background scenery is in a very nice, professional part of Washington, DC and all of the people are either young entitled "yuppies" or young entitled "hipsters". So I'm trying to get a bead on exactly how young businessmen and businesswomen will dress, and also how "cool" college kids will look (I have one scene where my main character bumps into a hipster with green hair, horn-rimmed glasses, a poodle skirt, and a t-shirt that says "See Things Differently: Do Acid").

    I'm also trying to figure out a term for what we now call "hipsters", as the term will have fallen out of use and become associated with "2010s retro-speak". I got pushback when I used the term "hep-cats", now experimenting with "greasers" - not too happy with that one either.
     
  5. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let me get this: Are you using 1963 and the cultural changes working then as an analogy for your projected world of 2034? Or are you thinking of there being a 1960s retro craze going on in 2034?

    "Yuppies" is 1980s. "Hep-cats" and "greasers" are 1950s, but designate two different sorts of people. Is appropriating old lingo part of your new culture?

    If you want a term for what's now called hipsters, maybe you can conceive of something people like that would be wearing or using in your 2034 and do a riff on that.
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    " Are you using 1963 and the cultural changes working then as an analogy for your projected world of 2034? Or are you thinking of there being a 1960s retro craze going on in 2034?"

    Actually both. There is a 1950s/early 60s retro craze dominating pop-culture and fashion in my 2034.

    That craze is a metaphor for what is actually going on in 2034 culture - it's the calm before a major political and counter-cultural storm modeled on the period from 1963-1969 (My base premise to explore the "next 60-style cultural upheaval").

    I like the idea of riffing off something people wear. I am trying to appropriate a lot of old lingo for new purposes (like describing hipsters) but I might be better off just finding a new term.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I guess the only thing that would give me pause is the idea of a "retro" craze reaching back 75 years. It just seems like a huge gulf. 20 or 30 years seems to be the maximum range for anything "retro", at least on a large scale with those who set popular trends.

    One other thing - the pop-culture of the late 50s/early 60s was not a re-creation of something old and familiar, it was something new and emerging. Just as the escapist pop-culture tools of today, such as hi-tech toys like smartphones and powerful computers that exist solely to play video games, are not of the past but of the emerging present.
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I get that. I don't think 75 years is too too long because I've seen aspects of 1920s nostalgia come back from time to time - but the idea that culture is obsessed with the new is definitely worth consideration and I'm open to any thoughts. Right now I have it set up based primarily on the idea that Motown-influenced girl groups blow up sometime in the late 2020s, because by this point they sound novel and new - same for things like horn-rimmed glasses and tail-fins on cars, the concepts have passed so far into history that people react to them not by thinking they look grandmotherly, but by thinking they look new and cool. You've seen this a little bit in millenials reaching back about 50 years into Rockabilly for musical and style influence (See: The Black Keys, Gin Wigmore), or back into really early soul music (See: Adele)

    But on the whole I think your point is 100% valid and I'll take any thoughts on building something more solid with a similar basis.
     

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