The decade of the 1950s is often criticized as an era of social complacency and intellectual darkness. This was, after all, the time of Senator McCarthy and the Hollywood blacklist; President Eisenhower and the Cold War; Jerry Lewis and television; Pat Boone and suburbia;
Magazine and the ‘Silent Generation’. In
Leopards in the Temple
(1999), Morris Dickstein notes,
The postwar period, especially the 1950s, has been simplified into everything the sixties generation rebelled against: a beaming president presiding over a stagnant government, small-town morality, racial segregation, political and sexual repression, Cold War mobilization, nuclear standoff, suburban togetherness, the domestic confinement of women, and the reign of the nuclear family.