Voices of the ’50s

I’m still doing research on the ’50s (among other things) for my Crane Girl reboot. Like every other decade in history, it’s utterly fascinating. Here’s a sample:

“We may be likened to two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other, but only at the risk of his own life.”
-J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1953, on the U.S., the Soviet Union, and their nuclear weapons

“When the wind is right, a faint odor of kerosene is exhaled from Senator McCarthy.”
-Ray Bradbury, 1953, alluding to his story Fahrenheit 451

“But just now I was told that I could not go to Disneyland. I asked ‘Why not? What is it? Do you have rocket-launching pads there?’ I do not know. Just listen to what reason I was told: ‘We,’ which means the American authorities, ‘cannot guarantee your security if you go there.’ What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken over the place that can destroy me? Then what must I do? Commit suicide? . . . For me, this situation is inconceivable. I cannot find words to explain this to my people.”
-Nikita Kruschev, 1959

“We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
-Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1954, court opinion for Brown v. Board of Education

“Whaddya got?”
-Marlon Brando’s character Johnny, The Wild One, 1953, in response to the question “What are you rebelling against?”

“If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
-Rachel Carson, 1952

“A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility today. How could you have one if one of its features would be several cities lying in ruins, several cities where many, many thousands of people would be dead and injured and mangled, the transportation systems destroyed, sanitation implements and systems all gone? That isn’t preventive war; that is war. I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.”
-President Eisenhower, 1954

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