A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile by James Gilbert

By James Gilbert

The formative years tradition is on everyone's lips this present day, as pressures construct to prohibit debatable tune lyrics, reintroduce college prayer, and restrict children' entry to contraceptives. it isn't the 1st time americans were outraged over the "seuction of the innocent."

while James Dean and Marlon Brando donned their motorbike jackets and followed alienated poses in insurgent and not using a reason, East of Eden, and The Wild One, within the 1950's, so did hundreds of yankee young ones. Or so it appeared to their mom and dad. American young children have been having a look and appearing like juvenile delinquents. by way of mid-decade, the kingdom had reached a pitch of close to obsession with the dangerous results of movie, radio, comedian books, and tv on American early life. specialists around the land denounced mass tradition as depriving kids in their innocence and weakening their mom and dad' carry on them. by way of the top of the last decade, the obsession had ended, even though the particular numbers of youngster delinquents had it seems that risen.

A Cycle of shock explores the 1950's debate over the media and juvenile delinquency between mom and dad, execs, and the creators of mass tradition themselves. during this groundbreaking examine, James Gilbert sees the try to blame the media as a part of a bigger response of ache echoed in contemporary debates over censorship. The booklet examines how the significant phenomena of the 1950's--the improvement of adlescent tradition and the increase of a mass media society--became intertwined and harassed and argues that children ceased to be a danger as they have been famous to be a market.

,bout the Author:

James Gilbert is a Professor of background on the collage of Maryland. he's the writer of one other probability: the US After international warfare II, between different books.

A groundbreaking learn of the '50s obsession with juvenile deliquency

·Sheds new gentle at the upward push of the early life tradition and America's reaction to change

·"A remarkable exploration...He deeply illuminates our figuring out of the modern United States."--William M. Tuttle, Jr.

·"Cultural heritage at its best."--David Nasaw

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Extra info for A Cycle of Outrage: America's Reaction to the Juvenile Delinquent in the 1950s

Sample text

Their garish clothes, unruly behavior, explosive music, and their ambiguous adult/child status may have reflected deeper modifications in behavior that touched the whole society. But, articulated in rebellious terms and thrust upon the American public by a communications media that emphasized everything new and threatening, the culture of teenagers could easily be mistaken for a new form of juvenile delinquency. And the mass media that helped spread this youth culture appeared to be at fault. Weren't radio, films, and especially comic books, responsible for the frightening changes in the behavior of American youth?

His speeches were extensively reported in newspapers and periodicals. For example in 1943 in theAmericanMagazine, he referred to huge increases in crimes committed by girls. Then he described several particularly gruesome incidents of adolescent crime: a marijuana-smoking gang in Los Angeles and teacher killers in Brooklyn. Hoover's explanations for this terror were simple and probably appealing: American morals had declined because of the war. "8 If Hoover's words evoked an emotional resonance in public opinion, he also had figures to prove his case.

In this serial, zoot-suit manufacturers search for the most gullible man in America. They hope to persuade him to wear a zoot suit and then perform deeds of daring heroism. The publicity, they reckon, would increase sales of the costume. Li'l Abner is hired because he fits their description: he is intrepid and stupid. "12 In desperation conservative clothing manufacturers—and by implication all sensible Americans—strike back against the zootsuit mania. The manufacturers hire a bogus zoot-suit Yokum—a convict released from prison—-just so he may perform evil deeds while dressed like Abner.

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