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Mid-20th-Century America: Not an Ideal Type

Today I start a new series here at the Cafe.  It’s a series featuring television commercials from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s – those decades in which America’s middle-class allegedly reached the peak of their economic affluence before beginning the long stagnation that, now having lasted at least three decades, continues today.  (Regular Cafe patrons know that Russ and I do not believe that the evidence supports this thesis of middle-class economic stagnation – a thesis that Mark Perry and I challenged earlier this year in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.)  Comparing consumer products from back then, presented in their best light by the best mad-men marketers of the era, to consumer products today will, I trust, be revealing.

I thank my superb former GMU student Laura Sacher for suggesting this series.

I’ll compose all of these blog posts on my Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer, which – when I use on it the word-processing program Word – has dozens of different fonts, each of which I can access in a matter of seconds and implement even after typing in some different font.  But I learned to type, in 1974, on this machine….