Another aspect of the book

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E.St

Active Member
Oct 17, 2014
32
128
42
Greece
Hello all,
I am sure there have been hundreds of online discussions about this book (and perhaps some really over-the-top conspiracy theorists may claim it as proof of, well, stuff). In this post I would like to underline an aspect that is maybe not very often pointed out.
This book contains among its fiction (and at some points it is difficult to discern which is which), information about every day life in the 50s -and not only then- that are completely unknown to a non-american like me. Well of course, even if you are not a history buff or just not living in a cave, one knows stuff. Of course we know about the Cuba Missile Crisis (maybe not in fine details, but still) and the big stuff. And we know about "american diners" (I happen to have an "American diner cookbook" right beside me in my bookcase right now) even if some of us have never been to one. And we know about jitterbug and lindyhop -which in case you dont know is a huge fashion right now in Europe. From swing(i mean the dance not the other stuff) clubs and contests to a bit ridiculous for my taste, people getting dressed as 50's housewives.- And I did know about Hoover and maccarthyism etc. But you know what shook me? The notion of "banned books". Or that a teacher could be fired for analysing "Catcher in the Rye". Or "Of mice and men"?????!!!!!?? You know very well that people tend to idolize the past and round up the sharp corners. Avoid the dark undercurrents. For me, these were prevalent in this book. Below the romanticised dances, this ambient 50's/60's innocence there lies a river of prejudice and bigotry and racism that is for lack of a better word ..mindboggling. You know why? Because as a kid that was a teenager in the 90's, Ι grew up to think of racists, bigots etc in white/black terms (whoops, unintended pun). A racist would never be a "good guy" on average. Not nowadays at least. I dont know if I am clear. Probably not very much. Back then, being a bona fide family man, hard working, honest etc etc, didnt mean that you didnt consider african americans as lesser people.
And that's not the beginning nor the end of late 50's/60's realia from that book. I was reading it with wikipedia open and constantly searching for new stuff I stumbled upon. You know what was the first thing I looked up? "Moxie".
Aside from the big things, like social interactions, the perceived role of woman, the romantic relationships and the ever-present in small societies "what will the people say if they see your car parked after 11 outside a woman's home" and such, the book contains a billion tiny bits of information that you americans would probably not notice, but people who have not lived and experienced life in the states, now or back then, find very interesting. I'm talking about minutiae not serious stuff. Still interesting.
P.S: The first thing I remember ever looking up while reading a King book was "Kool aid". :D
And Derry of course. And Salem's lot.
Well, I ll stop ranting. Have to begin "Mr. Mercedes". :D
Good morning.
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,798
You have me curious, E. St...what are some of the other things you noticed that Americans would probably not notice? I was a four-year-old by the time JFK was assassinated, didn't have a clue about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and only a vague recollection that something happened in November...although we did visit the graves of John and Bobby in Arlington four or five years later, the eternal flame, the speeches or part of the speeches writ in stone. And all those white markers fields full of them.
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
60,239
232,646
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Hello all,
I am sure there have been hundreds of online discussions about this book (and perhaps some really over-the-top conspiracy theorists may claim it as proof of, well, stuff). In this post I would like to underline an aspect that is maybe not very often pointed out.
This book contains among its fiction (and at some points it is difficult to discern which is which), information about every day life in the 50s -and not only then- that are completely unknown to a non-american like me. Well of course, even if you are not a history buff or just not living in a cave, one knows stuff. Of course we know about the Cuba Missile Crisis (maybe not in fine details, but still) and the big stuff. And we know about "american diners" (I happen to have an "American diner cookbook" right beside me in my bookcase right now) even if some of us have never been to one. And we know about jitterbug and lindyhop -which in case you dont know is a huge fashion right now in Europe. From swing(i mean the dance not the other stuff) clubs and contests to a bit ridiculous for my taste, people getting dressed as 50's housewives.- And I did know about Hoover and maccarthyism etc. But you know what shook me? The notion of "banned books". Or that a teacher could be fired for analysing "Catcher in the Rye". Or "Of mice and men"?????!!!!!?? You know very well that people tend to idolize the past and round up the sharp corners. Avoid the dark undercurrents. For me, these were prevalent in this book. Below the romanticised dances, this ambient 50's/60's innocence there lies a river of prejudice and bigotry and racism that is for lack of a better word ..mindboggling. You know why? Because as a kid that was a teenager in the 90's, Ι grew up to think of racists, bigots etc in white/black terms (whoops, unintended pun). A racist would never be a "good guy" on average. Not nowadays at least. I dont know if I am clear. Probably not very much. Back then, being a bona fide family man, hard working, honest etc etc, didnt mean that you didnt consider african americans as lesser people.
And that's not the beginning nor the end of late 50's/60's realia from that book. I was reading it with wikipedia open and constantly searching for new stuff I stumbled upon. You know what was the first thing I looked up? "Moxie".
Aside from the big things, like social interactions, the perceived role of woman, the romantic relationships and the ever-present in small societies "what will the people say if they see your car parked after 11 outside a woman's home" and such, the book contains a billion tiny bits of information that you americans would probably not notice, but people who have not lived and experienced life in the states, now or back then, find very interesting. I'm talking about minutiae not serious stuff. Still interesting.
P.S: The first thing I remember ever looking up while reading a King book was "Kool aid". :D
And Derry of course. And Salem's lot.
Well, I ll stop ranting. Have to begin "Mr. Mercedes". :D
Good morning.
Given Mr. King's age (in his 60s) he saw that world in person with all its prejudices and stereotypes. I was under the impression that Greeks are quite traditional (well at least that is the impression I got from my sister). She went out with a Greek guy for many years in Toronto and I met many of his friends. This was back in the early 70s.

The world has changed so much in both good ways and bad. By the way I did love that book 11/22/63 - it is one of my favourites and I just bought it this past summer in Ohio so I could have my own copy!



9th book from the left
 
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Lord Tyrion

Well-Known Member
Oct 24, 2013
1,582
6,256
One of King's strength is creating a sense of place through character interaction. I've noticed some authors will describe a place in detail to give you the essence of a neighborhood, whereas King immerses the reader in an environment which leaves a stronger impact. I have distinct recollections of the settings in 11/22/63 and Mr. Mercedes because King described them with great skill.
 

staropeace

Richard Bachman's love child
Nov 28, 2006
15,197
48,740
Alberta,Canada
Hello all,
I am sure there have been hundreds of online discussions about this book (and perhaps some really over-the-top conspiracy theorists may claim it as proof of, well, stuff). In this post I would like to underline an aspect that is maybe not very often pointed out.
This book contains among its fiction (and at some points it is difficult to discern which is which), information about every day life in the 50s -and not only then- that are completely unknown to a non-american like me. Well of course, even if you are not a history buff or just not living in a cave, one knows stuff. Of course we know about the Cuba Missile Crisis (maybe not in fine details, but still) and the big stuff. And we know about "american diners" (I happen to have an "American diner cookbook" right beside me in my bookcase right now) even if some of us have never been to one. And we know about jitterbug and lindyhop -which in case you dont know is a huge fashion right now in Europe. From swing(i mean the dance not the other stuff) clubs and contests to a bit ridiculous for my taste, people getting dressed as 50's housewives.- And I did know about Hoover and maccarthyism etc. But you know what shook me? The notion of "banned books". Or that a teacher could be fired for analysing "Catcher in the Rye". Or "Of mice and men"?????!!!!!?? You know very well that people tend to idolize the past and round up the sharp corners. Avoid the dark undercurrents. For me, these were prevalent in this book. Below the romanticised dances, this ambient 50's/60's innocence there lies a river of prejudice and bigotry and racism that is for lack of a better word ..mindboggling. You know why? Because as a kid that was a teenager in the 90's, Ι grew up to think of racists, bigots etc in white/black terms (whoops, unintended pun). A racist would never be a "good guy" on average. Not nowadays at least. I dont know if I am clear. Probably not very much. Back then, being a bona fide family man, hard working, honest etc etc, didnt mean that you didnt consider african americans as lesser people.
And that's not the beginning nor the end of late 50's/60's realia from that book. I was reading it with wikipedia open and constantly searching for new stuff I stumbled upon. You know what was the first thing I looked up? "Moxie".
Aside from the big things, like social interactions, the perceived role of woman, the romantic relationships and the ever-present in small societies "what will the people say if they see your car parked after 11 outside a woman's home" and such, the book contains a billion tiny bits of information that you americans would probably not notice, but people who have not lived and experienced life in the states, now or back then, find very interesting. I'm talking about minutiae not serious stuff. Still interesting.
P.S: The first thing I remember ever looking up while reading a King book was "Kool aid". :D
And Derry of course. And Salem's lot.
Well, I ll stop ranting. Have to begin "Mr. Mercedes". :D
Good morning.
You will become very dear to us....I just know this! Welcome to our home.
 

E.St

Active Member
Oct 17, 2014
32
128
42
Greece
Given Mr. King's age (in his 60s) he saw that world in person with all its prejudices and stereotypes. I was under the impression that Greeks are quite traditional (well at least that is the impression I got from my sister). She went out with a Greek guy for many years in Toronto and I met many of his friends. This was back in the early 70s.
That's a HUGE subject. I guess on average we are. (Me, well..I'm kind of a black sheep not being religious etc.). But, dont take the greek expats as a safe sample. Our impression of them (and we do have contacts since well, most of us really do have "an uncle in Toronto" or an "aunt in Sydney"-inside joke for greeks. ) is that they are WAY too much into tradition, since the families that left from here in the 50's, you know, kept up with the 50's moral code and traditions, as a way to keep their identity. At least I guess. So the people you met in the 70s' or even their children now, are much more into tradition than the average greek here. Of course right now and because of the crisis, people, especially uneducated (or as the average is, very badly educated) tend to fall back into a really creepy kind of distorted tradition to cope I guess. You know what I'm talking about I guess. "The glorious past,our great nation, our religion that held us together,the evil forces that want us destroyed,the bad foreigners, the evil immigrants yada yada yada". Since conspiracy theories and zealots of all kinds are rife in the States too, I think you get the point. :D But here, right now, this has long gone over the point of ridiculous. There are actual newspapers that print "prophecies" of "holy men" that talk about armaggedon-style wars against the infidels etc. And in case you dont know it, there is an active, in the parliament, nazi party which foments segregationism, hate, violence and all that nice stuff. :( (thankfully half of their representatives are in jail right now, but still there are people believing they are the cream of the crop). OK, I'm digressing. I'll stop now :D
 

E.St

Active Member
Oct 17, 2014
32
128
42
Greece
You have me curious, E. St...what are some of the other things you noticed that Americans would probably not notice? I was a four-year-old by the time JFK was assassinated, didn't have a clue about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and only a vague recollection that something happened in November...although we did visit the graves of John and Bobby in Arlington four or five years later, the eternal flame, the speeches or part of the speeches writ in stone. And all those white markers fields full of them.
I was talking about minutiae of everyday life. Not only back then, but now also. You knew or probably knew what "moxie" is. I had to look it up. The same with cream soda and root beer a few years ago, in another book. (Although I think I saw some cans in a new mexican-diner-somethinglikethat in Athens some time ago). I had to look up some stuff when reading the part where Jake and Sadie organize the benefit with the comic sketches etc, because even if I knew what vaudeville is, I had no clue what kind of sketches they meant (I dont remember exactly the terms right now but it was a "minstrel fair", "Amos n'Andy" etc). I don't think you as americans would have really noticed these or had to look them up. I had no clue :D That's what I meant :D The little stuff.
I know about Arlington, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, mount Rushmore, the Luisianna purchase, Lincoln, Booth, the civil war (I'm just throwing stuff here, as it comes),some things about the riots after dr.King's assasination etc etc. The big stuff.
It's the little stuff that thrill me more. The little indicators of cultural difference, which on the other hand imply that we re all the same, just in a different way :D.
 

Walter Oobleck

keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going
Mar 6, 2013
11,749
34,798
Yeah...I get where you're coming from...as I like to index stories as I read, or index stories that I know I will return to see better how they work. And one of the latest stories that I indexed...the last one. Was is Dr. Sleep? No...I think it was Mr. Mercedes...I have a 12-page list of characters, and I classified them under a number of headings like Major Characters, Minor Characters, Characters w/no name, Imaginary Characters, and Famous, Well-Known People characters--names from our times...Andrew Wyeth, Scott/Lacey Peterson, Pinocchio, Karen Carpenter, Son of Sam...there's quite a long list of those. I imagine if one were to look at the list and try to imagine how King used each individual instance it would be a mind-boggling attempt. I'll have to look at my 11/22/63 index...I also index things, ideas, metaphors, things...that are repeated, that show up time and again, or as variations.
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
60,239
232,646
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
That's a HUGE subject. I guess on average we are. (Me, well..I'm kind of a black sheep not being religious etc.). But, dont take the greek expats as a safe sample. Our impression of them (and we do have contacts since well, most of us really do have "an uncle in Toronto" or an "aunt in Sydney"-inside joke for greeks. ) is that they are WAY too much into tradition, since the families that left from here in the 50's, you know, kept up with the 50's moral code and traditions, as a way to keep their identity. At least I guess. So the people you met in the 70s' or even their children now, are much more into tradition than the average greek here. Of course right now and because of the crisis, people, especially uneducated (or as the average is, very badly educated) tend to fall back into a really creepy kind of distorted tradition to cope I guess. You know what I'm talking about I guess. "The glorious past,our great nation, our religion that held us together,the evil forces that want us destroyed,the bad foreigners, the evil immigrants yada yada yada". Since conspiracy theories and zealots of all kinds are rife in the States too, I think you get the point. :D But here, right now, this has long gone over the point of ridiculous. There are actual newspapers that print "prophecies" of "holy men" that talk about armaggedon-style wars against the infidels etc. And in case you dont know it, there is an active, in the parliament, nazi party which foments segregationism, hate, violence and all that nice stuff. :( (thankfully half of their representatives are in jail right now, but still there are people believing they are the cream of the crop). OK, I'm digressing. I'll stop now :D
wow - sorry to hear this. I went to a place called Rhodos in 1995 as part of a long range trainer with the military. It was right around Orthodox Easter. So I have actually been to your country but only got a glimpse of it. It does seem very beautiful there and aren't you glad you don't get that harsh weather over there liked we get up here in this frigid place? (Actually we do not mind - we are a hardy bunch!)
 
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Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
60,239
232,646
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
You will become very dear to us....I just know this! Welcome to our home.
Btw, I am Canadian but we are basically the same as Americans....but different lol.
Hehehe I know, you have a reputation of being kinder and friendlier, but since all americans and canadians I ve met were equally friendly to me, I cant really say :D.
There is a chance I'll see for myself in the near future.. we'll see :D :D :D
You are a true diplomat - I hope you enjoy posting here - it's a great place for all! (and send GNTLGNT some Greek cookies, 'kay?)
 
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I am an American child of the 70's and teen-ager of the 80's so I had some things I could have looked up too (including Moxie- which I saw at a store and tasted- terrible stuff!). Mostly I just soaked in the overall flavor of the book. I read it not long after reading The Help (not King) so I was already kind of in a 50'-60's Americana state of mind.
 
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RichardX

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2006
1,729
4,394
American Horror Story is doing an interesting take this season on the 1950s. That era has been idealized as some type of utopia, but had bizarre and often ugly undertones. King did a nice of job in 11.22 in contrasting the good with the bad of the era.
 
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E.St

Active Member
Oct 17, 2014
32
128
42
Greece
American Horror Story is doing an interesting take this season on the 1950s. That era has been idealized as some type of utopia, but had bizarre and often ugly undertones. King did a nice of job in 11.22 in contrasting the good with the bad of the era.
A hah! Didnt know that (about A.H.S) . Will check it out. And yes, idealizing the past is all the rage nowadays
 

ALOT

Banned
Jun 10, 2011
130
278
Canada
Oh yeah, I can see what you mean, how living a moral and/or traditional lifestyle would be twisted. :confuse:

That's a HUGE subject. I guess on average we are. (Me, well..I'm kind of a black sheep not being religious etc.). But, dont take the greek expats as a safe sample. Our impression of them (and we do have contacts since well, most of us really do have "an uncle in Toronto" or an "aunt in Sydney"-inside joke for greeks. ) is that they are WAY too much into tradition, since the families that left from here in the 50's, you know, kept up with the 50's moral code and traditions, as a way to keep their identity. At least I guess. So the people you met in the 70s' or even their children now, are much more into tradition than the average greek here. Of course right now and because of the crisis, people, especially uneducated (or as the average is, very badly educated) tend to fall back into a really creepy kind of distorted tradition to cope I guess. You know what I'm talking about I guess. "The glorious past,our great nation, our religion that held us together,the evil forces that want us destroyed,the bad foreigners, the evil immigrants yada yada yada". Since conspiracy theories and zealots of all kinds are rife in the States too, I think you get the point. :D But here, right now, this has long gone over the point of ridiculous. There are actual newspapers that print "prophecies" of "holy men" that talk about armaggedon-style wars against the infidels etc. And in case you dont know it, there is an active, in the parliament, nazi party which foments segregationism, hate, violence and all that nice stuff. :( (thankfully half of their representatives are in jail right now, but still there are people believing they are the cream of the crop). OK, I'm digressing. I'll stop now :D
 
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