Mid-Century Misery: the discontented delights of Stevan Dohanos

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The “discontented” are protagonists from Phil Dick’s mainstream novels, and not a few of his SF novels.


Why do people assume the 1950’s was nothing but Leave it to Beaver? That’s also the high point of Film Noir.


I like that he’s pointing out some of the issues with the “stereotypical gender roles” of the era. Poor Mom’s got a lot of cleaning-up to do after the family trashes the place and she’s expected to do all of it.


What’s going on in the dovecote?


I see some Robert Williams and Al Jaffe in these.

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The 50s started in war (Korea), that almost went nuclear, ended in war (Vietnam), and saw several nasty recessions.

The men and women of the 50s had been through the Great Depression, World War II, and were living under the inescapable, omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation.

They craved nothing more than stability – and their art, food, and politics reflected this.

What current folks think of as “the 50s” is actually more reflective of the Kennedy Era (1960-1964[*])

[*] yes, Kennedy died in late '63, but much of what Johnson did in his first year in office Johnson did in Kennedy’s name.


Won’t someone think of Mother and her dishes to wash!

Really, he makes home ownership (and car, and other things) look like the total drag that it so often is. I really dig these, Cory, thank you! I was sad to find out that this isn’t a Wink Books post, or I’d be ordering this book. (Despite the drag that is book ownership…)


THIS! What is going on!! Is the apron blood spattered? Is a dove dead? Did they kill it? WHAT IS GOING ON?

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“Don’t feel bad Johnny. All things are born only to suffer and die. It’s not your fault.”


“Now, Jimmy, this is how you wring a squab’s neck for dinner. Make it quick! You don’t want it to suffer.”


The man in the fortune-telling picture and the man holding the gas pump remind me of Daniel Clowes…

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Did you notice the featured article in the picture of the dad walking his daughters out of the movie?

“Are we ready for a pushbutton War” by Stewart Alsop.

That’s the father of the prominent Infoworld columnist Stewart Alsop who made the famous prediction “the last mainframe will be unplugged on March 15, 1996.”

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Book ownership isn’t much of a drag. (I just prefer a real library to iBooks and Kindles. And I’ve moved. A lot.)

These paintings are marvelous! I will definitely be hunting for something in print.

I admit I had not. I only noticed that he’d probably been in that theater for three hours. Nice!

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Going a couple posts back, the link to http://boingboing.net/2004/08/31/vintage_girly_pinups.html appears to be dead.

The Internet Archive suggests it died sometime around 2012. What gives?

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So Donahos is the anti-Rockwell, a sort of poor man’s Hopper. Some of his work is formally interesting, and some of it is spooky as well. I refer especially to the supermarket view.

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