Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord

By Myron A. Marty | Go to book overview

29
Diversions

Although Americans in the 1980s enjoyed a cafeteria of entertainment possibilities, the main fare for most remained television. Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), what they watched on TV underwent certain changes. Mark Fowler, appointed by President Reagan to head the FCC, regarded television as just another appliance, "a toaster with pictures," that should be treated like a business, nothing more or less. Under Fowler's leadership, the FCC in 1981 discontinued rules limiting the number of minutes per hour that could be devoted to advertising and stopped requiring television stations to play a public service role.

Television

A 1990 Gallup poll showed that the percentage of persons who considered watching television as their favorite way to spend an evening declined from 46 percent in 1974 to 24 percent in 1990, no doubt reflecting their complaints about the quality of programming. During these years, dining out, going to movies or the theater, playing cards and other games, dancing, and listening to music showed comparably sharp declines in popularity. Taking their places were activities not included in the 1974 survey, such as jogging, working in crafts, and gardening. Reading and spending time at home with the family showed slight increases. Nonetheless, the average American spent some twenty-eight hours in front of a television set each week. Many of those were daytime hours, as soap operas and talk shows remained popular.

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Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in the Greenwood Press "Daily Life through History" Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Introduction xix
  • Part I - Modern Times Flourish and Fade: 1960-1966 1
  • 1 - Family Life 3
  • 2 - Changing Population Patterns 11
  • 3 - Private and Public Lives 25
  • 4 - Consumers in the Material World 35
  • 5 - The Other America 43
  • 6 - Mind and Spirit 51
  • 7 - Technology in Daily Life 57
  • 8 - Cultural Transformations 65
  • Part II - Troubled Times: 1967-1974 77
  • 9 - Changing Families 79
  • 10 - Civil Rights and Group Identities 87
  • 11 - Securities Shaken 99
  • 12 - Cultural Reflections/Cultural Influences 115
  • 13 - Material Aspects of Life 127
  • 14 - Environmental and Consumer Protection 141
  • 15 - Technology's Small Steps and Giant Leaps 149
  • 16 - Hard Knocks for Schools 159
  • 17 - Spiritual Matters 169
  • 18 - Not Ready for New Times 175
  • Part III - Times of Adjustment, 1975-1980 179
  • 19 - Family Changes Continue 181
  • 20 - The Peoples of America 187
  • 21 - Security Concerns 195
  • 22 - Television, Movies, and More 205
  • 23 - Cares of Daily Life 215
  • 24 - Arenas of Discord 225
  • 25 - Pulling Together 239
  • Part IV - Crossing the Postmodern Divide: 1981-1990 245
  • 26 - Family Variations 247
  • 27 - People at the Margins 255
  • 28 - Security Concerns Continue 265
  • 29 - Diversions 277
  • 30 - Concerns of Daily Life 291
  • 31 - Technology 303
  • 32 - More Discord 309
  • 33 - Prospects 331
  • Selected Bibliography 337
  • Index 353
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