Tag Archives: The Informative American

The Informative America’s Guide to Child-Rearing (Originally Published June, 1952)

“Hahaha, Jesus, how did anyone survive the 50s?”

~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt

 los ninos

We haven’t always been known as America Fun Fact of the Day.  In fact, we haven’t always been a strictly online medium.  No, back in the 1950s, we published a series of newsletters, entitled “The Informative American.”  Every once and a while, to go back to our roots, we re-publish some of these old articles, which prove that while our tastes in whiskey hasn’t changed much, just about everything else has.   The 50s were insane, is basically what we’re saying.

Anyway, we bring this up because we saw the publication of a book by Chris Wild called The Retronaut Guide to Raising Children, and noticed that the pictures inside looked awfully familiar.  And that’s because they were.  We had posted the very same pictures back in 1952 in one of our Informative American articles.  So, with an explicit warning that our staff was horrifically offensive by today’s standards back in the day, and possibly struggling with some personal demons regarding their own married lives, here is that post, terrifyingly unedited.  Enjoy.

The Informative America’s Guide to Child-Rearing (Originally Published June, 1951)

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The Informative American Tours a Doll Factory (originally published April, 1956)

“NIGHTMARE FUEL.”

~Pictures of a doll factory

some fucking saw 3 shit right here

Recently, Mashable.com posted an article that said, simply, “Try to look at these photos of doll factories without screaming.”  We failed, miserably.  But once we drank enough whiskey to deaden the soul to the point of indifference towards all but the most tragic of human sufferings (on a normal day we reach that point by about 4PM) we realized that these pictures looked kind of familiar.  And sure enough, as we dug through the archives of our 1950’s horrible, sexist, no-good precursor, The Informative American, we saw that they had initially taken those photos, back in the 1950s!  Clearly it was a bit of a surprise, and since we already got drunk to get ourselves over the whole “terrifying baby dolls being assembled” thing we figured we’d re-post our original article for our modern readers.

Before we delve in, as it’s been a while since we’ve posted one of our The Informative American brochures, back in the 1950s this country, and AFFotD, were…very different.  The 1950s was a decade that raised an entire generation of people who could say, “Holy shit, I survived the 50s.”  This was a time where cigarettes were considered prenatal vitamins, where popular toys were “actual guns and throwing knives that can kill you.”  So, some of what you might read might be offensive or jarring to your modern eyes, to which we’d say you’ve been warned.

The Informative American Tours a Doll Factory (originally published April, 1956)

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The Informative American’s Guide To Physical Fitness and Exercise (originally published October, 1953)

“Oh God, you guys, what the hell was wrong with us back then?”

~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt, reading AFFotD’s 1950’s predecessor

50s exercise

It’s been a while since our staffers have taken the terrifying plunge into the 1950’s bi-weekly publication that preceded America Fun Fact of the Day, The Informative American.   We’ve been trying to forget how misogynistic, racist, and homophobic-but-in-a-way-that-we’re-pretty-sure-they-were-projecting-their-own-homosexual-urges-in-a-really-uncomfortable-way our writers were back then, but the reason why we have a history is so we can learn from it.

So we decided we’d try to avoid topics like “women in the workplace” or “Mexicans” and republish one of our 1950’s articles about something fairly mundane, which is why the following article about physical fitness caught our eye.  After all, no matter how warped our 1950’s predecessors were, there’s really not much they could do to make working out offensive, right?

…Right?

Oh God, what have we done?

The Informative American’s Guide To Physical Fitness and Exercise (originally published October, 1953)

exercise

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The Informative American: SMUT! Playboy Magazine, Destroyer Of Morals! (Originally Published January, 1954)

“Damn, our 1950’s staff had some ISSUES.”

~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief, Johnny Roosevelt

In December of 1953, a 27-year-old by the name of Hugh Hefner got the bright idea that a bunch of people might pay money to see Marilyn Monroe naked.  Apparently back in those days either there was no such thing as “the internet” or it was illegal to put google images on any setting other than safe search, but this turned into a lucrative career for the young editor, who would go on to bang more beautiful women in his 80s than you will in your entire oh no, hey easy there big fella, stop crying, we know it doesn’t seem fair, calm down.  Yeesh.  That got weird.  You got weird, we’re just gonna say it right there.  You got weird there, reader.

Anyway, while today most Americans view Playboy as, at best, a glorious beacon of American boobage, or at worst, a slightly tame titty rag, it was revolutionary for the time.

And apparently the writers of the 1950’s AFFotD predecessor, The Informative American, hated anything revolutionary.  Or they greatly abhorred the female figure.  Actually, considering their writings about homosexuality, it’s probably the latter.  Well, brace yourself for what’s sure to be awkward as we once again reach into our archives to bring you…

The Informative American:  SMUT!  Playboy Magazine, Destroyer Of Morals!  (Originally Published January, 1954)

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The Informative American’s Guide To The Homosexuality Virus (originally published January, 1956)

“…Oh yeah, this one…does not age well…”

~Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt, upon reading this enclosed issue of The Informative American

Sometimes, the best way to make yourself a better American is to address the mistakes of your past.  This is a subtle way to say that in the 1950’s, even though some views that were casually aired might today seem “fucked up,” they still at least offer us something to learn from.  And just because AFFotD used to exist in the 1950’s as a bi-weekly pamphlet called The Informative American doesn’t mean that we agree with the ones that we bring out of the archives and post.  Some of them?  Yes.  Communists are the worstRecycling is terrible.  Women…oh no, wait, yeah we don’t endorse that one.  Just pretend we didn’t mention that one.  Carry on.

Anyway, the following post, written by lead-paint damaged, emotionally crippled Americans in 1956, is an example of something not to take at face value, but to learn from.  Because this is a very narrow minded, extremely out of date, frankly surprisingly hateful even for the time it was written article about homosexuality.  Hot button topic, we know.   And by hot button topic we mean, “Of course gay people deserve the same rights as everyone else—this isn’t Iran, this is America.”  AFFotD is an equal opportunity employer, and we embrace all creeds, races, ethnicities, and orientations.  Except for the French.  Fuck the French.

Plus, we don’t mean to go all “studies find homophobes are more likely to be closeted homosexuals” on this, but that might explain some of the, erm, extreme rhetoric used in this article.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.  But just to warn you again—this is clearly the opposite of how you should view this topic.  Clearly.

The Informative American’s Guide To The Homosexuality Virus (originally published January, 1956)     

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The Informative American Talks Sex: An Unpleasant and Often Painful Method To Create Future American Soldiers (originally published December 1953)

“But I don’t have to look at any nipples when I’m doing it, right?”

~1950’s sexual partner

While going through our daily, cough, research, we stumbled across this particular image from a 1950’s adventure magazine.  For those of you who said “clicking links is for pansies, I only ended up on this page because I waited too long to click ‘save-as’ from the google images preview page,” we’ll do you the service of explaining the magazine for you.

Yes the image if a man swimming in a sea filled with red snakes, but, there is an additional headline informing men of the 1950’s, “Sex can be FUN!”  Now, our staff usually does not discuss sexual conquest or prowess (laaaadies) because these represent moments of personal intimacy that are best left unspoken by distinguished gentlemen.  Or in our case, we get too drunk afterwards to actually write about it, and by the time we wake up we’ve probably forgotten the most relevant details (position, duration, gender, etc).  But, in spite of everything, we at AFFotD can take a pretty firm stance and say, if you have to read an article to assure you that “Sex can be fun,” you’re doing it wrong.

And apparently we’d be right, because as we were going through the archives of our 1950’s newsletters, we discovered that our predecessors had actually found the exact same article.  And, we say this a little less than proudly, they apparently were doing it wrong back then.

Uh.  That’s all the explanation we really have the stomach to describe right now.  Here, uh, is not one of our finer moments.  We’ll just show you the original article.

The Informative American Talks Sex: An Unpleasant and Often Painful Method To Create Future American Soldiers (originally published December 1953)

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The Informative American: CUBA! COMMUNISTS! CAPITALIZED LETTERS! (Originally Published June, 1959)

“This Fidel Castro character won’t last.  That beard is far too absurd.”

~U.S. Politics in the 1950’s

It’s remarkable to think about how things used to put us on edge in the past when they seem pretty innocuous right now.  Similar to looking back at fads you partook in as a child (pogs, anyone?) when you look at what the nation feared years ago, and compare it to how we view them now, it all seems pretty silly.  The most relevant example we as a staff can think of would have to do with the fervor surrounding Fidel Castro and Cuba.

Yes, we get it, having a communist power so close to America during the Cold War’s perpetual game of nuclear chicken was probably very terrifying at the time.  But we’re talking about a man who America unsuccessfully tried to poison the beard of who now is considered such an afterthought that most of you reading this aren’t sure if he’s alive (he is) or if he’s still in power (he is not).

Of course, our stacks of archives from the 1950s remembers everything, and we have no shame about pointing out how incorrect our views were in the 1950’s.  So that is why we present you today with…

The Informative American:  CUBA!  COMMUNISTS!  CAPITALIZED LETTERS!  (Originally Published June, 1959)

 

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The Informative American’s Back-To-School Special (Originally Published August, 1953)

“What good’s algebra going to do for you when the Ruskies have turned your family into charcoal, huh?”

~1950’s Elementary School Principal


For most of our staffers, school was a lot like drinking Southern Comfort.  We could take it or leave it, but we weren’t going to actively search for it.  Also, High School was the last time any of us last drank SoCo.  But from what we can remember from in between puking on our principles, the American education system involves, uh, learning and grades.  Oh, and centering a curriculum primarily on achieving good test scores for government funding instead of focusing on a curriculum that actually furthers the student’s education.  But whatever our system is now, it works for white kids most of the time.  It’s relatively normal and pretty recognizable.

You can probably guess where we’re going with this.  That’s right, it’s time for another issue of everyone’s favorite blast-from-the-past as we at AFFotD dig into our 1950’s stacks of The Informative American to see how Elementary Schools worked back in 1953.  Apparently the answer was “surprisingly badass, with apologies to the ladies.”  Oh, 1953, you so misogynistic!

The Informative American’s Back-To-School Special (Originally Published August, 1953)

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The Informative American Presents: What Scares Us? A Terrifying Look at America’s Fears (Originally Published April, 1950)

“Oh God, it’s a man with an unkept beard!  Kill it!”

~Average 1950’s professional


America puts on a pretty brave face, but if you think about it there are a lot of things that scare us.  China, the national debt, the fact that China has us on the hook for a terrifying amount of the aforementioned national debt, all of these things keep the President awake at night (but not for long, because the presidential silk pajamas are so comfortable).

But that’s just what 2011 America worries about.  Sometimes we like to sit back and wonder, how would America in 1950 react to the terrifying truths of the world changing around it?  Well, that seems as good of a time as any to dig into our stacks of The Informative American and see what our AFFotD predecessor was terrified of back in the 1950’s, and sure enough, it was a tried and true mix of understandable and terrible.  So without further ado.

The Informative American Presents:  What Scares Us?  A Terrifying Look at America’s Fears (Originally Published April, 1950)

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The Informative American Presents: Buddy Holly, Destroyer of Morals (Originally published January, 1959)

“Rock music and tight-fitting sweaters, nothing is more terrifying to me than these two evils.”

~Old white people in the 1950’s


Hindsight is the greatest.  If you fire enough people and admit something like, “oh I guess natural gas is highly flammable” or “in retrospect, maybe Gays should be allowed to serve in the military,” you can pretty much come off smelling like roses, while appearing “progressive” and “innovative.”  And we at AFFotD are no different.  We’re the first one’s telling you about the glory that is beef jerky potato chips, and as soon as the ghost of Charlton Heston shows up to tell us that the secret ingredient is people, we’ll be the first to tell you that people are fucking delicious.

What we’re trying to say is that we’re not always right about things, and the best way to make everyone totally forget about the terrible, terrible mistakes you’ve made in the past is to make very efficient cars  acknowledge your flaws and put them behind you.

What brings this up, as you no doubt suspected, has to do with our 1950s bi-weekly pamphlets we used to distribute, called “The Informative American.”  We like to go through them from time to time, laughing at the antiquated way most social situations were handled at the time, while cringing at some of the more blatant racism.  It was while going through these that we found a little gem from early 1959 about Buddy Holly.

Now don’t get us wrong, Buddy Holly is clearly American, and is the most responsible person for modern Rock and Roll that wasn’t a black group obfuscated by a racist culture.  But back then, he was clashing a bit with our office’s more conservative ideals.  They didn’t like him.

So now, without further adieu, AFFotD presents an…unfortunately timed release (it came out less than a month before Holly’s untimely death)…

The Informative American Presents:  Buddy Holly, Destroyer of Morals (Originally published January, 1959)

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