Throughout his presidency, JFK managed to create a public image immensely attractive to much of America. He was the first “television President;” with his charm and good looks he took full advantage of that medium to capture and engage the hearts of Americans (indeed, the relationship JFK shared with America has often been referred to as a love affair). JFK inspired in many a powerful optimism and idealism, and he seemed poised to carry the U.S. out of trying times. However that doesn’t mean he was the president everyone cracks up to be. Sometimes news media and television romanticize the young president a little too much.

            Example the key turning point of the campaign was the four Kennedy-Nixon debates; they were the first presidential debates held on television. Nixon insisted on campaigning until just a few hours before the first debate started; he had not completely recovered from his hospital stay and thus looked pale, sickly, underweight, and tired. Kennedy, by contrast, rested before the first debate and appeared tanned, confident, and relaxed during the debate. An estimated 80 million viewers watched the first debate. Most people who watched the debate on TV believed Kennedy had won while radio listeners (a smaller audience) believed Nixon had won. After it had ended polls showed Kennedy moving from a slight deficit into a slight lead over Nixon. For the remaining three debates Nixon regained his lost weight, wore television makeup, and appeared more forceful than his initial appearance.

            Kennedy’s administration may have looked good on television but to the governments’ eyes and political observers it was a bundle of inexperience young men in politics. Most of the elected cabinet or staff was most of Kennedy’s friends and they have never ran in elections before either. There were two huge events that cause a big stir as well during his presidency. His moments of presidential brilliance were tempered by instances of uncertainty, particularly in reference to the Civil Rights Movement, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam War. Going into either those there was level of indecision during the missile crisis of two weeks and then in Vietnam the US fights a foreign war which they have no strategy going in with 11,000 military “advisors.”

            Also I like to comment on Douglas’s book with household wives in the late 1950s early 60s. The role of women in the 1950 was repressive and constrictive in many ways. Society placed high importance and many expectations on behavior at home as well as in public. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife. The television shows aired at this time reflect the publics need for stability and conformity. The main character of the most watched show at the time, I Love Lucy, portrayed a woman as the stereotypical woman-in-distress, who always needed her husband, the man, to bail her out. She also was symbolic of the inept woman: the “woman driver,” the “over-spender” who cannot budget, and the basic downfall of man.

            After reading the chapter I thought of the movie Pleasantville. Betty was an appropriate example of a 50’s mother. Following is an excerpt that applies to motherhood. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are God’s creatures and he would like to see them playing the part. Every morning, she woke her children up, cooked breakfast for them and sent them off to school. The breakfast however was far from the cereal and milk often enjoyed today. This was feast that consisted of towers of pancakes, piles of eggs, and platefuls of bacon and patties, all topped with syrup.