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The Boston Globe


Selling creativity to America’s kids

Why did we become obsessed with fostering childhood play? Look to the Cold War, says Amy Ogata.

When we think of the childhoods of baby boomers, we think about mass culture: a Hula Hoop and Davy Crockett cap on every porch; Lincoln Logs in the toybox; televisions tuned to the same entertainments.

What’s harder to remember is that people worried about all this conformity while it was happening. Popular books like David Riesman’s “The Lonely Crowd” and movies like “Rebel Without a Cause” spoke to the anxiety of Americans who wondered how individuals could distinguish themselves and live fulfilling lives amidst the masses.

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