lolaraincoat: drawing of phone wirse (wires)
[personal profile] lolaraincoat
So there were a lot of excellent comments on the first edition of this post (both the LJ version and the DW version) but then they made me think about what I left out, so here's some

Changes in the built environment.

Here, it might be that being in New York would shelter him a bit - New York may be less different after seventy years than other parts of the US. I imagine Steve Rogers puzzling over how few new subway lines and commuter railways have been built in the New York area since his time, and I hope he'd be horrified by what happened to Penn Station, and impressed by some of the late-modernist skyscrapers that went up in the 1950s and 60s. But overall, not much that's been built in New York since 1945 would be completely unrecognizable to him, I expect.

But as soon as he left New York, he would notice some huge changes. When he got frozen, there were no shopping malls and no parking garages and no planned suburban communities full of identical houses (Levittown was the first, in 1947.) There were some highways, but the big interstates all date to the Cold War (the Federal government funded them, supposedly because they would enable people to flee the cities in case the commies dropped the bomb.) There were no national, much less international, fast-food chains dotting the landscape along those highways. There were airports for commercial travel, but not many - most appeared after WWII, made from rebuilt military airbases - and passengers had to leave the terminals to walk onto the planes. So those would all surprise him.

But maybe the biggest change would be something that's missing: he would quickly notice the disappearance of factories, and the whole infrastructure of rail and shipyards that served the factories. When Captain America went under the ice, America was just about to achieve global dominance in manufacturing of all kinds. By the time he woke up, the US was importing more manufactured goods than it exported. He would see this most quickly by looking at Detroit, but this change - historians refer to it as "deindustrialization" - is visible across the United States, from Bakersfield to Baltimore, from Altoona to Atlanta. And of course this is connected to what I was talking about in the last post, in which he would have noticed that the adult men in his old Brooklyn neighborhood are doing very different kinds of work, and aren't organized into labor unions.

I can sort of imagine Nick Fury, who has to be a huge fan of The Wire, explaining this to Steve Rogers by getting him to watch the whole second season. Or maybe, in those scenes that keep coming up in fics where someone - usually Tony - takes Steve clothes shopping, he would notice that all the shoes and underpants and everything else on offer was made somewhere else, usually Asia. That would be a big surprise. I'd like to see the conversation where Tony explains how that came to be. Or Steve could ask Pepper why, as CEO of a US technology company, she's always flying off to meetings in Singapore and Indonesia.

... OK, see, this is why I don't often write fanfic, and when I do, it isn't any good. But you all who do write - please, think about all this!


*****

Date: 2012-06-14 07:37 pm (UTC)
sinope: a hundred thousand fireflies (Default)
From: [personal profile] sinope
Enjoying this series of yours very much!

Your comment about fast-food chains gave me a sudden mental fic image. I can imagine that a few weeks in, Steve notices that people keep mentioning getting burgers from this place called "McDonald's." It's apparently such a great burger joint that everyone uses it as their benchmark! And then he passes a different McDonald's than the one nearest the Avengers Tower, and he's like, "wait, there are TWO of them?"

Date: 2012-06-15 12:44 am (UTC)
neotoma: Gabriel/Kali, it's a complicated relationship (Gabriel/Kali)
From: [personal profile] neotoma
He might be surprised at how clean the city is -- coal was still a major source of home heating when he went into the ice, and now it's almost entirely gone from houses. No one uses the coal chute anymore, even if their building is old enough to have one -- and the air is much *much* cleaner.

NYC probably looks familiar, but *smells* wrong.

Date: 2012-06-18 11:43 pm (UTC)
hederahelix: Mature General Organa and "A woman's place is leading the resistance." (Default)
From: [personal profile] hederahelix
I know many, many people in southern California today who have no idea why a household would have an oil bill. Remember that Los Angeles is a city that technically existed before WWII, but it really only developed as a big city post WWII. As a result of the fact that most housing here is post WWII and because of the relatively mild climate, heating systems here are generally newer tech than ye old basement oil tank.

Date: 2012-07-06 02:29 pm (UTC)
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)
From: [personal profile] reginagiraffe
Not to mention unleaded gasoline.

I visited Belgium in 1988, when the US had already mostly switched to unleaded but there was just a campaign being started to switch in Europe, and my god, the *smell*.

Date: 2012-06-15 02:17 pm (UTC)
idlerat: A black and white hooded rat, head and front paws, black background, as if looking out window. Says "idler@." (Default)
From: [personal profile] idlerat
A few additions re NYC - He would see deindustrialization and freeways and airports and lack of shipping in NYC, especially if he crossed a bridge. Also urban renewal, the removal of elevated train lines, and just a lot of changes at the everyday, sidewalk-level view - that endless stream of mall-like giant franchise windows would, I think, be the biggest change here. And people - different ethnic makeup, immigrants from lots of places not much represented in 1945, and the extreme gentrification of Manhattan. Right?

Date: 2012-06-15 07:10 pm (UTC)
idlerat: A black and white hooded rat, head and front paws, black background, as if looking out window. Says "idler@." (Default)
From: [personal profile] idlerat
Yeah, I think they are different - even now. And certainly from all the little different shops. It's like everyone is buying, and now one is making, or even shipping, and no one is selling, even - just ads and goods, and the humans swarm in their periphery belonging to seemingly unrelated economies.

Immigrants from all over Asia, many many more from China than before, Africa, Mexico, all over the place - and many more immigrants as a percentage of the NYC pop than in the 40s.

Date: 2012-06-17 05:18 am (UTC)
spatz: green bird perched on a hand (Default)
From: [personal profile] spatz
Note also that Steve grew up in Brooklyn, which according to that document has a higher percentage of the immigrant population. Historically, I think that holds true, though the ethnicities would have changed over the years.

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