Ever doubted the plausibility of the Fallout universe's premise that America could stay stuck in the 60's style for a full century? Well doubt it no more! I just figured out a quick theory that satisfied me at least.
Remember, in our timline (i.e. real life), how the militaries of the world developed most of the technology we take for granted today (computers and the internet) that are yet either absent from Fallout or only brand new inventions? You should also remember that most of these technologies only became available to the consumer as a result of the Cold War cooling down. With the tensions laxing in the 80s, our world's militaries felt more comfortable releasing their developments to the public since they felt they wouldn't be compromising national defense by sharing those technologies that give them an edge over their adversaries. You should also keep in mind that the prime reason these technologies developed to the state they are in now, is because they were made available to the consumer during the 90s and 2000s – because our governments allowed it to happen.
Well, since the Cold War never ended in the Fallout Universe, the world's militaries wouldn't release their technologies to the consumer market up until like a decade before the War, as we can see the US military did by partnering with private companies in the 2060s – a la RobCo and their terminals. In the Fallout timeline, governments never allowed the developments of the 90s and 2000s of our timeline to happen. For the sake of national security, these developments were restricted to national defense, thus preventing private development of these technologies and delaying the overall technological progress of the world in the Fallout universe.
In Fallout, total globalization as a result of free trade wouldn't have happened either since the Cold War was still going on, and I'm sure we can all agree that we are as developed as we are today thanks to free trade oriented globalization. In Fallout, there was none of this, so those developments would never have happened.
As for the retro styled cars – in Fallout, decades before the war, most fossil fuels run dry leading to most cars becoming obsolete and their manufacturers going bankrupt. Except, in the US, manufacturing shifts over to producing fusion-powered cars to replace the gasoline-powered cars of the time. Now, during what time was the world still developing fusion-powered EVERYTHING, because they had yet accepted that nuclear power was a bad idea? That's right, the 50s and 60s. So it'a highly plausible that US companies would simply have dug up old schematics for fusion powered devices from the post WW2 era and manufactured them without bothering to change their style to modern trends for the sake of expediency. Hell, we still love retro cars and other devices – if they were the only designs that could feasibly be made because of economic limitations, we'd all buy them too!
So that brings us to the music – how has nobody gotten bored of Bing Cosby in a hundred years?! Well maybe that's because it's only a RECENT trend in the Fallout universe – tracing its origins back to when the US started re-incorporating retro styled technology. Just think – how can you ride in a Corvega and NOT want to listen to Elvis Presley?!
Another explanation is that, as the result of escalating tensions and conflict during the Resource Wars of Fallout, the world's nations would have become decidedly ultranationalistic, essentially becoming caricatures of themselves. The whole premise of ultranationalism is that it's a movement striving to return it's nation's cultural landscape to a 'better time' – which is wholly subjective. When was the last time the world's nations were caricatures of themselves? WW2, duh! When was the US undeniably the world's greatest superpower? WW2 and the decade after! In Fallout, the US becomes basically the sole Western super power left in the 2060s. So in the Fallout universe, everyone would be listening to the patriotic music of the 50s because that's the music that would most resonate with the Pre-War American psyche, all things considered.
It's only until the 1970s that we really saw our modern music scene develop, and I think we can all agree that most of these developments were highly entwined with developments during the Cold War of our time, e.g. the hippie and grass roots music scenes because of the wars, or the industrial and techno developments because of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the modern industrial revolution (that doesn't happen in Fallout until MUCH later, as previously explained). It's also during the 70s that we saw the seeds of anti-patriotism take hold in America. That would also explain the Enclave's obsession with the old America, and since they are the remnants of the pre-war US government we can safely presume that before the war the (Enclave-controlled mind you) US state would have LOVED brainwashing America to believe in their ultranationalistic charade by blasting Bing Cosby all over with their Eyebots (which definitely had an even heavier presence Pre-War) and censoring all other music, like some sort of 1984 dystopia. I know that, here in South Africa, everyone was still listening to the same oldie songs way into the 90s, because most international artists refused to sell their music here in protest of Apartheid or were censored by our own government to brainwash us into listening to 'Afrikaner trots' bullshit. Hell, my mom and dad still remember when there were compulsary, all-white marches EVERY weekend to the tune of 'Afrikaner Trots'. A similiar situation could have happened in the Fallout universe's US.
Besides, we've only ever seen Fallout set in the USA. Maybe in the Fallout wastelands of other countries, we'd see remnants of a world that more resembled our own, with different car designs (albeit most of them would be in some scrap heap and not lining the streets of blasted out cities) and other styles in art, fashion and music. I'm fascinated to see if Bethesda will ever risk it, but even more stoked at the currently in development projects of the Fallout modding community!
I know I'm excited to announce a project of my own 😉
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