- 1 The Roaring Twenties
- 2 The ‘New Woman’
- 3 Mass Communication and Consumerism
- 4 The Jazz Age
- 5 Prohibition
- 6 The ‘Cultural Civil War’
- 7 GRIN – Mass media in the 1920s
- 8 1. Introduction
- 9 2. Modern Times – A New Culture Emerges
- 10 3. Print Journalism
- 11 The global reach of US Popular Culture
- 12 A New Society: Economic & Social Change
The Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties were a time in history marked by significant social and political transformation. For the first time, more people lived in cities than on farms in the United States. Over the period 1920 to 1929, the nation’s overall wealth more than quadrupled, and this economic expansion swept many Americans into an opulent but foreign “consumer culture.” People from coast to coast purchased the same things (due to widespread advertising and the proliferation of chain stores), listened to the same music, danced the same way, and even used the same lingo!
The 1920s, on the other hand, were a resounding success for a tiny group of young people living in the nation’s major cities.
The ‘New Woman’
The flapper, a young woman with bobbed hair and short skirts who drank, smoked, and said things that would be considered “unladylike,” in addition to being more sexually “loose” than previous generations, is undoubtedly the most well-known icon of the “Roaring Twenties.” Even though most young women in the 1920s performed none of these things (though many did adopt a trendy flapper attire), even those who were not flappers had unparalleled liberties during this period.
Finally, they were able to vote: The 19th Amendment to the Constitution had granted that right in 1920, however it would be decades before African American women in the South were able to fully exercise their right to vote without being intimidated by Jim Crow laws and practices.
Women were able to have fewer children as a result of greater availability of birth-control methods such as the diaphragm, which was previously unavailable.
Mass Communication and Consumerism
A large number of Americans had additional money to spend throughout the 1920s, and they used it to purchase consumer items such as ready-to-wear clothing and household equipment such as electric refrigerators. The radios were among the items they purchased. A commercial radio station, Pittsburgh’s KDKA, broadcast its inaugural broadcast on the radio airwaves in 1920; three years later, there were more than 500 stations broadcasting around the country. By the end of the 1920s, radios could be found in more than 12 million households worldwide.
The vehicle, on the other hand, was the most significant consumer product of the 1920s.
In 1929, there was one automobile for every five people in the United States. Meanwhile, an automotive economy began to emerge, with businesses such as service stations and hotels springing up to suit the demands of drivers.
The Jazz Age
A large number of Americans had additional money to spend throughout the 1920s, and they used it to buy consumer items such as ready-to-wear clothing and household equipment such as electric refrigerators. They purchased radios, in particular. A commercial radio station, Pittsburgh’s KDKA, broadcast its inaugural broadcast on the radio airwaves in 1920. Three years later, there were more than 500 stations broadcasting across the country. By the end of the 1920s, radios could be found in more than 12 million houses nationwide.
Despite this, automobiles were the most popular consumer goods during the 1920s.
One car was on the road for every five Americans in 1929, according to statistics.
During the 1920s, some liberties were enhanced, while others were curbed, depending on the circumstance. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which was approved in 1919, prohibited the manufacturing and sale of “intoxicating liquors,” and the federal Volstead Act, which took effect at 12 a.m. on January 16, 1920, effectively shut down every tavern, bar, and saloon in the United States. Selling any “intoxication drinks” containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol was made prohibited as of that point forward.
Instead of going to conventional bars, people just went to theoretically illegal speakeasies instead of going to regular bars.
Beer, for example, was referred to as “Kaiser brew” among the so-called “Drys” (or Drydens).
Check out all of the ingenious ways that Americans managed to conceal alcohol during Prohibition.
The ‘Cultural Civil War’
During the 1920s, prohibition was not the only source of social unrest in the United States. As part of the anti-Communist “Red Scare” campaign in 1919 and 1920, there was widespread nativist and anti-immigrant hysteria. Because of this, the National Origins Act of 1924, which established immigration quotas that excluded some groups (mostly Eastern Europeans and Asians) in favor of others, was enacted in response to the crisis (Northern Europeans and people from Great Britain, for example). In this decade, immigrants were not the only ones who were targeted.
- In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan attracted the attention of millions of people not just in the South but throughout the country, including the west coast, the Midwest, and the Northeast.
- More particularly, the 1920s were a period of economic and political advancement for African Americans, which posed a danger to the social order of Jim Crow persecution at the time.
- Many of those who relocated to the northern hemisphere found work in the car, steel, shipbuilding, and meatpacking sectors, among others.
- In 1925, civil rights pioneer A.
- When Black people in the North demanded more housing, so did discriminatory housing policies, which resulted in the establishment of urban ghettos, where African Americans were segregated from white districts and consigned to insufficient, overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions.
- As a result of the 1920 presidential election, the NAACP initiated investigations into African American disenfranchisement, as well as outbreaks of white mob violence, such as theTulsa Race Massacreof 1921.
- However, the bill was rejected in the Senate in 1922 due to a filibuster.
- This marked a watershed moment in the political history of Black Americans.
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GRIN – Mass media in the 1920s
When it came to social unrest in the 1920s, Prohibition was only one of several factors at play. A broad nativist and anti-immigrant frenzy was stoked by an anti-Communist “Red Scare” in 1919 and 1920. Because of this, the National Origins Act of 1924, which established immigration quotas that excluded some groups (mostly Eastern Europeans and Asians) in favor of others, was enacted in response to the situation (Northern Europeans and people from Great Britain, for example). Over the course of this decade, immigrants were not the only ones who were targeted.
- In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan attracted the attention of millions of people not just in the South, but throughout the country, including the west coast, the Midwest, and the Northeast.
- The 1920s, in particular, offered an economic and political elevation for African Americans that put the social order of Jim Crow persecution under jeopardy.
- Numerous opportunities in the car, steel, shipbuilding, and meatpacking sectors were available to those who relocated to the northern tier of the country.
- When civil rights crusader A.
- When Black people in the North demanded more housing, so did discriminatory housing policies, which resulted in the growth of urban ghettos, where African Americans were segregated from white communities and confined to insufficient, overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions.
- As a result of the 1920 presidential election, the NAACP initiated investigations into African American disenfranchisement, as well as outbreaks of white mob violence, such as theTulsa Race Massacre in 1921.
- However, the bill was rejected in the Senate in 1922 due to a filibuster.
Many demographic shifts occurred during the Roaring Twenties, including what one historian called a “cultural Civil War” between city-dwellers and small-town residents, Protestants and Roman Catholics, Blacks and whites, “New Women” and supporters of traditional family values, to name a few examples.
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he objective of this article is to present a concise but thorough review of the various forms of media that emerged in the United States during the 1920s, including tabloids, magazines, radio, and motion pictures. It was the advent of such mass media outlets that coincided with the birth of a new mass culture in general. In order to properly understand the period, it is important to first examine the social, economic, and political background of the time period. Following that, the different types of media will be explored separately and evaluated in terms of their influence on American culture, both positive and bad.
2. Modern Times – A New Culture Emerges
he objective of this article is to present a concise but thorough review of the various forms of media that emerged in the United States during the 1920s — tabloids, magazines, radio, and motion pictures – and how they developed. Along with the advent of those mass media, there was an equally important development: the birth of a new popular culture. In order to fully understand the period, it is important to first examine the social, economic, and political circumstances of the time period. Following that, the various types of media will be explored separately and evaluated in terms of their influence on American culture, both good and bad.
3. Print Journalism
As early as the 1830s, the introduction of the so-called penny press sparked the development of a press that was accessible to the masses. Previously, most daily newspapers were sold for around six cents per copy, with the majority of sales being by subscription, which only the middle and upper classes could afford. Newspaper material was heavily reliant on documents, and was frequently “a collection of clippings from London papers that were many months old,” according to one source (Mott 1950, 243).
Bennett’sNew York Herald(1835), and Horace Greeley’sNew York Tribune(1836) were among the first penny papers to be published and sold on the street, where they would reach a wider audience (1841).
All penny publications were eight to twelve pages long and jam-packed with the newest news, which was either personally researched or telegraphed to the United States from abroad.
Many of the penny papers were eliminated as a result of newspaper consolidations that occurred in the early part of the twentieth century, which resulted in the establishment of major newspaper chains in the United States.
(Folkerts/Teeter 1989, 376-379; Emery/Emery 1988, 115-132, 333-340; Mott 1950, 228-244, 635-642; Emery/Emery 1988, 115-132, 333-340; Emery/Emery 1988, 333-340; Mott 1950, 228-244, 635-642; Emery/Emery 1988, 333-340; Emery/Emer
3.2 The Rise and Fall of Tabloids
In the late nineteenth century, newspaper tycoons Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst adopted a style of reporting that was unabashedly sensationalist in their daily newspapers, the New York World and the New York Journal. Coverage of crime, sports, natural catastrophes, celebrity affairs and social controversy was prioritized in order to increase readership of the newspaper. Complementary materials such as colored comic strips and articles providing advise on housekeeping and marriage grew increasingly popular.
The tabloid newspaper, which measured eleven by fourteen inches, was almost half the size of a conventional broadsheet newspaper, making it not only less expensive but also “better adapted to being read on the buses, streetcars, and subways that many city people had begun using to work” (Wallace 2005, 12).
- A lowbrow style of writing, screaming headlines, and eye-catching image illustrations were intended to appeal to the enormous masses of poorly educated laborers and immigrants who were practically illiterate in the English language, as well as to the general public.
- Within five years, circulation had increased from 26,000 to 750,000 copies per year.
- The Daily News is jam-packed with on-the-spot images of big-name gangsters, suicide victims, and murder scenes, according to the publication.
- “It was the attention provided to ordinary individuals who became famous or notorious that drew many of the Daily Newsreaders’ attention,” says the author (Wallace 2005, 14).
- In 1924, William Randolph Hearst created theDaily Mirror as a response to the Daily News’ dominance of the news market.
- Continuing in the tradition of Macfadden’s previousTrue Confessionsstories, theGraphicfeatured fake first-person tales with headlines such as ‘I Know Who Killed My Brother’ or ‘He Beat Me — I Love Him,’ among others (Wallace 2005, 25).
As a result of its extensive exhibition of barely clad beauty, the tabloid was given the moniker “thePornographic.” It was an opportune moment for Macfadden’s message, since “in the absence of communal relationships and conventional social networks” (Wallace 2005, 23), individuals grew increasingly concerned with a new style of self-presentation that was centered on one’s exterior look rather than one’s inner power.
- “It was a reporter’s responsibility to generate emotional reading out of innocuous things” (Covert 1975, 67), in order to elicit personal connection from readers with the material they were reading, according to Covert.
- However, some tabloid reporters went over and beyond the lines of ethical decency in the pursuit of high circulation.
- 61) “Don’t forget to pick up tomorrow’s Graphic,” TheGraphic advised its subscribers in an email.
- They accused tabloids of reducing morale by demeaning Christian principles, personal privacy, and human dignity, among other things.
- Nonetheless, theDaily Newsmanaged to make the transition to a more moderate tone and more serious news coverage while maintaining a large portion of its audience.
- While this did not necessarily signal the end of journalistic sensationalism, it did signal the end of a highly manipulative type of journalism that had both reflected and built American society for more than a decade.
(Emery/Emery 1988, 323-330; Mott 1950, 666-673; Wallace 2005, 11-28; Emery/Emery 1988, 323-330; Wallace 2005, 11-28)
In the 1920s, the sensationalist journalism of tabloids was paired with the investigative journalism of publications such as the Reader’s Digest, Time, The American Mercury, and the New Yorker, which were published in the United States. All of those periodicals were intended to present a free-thinking, but yet intelligent, image of America in the 1920s. Despite the fact that the pieces were produced for knowledge rather than for amusement, they were written in a sharp sarcastic and sometimes hilarious tone that was well appreciated.
Some editors continued the muckraking heritage of journals from before World War I by criticizing social and political injustices that were prevalent at the time.
DeWitt Wallace founded the Reader’s Digest, a pocket-sized monthly magazine that first appeared in 1922.
However, despite the fact that theDigest was only available by subscription until 1929, the concept proved to be the most successful in the history of American periodicals.
The global reach of US Popular Culture
It is the corpus of cultural production that our nation has developed and disseminated around the world that gives rise to the American national cultural identity. In addition to reflecting the overall qualities of the country’s continual reinvention and redefinition, the rich output also reflects the specific traits that contribute to the country’s cultural scene being a highly representative and dynamic creation. A quick assessment of instances demonstrates the extent to which American popular culture – rooted in the need to confirm one’s cultural identity – has permeated the rest of the globe.
- The economic success of the United States has resulted in the development of significant cultural businesses that monetize American pop culture.
- They are the driving force behind the growth of the consumer economy and the American way of life, which, in turn, are having significant ramifications on other countries across the world.
- America’s popular culture is fundamentally consumerist in that it entices its target viewers to spend their money on tangible products.
- With the growth of the internet and the proliferation of commercials on television and social media platforms, American popular culture has been more widely disseminated.
- Furthermore, the majority of internet users rely on search engines such as Google or Bing to conduct their informational searches.
- This might be an indication of the intensity with which American popular culture has grown; it has progressed from being a traditional product to be eaten just once to being a cornerstone product to be relied on on a regular basis.
- The English language serves as a conduit for communication between the United States and the rest of the globe.
American cultural commodities are very popular in other countries, and as a result, they help to impact international opinion.
In today’s world, American films, on the other hand, account for around 70% of all box-office revenues in Europe each year.
In comparison, the percentage of European films screened in the United States is roughly 3 percent.
The revenue from European films, on the other hand, totals €125.9 million.
cinemas begins with around 110 films in 1980 and steadily increases to reach 736 films in 2016.
Popular culture, on the other hand, promotes the American way of thinking and living to a large number of « sensitive » audiences.
The objects of popular culture are used to “program” the general public.
As a result, it is meant to appeal to their broad taste and comprehension – to provide some form of everyday enjoyment.
So it influences their inner ideas and beliefs.«It is frequently heard in advertisements, soundtracks, and trailers.
The music may be broken down into its constituent parts without losing its meaning – individual moments can be extracted and used.
Continuing, she says, “At the conclusion of the Cold War,” she says, “rock music spurred young people in the eastern bloc to be more rebellious and subversive.” The author subsequently notes that modern American popular culture attempts to gain mass attention and, as a result, creates a “libertine idea of freedom,” which finally eliminates the creative uniqueness that was present in the work at the time of its creation.
- She believes that the over-sexualization of the music industry is to blame: « I don’t think American popular music has the same cache that it used to, and I believe this is partly due to the fact that we turned up the sexual heat.
- In its attempts to affect international opinion by the pleasantness of its aesthetics, it converted itself from a kind of art into a consumer good.
- The increasing use of technology has resulted in a type of « homogeneity » of cultures, in which individuals from various regions of the world eat, dress, greet, respond, and communicate in the same way, despite the fact that their cultures are vastly different.
- According to the thesis of cultural imperialism, the dominance of a culture benefits that culture by providing it with an idealized point of reference for development and advancement.
- Taking his fiancée to a McDonald’s rather than a local fast-food restaurant, for example, may be preferable to a non-American since he may perceive in McDonald the mark of American refinement and development that he does not see in his local fast-food business.
- Globalisation not only facilitates the dissemination of an unrivaled American popular culture, but it also aids in the dissemination of America’s economic, political, and cultural principles beyond international borders.
- World-wide, globalizing forces are pouring in American popular culture and incorporating many features of American civic culture into it, to the point that individuals become infatuated with the country.
- Possibly the most well-known example is the international media coverage of the Trump vs Hillary race for the White House.
For example, probably the finest demonstration of how the United States has globalized its popular culture is the fact that individuals from various continents who have never visited the United States already have a good understanding of what American houses, streets, and schools look like This is not surprising given the fact that U.S.
Exporting American popular culture to the rest of the globe not only aided the United States in shaping worldwide opinion, but it also enabled the country to create a more favorable picture of itself in the post-World War II era and acquire political influence over a number of nations.
- « Internet Live Stats — Internet UsageSocial Media Statistics. » World Wide Web Consortium. Stats on the internet in real time — Internet usage, social media statistics, etc. Bayles, Martha (accessed on February 27, 2018). « Through a Screen Darkly: Popular Culture, Public Diplomacy, and the Image of America Abroad » is the title of the book. Artsdesk is a publication of the Yale University Press in New Haven, Connecticut. « Is American popular culture influencing public opinion in other countries? » The PBS News Hour broadcasted on June 5, 2014. Ulff-Miller, Jens. Ulff-Miller, Jens. Ulff-Miller, Jens. « Hollywood’s Film Wars with France: Film-trade Diplomacy and the Emergence of the French Film Quota Policy » (Hollywood’s Film Wars with France: Film-trade Diplomacy and the Emergence of the French Film Quota Policy). Brown, Justin, and Rochester University Press (2001). Rochester, NY: Rochester University Press. Previously employed at Facebook as an executive: « You are being programmed, even though you are not aware of it. » – Ideapod, published online in 2017. Nicolas Besson’s website was last updated on February 26, 2018. Fanny Beuré is a fictional character created by author Fanny Beuré. Benoît Danard is the author of this work. Sophie Daubard is the author of this work. Hugo de Dessaigne was a French author who lived in the 18th century. Sophie Jardillier is a writer who lives in France. Evelyne Laquit is a writer who lives in France. Ariane Nouvet is the author of this article. Cindy Pierron is the author of this work. Danielle Sartori is a writer who lives in New York City. Jérôme Tyl is a French writer. Linda Zidane is the author of this work. Films, television shows, production, distribution, exhibition, exports, video, and new media were among the top performers in 2016. CNC, Paris Cedex, May 2017
- Hulatt, Owen, « Against Guilty Pleasures: Adorno on the Crimes of Pop Culture », in Adorno on the Crimes of Pop Culture, edited by Owen Hulatt. Aeon, Aeon, 4 Mar. 2018, accessed: 27.02.2018
- Aeon, Aeon, 4 Mar. 2018, accessed: 27.02.2018
A New Society: Economic & Social Change
During the 1920s, a wave of economic and social transformation swept over the country, bringing to the Great Depression. Some of the excitement and changes in social traditions that were taking place during the time period are reflected in the nicknames given to this decade, such as “the Jazz Age” or “the Roaring Twenties.” During this period of economic expansion, salaries climbed for the majority of Americans while prices declined, resulting in a greater standard of living and a significant increase in consumer spending.
- Although “labor-saving” household appliances and the ability to vote did not have a significant impact on the majority of women’s lives, young American women were altering the way they dressed, thought, and acted in ways that surprised their more conventional parents.
- Consumerism and the economy are booming.
- Between 1920 and 1929, the number of automobiles on the road nearly quadrupled, spurring the production of steel, rubber, plate glass, and other materials used in the construction of automobiles and other vehicles.
- Essentially, standardization meant that every automobile looked the same, which led to the joke that a buyer could order a car in any color they wanted as long as it was black.
- A significant influence on pricing was exerted by these innovations: the Model T, which sold for $850 in 1908, sold for $290 in 1924.
- Ford paid the highest compensation in the industry and instituted the 5-day, 40-hour workweek in order to foster employee loyalty and prevent the formation of unions.
- Union membership decreased by over two million between 1920 and 1929 as a result of this strategy, which was aided by the use of yellow dog contracts, which required employees to pledge not to join a union.
In order to induce mass consumption, a mix of advertising, which generated demand for a certain product, and installment buying, which enabled people to actually acquire the goods, was used successfully.
Advertisers took advantage of the newfound tranquility by targeting consumers through newspapers, mass circulation magazines, and radio advertisements.
The effect of advertising even extended to the realm of religion.
Providing customers with the option to purchase on credit was also an effective marketing strategy.
As a result, Americans’ savings rate plummeted dramatically in the 1920s, and their personal debt increased dramatically.
In the 1920s, the flapper was a young lady with short hair who dressed in knee-length dresses, rolled-up stockings, and unbuttoned rain boots that flapped as she walked (thus the term).
After promoting birth control as a method of protecting poor women from undesired births before World War I, Margaret Sanger believed that the diaphragm provided women with greater sexual freedom.
Scott Fitzgerald’s novelsThis Side of Paradise(1920) andThe Great Gatsby(1925), as well as cinema stars such as Gloria Swanson, embodied the new woman’s mystique.
The rapid growth in the number of women entering the labor market during World War I came to an abrupt halt with the signing of the Armistice in 1918.
Despite the fact that there are more women in the workforce, there has been little progress on issues such as employment discrimination or equal pay.
Women’s political advancement stagnated as a result of the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
Furthermore, despite the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment was first submitted in Congress in 1923, and Nellie Ross became the first woman to be elected governor of a state (Wyoming) the following year, there were still sections of the country where women were barred from holding elective positions.
The black population of Chicago increased from less than 50,000 in 1910 to almost 250,000 by 1930, a significant increase.
During this period, Abolitionist Marcus Garvey, who advocated for black pride and supported a “back to Africa” movement among American blacks, founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which espoused black economic cooperation and established black-owned grocery stores, restaurants, and even a steamship company, known as the Black Star Line, among other enterprises.
While this was going on, New York’s premier black neighborhood, Harlem, became a mecca for African-American artists and writers as well as academics, historians, and musicians.
In the 1920s, African-Americans were not the only minority group on the move.
Despite the fact that the majority of the Spanish-speaking people lived in the Southwest and California and worked as agricultural workers, a tiny fraction obtained manufacturing jobs in the Midwest and was occasionally recruited by American corporations in the United States of America Popular culture is defined as: The first commercial radio transmission took place in 1920, when the Pittsburgh station KDKA relayed the results of the presidential election from Washington.
Due to the fast expansion in the number of radio-equipped households (from 60,000 in 1922 to more than 10 million in 1929), the airwaves became the primary medium through which Americans received news and entertainment.
During the 1920s, motion pictures were a key part of the entertainment business, and the greatest stars of the era — Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino — established themselves as cultural icons.
It was not until 1927 that “going to the movies” became a social occasion and one of the primary pastimes for young people that it became an even larger sensation, thanks to the publication of The Jazz Singer, which was the first motion picture to feature “talking.” Government censorship appeared to be a distinct possibility as the storylines and themes of films became increasingly suggestive, and after Hollywood faced a series of scandals, it appeared that the industry would be forced to “clean up its act.” It was in 1922 that the studios formed the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, popularly known as the Hays Office (after its first president, Will H.
- Hays), in order to exert greater control over the substance of motion pictures.
- In the new tabloid newspapers such as New York City’sDaily NewsandDaily Mirror, the exploits of celebrities were splashed across the pages, while in Henry Luce’s weekly newsmagazineTime, their exploits were covered more subtly (1923).
- Beginning in 1926, the Book-of-the Month Club and the Literary Guild, both of which were founded in New York City, revolutionized publishing by giving huge discounts on the “best” novels that they believed everyone should read.
- Several authors chose issues that had not before been treated on the stage to explore them further.
Fitzgerald stated in This Side of Paradise that his age, which writer Gertrude Stein dubbed the “lost generation,” had “grown up to discover all gods dead,” and that they had “grown up to find all gods dead.” However, despite the widespread belief among Fitzgerald’s disillusioned contemporaries that there were no heroes in postwar America, the decade of the 1920s produced heroes of a different kind.
Athletes like as baseball’s Babe Ruth, boxing’s heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, and football’s Red Grange were well-known celebrities whose exploits were followed by millions of people in newspapers and on radio and television stations.
Richard Byrd was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his flight over the North Pole in 1926, and he gained international recognition for his explorations of Antarctica in the following year.
Charles Lindbergh, following his solo flight over the Atlantic Ocean in March 1927, became without a doubt the most renowned person in America, if not the whole globe.