Formation of the American Pop Culture

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Any of the traits defining American modern popular culture originated in the course of the 1920s. This time largely stood out as the most significant transformative period in the history of the American culture because it produced a vast generation of authors, artists, and musicians who belonged to the most artistic and revolutionary community in the history of the world. The radio, book club, album map, speech image, and spectator sports were all the common mass entertainment types of history. The purpose of this essay is to explain and examine the formation of popular culture in the American 1920s.
The radio had the most revolutionary influence during the 1920s, in fact, than any other new appliance to enter the nation with its sales soaring from 65 million to 436 million dollars in 1922 and 1929 respectively. (Robbins 32). The major commercial broadcast in a radio station arose in the year 1919 and within the 1920’s musical and comedy variety shows engulfed the country’s airwaves. The radio brought the country together by conveying news, advertisements, and entertainment to around 10 million homes across the country by the year 1929. This led to a decline in the regional differences, therefore, imposing a number of similar lifestyles and tastes among the American citizens. The radio also led to a dissemination of the cultural and racial derogatory stereotypes and caricatures with some shows spreading vicious stereotypes into homes which new little about other different racial households (Evans 99).

The movies, which was a new mass entertainment instrument was also a significant part of the 1920’s mass culture with movie attendance soaring from 55 million in a week to 95 million weekly within the decade. According to (Tallack 64), before the 1920 decade ended around three-quarters of the people in the population went to movie theaters in a week. He also estimated that Americans spent around 83 cents out of one entertainment dollar visiting the movies in one week. The film industry relocated to the Hollywood cinema production during this period of emergence of the American mass culture and each year it would release around 700 movies which led to its domination of the entire world film production. The movie popularity increasingly soared with films featuring sophistication, sex appeal and glamor and various kinds of celebrities in the movie fraternity emerged.

Spectator sports also attracted massive audiences during the 1920’s with the country desiring to produce heroes in all aspects of an increasingly bureaucratic impersonal society and sports created the best avenue for the emergence of heroes. Team sports also flourished even though the Americans concentrated on individual talents and personalities which made them look significant than life. Professional football was a product of the 1920’s and in 1925 it attracted more than 68,000 fans in a single pitch (Robbins 108). However, baseball drew more attention and bigger crowds compared to football.

These forms of mass culture led to an emergence of a new integrated popular culture with common dressing codes, behavior, speech, and heroes. However, this transition brought about its negativities reinforcing racial stereotypes which were unfavorable to the minority groups. The modern mass culture to date has also distorted cultural values giving rise to immorality and disorienting the society spiritually. According to (Evans 101), a society which consumes mass culture only is destined to degradation.

Due to extensive PR campaigns and advertising, mass culture creates dependence in the society on the media images which leads to a loss of personal individuality. It has also created a stagnation of the cultural potential creativity and as a result led to the downfall of the society.

Works Cited

Evans, Nicholas M. Writing Jazz: Race, Nationalism, and Modern Culture in the 1920s. Routledge, 2015.

Robbins, Timothy R. “From the Mexican Onda to McOndo: The Shifting Ideology of Mass Culture.” New Trends in Contemporary Latin American Narrative. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2014. 15-38.

Tallack, Douglas. Twentieth-century America: The intellectual and cultural context. Routledge, 2014.

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