The 1920s creates what we consider "Pop Culture." Describe what this means.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The emergence of popular culture in the 1920s can be best described in the rise of the celebrity.  No other decade was so driven by the emergence of the superstar celebrity as the 1920s.  With the advent of radio as well as the emergence of films as a genre through which celebrity can be advanced, the 1920s helped to create a mass consumer culture in which the celebrity because an essential part.  The 1920s defined popular culture in this love of the celebrity.  People no longer were content with simply being themselves.  They wished to look like Jean Harlow or they wished to be as tough as Jack Dempsey or as dashing as Douglas Fairbanks or as heroic as Lindbergh.  People began to buy into the desire to want to be a "bad guy" like Capone.  The style, clothes, dress, flair, and accessories needed to resemble the celebrity became part of this desire.  People had always needed to be seen.  Yet, the 1920s made it so that people needed to be seen as cool as someone else and this someone else was the celebrity.  It was the emergence of both the celebrity and the desire to be as "cool" as they were that enabled popular culture to emerge in the 1920s as no other in American History.


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