[From "The Rise of Hollywood"]
When did our age begin?
What distinguishes Modern America from Victorian America?
The transition between the two began in the 1910s, World War I was the rupture and was complete by the Roaring Twenties. The Lost Generation was the first Modern generation.
On one side of this divide, American culture maintained hierarchies in race, sex and gender. Victorian culture divided the sexes into separate spheres and races into superior and inferior races. On the other side of this divide, American culture became antiracist, sexually liberated and ultimately gender fluid. Women started voting and became the equals of men in the workplace and in sexuality.
On one side of this divide, women dress modestly and it is scandalous to find respectable women alone and drinking at bars. Smoking is taboo for women. Women try to stay out of the sunlight because pale skin is considered beautiful. On the other side of the divide, Modern women are smoking, cutting their hair short, drinking and listening to jazz at speakeasies, dressing less modestly, going out to experience nightlife and having sex with men they have no intention of marrying. Tanning becomes fashionable.
On one side of this divide, Americans sharply divide the world into civilized and savage and privilege the former over the latter. On the other side of the divide, the primitive is exalted and the civilized is denigrated.
Arguably, the biggest and most impactful change was the rise of the entertainment industry in Hollywood, the mass media and Jewish dominance in the creation of 20th century mass culture.
War had been an ennobling experience for the older generations who thought it would reinvigorate their values. World War I though wasn’t the Civil War or the Spanish-American War.