Historians Thomas Krainz, Colleen Doody, Emily Romeo, Amy Tyson Featured in Article on 1920sHistorians in the News
tags: cultural history, 1920s
A seeming rite of passage in high school English classes involves F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Flappers, elegance and elaborate parties have become synonymous the 1920s based not only on Fitzgerald’s portrayal, but the majority of depictions of the era in popular culture.
A century later, heightened enthusiasm surrounds the start of 2020 with hopes the decade will mirror that of the “Roaring ‘20s.” While it may seem like a magnificent era, romanticism is at the heart of somewhat skewed perceptions.
Thomas Krainz, associate history professor, said the ‘20s “emphasized greater consumerism and youth culture,” which contributes to the modern rose-tinted attitudes towards the era.
“Part of that understanding of the ‘20s embraces the notion of fun,” Krainz said. “This notion of new technology, automobiles, radio, motion pictures. All of those things were becoming more widespread in America at that time. Having said that, though, there is also a great blind spot to all of the, kind of, negative things that happened in the ‘20s.”
Krainz said these romanticized views of the past exist because people “don’t like to dwell on unpleasant topics.”
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