American Popular Culture

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Chapters 4 and 5 in Major Problems in American Popular Culture evaluate entertainment in the United States in the beginning of the 20th century. Two major changes occurred in the development of the American culture. Firstly, culture became closely linked to the idea of American expansion – the control over new territories after the 1898 war. Furthermore, the influence of the world fairs resulted in the export of American culture overseas, which expanded American influence in the world. Wild West shows representing a specific part of this culture were of a particular interest, since they exoticised the world of America in Europe. Secondly, the commercialization of leisure changed the culture significantly, and the change is discussed with a particular focus on the establishment of Coney Island amusement park, which brought up controversial ideas about American culture in the intellectual society. Commercialization of entertainment indeed changed not only the lifestyles of different classes of people in America, but also re-evaluated the whole cultural concept of the country. The change was obvious: “Coney Island indeed helped to displace genteel culture with…show more content…
However, it could be argued that such fears could be entirely opposite, for example, the passive leisure could potentially generate more aggression, which is clearly noticeable in the western genres of cinema. Saloons are spaces of discrimination, entirely white male-dominated, and are a perfect environment for debauchery and criminal offence. For instance, it can be seen in Shane, with the film's variety of fighting scenes set in a saloon, suggesting such a space is indeed a pool of aggression. Similarly, the first scene of Unforgiven shows how a man cuts a prostitute's face for just laughing at him, and the man is not punished by the
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