1920 vs. 2020: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t in 100 Years

1920s: Celebrity

“The cult of celebrity and the allure of fame took firm hold in the 1920s,” says historian Chip Rhodes. Movie stars like Charlie Chaplin and original “It” girl Clara Bow, athletes like Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, or heiresses like Zelda Fitzgerald and socialites like Coco Chanel were all adored and admired by the general public.

Due to mass consumption and the ever-promoted American dream of “working your way to the top,” The United States became a “mimetic culture,” in which consumers tried to copy and be like the ones they admired, even if, in most cases, the ideal of fame had nothing in common with the traditional values of hard work and modesty.


2020s: Celebrity

Today, the lines between movie stars and public celebrities are all blurry. With so much diversity and communities, anyone can become a public person, from YouTubers to Instagram influencers and reality show participants. “There’s this incredible diversity of participation that we’re seeing now in our culture, that I think is quantitatively different from the way culture was organized even 100 years ago,” says Professor Jay David Bolter. “It started in the 2000s, with user-generated content, and now this is a phenomenon where we have individuals and groups of people generating their own content that has large audiences, if not on the same scale.”


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1 thought on “1920 vs. 2020: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t in 100 Years”

  1. It amazes me that some people think it is a hokes . They refuse to ware masks in public. I don’t like it but I have enough respect for all people to not possibly endanger others.