The Big 3 Cultural Decades

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Throughout the Course of the 20th century, there have been 3 major booms in pop culture: The 1920’s, 1950’s, and 1980’s. During these times, culture flourished as a result of oppression by the government, economy, or society in general. Great culture does not rise from peace and order, all great cultural changes has been a result of oppression and strife.

To put it in a more visual and mathematical image, imagine a line graph of relative government interference. What you would find is that the early years of the ’20’s, ’50’s and ’80’s (Though the peak for the ’80’s is slightly pushed back into the ’70’s) there were high levels of government interference and popular distrust of government. Mow if you switched the graph to measure output of culture (collective impact of music, art, film etc.) you’d find that almost immediately after these peaks of government control, there are peaks of cultural output.

See, popular culture and government work together in two functions: expressing grievances against the government and helping the population recover from government manipulation. The nature of American Government and Culture is repetition. Each 30-year cultural period follows a basic pattern:
First Decade: The cultural boom. It is a time of passive government control, which allows for pop culture to flourish and individuals will inform the public of government actions
Second Decade: The equilibrium period. There is unrest in the population, but most of the government responds to grievances. This is where the progressive laws are passed.
Third Decade: The oppressive period. Most likely involves a war. Government becomes despondent to civilian concerns and demands.

And then the cycle repeats itself. There are plenty of variables in time and degree of government control, but at its very base, this pattern of American Culture and government will persist. You can take this 30-year pattern back to the Civil War and still make it viable. Beyond that, because of the weaker poltical party system, the pattern becomes less viable.

Why would this matter to me and you? Because we are at the start of the next cultural decade: The 2010’s (Or teens). Our culture will supposedly begin to rapidly expand in the coming years. This will pave the way for those of us who are artists to become big. This decade is our time to shine. I can see us making it big, to be the leaders of this new generation.

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