Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century

By Neal, Arthur G. | Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA), June 2008 | Go to article overview

Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century


Neal, Arthur G., Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)


Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century Susan Smulyan. University of Pennsylvania Press 2007.

Professor Smulyan concentrates on the reformulation of popular culture in the years following World War II. She draws on the concept of "popular ideologies" as a guide to her analysis of the acceleration changes that were occurring at midcentury. The content of her book includes such topics and themes as minstrel shows as a disappearing cultural form, and " the magic of the nylon" as a Dupont creation that transformed gender identities and behavioral patterns. The military occupations of Germany and Japan attempted to promote American values through widespread showing of a large number of selected films. Showing the film did not succeed in promotion ideology, but it did make a contribution to globalizing an interest in Hollywood productions. The author also examines popular ideologies by reviewing the large number of post-war novels focusing on the deception, manipulation, and persuasive effects of the advertising industry and organizational life.

The chapter on "minstrel laughs" focused on the transition from amateur productions at the local level to mass culture. The minstrel show provided entertainment by providing a context for the middle class to test local talent on the stage or as scriptwriters. Minstrel shows peaked in popularity in the late 1800s and had become objectionable as a form of entertainment by the 1960s. With the passing of time, the minstrel shows became commodified by publishers who made available an instruction book and the entire script for a theatrical production. In retrospect, minstrels were a shameful part of the culture of racial prejudice and oppression.

Professor Smulyan examines the linkage of a series of events following the invention of nylon with the ideological refinement and construction of gender. In the laboratories of Dupont, efforts were directed in the 1930s toward developing a finished fiber that would have the elasticity, luster, and strength of silk. The luster sheerness, and elasticity of nylon were drawn upon to promote the eroticism of women's legs. The cultural emphasis came to be placed on showing legs, rather than hiding them, as nylon came to replace silk in the production and advertising of women's stockings. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.