The Great Depression
Popular culture played an instrumental role during The Great Depression era. Beginning with the Bonus Army, a team of disappointed soldiers converged in Washington, D.C to demand their unpaid bonuses for wartime services to assuage the economic impacts of the Great Depression. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck describes the Great Depressions’ harshness by evoking sympathy for the struggling migrant farmworkers. The writer exposes the abuses of the organized business owners who used the farmlands primarily for profit leading to widespread suffering. Steinbeck shows how political will is vital in combating the forces responsible for laborers’ dispossession.
The Baby Boom era from 1945-1970
The Beatles entered the American stage in 1964 when the country’s youths hoped for someone to be their role model after President J.F. Kennedy’s assassination, who they identified with for his young age. In their song, “I want to hold your hand,” a middle-aged African American woman says, “it was a time one felt that they could be on their own.” The Beatles inspired the society to believe that they were all colorless and welcome in the American society. The student movements (1962-1970) had been exposed to new neighborhood and experiences. Inspired by the Civil Rights Movements and their optimism, they pursued social change in America.
From 1970 to today
The Deer Hunter exposed the realities of the 1970s including the loss of the Vietnam War and its traumatic effects on the families. The movie shows how war negatively impacted the parties in terms of the loss of loved ones, wasted government resources, and broken families. The controversial N.W.A of the late 1980s made explicit utterances on drugs, distaste for authority, sex, and gang life. The group criticized system abuse that oppressed the minorities in America.
In sum, the popular culture has been fighting for social justice in the US since the 1920s. Across the ages, popular culture has been the yardstick that guides society. Today, the use of YouTube and other social media platforms has made it easy to know what is happening on the other side of the country and the world, making it easy to scorn vices and exalt virtues.