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The American Century

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The American Century by Herminne Tonita -

Denims and hot gods, skyscrapers and supermarkets, mass production and rock music, what do all these have in common? One thing is that they can be found today all over the world. Anther is that all of them were born in the United States. The country which for most of its existence had been an importer of influences has become in the 20th century a major exporter of them. In many areas of life, American popular tastes and attitudes have conquered the world.

After the Second World War the spreading of American influence was continued by a powerful force, that of the television. Soon million of people were organizing their lives according to the programs on television that evening.

By the 1960s filmed television programs had become an important American export. Other countries found it cheaper to buy American programs than to make their own. Soon such exported programs were being watched by viewers all over the world. In music the process of Americanization could be seen most clearly in the huge international popularity of rock. Rock began as "rock-and-roll", a music that was first played in the 1950s. It came from the American South and it combined black blues with the country music of working class whites to produce a heavily rhythmic "rocking".

The unchallenged "King" of rock-and-roll was Elvis Presley. In 1956 Presley's recordings were at the top of the American popularity list. By the end of the decade he had become an international superstar.

Elvis came to symbolize a new culture of youth. Among other things, this culture developed its own vocabulary, ways of dressing, even hair styles. It began to reject socially approved ideas and ways of behaving.

The Americanization of popular taste and habits was not restricted to entertainment. The growing popularity of hamburgers, fried chicken and other easily prepared "fast food" spread American eating habits all over the world. Blue jeans and T-shirts Americanized the dress of people on every continent.

Skyscrapers were the result of a need for more working and living space in places where the cost of land was very high. Instead of using a lot of expensive space on the ground their builders used the free space of the sky. New industrial techniques, and the availability of plenty of cheap steal made it possible for them to do this.

They became the symbols of a name that some historians were giving to the century even before it reached its end: the American Century.
The American Century written by Herminne Tonita for FamousWhy.com
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Tags: american, century, skycrapers, supermarkets, united states, 20th century



Category: Entertainment  - ( Entertainment Archive)

Date Added: 31 May '07


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