The art of listening to American popular culture is quite serious because we find the “voices” that write, play, film, photograph, dance, and explain our American history. George Lipitz notes that historians can learn a lot about the process of identity and memory in the past and present by deciphering the messages contained in popular culture forms such as films, television and music. As stated by George Lipsitz, people can either work for the economy and state and against the population who take in the messages or they can work as memories of the past and hopes for the future.
In the 1880s, we saw the hardships of what it was like to be a factory worker. Factory workers often do repetitive work that can last up to 12 to 14 hours a day. The workers tried to push for less working time so they were able to have more time for recreation. A historian, Roy Rosenzweig studied popular culture as an arena of political and social conflict by examining the contests over leisure time and space at the turn of the century. He argued that the amount of working time and leisure time it afforded allowed workers to preserve their autonomy.
At the turn of the century, more time for leisure, higher wages and a substantial population created new markets for commercial entertainment. Mass entertainment had become a large business. Drinking in saloons started to thrive in many cities. Similar to in the Dime Novel by Nick Carter, saloons were a popular place to hangout.
Workers could enjoy the pleasure of dance halls, Vaudeville performances, amusement parks and sports. The most fun amusement parks were found at places such as Coney Island. We see an example of this in Charlie Chaplin's film. There was much humor and fun urban leisure activities to do such as ice skating and dancing. Jack Benny,...