Professor Mark Carson
12 February 2015
Amusing the Million
In John Kasson’s 1978 novel “Amusing the Million”, he presents Coney Island as a revolutionary tool used as an escape from the post-World War One industrialized society. He demonstrates how the genteel culture strived to keep society in control and in order, but was overtaken by the likes Coney Island and other culture shocks. In my opinion, Coney Island was much more than just an amusement park or just an escape for pleasure. It was a symbol for a new cultural order. This paved the way for centuries to come. This is shown by how Coney Island reflected this emerging industrial society, in the differences and similarities in social structure, and how Coney Island represented an escape for all citizens.
Coney Island represented an emerging industrial society when it poked its head after World One. Specifically with the aspect of technology and its advances. This began with the creation of Central Park and the Chicago Exposition. These examples paved the way for places like Coney Island to be established. Also, with inventions like the Ferris wheel by George W. Ferris revolutionized this aspect of the entertainment industry. The emergence of new transportation helped make the trip more affordable and easier, but also showed the how America was becoming increasingly more industrial. Technology was the foundation of entertainment, which was the foundation of Coney Island. Although the advance in technology proved how times were advancing, there were groups of people who did not agree with this culture change. The genteel reformers strived to instill Victorian values into American society. Those of moral integrity, self-control, sober earnestness, and industriousness. These reformers set up different institution such as museums, symphonies, libraries, etc. to this create this Victorian culture (4). Kasson points that this culture was never fully integrated...
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