David Sim, history professor, University College London
A century from now, hardly anyone will cut, roll, and burn tobacco, but demand for it made viable the early American colony of Virginia, supercharged the Atlantic slave trade, and helped reshape the world economy. Cigarettes were a symbol of modernity and liberation, and they transformed the aesthetics of cool.
Holly George-Warren, co-author, The Road to Woodstock
Rock and roll was considered by its mid-1950s detractors to be a short-lived pop trend soon to go the way of calypso. Those who feared that rock and roll would break down racial barriers and transform our culture were right. It’s been declared dead many times over the past six decades, but the “fad” survives.
Cynthia Overbeck Bix, author, Fad Mania!
The rock-and-roll king and his music provided a rallying point for an influential new American teen culture. By tuning in to Elvis’s TV performances, buying his records, and mobbing his concerts, teens established themselves as powerful consumers and tastemakers.
Emily Lordi, English professor, UMass Amherst
Vacations to sunny locales didn’t start in the 1920s, but the desire to get a tan did. The tanning fad not only prefigures our orange-tinted president but also stands as a silent admission of white people’s lasting fascination with dark, exotic “others.”