Chapter 7: The Roaring Twenties

Soldiers came back from the war ready to party. There was just one problem: as of January 20, 1920, it was illegal for anyone, of any age, to buy or sell alcohol. But no one paid any attention to that particular law - in fact, in many cities, people drank MORE. The 1920s was an age of glitz and glamor and decadence. But it all came crashing down towards the end of 1929, and many war veterans spent the whole decade jaded, disillusioned, and depressed.

For years, people had said that if women got the vote, they would start drinking, smoking, swearing, sleeping around, and wearing short skirts. In the early 1920s, women began drinking, smoking, swearing, sleeping around and wearing short skirts. Of course, they'd always done these things (except for the skirts part - right up through WW1, women kept their ankles pretty well covered), but in the 1920s, women, particularly those known as flappers, became much more open about it.

This new openness wasn't because the women had FINALLY gotten the right to vote, though a few people (the 1920s equivalents of message board trolls) probably said it was. In fact, it was just a natural progression for society after the war and the famously stuffy Victorian era (most of the 1800s), when women couldn't say words like "pants" or "toes" out loud without blushing. Periods of repression like that happen now and then, and they're almost always followed by periods when anything goes - especially if people are looking to blow off steam after a devastating war that didn't seem to accomplish much.

The Smart Aleck Staff of the 1920s

While we have your attention, let us once again plug Adam's new novel:


Coming in Jan, 2010
Algonquin "Alley" Rhodes, the main character, is loosely based on Dorothy Parker, a smart alecky author of the 1920s who was part of a group known as The Algonquin Round Table - a group of authors who ate lunch together just about every day of the 1920s at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. Reporters in the group published the witty remarks the members made during lunch in their columns, making the group the most famous smart alecks in the country. "It was the 20s, damn it," Parker later said. "We had to be snarky."


Lillian Collier: Teenage Flapper
This Chicago girl coined the term "snugglepupping" before being sentenced by a judge to read a book of fairy tales to teach her proper values. Seriously.
We've been trying to find out whatever happened to her for years - can YOU find out?

Catch Hooverball Fever!
We didn't, but, uh, you can.

By what right do you refuse to accept a vote of the citizen of the United States?" - Victoria Woodhull.

Did she just mean adult citizens?

Today, people say that citizens under age 18 shouldn't be allowed to vote because they'd just vote for whoever their parents tell them to, or that people under 18 just aren't smart enough to vote. Sound familiar (to those of you who read the book)? Many of the arguments against letting kids vote are the same ones that people used to stop women and black people from voting in centuries past. Some people say that the voting age should be lowered, and we here on the Smart Aleck Staff are all for it (except for Prof. Rosemont, who isn't wild about ANYONE voting) . Some of us on staff (Adam, for instance) have been paying income tax since the age of 14. And we could all have been tried as adults in court at 12. And while some might point out that kids aren't always savvy enough to make wise political decisions, we can surely point out that many adults aren't, either. So why keep the voting age at 18? Why not let anyone who pays income taxes vote? And, while we're at it, why should a person who was born in Mexico but moved here when they were six months old not be eligible to be president? And if there's a person under 35 who could actually get elected president, why shouldn't that person be allowed to serve? Make noise. Act up. Call your congressman.

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