Sunday, May 06, 2012
During the "Roaring Twenties" shocking behavior was more interesting to the American public than moral behavior. Stories of the evil effects of jazz, the horrors of cocaine, the corrupt lives of movie stars, and the shocking behavior of Americans in Paris were guaranteed to sell newspapers.
We look back at thigh-high skirts, hip-pocket flasks, jazzy music, and flappers dancing the Charleston; kicking higher than mama would allow. Libby Holman sang "Moaning Low" and Bessie Smith sang about needing "a little sugar in my bowl, need a little hot dog for my roll." All over America it was bootleg scotch and bathtub gin; it was learning to kiss in the silent movies with the Sheik of Araby. And the cool singer said, "In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. Now, heaven knows, anything goes."
Michael Reynolds, "Hemingway, The Paris Years"