Pre-1900 pop culture scenarios

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Night Gaul, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Night Gaul Well-Known Member

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    We tend to think of pop culture as a 20th century thing, but the term actually dates back to at least 1818. So with that in mind, I decided to start this thread about potential pop culture scenarios with a POD before 1900.
     
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  2. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    Ancient Greeks doing Drama that deals with mortal people and everyday life instead of only gods and heroes.
     
  3. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    There were a few that did. For example, The Clouds by Aristophanes was a comedy about a heavily indebted man and his horse-obsessed NEET son.
     
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  4. volantredx Well-Known Member

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    Well the biggest one I can think of is if France remained a very liberal republic. It would have huge implications both in its own sphere and radiating outward. For instance the works of Frenchmen would be encouraged to focus on the common man and rationalism, as well as the fact you'd see a huge spike in woman and various previously uneducated groups given access to the writing world. England on the other hand would be driven to a more traditional stance, likely exulting the days of kings and knights. Places like Haiti as well given the fact they'd be recognized as a free and independent nation, as they were prior to Napoleon, which would give them the means to export their own cultural output a lot more freely, which certainly would effect places like the US.
     
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  5. Night Gaul Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Replace "horse" with "car", and it sounds remarkably contemporary.

    An earlier Arthurian renaissance, perhaps?
     
  6. volantredx Well-Known Member

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    Arthurian perhaps, but more I was thinking that they'd embrace the Romantic movements to counter the Enlightenment-inspired revolutions in America and France. So they'd look to stories about brave noble kings and knights slaying dragons, protecting the innocent, and serving God. This would run counter to the French movement towards the concept of intellectual and common heroes who defeat fight against more tangible things, like corrupt nobility and superstitions with science and learning.
     
  7. SavoyTruffle Wakeman's Cape

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    A delayed or different German unification would result in a very different German pop culture methinks. Before Prussia's unification, the stereotype of the Kleinstaaterei German was more in line with the Romantics - think Ludwig I of Bavaria.
     
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  8. volantredx Well-Known Member

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    It'd be sort of cool to see what sort of stories would have come out of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms in different worlds. Like in a world where Cao Cao unifies China, how would the stories paint him? Or how about a world where Sun Ce lives and he, not Sun Quan creates the Empire of Wu? It'd be interesting to see how the fairly operatic histories of the time would change due to that sort of thing.
     
  9. ramones1986 Grumpy and Lazy

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    While it's understandable that it needed a prehistoric PoD (thus ASB-ish), what could be the impact of a more widespread (but independently developed) genetic mutations that produced light-colored eyes in about a quarter of general non-European population in their culture (e.g. folklore/mythology, visual arts, etc.)

    PS:
    Is this passable enough?
     
  10. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    Here's an idea: what if Charles Dickens made Jewish friends before he wrote Oliver Twist? IOTL, he made some later in life, and as a result, he de-emphasized Fagin's Jewishness in later editions of the book and introduced some sympathetic Jewish characters in Our Mutual Friend.
     
  11. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    19th Century Comic culture out of conventional funny stripes.
     
  12. Night Gaul Well-Known Member

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    Funny coincidence. I recently read Fagin the Jew by Will Eisner, which portrays Fagin as a deeply tragic character, and in some ways, an allegory for everyone victimized by systemic inequality and prejudice. Considering Dickens' legacy as a social reformer, I could see him giving a similar portrayal of Fagin if he'd had a greater insight into the struggles British Jews faced. After all, he gave Ebeneezer Scrooge and Madame Defarge tragic backstories.
     
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  13. P L Richards Well-Known Member

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    @Byzantion means 'Ancient Greeks doing Tragedy...' Greek Comedy was most definitely about ordinary, or well-known contemporary (yes, named) people, even if gods show up as well. And not just 'a few'; all of Aristophanes is like this. In fact we probably get a clearer picture of what Athenian life was like at the time than from almost anywhere else. And other dramatists of comedy must have been similar; unfortunately most of their work has been lost.
     
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  14. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    Ah, when I saw "drama", I thought it meant as in "theater in general". My bad.
     
  15. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    Early in the Revolutionary War, Yankee Doodle was a song used by the British to mock the Americans, but that was taken by the Americans and used as a rallying point of sorts. What if someone had done this with a song about another country and that country had then claimed it for itself?

    Perhaps someone in a Pub in Constantinople write something mocking the Greeks around the time they start their independence movement? Or some Englishmen write something about the French while they are trying to fight during the Hundred Years War? Or some other example?

    While Yankee Doodle is not America's official song or anyting, it is quite well known to Americans and perhaps even to some foreigners. The term Yankee even comes from it probably. So, you might get some term that in our timeline is derogatory which becomes just a general term that is even worn as a term of pride, such as frogs for Frenchman, although I doubt that was used as early as the Hundred Years War.

    Even if not, a country could gain a cool new song out of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
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  16. cmakk1012 Well-Known Member

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    Tons of musical ones, of course. Butterfly Mozart’s illness and the transition from late Classical Western art music into Romantic music is drastically changed. Many, many musicians and other artists have died young whose living longer would have had major impacts on their fields.
     
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  17. Miguel Lanius Well-Known Member

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    There's a few possibly interesting PoDs from Luis Vaz de Camões:

    - Camões's Parnasum is not lost during his life-time, meaning there's even more poetry from him than what we have now.
    - Camões seems to have been pretty shaken by the Iberian Union, and thought that it meant the death of Portugal and died not long after. In a world without Portugal falling under the Spanish Crown, Camões could survive for longer and write more.
    - Camões loses his manuscript to the Lusiadas when he sinks in the Mekong River. No Lusiadas means a poorer world, culturally, through. I wonder if Camões tries to rewrite it?
     
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  18. MorphyVSFischer Well-Known Member

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    What if Arthur Conan Doyle had decided against killing off Sherlock, and instead merely took a break for a year or two before returning?

    Would have some interesting implications, as it means no Moriarty, who is a huge figure in the Holmes canon and in many ways the first supervillain in the comic booky sense. Holmes not dying and coming back would also change the some of the most iconic moments in the stories (I think the hound of the baskervilles is only as known.
     
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  19. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    I thought the term was first used by Dutch colonists to insult the English.
     
  20. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    An earlier usage is quite plausible.