I finally watched the whole documentary.
In the 1910s, there were only a few Moderns in the United States who were living what at the time were eccentric lifestyles in a few bohemian enclaves in Chicago and New York City. The catastrophe that was World War I which sent 2 million American soldiers to France and cost the lives of 130,000 American soldiers changed everything. It discredited the Victorian establishment.
In the 1920s, young Losters rebelled against the Victorian values of their parents and embraced the new Modern values. A whole generation of American artists, poets and novelists spent the 1920s soaking up Modernism in Europe: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein (Jewish and older than the others), Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Malcolm Cowley, Gerald Murphy, John Dos Passos, etc. Previously, only a handful of Americans like James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Henry James had moved to Europe and gone native. They also stayed there permanently and had a limited impact on America.
The Losters who embraced Modernism are the first generation we can look back on in American history whose lives, beliefs and values are familiar and similar to our own. They created 20th century American culture in the 1920s. Their children the Greatest Generation were the soldiers who fought for it in World War II. The Silent Generation was born during the Great Depression and World War II. The Boomers were born after their fathers from the Greatest Generation came home from World War II.
The Alt-Right blames the self-centered Boomers for destroying America. My father was 12-years-old when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Bill Clinton was the first Boomer president and was elected in 1992. The Boomers were only the tipping point when Modern values hit a critical mass and became hegemonic. Boomers were the first generation to attend college en masse and to be raised on the television. They didn’t create Modern culture so much as they absorbed its values from their elders.
Northern and Western Boomers were born into and raised in a culture that was already liberal, modernist, cosmopolitan and antiracist. Southern Boomers might remember the downfall of Jim Crow in their childhood. The oldest Southern Boomers were around 20-years-old when it happened. The Silent Generation also grew up in the 1940s and 1950s on the postwar consensus. The real decisive change in American culture took place in the thirty years between 1915 and 1945.
What happened between 1915 and 1945? The World Wars, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. It was during this crisis that Victorian America was replaced by Modern America. The country became liberal, modernist, cosmopolitan and antiracist.