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The 1950s: Rebels Without a Cause
Transcript of The 1950s: Rebels Without a Cause
celebrated urban life
swing popular in clubs: Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker
Dizzy and "the Bird" Parker created bebop: encouraged improvisation but not as successful commercially
inspired by bebop; mainly kept out of society
interracial, slovenly, drug-using
lived in the moment due to nuclear anxieties about future
Young Man with a Horn, The Man with the Golden Arm
The Stimulant of Music
Post-American Revolution: slaves gathered together and played in "drum circles" in the South
musical style synthesized into blues and jazz
jazz: urban, happy
blues: rural, sad
several million deaths caused by warfare, concentration camps
"inevitable" nuclear Holocaust feared by rest of the world and some Americans
The Birth of the Beats
"This Is the Beat Generation." -John Clellon Holmes, 1952
San Francisco poetry group included Kenneth Rexroth and Lawrence Ferlinghetti
1955: first reading of "Howl", performed in front of SF audience
1957: beats receive mass recognition after City Lights Books (Ferlinghetti) wins censure case regarding "Howl"
Chicagoan Hipsters, 1959
The Fantastic Four (or Three)
Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso
liked to ponder size of the universe and discuss what constituted art
observed and sympathized with hipsters
all writers: Kerouac and Burroughs novelists, Ginsberg a poet
dabbled in Eastern philosophies (Buddhism) and made extensive use of hallucinogens/amphetamines
got on the wrong side of the law: Burroughs, Kerouac, and Ginsberg all arrested
The Fantastic Four minus Burroughs.
Counterculture or Pop Culture?
emergence of rock and roll
Rebel Without a Cause
The Wild One
rebellious youth ideas spread all over the world (
The Town and the City
(1950), On the Road (1957)
Ginsberg: "Paterson" (1949), "Howl" (1957)
The Little Boy that "split history in two."
Dizzy and the Bird performing "Hot House" in 1951.
Allen Ginsberg reading "Howl" for the first time.
Alfred Neuman on the cover of MAD Magazine in the December 1956 edition.
"Crying" Sam Collins' Yellow Dog Blues, 1927