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Beatniks, Juveniles and Rock-n-Roll!

40s/50s American Culture


on 28 March 2018

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Transcript of Beatniks, Juveniles and Rock-n-Roll!

40’s / 50’s Culture Clash in Postwar America
Rock n Roll!
Consensus Culture - mainstream and expected culture of American people and families

Counter Culture – a rebellion towards the pressures to conform to consensus culture. Members are attracted to or practicing values and activities that are not accepted by consensus culture
Consensus Culture vs Counter Culture
Counter Culture
Consensus Culture
Baby Boom – millions of children are born
Largest youth population in history
Economy boomed due to less controls and less war production
GI bill gives soldiers home loans and college
Suburbs emerge and many leave the cities
In Detroit this had a harmful effect as alot of its wealth left with them.
Post War America
Nuclear families emerge in newer, smaller homes
Father, Mother, kids
Gone now; the extended family in larger homes
Grandparents, parents, kids
IKE and Congress begin largest public works project in US history
Interstate highway system (Like I-75 and I-94)
Reason: defense – to move armies and equipment if invaded
Federal Highways
50’s cars reach a new level of fancy
Chevy Bel Air #1 seller
Fear of war, nuclear bombs, soviets and spies very high
Bomb shelter sales high and emergency kits
Major Paranoia
Twilight Zone’s The Shelter
Cold War Paranoia
Government PSA’s Enforce Consensus Culture
Public Service Announcements

Duck and Cover

A Date With Your Family

Habit Patterns

Boys Beware

Reefer Madness

The House in the Middle

How do these films reinforce consensus culture?
Make a post about something your parents, society or the government does that upsets, angers or disappoints you.
Paper Facebook
Teenagers rebel against a high pressure society
Pressure from fear and war
Pressure from conformity (fitting in)
Many families hiding imperfections
Juvenile Delinquency becomes a national concern as teens lash out
Teenage Rebellion
Biker look is very cool
Marlon Brando film “The Wild One”
Rock and Roll emerging
Cars allow freedom
Delinquency captured in James Dean’s film “Rebel Without a Cause.”
From Nickelodeon's Doug
What values does she care about?
What image does she want to portray?
Judy Funnie
Many young adults rejected conformity
Embraced values not accepted by society
Will reject and challenge consensus culture
Artists, writers, poets
Embrace lower class culture
Love for Jazz and the black urban scene
Reject materialism (love for fancy things)
Seek out Western religions (Buddhism, Hinduism)
Sexuality lines blurred
Travel; no solid career
Increased drug use
Beatniks – The 1st Counter
#1 Icon of the Beatnik movement
Author of “On the Road” story about a young man's adventure hitchhiking across America
Very autobiographical
Many critics hated the book, it was a threat to American norms
Parents feared their kids skipping college and wondering around doing drugs and turning homosexual
Jack Kerouac
Anti-war / anti-imperialism / homosexual advocate
Wrote HOWL – very famous poem about the lower realms of society
Poem banned for descriptions of drugs and sex
Went to trial and won: allowing it to be published again
Allen Ginsburg
Author – very strange
Wrote “Naked Lunch” about a man addicted to poisonous bugs and there are Aliens
In “Junkie” he tells a very autobiographical account of the life of a morphine addict
Killed his wife trying to shoot an apple off her head
William S. Burroughs
Criminals: thieves, drug addicts, dealers, rapists, murderers and homosexuals
Movies like “The Beatniks” make them seem crazy and violent
Societal Reaction
Eventually most people liked the Beatnik style
Their clothing became cooler
Many youngsters became Beatniks
Companies began to market the Beatnik look and attitude to sell clothes and products
From counter to consensus
Maynard from the TV show, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis became a lovable Beatnik TV personality
Once so many were looking like Beatniks it became conformity
An alternative culture is formed
Society rejects that culture and damns it
Enough people join the culture making it mainstream
Companies market products using the new image/style
Once mainstream it is no longer a counter culture and dies
Counter Culture Life Cycle
1953 # 1 Hit: How Much is the Doggie in the Window? Patti Page
Many styles of music created Rock and Roll
Mainly in the South:
Simple – repetitive chords
Quicker versions lead to Rockabilly
Rich southern music and singing tradition
Rhythm and Blues (R&B)
The name for a lot of black Rock and Roll before the name Rock and Roll was invented
A Blend of Americana
Memphis along the Mississippi River and Highway 51
Major hub for travelers from the north to south
New Orleans to Chicago
Heartland of Rock and Roll
Fats Domino – piano
I’m in Love Again
Little Richard – piano
Tooti Frutti
Chuck Berry – 1st true electric guitar rock star
Johnny B Goode
James Brown – soul singer
I Got You’
Earlier Rockers – R & B
Jerry Lee Lewis – Piano
Great Balls of Fire
Elvis Presley – singer (white man / black voice)
Hound dog
Buddy Holly
That’ll be the Day
Johnny Cash
Folsom Prison Blues
Blackboard Jungle Intro
Bill Hailey and the Comets - Rock Around the Clock
Exposed most teens to Rock n Roll
Rock and Roll Breaks Out
Chicago Blues
Blues travels north to Chicago
Chess Records signs future all stars
Chuck Berry
Muddy Waters 1st blues electric guitar
Mojo Workin’
Little Walter: 1st amplified harmonica
My babe
Howling Wolfe
Etta James
At Last
Most southern radio stations announced if the artist was black so listeners knew ahead of time they were listening to African Americans
Many dance halls segregated with black and white sections
Dads did not like girls idolizing black musicians and listening to “jungle music”
Societal Reaction
Conservative white society produces Pat Boone
Covered popular rock songs but with tame lyrics
Was married and put about a book about how to date correctly
Similar to Jonas Brothers clean image
Since he was conservative it was easier to sell records
Rivaled Elvis
Enter Pat Boone
Aside from musical
Put a dent in segregation
Kids loving musicians both white and black
Kids rioted at segregated dance halls tearing down the barriers and mixing
Rock and Roll Impact
Church, religion, atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism
Family, full, divorced, same-sex, abuse
Dresses, fine suits, women's pants, all black, ties, berets, clean, dirty, 2nd hand, new
Classical music, pop, jazz, blues
Alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, cocaine, morphine, marijuana
Suburbs, country, city, slums
Dating, marriage, free love, conformity, lazy
Patriotic, anti-imperialist, communist, capitalist
Art, literature, music, food
Full transcript