Born to die
The Beat Generation, made up of writers, artists and misfits, was forged not long after the end of World War II. People wanted change, the old ways and traditions were slowly being neglected and social rules of that time were put into question. The Beat Generation were the ones leading the way in questioning the old rules and regulations not because they wanted to but because America wanted it. The Beat Generation was a bohemian hipster like movement that got its drive and inspiration from sexuality, drugs, booze, crazy people and situations and religions like Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism. The Beat Generation embraced creativity untouched by culture.
Firstly, the group of friends and writers most commonly known as the Beats evolved dramatically in focal points such as Greenwich Village and Columbia University, and subsequently spread their political and cultural views to a wider audience. The three Beat figureheads William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac each perceived an agenda within American society to clamp down on those who were in some way different from the accepted ‘norm’, and in response deliberately flirted with the un-American practices of Buddhism, drug use, homosexuality and the avant-garde. Ginsberg courted danger by lending a voice to the homosexual subculture that had been marginalised by repressive social traditions and cultural patterns within the United States.
In the late 1940s, Beat poetry began in New York City and migrated west to San Francisco where by the late 1950s, they established and left a legacy. The poets were ignited from a movement against social conformity. They questioned mainstream politics, material society, and censorship or restrained literary traditions. Like many typical young persons, they rebelled against expectations in reach for “higher consciousness” through psychedelic drug use, alcohol consumption, sexual discovery, and spiritual exploration. With their lawlessness, addictions, discontent, and egos, these bohemian artists lived a life of spontaneity and creativity, but not without casualties. Gary Snyder commented on the subject of "casualties" of the Beat Generation:
America was built on rebellion. This was no different for the Beat Generation whom took Americans in the 20th century, into a new way of life. Middle class free spirited people who questioned the practices of everyday lifestyle and mainstream culture, the beats lived in disillusionment with society. The fifties being a time of conservative family morals encouraged the bohemian nature of the beats for their want to experience more. The nature of this rejection is expected but, why? And how does such rebellion begin to take place, what forms does it take, and does such rebellion provide a lasting change?
"The Ultimate Beatnik." Ed. Boytinck, Paul. Anthony Burgess, An Annotated Bibliography and Reference Guide. New York: Garland Publishing, 1985.
The Beats As A Counterculture
Many of the Beat writers wrote in a style known as spontaneous prose. Allen Ginsberg often writes in this style. He does so in the poem “Howl” in which he rants and raves about society via his friends – Jack Kerouac, Willaim S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlingetti, and Neil Cassidy to name a few, live. He discusses their poverty, civil disobedience, the ways that they fight society, and his personal fight against industrialization; he uses many images in order to allow the reader to understand his lifestyle, the lifestyle of his friends and points of view, specifically their rejection of society.
Ginsberg depicts the deprived environment in which he chooses to live in through imagery.
Tytell, John. Naked Angels: the Lives and Literature of the Beat Generation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
Holmes, John C. "The Philosophy of the Beat Generation." On the Road. Text and Criticism. By Jack Kerouac. Ed. Scott Donaldson. New York: Penguin, 1979. 367-79.
There have been a myriad of cultural movements derived from new music forms, which shaped American society and its denizens. From the emergence of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties to the Rock and Roll era, these movements serve as historic narratives for the economic, social, and at times, political climate of the country. Decades later, Americans are still impacted by these movements from the continuous packaging and marketing of youth culture birthed from the Rock and Roll era to the liberation of women celebrated by way of the flappers during the Jazz Age. And like those that have come before it, Hip Hop, as a cultural and social movement, has also deeply impacted the American psyche from the dramatic shifts in popular music, the continuation
Throughout the early 1970s, a raw and rigorous type of music that creates an adrenaline rush throughout the crowd, made its way out of the garage and into the streets for the public eye to see--the genre is known as punk rock. Bands like the Ramones, Sex Pistols, and The Clash, change the game for how music can be landscaped by not only how it sounds, but also how it appears. It created a counter cultural society whose values and standards of behavior are substantially different from those of the mainstream society, while still connecting with the new generation of youth at the time. Now fast forward forty-seven years to where hip-hop culture has influenced the new generation of today. Hip-hop is energetic and rhythmic, providing a soundtrack