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Mainstream v. counter culture

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Mainstream v. counter culture

  1. 1. Counter-culture vs. mainstream
  2. 2. MainstreaM Culture • The postwar era of 1945-1960 was a time of amazing econ growth & prosperity for millions of Americans • These Americans- adult, mostly white, middle & upper class- were the mainstream of the population – Survived Great Depression, fought WWII, & now expected lives of peace – They moved to suburbs, found good jobs, began families, assuming their children would go to college and have even better lives than they did • 4 concepts typified Mainstream America: – They were very patriotic (“America: Love it or leave it.”) – They believed in the institution of marriage (You fall in love, you get married.) – They believed in the American Dream (Work hard and you can have a good life) – They believed conformity kept society ordered (fashion, jobs, behavior, etc)
  3. 3. the CounterCulture • In the ’60s, group of mostly young, white Americans born just after the war began challenging established mainstream values • Eventually known as the counter-culture, this movement stressed pursuit of personal freedom & alternative lifestyles, rebellion against conformity & materialism. • Worked to stop racism, war, & poverty • 6 ideas typified this movement – Communal living – Experimental Drug Use – Scandalous Fashions – Political Activism – New Music Styles
  4. 4. CoMMunal living • Many c-c youth moved to city centers like San Fran’s Haight-Ashbury District & NYC’s East Village, but another segment of the c-c left the city altogether & set up communes in isolated places in the mountains of CA or NM • They attempted to live their lives based on cooperation & love, to live in harmony w/ nature, not conquer it • Despite moving to communes for equality and a new lifestyle, many women still found themselves in the same positions they had been in society
  5. 5. experiMental Drug use • For many c-c youth, drug use was an important part of rebellion & personal freedom • While marijuana was most popular, the mind-altering LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or “acid” was increasing in use. – Harvard professor Timothy Leary urged people to “tune in, turn on, & drop out”- a phrase that became a motto for c-c members to experiment with drugs to achieve new “states of consciousness” • As drugs grew in popularity, newspapers & schools pointed out the increasing numbers of youth dying from drug overdoses • C-C members were quick to point out the mainstream drug of choice: alcohol
  6. 6. ScandalouS FaShionS • Calling themselves hippies (from the expression “hip”), c-c youth dressed in outrageous clothing designed to shock mainstream society • They wore: • Beads (both men & women) • Tie-dyed shirts (both men & women) • Men wore fringe jackets & army surplus • Women wore both mini-skirts & peasant skirts with blouses designed to show midriffs (& they also went braless) • Long hair was the norm for both men & women
  7. 7. Political activiSm • For most of the mainstream, the c-c & the anti-war movement were inseparably linked • By late ’60s, the TV was showing images of long-haired protestors marching against the Vietnam War • Despite what most Americans thought, the antiwar movement was not easily categorized – Some were confrontational- burning the flag, cursing & goading police or Nat Guard troops – Others were interested in making a peace statement- marching in silence, carrying peace signs, placing flowers in the barrels of govt troops to prove their pacifism • These distinctions were lost on mainstream America who saw them all as “filthy, long-haired, drugged-up,
  8. 8. new muSic StyleS • The folk, pop, & rock music of the 1960s also challenged mainstream values. – Bob Dylan’s folk songs, like The Times They Are A-Changin’, became c-c anthems, promoting social justice. – The Beatles sang about a “Revolution” inspiring youth to change their world, while Joni Mitchell sang about preserving nature in Big Yellow Taxi – By late 60s, psychedelic rock was in vogue w/groups like Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, & the Doors, Led Zeppelin heavy guitar & explicit sex & drug references • In ’69, these elements all came together at a farm in NY at the Woodstock festival. More than 500K people came together to camp out, take drugs, engage in free love, & listen to rock
  9. 9. Vietnam War mobilizes youth • -Draft 1965: 5000 a month -> 1967: 50,000 a month • -deferments: college students • -conscientious objectors • -draft dodgers: burning draft cards • Dodging the draft
  10. 10. Drafts & Deferments • The Draft made all 18+ males eligible • Men could defer based on education or profession • This led to the working-class, poor, and minorities to be more heavily drafted
  11. 11. Ineligible classifications • 1-A –O Conscientious objector for noncombatant service only • 2-S Service deferred – enrolled in college • 2-A Service deferred – civilian occupation • 3-A Service deferred – has children • 4-A Exempt – completed military duty • 4-F Disqualified – physical or mental reasons
  12. 12. SDS: Students for a Democratic Society April 1965: 20,000 protests in DC Teachers start protest at Univ. of Mich. 1967: 100s of thousands protest in NYC + San Fran. (Doves) April 1968: Columbia Univ. students seize 5 buildings
  13. 13. Who are the protesters? • An amalgam • University students – Free speech movement at Berkeley and other schools – Rooted in Civil Rights Movement • 60’s Youth – Reject parents’ culture – Leave it to Beaver-culture is viewed as: sexist, racist, conformist, restrictive • Poor – Draft rules call up disproportionate numbers of black, Latino, poor white and Native American boys – high school dropouts by far the most likely to serve and die in Vietnam • Vietnam Veterans
  14. 14. -70% of American believe protests are “acts of disloyalty” -Jan 1968: Hawks: 62%, Doves: 22% -March 1968: Hawks: 41%, Doves: 42%
  15. 15. 1970 -- protests erupt at Kent State: Burn down ROTC building Governor calls in National Guard, students ordered to disperse Protestors throw stones, sticks at soldiers Soldiers open fire -- 4 students killed Kent State
  16. 16. Their parents: WWII, Great Depression, trust in govt., New Deal Them: nuclear war, Vietnam, affluence, comfortable, rock music, energetic Generation gap
  17. 17. Implications? • Increased uneasiness in the U.S. • Greater division between “Hawks” and “Doves” • Increasing numbers consider themselves “Doves” • Also fueled growing Conservatism as a reaction to the New Left • Greater political pressure to get out of Vietnam