Counter-Culture Of The 1960
′S Essay, Research Paper
Causes of the Counter-Culture that was the Hippies
As the boring fifties rolled along and the sixties catching speed the world was thrown into a topspin that would soon define every generation of youths. As the trends changed and the music got more complex a deeper metamorphosis was taking place inside every city and every person. With these new feelings and desires for the future our world soon developed our own counter-culture. This was not developed right away for any one reason, though. Just like the times, the causes for this counter-culture were far more complex than anyone had seen before. Some could throw out a civil rights call or say it was because of the drugs, but I just don’t know if anyone even realized they were starting anything at all.
Neo-MacArtheism, a time in the United States history when everyone was expected to be a communist, sparked paranoia in everyone. World War II started the spark that led to an all out fire by the time Vietnam started. Everything that went wrong was blamed on communist people inside the United States trying to ruin the country. Innocent people had their lives ruined by stereotypes and false accusations that sometimes proved fatal. Franco and Vanzetti were two out of the many victims of “The Red Scare.” When Vietnam came around the children of that era were too tired of hearing about all of the communist ordeals that they just wanted to leave that at that part of the world and us to expand upon our democracy.
Civil rights of any individual was also expounded on in the 1960’s. Whites and Blacks both wanted equal rights among everyone because of discrimination and segregation that took place in the norht as well as the souht. Schools were separated to white and black public schools. The white schools were at least three times better facilities and even more in ways of academics and expectations. The blacks schools were typically run down with unequipped teachers who cared, but couldn’t do anything about it. Few challenged the schools because of the one set standard of law set in place about segregation through Plessy vs. Ferguson. This was the standard until Brown vs. Board of Education where they said that separate was not equal and could never be. This showed the people that many things could be accomplished if it was a just cause. Soon came the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which stated that no one person may be denied the right to vote based upon their skin color or gender. This resulted in blacks and women having the right to vote which in turn led to women’s rights.
A common ideal was slowly being formed in youth’s minds that love and respect are all things needed to be in and benefit a greater community. Youths started to grow their hair out, grow facial hair, and they started wearing technicolored clothing. Many people who participated in this counter culture were middle to upper class suburban kids who wanted to throw it all away and live it simple like the Beat generation poets had stated in their works at the time and like Bob Dylan’s lyrics. Music and popular fashion and trends helped shape this new sub-culture that was the 1960’s represented in fulfillment.
Music helped define this era and youth movement because it was an explosion on the scene of what was conventional and what you could and couldn’t do in music. People and bands
were starting to experiment with new sounds that were considered sounds of the devil and attracted more and more people because of just that. Pink Floyd tested the waters (no pun intended) of early techno and trance music that is so popular today. Computers were being used to produce beats, rhythms, and new sounds that boggled the minds of this new generation. The Beatles started to act like the Grateful Dead experimenting with the psychedelic sound which also spawned he Haight-Ashbury district of California. Bob Dylan spoke as the voice of this new generation that surfaced out of the youths in America with his folk style of guitar. Then there was protest music which was prevalent when Vietnam came around in such people like Joe Cocker.
Poetry was being incorporated into the music scene also with the help of some of the Beat generation like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassidy Allen Ginsberg performed some nights with the Grateful Dead at some of the early acid tests that took place with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. Jack Kerouac’s book “On The Road” was also doing very well and new ideas started surfacing and it became known as Beatnik thoughts. Neal Cassidy was an intricate part also of the 1960’s generation.
Drugs were being used increasingly more and more in this new culture that was developed whether for fun or an escape. People were starting to smoke marijuana and realized that it wasn’t as bad as what “Reefer Madness” had shown it to be. So that increased in use along with a new drug that was developed and discovered by Dr. Albert Hoffman called LSD. The LSD that was used at the time was LSD 25 and was a lot more strong as what is going around the streets nowadays. Timothy Leary, a Harvard professor, was a big spokesperson for the drug and he developed a new saying about the generation “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.” Acid tests were
done in San Francisco as well as other areas and were mostly at all Grateful Dead shows. Because of this fact that acid tests were performed at these shows the shows always had and still always do have that one drug there more so than any other one. Jimi Hendrix was another big advocate for LSD use and usually was always playing tripping. Once he cut his forehead and put a drop of acid in his cut and put a bandanna over the cut and played an amazing show.
This along with many other things had opened up the youths eyes about a perfect generation and about love. This was the nicest generations of kids that anyone could find. Now most generations are trying to rekindle those feelings with a resurgence of those popular drugs and the music with LSD popular again and a new band after Grateful Dead called Phish who do many of the same things. We all wish to strive to be more like that age when things seemed golden or was it a flashback?
James, Nick. “Love in our Time.” Doubleday Publishers. New York: 1989.