Culture of the Sixties - History

Culture of the Sixties - History

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POP CULTURE: The Way We Were

Pop culture is that loose blend of books, music, fashion and other daily ephemera that contributes to the identity of a society at a particular point in time. In essence, pop culture is a self-portrait created through purchasing power. In the '60s, radio, film, television, and books carry the essence of American pop culture.

In 1960, nearly half of America's population is under 18 years old. It's a young society, and the most affluent generation in U.S. history. American teenagers have $22 billion a year at their disposal (a sum equivalent to $140 billion in 2005 dollars).

1960… to …1969
average house $16,500 $27,900
postage stamp
of gas
31¢ 35¢
57¢ 62¢
of milk
49¢ $1.10

The best-selling books often reflect a society's most pressing concerns. Definitive reads of the decade include To Kill a Mockingbird and Valley of the Dolls. But evenings spent with a good book are on the way out: TV is the new centerpiece. Color TV arrives in the early '60s and is embraced far more rapidly than the old black-and-white sets. By the end of the decade, 95 percent of homes have at least one TV.

The Beatles are heard everywhere: pocket-sized transistor radios, eight-track stereos in cars, and portable record players. Everyone with a radio can sing along to the thrilling quality of stereo FM broadcasts. Although Elvis works hard to keep up, music is changing for good. The brightest stars are linked to the British Invasion, and the Motown and San Francisco sounds.

The advent of color TV has a direct and immediate impact on drive-in movie theaters. In '62, there are 6,000 drive-ins in the U.S. a year later there are 3,550. Walk-in theaters also feel the change as more people choose to stay home and watch the three networks fight for ratings. The movie industry peaks in 1964 with the release of 502 films. Box office sales will continue to increase with ticket prices, but the selection of films is never again so varied.

Mainstream religion is on the wane, except in growing evangelicalism and the new kind of relaxed non-denominational churches. In '66, the TIME cover story will actually ask "Is God Dead?" By the end of the decade, nearly 60 million people-a third of the population-have moved out of cities and into suburbs in search of a brighter, cleaner world.


Canada's residential school system was implemented by the federal government and administered by various churches. [18] Its purpose was to educate Aboriginal children in Euro-Canadian and Christian values so that they could become part of mainstream society. [18] The school system was in effect until 1996, when the last school closed. [18] Children were forcibly removed from their families and homes for an extended period of time. [18] The policies forbade the children from speaking their own languages or from acknowledging their culture in any way. [18] Survivors of the residential schools have come forward and spoken out about physical, spiritual, sexual, and psychological abuse that they experienced at the hand of the residential school staff. [18] The lasting cultural impact on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families and communities has been widespread and extensive.

The Canadian government started to close the compulsory residential school system in the 1950s and the 1960s, but the government authorities thought that Aboriginal children would benefit from a better education in the public school system. [19] According to one summary:

This transition to provincial services led to a 1951 [Indian Act] amendment that enabled the Province to provide services to Aboriginal people where none existed federally. Child protection was one of these areas. In 1951, twenty-nine Aboriginal children were in provincial care in British Columbia by 1964, that number was 1,466. Aboriginal children, who had comprised only 1 percent of all children in care, came to make up just over 34 percent. [19]

Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, was mandated to document the experiences of Indigenous children in residential schools and to share the truth of survivors, families, communities, and others affected with all Canadians. According to the TRC Commission's final report, published in 2015:

By the end of the 1970s, the transfer of children from residential schools was nearly complete in Southern Canada, and the impact of the Sixties Scoop was in evidence across the country. [20]

First Nations communities responded to the loss of their children and the resulting cultural genocide by repatriating children whose adoptions failed and working to regain control over child welfare practices related to their children, which started in 1973 with the Blackfoot (Siksika) child welfare agreement in Alberta. [21] There are about 125 First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies across Canada, but they operate through a patchwork of agreements that give them authority from the provincial government to provide services and funding from the federal government. [22]

Funded by the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments, the Adopt Indian Métis (AIM) was a program that was started to promote the adoption of First Nations children by middle-class white families in 1967. The project was started by Otto Driedger, who later become Director of Child Welfare for Saskatchewan, and Frank Dornstauder. [2] [23] AIM was the only targeted Indigenous transracial adoption program in Canada. [24]

CBC News produced a television segment about the AIM after the project's first year, in May 1968. [25] It showed several Indian and Métis children playing as the reporter, Craig Oliver, told viewers that they represented only a few of the hundreds of First Nations children ages six weeks to six years who are in need of homes. He stated that there has been an increase in the number of children from these communities who are up for adoption because the rise in illegitimate births and marriage breakdowns among Indian and Métis people. The government had been taking in nearly 200 children each year as wards of the state and was having difficulty finding permanent homes for them. The news report portrayed the AIM program as a solution to the problem and focused on its quantifiable results by placing 100 children, including several family groups of children, in its first year. [25]

When CBC News ran the segment, all of the children remained with their adoptive families. The program advertised the availability of the Indian and the Métis children for adoption by a marketing campaign with radio, television, and newspaper advertising. The large photographs of these children that ran in provincial newspapers with the AIM advertisements were said to be the most effective aspect of its outreach to prospective families. The program also promised fast adoptions, with completion of the process within as few as 10 weeks. [25]

The original AIM program ran through 1969 and resulted in an increased interest in transracial adoptions. [26] The focus of the program was broadened in 1970 to include all children, but it continued to over-represent First Nations children given the high number that were taken into custody by social workers in Saskatchewan. For example, in 1969, Indian and Métis people represented only 7.5% of the population of Saskatchewan, but their children accounted for 41.9% of all children in foster homes in the province. [26]

In 1971, the Métis Society in Saskatoon formed a Métis Foster Home Committee, led by Howard Adams, Phyllis Trochie, Nora Thibodeau, and Vicki Raceme. [26] Its purpose was to challenge the AIM program and research the creation of a Métis-controlled foster home program. Those leading the committee saw the AIM program as detrimental to children, parents and the Métis community. They said that the AIM's advertising campaign was racist, specifically because it implied Métis parents were unable to look after their children, portrayed First Nations children as inferior and unwanted, and suggested that any white family could be accepted for adoptions. [26]

A CBC News segment in 1971 by reporter John Warren stated that 500 children had found permanent homes through the AIM program. [27] An unidentified man representing the AIM that Warren interviewed said that the increased adoptions of Indian and Métis children was caused not by prior prejudice but by the increased awareness of their availability for adoption, adding that 170 children up to 10 were in need of homes. Further, the AIM representative stated that four years earlier, "children of native origin" had represented only one in ten of the children adopted in Saskatchewan and for the past two years had represented one in four of the children adopted in the province. The AIM representative said that though it was not the primary goal of the program, he hoped that the AIM would help people of different races understand each other. In his report, Warren also mentioned that First Nations leaders were criticizing the AIM as an attempt at integration and were drafting complaints about the program to bring to federal and provincial leaders. [27]

A CBC Radio podcast series, Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo, takes an in-depth look at the experience of a Cree girl named Cleopatra (Cleo) Nicotine Semaganis. [28] In 1974, at the age of nine, Cleo was removed from her family in Saskatchewan as part of the AIM program. The family never saw her again and wanted to know what had happened to her. The series website includes images of the AIM newspaper advertisements featuring photographs and personal and health information about the Indian and Métis children available for adoption. It also includes an internal memo, dated 25 September 1973, from AIM director, G.E. Jacob, that recommended as an Award of Merit to a supervisor in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Mrs. D. Wilson, as Salesperson of the Year. That award was to recognize the number of children that she made wards of the province and eligible for adoption. [2] [28]

In 1977, about 15,500 Indigenous children were in the care of child welfare authorities, an estimate based on data from Indian and Northern Affairs, Health and Welfare Canada, Statistics Canada, and provincial departments of social services. [29] They represented 20% of all Canadian children living in care, even though Indigenous children made up less than 5% of the total child population. [29]

In 1983, Patrick Johnston, then a program director at the Canadian Council on Social Development, coined the term "Sixties Scoop" in a report on Aboriginal child welfare, titled "Native Children and the Child Welfare System". [7] His research found that Aboriginal children were being disproportionately taken into the child welfare system. [1] [8]

Johnston, in researching his report, collected statistical data from various stakeholders within the community, including different levels of government, Aboriginal organizations, and band councils. He got the idea for the term "Sixties Scoop" from a social worker who disclosed "with tears in her eyes – that it was common practice in BC in the mid-sixties to 'scoop' from their mothers on reserves almost all newly born children. She was crying because she realized – 20 years later – what a mistake that had been." [7]

The proportion of children in care who were Aboriginal was 40-50% in Alberta 60-70% in Saskatchewan and 50-60% in Manitoba. According to the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission, "Johnston estimated that, across Canada, Aboriginal children were 4.5 times more likely than non-Aboriginal children to be in the care of child welfare authorities." Similar findings have been reported by other experts. [30]

Most of the children who were removed by social workers did not return to their communities. A 1980 study by the Canadian Council on Social Development found that 78% of status First Nations children who were adopted were placed with non-Indigenous families. [31]

Raven Sinclair, an associate professor at the University of Regina and a member of Gordon First Nation, wrote an article titled Identity lost and found: Lessons from The Sixties Scoop in which she discusses the broader context of the term:

At the same time as we may be alarmed by the statistics, it is important to recognize that the Sixties Scoop was not a specific child welfare program or policy. It names one segment of a larger period in Aboriginal child welfare history where, because questionable apprehensions and adoptions figured prominently, a label was applied. The "Sixties Scoop" has evolved as a descriptor that is now applied to the whole of the Aboriginal child welfare era, simplistically defined here as roughly the time from the waning of residential schools to the mid-1980s period of child welfare devolution and last closings of Indian residential schools. The white social worker, following on the heels of the missionary, the priest and the Indian agent, was convinced that the only hope for the salvation of the Indian people lay in the removal of their children. [32]

A judicial inquiry over the "Sixties Scoop" in Manitoba was headed by Associate Chief Judge Edwin C. Kimelman. The inquiry resulted in the 1985 publication of "No quiet place / Review Committee on Indian and Metis Adoptions and Placements", better known as the "Kimelman Report". [10]

The Kimelman Report was a strong critique of both the existing child welfare system in Manitoba and the practices of its social workers and agencies:

Rather, it is believed that every level of personnel in the child welfare system has been so free of examination for so long that the least attention was viewed as negative criticism. Staff seemed unable to recognize that public examination of the system was long overdue. [10]

The Report included the following allegations against child welfare policies in the province:

The native people of Manitoba had charged that the interpretation of the term "best interest of the child" had been wrought with cultural bias in a system dominated by white, middle class workers, boards of directors, administrators, lawyers and judges. They also alleged that in application of the legislation, there were many factors which were crucially important to the native people which had been ignored, misinterpreted, or simply not recognized by the child welfare system. [10]

It found that Manitoba's non-Indigenous agencies often required single, Indigenous mothers to live on their own, as opposed to in traditional, multi-generational households, to regain custody of their children.

This demand goes against the native patterns of child care. In the native tradition, the need of a young mother to be mothered herself is recognized. The grandparents and aunts and uncles expect the demands and rewards of raising the new member of the family. To insist that the mother remove herself from the support of her family when she needs them most is unrealistic and cruel. [10]

Membership changes in the new Indian Act also prevented single Indigenous mothers from living with their children on reserves and complicated placements with family members. Mothers who chose to remain on reserves with their children had to first prove that the father of their children had First Nations status. Additionally, children of unmarried First Nations mothers often could not be placed with families on reserves due to these same membership stipulations. [24]

The Kimelman Report included 109 recommendations to address issues that ranged from cultural sensitivity to maintenance of family ties, formal training for professionals, structure of the system, and having records accessible by computer. It went on to refer to the loss of the children as a "cultural genocide." [10] A 1989 follow-up report published in the Canadian Journal of Native Studies by the Manitoba Métis Federation indicated that the situation had not improved but in some ways was becoming more problematic for Métis children. [33]

Deanna Reder, a Cree-Métis associate professor in the Departments of First Nations Studies and English at Simon Fraser University, wrote in 2007 that adult adoptees who were affected by these policies have begun to speak out about their losses: loss of their cultural identity, lost contact with their natural families, barred access from medical histories, and for status Indian children, the loss of their status. [34]

Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) documented the experiences of Indigenous children who were removed from their families and placed in residential schools by the government. TRC Commissioners, who were tasked with sharing this knowledge with all Canadians, focused on child welfare in the first five of 94 calls to action in their final report. Published in 2015, the TRC report addresses the effects of the Sixties Scoop as well that of residential schools on Indigenous communities:

Today, the effects of the residential school experience and the Sixties Scoop have adversely affected parenting skills and the success of many Aboriginal families. These factors, combined with prejudicial attitudes toward Aboriginal parenting skills and a tendency to see Aboriginal poverty as a symptom of neglect, rather than as a consequence of failed government policies, have resulted in grossly disproportionate rates of child apprehension among Aboriginal people. [20]

The aftereffects of the Sixties Scoop remain an issue in child welfare provision for Aboriginal communities in Canada. Scholar Chris Walmsley notes in Protecting Aboriginal Children (2011) that some social workers find themselves in a similar alienated relationship to communities. Walmsley referred to one heavily publicised incident in which 71 children were removed from a community in 1998 (though not all were Aboriginal). One Aboriginal childcare worker said "to me it was very shocking. it reminded me of the Sixties Scoop when kids on-reserve were taken without even their parents being aware of them [being] taken." [35] Walmsley commented that "the condition of victimisation is recreated for the community every time a social worker parachutes into a community, makes a brief assessment, and then leaves with all the children at risk. This form of practice often reactivates the sixties scoop in the minds of the community." [35]

Walmsley noted, however, that there is a reverse problem of Aboriginal children in care now being often "off-loaded" onto Aboriginal communities that do not have the resources to deal with them, a process that can exacerbate problems in fragile communities by introducing troubled children with no meaningful ties beyond ethnicity. [35]

A 2011 Statistics Canada study found 14,225, or 3.6%, of all First Nations children aged 14 and under are in foster care, compared with 15,345, or 0.3%, of non-Indigenous children. [36]

Canada's 1.4 million First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people [37] disproportionately experience poor living conditions and substandard schooling, among other issues. [38] A 2016 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that 51% of First Nations children live in poverty. That increases to 60% for First Nations children who live on reserves, with poverty rates reaching 76% in Manitoba and 69% in Saskatchewan for First Nations children living on reserves. [38] The study found poverty rates of 30% for non-status First Nations children, 25% for Inuit children, and 23% for Métis children. (Canada has an overall child poverty rate of 18%, ranking it 27th in the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. [38] )

Cindy Blackstock, PhD, the executive director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada and a professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University, claims that funding for child and family services on reserves is insufficient. She believes that the Canadian government's funding amounts to discrimination against First Nations children. Canadian government documents support Blackstock's statements and show that Indigenous agencies receive 22-34% less in funding than provincial agencies. [39]

Blackstock's organization and the Assembly of First Nations, a political organization representing all First Nations in Canada, took that concern to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2007. Their complaint, which alleged that the Canadian government had a longstanding pattern of providing less government funding for child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves than is provided to non-Indigenous children, was referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

The tribunal ruled in January 2016 that the Canadian government's failure to provide equitable and culturally based child welfare services to 165,000 First Nations children amounted to discrimination. [39] The government has spent at least $5 million fighting the complaint and has not acted on that and three subsequent noncompliance orders.

On August 25, 2017, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended for Canada to end its underfunding of First Nations, Inuit and Métis child and family services ensure that all children, on and off reserve, have access to all services available to other children in Canada, without discrimination implement Jordan's Principle fully to ensure access to services is not delayed or denied because of funding disputes between the federal, provincial and territorial governments and address the root causes of displacement, such as poverty and poor housing, that disproportionately drive Indigenous children into foster care. [40]

Richard Cardinal, a Métis child, was born in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. He entered the foster care system when he was four years old. In the care of Alberta Child Welfare, he had a total of 28 group care and foster placements, secured facilities and shelters. At 17, Richard hanged himself on June 26, 1984. A 1986 film made about his short life, Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child, was based on his personal diary and interviews with his brother Charlie and his foster parents. [41]

Sydney Dion is an aboriginal man from Manitoba who was adopted by a family in the United States in 1971. The CBC program 8th Fire features his story about coming back to Canada. Dion saved his money so that he could find his family in Canada. When he arrived at the border, he was turned down: "they are aware that I was born here, but I am not a citizen here." He did not have a Canadian birth certificate, and his name had been changed. Therefore, he had no proof that he is a Canadian citizen. On his second try to get into Canada, he was successful. The border guard acknowledged that he was a minor when he was adopted and did not implicitly consent to becoming a United States resident and so allowed him to enter Canada without a passport. [42]

In 2011, Taber Gregory, who was baptized Henry Desjarlais, was an aboriginal man from Cold Lake Nation, Alberta, who became the first child placed in the United States as part of the Sixties Scoop to be recognized by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. [43]

In January 2015, via a civil class action suit served on the Federal Government of Canada, Wayne Snellgrove became the first child placed in the United States as part of the Sixties Scoop to be recognized by Canadian courts. [44] [45]

The StarPhoenix journalist Betty Ann Adam collaborated with filmmaker Tasha Hubbard on Birth of a Family, a National Film Board of Canada documentary about her own separation and reunification with three of her siblings. The film premiered at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Adam approached Hubbard to document her story at the urging of a commissioner who served on Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. [46]

Nakuset, who is Cree from La Ronge, Saskatchewan, was adopted by a Jewish family in Montreal when she was three. [47] [48] [49] She is now the executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montréal and draws on her adoptee experience in her work to improve the lives of urban Aboriginals. She sits on the Steering Committee of the Montréal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network. Nakuset produced and hosted the television series Indigenous Power and was voted "Woman of the Year 2014" by the Montreal Council of Women. [50]

In 2009, Beaverhouse First Nation Chief Marcia Brown Martel filed a class action lawsuit in Ontario on behalf of Indigenous children affected by the Sixties Scoop. Her lawsuit, which claimed that she suffered emotional, physical, and sexual abuse after she was placed in the foster system as a child, was one of a series of class action lawsuits that had been launched in five provinces.

On February 14, 2017, Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba ruled in favour of the plaintiffs in the case known as Brown v. Canada (Attorney General). [51] Justice Belobaba found that Canada had breached its common law duty of care to

take reasonable steps to prevent on-reserve Indian children in Ontario, who had been placed in the care of non-aboriginal foster or adoptive parents, from losing their aboriginal identity. [52]

Justice Belobaba, in his decision, also acknowledged the impact of the Sixties Scoop on survivors:

The Sixties Scoop happened and great harm was done. The uncontroverted evidence of the plaintiff's experts is that the loss of their Aboriginal identity left the children fundamentally disoriented, with a reduced ability to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. The loss of Aboriginal identity resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and numerous suicides. [53]

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, in interviews after the outcome was announced, stated that Canada would not appeal the decision. [54]

On October 6, 2017, an $800 million settlement was announced. It will provide status First Nations and Inuit who were adopted out of their families and communities as part of the Sixties Scoop, with $25,000 to $50,000 in compensation, depending on the number of claimants who come forward. It will also establish a $50 million endowment for an Indigenous Healing Foundation. [13] Non-status First Nations and Métis will not receive compensation under the settlement. [55]

Jeffery Wilson, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, made this comment about the settlement:

Never before in history has a nation recognized, in this way, children's right to their cultural identities, and a government's responsibility to do everything in its power to protect the cultural identity of children in its care. [13]

In Australia, a similar policy, which is sometimes referred to as the Stolen Generation, removed Aboriginal children from their families and placed them in orphanages, children's homes, or with non-Aboriginal foster parents. [56]

In the United States, according to the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), 25 to 35 percent of Native children nationwide were being removed from their families in 1978. [57] Overarching federal legislation setting standards for child custody proceedings, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), was adopted that year. ICWA mandates that when a Native American child's parent dies, exhaustive efforts must be made to reunite the child with the surviving parent or other relatives. Children are placed with non-Native families only when an Native foster home, preferably one within the child's tribe, cannot be found.

Also in the United States, a similar term, Baby Scoop Era, refers to a period starting after the end of World War II and ending in 1972 [58] that was characterized by an increased rate of premarital pregnancies, along with a higher rate of forced adoptions. [59]

In the 1950s, there was another targeted removal of children from their families and communities in Canada. The children of a fringe group of Russian Doukhobors in British Columbia, called the Freedomites or Sons of Freedom, were taken by Canadian authorities. [60]

In 1959 New York artist Allan Kaprow (1927–) began a trend for artistic presentations called happenings. Happenings invited visitors into a theatrical set in which they interacted with the art visitors might encounter sculpture, music, theatrical drama, and other artistic forms. Though happenings seemed spontaneous to visitors and were often unpredictable, they were in fact complicated, tightly coordinated events. Unlike regular exhibitions, at which visitors would just view completed pictures or sculpture, happenings enabled visitors to participate in art. Some of them were described as "living sculptures."

The term "happening" came from Kaprow's first event, called 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, held in 1959 at the Reuben Gallery in New York. For the event, Kaprow set up clear plastic walls to divide the gallery into three rooms. Using strictly choreographed movements, performers offered visitors tickets to the event, directed them to specified seats in particular rooms, and at designated times guided them to another room. In the rooms, visitors viewed a performer squeezing oranges, a person lighting matches, an artist painting, and a group of performers playing toy instruments, among other things. Kaprow's other happenings included Coca Cola, Shirley Cannonball? (1960), in which visitors watched an enormous cardboard boot kicking a ball in a gym to the beat of a fife and drum Words (1962), an event offering visitors the chance to rearrange words painted on cardboard on the wall of a gallery and Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hofmann (1963), which offered visitors the opportunity to rearrange the furniture in two rooms. Other artists who created happenings included Robert Rauschenberg (1925–), Claes Oldenburg (1929–), and Jim Dine (1935–).

Most happenings occurred in art galleries. Some, however, were set out of doors, at artists' studios, in empty lots, or at train stations, among other places. The goal of happenings was to offer visitors the opportunity to question the distinction between types of art and its place in public life. Happenings peaked in popularity in the early 1960s. Although many of the happening artists returned to more traditional forms of artistic expression, their work gave rise to performance art. Performance art came to be a distinctive form of live artistic presentation that could include painting, dance, song, poetry, and other artistic expression. It was distinct from theater, as were happenings, because performance art did not include characters or plot. Both happenings and performance art were considered to be "pure" art because neither could be purchased or traded they could only be experienced.

changing times. Writers used absurd elements, black comedy, and personal memoirs in their literary experiments. Thomas Pynchon (1937–) experimented with the narrative form of the novel itself. In his novel V (1963), Pynchon presented a nonlinear story in which he used descriptive "snapshots" taken between 1898 and 1944 from the lives of the novel's many characters to create a multidimensional image of society. Authors Joseph Heller (1923–1999) and Kurt Vonnegut (1922–) depicted the horror and dehumanization of World War II through parody or black comedy, which treats with humor subjects that are not really funny. In his novel Catch-22 (1961), Heller used a satiric writing style and the character of Yossarian to criticize medicine, business, religion, government, and the military. In Slaughterhouse-Five (1966), Vonnegut used the absurd, or non-rational, to highlight the randomness of war his character Billy Pilgrim survives the dangers of World War II only to be captured by aliens and taken away in a flying saucer.

Along with experiments in style, literature opened to a wide range of topics. The variety of topics resulted in part from eased censorship rules and an increase in the number of minority and women writers. Tom Wolfe's (1931–) The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (1965) shocked some and thrilled others with its use of once-censored language and depictions of the period's psychedelic lifestyles. Two Pulitzer Prize-winning novels of the decade depicted the experiences of ethnic and racial minorities. Shirley Ann Grau's (1929–) The Keepers of the House, which won the Pulitzer in 1965, portrayed the social and political struggles of a southern family with a background of interracial marriage and N. Scott Momaday's (1934–) House Made of Dawn, which won the Pulitzer in 1969, told the story of a young Native American man as he tries to reconcile the differences between white society and that of his ancestors. Women writers, including Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, wrote powerful poems about the female experience.

In addition, the Black Arts Movement (BAM) of the mid-to late 1960s ushered in a host of works by African Americans among the most influential were LeRoi Jones (later called Imamu Amiri Baraka), Ed Bullins, Nikki Giovanni, Adrienne Kennedy, and Larry Neal. This movement combined the art of writing with the political purposes of the civil rights movement. Black artists used their literature and art to lift up and inspire other blacks. The works of many involved in the Black Arts Movement were a new foundation upon which blacks could build a society centered on their unique culture and heritage. Although the BAM dissolved by the 1970s, African Americans continued to produce valuable literary and artistic works throughout the twentieth century and into the 2000s.

Youth Culture and Delinquency

Youth culture during the 1960s counterculture was characterized by the “Summer of Love,” and the casual use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs.

Learning Objectives

Examine the role of drug use in the counterculture of the 1960s

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • During the summer of 1967, San Francicsco became a melting pot of music, psychedelic drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression, new forms of dress, and politics.
  • The unprecedented gathering of young people, known as the “Summer of Love” is often considered to have been a social experiment because of the alternative lifestyles that became common.
  • As members of the hippie movement grew older and moderated their lives and their views, and especially after U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended in the mid-1970s, the counterculture was largely absorbed by the mainstream.
  • During the 1960s, casual LSD users expanded into a subculture that extolled the mystical and religious symbolism often engendered by the drug’s powerful effects, advocating its use as a method of raising consciousness.

Key Terms

  • commune: A small community, often rural, whose members share in the ownership of property and the division of labor the members of such a community.
  • “Summer of Love”: A season in 1967 noted for the flourishing of the hippie movement.
  • free love: The practice of sexual intercourse without the restraints of marriage or commitment.

Hippies and the Summer of Love

In 1967, musician Scott McKenzie’s rendition of the song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” brought as many as 100,000 young people from all over the world to celebrate a “Summer of Love” in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The Summer of Love became a defining moment in the 1960s as the hippie counterculture movement came into public awareness.

San Francisco was the center of the hippie revolution during the Summer of Love, it became a melting pot of music, psychedelic drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression, new forms of dress, and politics. This unprecedented gathering of young people is often considered to have been a social experiment because of the alternative lifestyles that became common. These lifestyles included communal living, the free and communal sharing of resources (often among total strangers), and the idea of free love. When people returned home from the Summer of Love, these styles and behaviors spread quickly from San Francisco and Berkeley to many U.S., Canadian, and even European cities.

Some hippies formed communes to live as far outside of the established system as possible. This aspect of the counterculture rejected active political engagement with the mainstream following the dictate of a Harvard LSD proponent, Dr. Timothy Leary, to “Turn on, tune in, drop out,” many hippies hoped to change society by dropping out of it. As members of the hippie movement grew older and moderated their lives and their views, and especially after U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended in the mid-1970s, the counterculture was largely absorbed by the mainstream, leaving a lasting impact on philosophy, morality, music, art, alternative health and diet, lifestyle, and fashion.

Drug Use in the Hippie Counterculture

Experimentation with LSD, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, MDA, marijuana, and other psychedelic drugs became a major component of 1960s counterculture, influencing philosophy, art, music, and styles of dress. Casual LSD users expanded into a subculture that extolled the mystical and religious symbolism often engendered by the drug’s powerful effects, advocating its use as a method of raising consciousness. The personalities associated with the subculture—including Dr. Leary as well as psychedelic rock musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, and the Beatles—soon attracted a great deal of publicity, generating further interest in LSD.

Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters

The popularization of LSD outside of the medical world was hastened when individuals, such as Ken Kesey, participated in drug trials. Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters helped shape the developing character of the 1960s counterculture during the summer of 1964 when they embarked on a cross-country voyage in a psychedelic school bus named “Further.”

Beginning in 1959, Kesey had volunteered as a research subject for medical trials that tested the effects of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and other psychedelic drugs. After the medical trials, Kesey continued experimenting on his own and involved many close friends collectively they became known as “The Merry Pranksters.” The Pranksters visited Dr. Leary at his Millbrook, New York retreat. Experimentation with LSD and other psychedelic drugs, primarily as a means for internal reflection and personal growth, became a constant during the Prankster trip.

The Pranksters created a direct link between the 1950s Beat Generation and the 1960s psychedelic scene. The bus was driven by Beat icon Neal Cassady Beat poet Allen Ginsberg was onboard for a time and they dropped in on Cassady’s friend, Beat author Jack Kerouac.

“Further”: The famous bus that Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters used to travel across the country.


Post-war geopolitics Edit

The Cold War between communist and capitalist states involved espionage and preparation for war between powerful nations, [14] [15] along with political and military interference by powerful states in the internal affairs of less powerful nations. Poor outcomes from some of these activities set the stage for disillusionment with, and distrust of, post-war governments. [16] Examples included harsh responses from Soviet Union (USSR) towards popular anti-communist uprisings, such as the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Czechoslovakia's Prague Spring in 1968 and the botched U.S. Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in 1961.

In the US, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's initial deception [17] over the nature of the 1960 U-2 incident resulted in the government being caught in a blatant lie at the highest levels, and contributed to a backdrop of growing distrust of authority among many who came of age during the period. [18] [19] [20] The Partial Test Ban Treaty divided the establishment within the US along political and military lines. [21] [22] [23] Internal political disagreements concerning treaty obligations in Southeast Asia (SEATO), especially in Vietnam, and debate as to how other communist insurgencies should be challenged, also created a rift of dissent within the establishment. [24] [25] [26] In the UK, the Profumo affair also involved establishment leaders being caught in deception, leading to disillusionment and serving as a catalyst for liberal activism. [27]

The Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in October 1962, was largely fomented by duplicitous speech and actions on the part of the Soviet Union. [28] [29] The assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and the attendant theories concerning the event, led to further diminished trust in government, including among younger people. [30] [31] [32]

Social issues and calls to action Edit

Many social issues fueled the growth of the larger counterculture movement. One was a nonviolent movement in the United States seeking to resolve constitutional civil rights illegalities, especially regarding general racial segregation, longstanding disfranchisement of blacks in the South by white-dominated state government, and ongoing racial discrimination in jobs, housing, and access to public places in both the North and the South.

On college and university campuses, student activists fought for the right to exercise their basic constitutional rights, especially freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. [33] Many counterculture activists became aware of the plight of the poor, and community organizers fought for the funding of anti-poverty programs, particularly in the South and within inner city areas in the United States. [34] [35]

Environmentalism grew from a greater understanding of the ongoing damage caused by industrialization, resultant pollution, and the misguided use of chemicals such as pesticides in well-meaning efforts to improve the quality of life for the rapidly growing population. [36] Authors such as Rachel Carson played key roles in developing a new awareness among the global population of the fragility of our planet, despite resistance from elements of the establishment in many countries. [37]

The need to address minority rights of women, gay people, the handicapped, and many other neglected constituencies within the larger population came to the forefront as an increasing number of primarily younger people broke free from the constraints of 1950s orthodoxy and struggled to create a more inclusive and tolerant social landscape. [38] [39]

The availability of new and more effective forms of birth control was a key underpinning of the sexual revolution. The notion of "recreational sex" without the threat of unwanted pregnancy radically changed the social dynamic and permitted both women and men much greater freedom in the selection of sexual lifestyles outside the confines of traditional marriage. [40] With this change in attitude, by the 1990s the ratio of children born out of wedlock rose from 5% to 25% for Whites and from 25% to 66% for African-Americans. [41]

Emergent media Edit

Television Edit

For those born after World War II, the emergence of television as a source of entertainment and information—as well as the associated massive expansion of consumerism afforded by post-war affluence and encouraged by TV advertising—were key components in creating disillusionment for some younger people and in the formulation of new social behaviours, even as ad agencies heavily courted the "hip" youth market. [42] [43] In the US, nearly real-time TV news coverage of the civil rights movement era's 1963 Birmingham Campaign, the "Bloody Sunday" event of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, and graphic news footage from Vietnam brought horrifying, moving images of the bloody reality of armed conflict into living rooms for the first time. [44]

New cinema Edit

The breakdown of enforcement of the US Hays Code [45] concerning censorship in motion picture production, the use of new forms of artistic expression in European and Asian cinema, and the advent of modern production values heralded a new era of art-house, pornographic, and mainstream film production, distribution, and exhibition. The end of censorship resulted in a complete reformation of the western film industry. With new-found artistic freedom, a generation of exceptionally talented New Wave film makers working across all genres brought realistic depictions of previously prohibited subject matter to neighborhood theater screens for the first time, even as Hollywood film studios were still considered a part of the establishment by some elements of the counterculture. Successful 60s new films of the New Hollywood were Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, The Wild Bunch, and Peter Fonda's Easy Rider.

New radio Edit

By the later 1960s, previously under-regarded FM radio replaced AM radio as the focal point for the ongoing explosion of rock and roll music, and became the nexus of youth-oriented news and advertising for the counterculture generation. [46] [47]

Changing lifestyles Edit

Communes, collectives, and intentional communities regained popularity during this era. [48] Early communities such as the Hog Farm, Quarry Hill, and Drop City in the US were established as straightforward agrarian attempts to return to the land and live free of interference from outside influences. As the era progressed, many people established and populated new communities in response to not only disillusionment with standard community forms, but also dissatisfaction with certain elements of the counterculture itself. Some of these self-sustaining communities have been credited with the birth and propagation of the international Green Movement.

The emergence of an interest in expanded spiritual consciousness, yoga, occult practices and increased human potential helped to shift views on organized religion during the era. In 1957, 69% of US residents polled by Gallup said religion was increasing in influence. By the late 1960s, polls indicated less than 20% still held that belief. [49]

The "Generation Gap", or the inevitable perceived divide in worldview between the old and young, was perhaps never greater than during the counterculture era. [50] A large measure of the generational chasm of the 1960s and early 1970s was born of rapidly evolving fashion and hairstyle trends that were readily adopted by the young, but often misunderstood and ridiculed by the old. These included the wearing of very long hair by men, [51] the wearing of natural or "Afro" hairstyles by black people, the donning of revealing clothing by women in public, and the mainstreaming of the psychedelic clothing and regalia of the short-lived hippie culture. Ultimately, practical and comfortable casual apparel, namely updated forms of T-shirts (often tie-dyed, or emblazoned with political or advertising statements), and Levi Strauss-branded blue denim jeans [52] became the enduring uniform of the generation, as daily wearing of suits along with traditional Western dress codes declined in use. The fashion dominance of the counterculture effectively ended with the rise of the Disco and Punk Rock eras in the later 1970s, even as the global popularity of T-shirts, denim jeans, and casual clothing in general have continued to grow.

Emergent middle-class drug culture Edit

In the western world, the ongoing criminal legal status of the recreational drug industry was instrumental in the formation of an anti-establishment social dynamic by some of those coming of age during the counterculture era. The explosion of marijuana use during the era, in large part by students on fast-expanding college campuses, [53] created an attendant need for increasing numbers of people to conduct their personal affairs in secret in the procurement and use of banned substances. The classification of marijuana as a narcotic, and the attachment of severe criminal penalties for its use, drove the act of smoking marijuana, and experimentation with substances in general, deep underground. Many began to live largely clandestine lives because of their choice to use such drugs and substances, fearing retribution from their governments. [54] [55]

Law enforcement Edit

The confrontations between college students (and other activists) and law enforcement officials became one of the hallmarks of the era. Many younger people began to show deep distrust of police, and terms such as "fuzz" and "pig" as derogatory epithets for police reappeared, and became key words within the counterculture lexicon. The distrust of police was based not only on fear of police brutality during political protests, but also on generalized police corruption – especially police manufacture of false evidence, and outright entrapment, in drug cases. In the US, the social tension between elements of the counterculture and law enforcement reached the breaking point in many notable cases, including: the Columbia University protests of 1968 in New York City, [56] [57] [58] the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, [59] [60] [61] the arrest and imprisonment of John Sinclair in Ann Arbor, Michigan, [62] and the Kent State shootings at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where National Guardsman acted as surrogates for police. [63] Police malfeasance was also an ongoing issue in the UK during the era. [64]

Vietnam War Edit

The Vietnam War, and the protracted national divide between supporters and opponents of the war, were arguably the most important factors contributing to the rise of the larger counterculture movement.

The widely accepted assertion that anti-war opinion was held only among the young is a myth, [65] [66] but enormous war protests consisting of thousands of mostly younger people in every major US city, and elsewhere across the Western world, effectively united millions against the war, and against the war policy that prevailed under five US congresses and during two presidential administrations.

Western Europe Edit

The counterculture movement took hold in Western Europe, with London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Milan, Copenhagen and West Berlin rivaling San Francisco and New York as counterculture centers.

The UK Underground was a movement linked to the growing subculture in the US and associated with the hippie phenomenon, generating its own magazines and newspapers, fashion, music groups, and clubs. Underground figure Barry Miles said, "The underground was a catch-all sobriquet for a community of like-minded anti-establishment, anti-war, pro-rock'n'roll individuals, most of whom had a common interest in recreational drugs. They saw peace, exploring a widened area of consciousness, love and sexual experimentation as more worthy of their attention than entering the rat race. The straight, consumerist lifestyle was not to their liking, but they did not object to others living it. But at that time the middle classes still felt they had the right to impose their values on everyone else, which resulted in conflict." [67]

In the Netherlands, Provo was a counterculture movement that focused on "provocative direct action ('pranks' and 'happenings') to arouse society from political and social indifference. " [68] [69]

In France, the General Strike centered in Paris in May 1968 united French students, and nearly toppled the government. [70]

Kommune 1 or K1 was a commune in West Germany known for its bizarre staged events that fluctuated between satire and provocation. These events served as inspiration for the "Sponti" movement and other leftist groups. In the late summer of 1968, the commune moved into a deserted factory on Stephanstraße in order to reorient. This second phase of Kommune 1 was characterized by sex, music and drugs. Soon, the commune was receiving visitors from all over the world, including Jimi Hendrix. [71] [72]

In Eastern Europe Edit

Mánička is a Czech term used for young people with long hair, usually males, in Czechoslovakia through the 1960s and 1970s. Long hair for males during this time was considered an expression of political and social attitudes in communist Czechoslovakia. From the mid-1960s, the long-haired and "untidy" persons (so called máničky or vlasatci (in English: Mops) were banned from entering pubs, cinema halls, theatres and using public transportation in several Czech cities and towns. [73] In 1964, the public transportation regulations in Most and Litvínov excluded long-haired máničky as displeasure-evoking persons. Two years later, the municipal council in Poděbrady banned máničky from entering cultural institutions in the town. [73] In August 1966, Rudé právo informed that máničky in Prague were banned from visiting restaurants of the I. and II. price category. [73]

In 1966, during a big campaign coordinated by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, around 4,000 young males were forced to cut their hair, often in the cells with the assistance of the state police. [74] On August 19, 1966, during a "safety intervention" organized by the state police, 140 long-haired people were arrested. As a response, the "community of long-haired" organized a protest in Prague. More than 100 people cheered slogans such as "Give us back our hair!" or "Away with hairdressers!". The state police arrested the organizers and several participants of the meeting. Some of them were given prison sentences. [73] According to the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes, the Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior in 1966 even compiled a detailed map of the frequency of occurrence of long-haired males in Czechoslovakia. [75] In August 1969, during the first anniversary of the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, the long-haired youth were one of the most active voices in the state protesting against the occupation. [73] Youth protesters have been labeled as "vagabonds" and "slackers" by the official normalized press. [73]

In Australia Edit

Oz magazine was first published as a satirical humour magazine between 1963 and 1969 in Sydney, Australia, and, in its second and better known incarnation, became a "psychedelic hippy" magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London. Strongly identified as part of the underground press, it was the subject of two celebrated obscenity trials, one in Australia in 1964 and the other in the United Kingdom in 1971. [76] [77]

The Digger was published monthly between 1972 and 1975 and served as a national outlet for many movements within Australia's counterculture with notable contributors—including second-wave feminists Anne Summers and Helen Garner, Californian cartoonist Ron Cobb's observations during a year-long stay in the country, Aboriginal activist Cheryl Buchanan, radical scientist Alan Roberts on global warming—and ongoing coverage of cultural trailblazers such as the Australian Performing Group (aka Pram Factory), and emerging Australian filmmakers. The Digger was produced by an evolving collective, many of whom had previously produced counterculture newspapers Revolution and High Times, and all three of these magazines were co-founded by publisher/editor Phillip Frazer who launched Australia's legendary pop music paper Go-Set in 1966, when he was himself a teenager.

Latin America Edit

In Mexico, rock music was tied into the youth revolt of the 1960s. Mexico City, as well as northern cities such as Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juárez, and Tijuana, were exposed to US music. Many Mexican rock stars became involved in the counterculture. The three-day Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro, held in 1971, was organized in the valley of Avándaro near the city of Toluca, a town neighboring Mexico City, and became known as "The Mexican Woodstock". Nudity, drug use, and the presence of the US flag scandalized conservative Mexican society to such an extent that the government clamped down on rock and roll performances for the rest of the decade. The festival, marketed as proof of Mexico's modernization, was never expected to attract the masses it did, and the government had to evacuate stranded attendees en masse at the end. This occurred during the era of President Luis Echeverría, an extremely repressive era in Mexican history. Anything that could be connected to the counterculture or student protests was prohibited from being broadcast on public airwaves, with the government fearing a repeat of the student protests of 1968. Few bands survived the prohibition though the ones that did, like Three Souls in My Mind (now El Tri), remained popular due in part to their adoption of Spanish for their lyrics, but mostly as a result of a dedicated underground following. While Mexican rock groups were eventually able to perform publicly by the mid-1980s, the ban prohibiting tours of Mexico by foreign acts lasted until 1989. [78]

The Cordobazo was a civil uprising in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, in the end of May 1969, during the military dictatorship of General Juan Carlos Onganía, which occurred a few days after the Rosariazo, and a year after the French May '68. Contrary to previous protests, the Cordobazo did not correspond to previous struggles, headed by Marxist workers' leaders, but associated students and workers in the same struggle against the military government. [79]

Ethnic movements Edit

The Civil Rights Movement, a key element of the larger counterculture movement, involved the use of applied nonviolence to assure that equal rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution would apply to all citizens. Many states illegally denied many of these rights to African-Americans, and this was partially successfully addressed in the early and mid-1960s in several major nonviolent movements. [80] [81]

The Chicano Movement of the 1960s, also called the Chicano civil rights movement, was a civil rights movement extending the Mexican-American civil rights movement of the 1960s with the stated goal of achieving Mexican American empowerment.

The American Indian Movement (or AIM) is a Native American grassroots movement that was founded in July 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [82] A.I.M. was initially formed in urban areas to address systemic issues of poverty and police brutality against Native Americans. [83] A.I.M. soon widened its focus from urban issues to include many Indigenous Tribal issues that Native American groups have faced due to settler colonialism of the Americas, such as treaty rights, high rates of unemployment, education, cultural continuity, and preservation of Indigenous cultures. [83] [84]

The Asian American movement was a sociopolitical movement in which the widespread grassroots effort of Asian Americans affected racial, social and political change in the U.S, reaching its peak in the late 1960s to mid-1970s. During this period Asian Americans promoted antiwar and anti-imperialist activism, directly opposing what was viewed as an unjust Vietnam war. The American Asian Movement (AAM) differs from previous Asian-American activism due to its emphasis on Pan-Asianism and its solidarity with U.S. and international Third World movements.

"Its founding principle of coalition politics emphasizes solidarity among Asians of all ethnicities, multiracial solidarity among Asian Americans as well as with African, Latino, and Native Americans in the United States, and transnational solidarity with peoples around the globe impacted by U.S. militarism." [85]

The Nuyorican Movement is a cultural and intellectual movement involving poets, writers, musicians and artists who are Puerto Rican or of Puerto-Rican descent, who live in or near New York City, and either call themselves or are known as Nuyoricans. [86] It originated in the late 1960s and early 1970s in neighborhoods such as Loisaida, East Harlem, Williamsburg, and the South Bronx as a means to validate Puerto Rican experience in the United States, particularly for poor and working-class people who suffered from marginalization, ostracism, and discrimination.

Young Cuban exiles in the United States would develop interests in Cuban identity, and politics. [87] This younger generation had experienced the United States during the rising anti-war movement, civil rights movement, and feminist movement of the 1960s, causing them to be influenced by radicals that encouraged political introspection, and social justice. Figures like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were also heavily praised among American student radicals at the time. These factors helped push some young Cubans into advocating for different degrees of rapprochement with Cuba. [ citation needed ] Those most likely to become more radical were Cubans who were more culturally isolated from being outside the Cuban enclave of Miami. [88]

Free Speech Edit

Much of the 1960s counterculture originated on college campuses. The 1964 Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, which had its roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the southern United States, was one early example. At Berkeley a group of students began to identify themselves as having interests as a class that were at odds with the interests and practices of the University and its corporate sponsors. Other rebellious young people, who were not students, also contributed to the Free Speech Movement. [89]

New Left Edit

The New Left is a term used in different countries to describe left-wing movements that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s in the Western world. They differed from earlier leftist movements that had been more oriented towards labour activism, and instead adopted social activism. The American "New Left" is associated with college campus mass protests and radical leftist movements. The British "New Left" was an intellectually driven movement that attempted to correct the perceived errors of "Old Left" parties in the post–World War II period. The movements began to wind down in the 1970s, when activists either committed themselves to party projects, developed social justice organizations, moved into identity politics or alternative lifestyles, or became politically inactive. [90] [91] [92]

The emergence of the New Left in the 1950s and 1960s led to a revival of interest in libertarian socialism. [95] The New Left's critique of the Old Left's authoritarianism was associated with a strong interest in personal liberty, autonomy (see the thinking of Cornelius Castoriadis) and led to a rediscovery of older socialist traditions, such as left communism, council communism, and the Industrial Workers of the World. The New Left also led to a revival of anarchism. Journals like Radical America and Black Mask in America, Solidarity, Big Flame and Democracy & Nature, succeeded by The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, [96] in the UK, introduced a range of left libertarian ideas to a new generation. Social ecology, autonomism and, more recently, participatory economics (parecon), and Inclusive Democracy emerged from this.

A surge of popular interest in anarchism occurred in western nations during the 1960s and 1970s. [97] Anarchism was influential in the counterculture of the 1960s [98] [99] [100] and anarchists actively participated in the late 60s students and workers revolts. [101] During the IX Congress of the Italian Anarchist Federation in Carrara in 1965, a group decided to split off from this organization and created the Gruppi di Iniziativa Anarchica. In the 70s, it was mostly composed of "veteran individualist anarchists with a pacifism orientation, naturism, etc, . ". [102] In 1968, in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile. [103] [104] During the events of May 68 the anarchist groups active in France were Fédération anarchiste, Mouvement communiste libertaire, Union fédérale des anarchistes, Alliance ouvrière anarchiste, Union des groupes anarchistes communistes, Noir et Rouge, Confédération nationale du travail, Union anarcho-syndicaliste, Organisation révolutionnaire anarchiste, Cahiers socialistes libertaires, À contre-courant, La Révolution prolétarienne, and the publications close to Émile Armand.

The New Left in the United States also included anarchist, countercultural and hippie-related radical groups such as the Yippies who were led by Abbie Hoffman, The Diggers [105] and Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers. By late 1966, the Diggers opened free stores which simply gave away their stock, provided free food, distributed free drugs, gave away money, organized free music concerts, and performed works of political art. [106] The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers led by Gerrard Winstanley [107] and sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. [108] On the other hand, the Yippies employed theatrical gestures, such as advancing a pig ("Pigasus the Immortal") as a candidate for President in 1968, to mock the social status quo. [109] They have been described as a highly theatrical, anti-authoritarian and anarchist [110] youth movement of "symbolic politics". [111] Since they were well known for street theater and politically themed pranks, many of the "old school" political left either ignored or denounced them. According to ABC News, "The group was known for street theater pranks and was once referred to as the 'Groucho Marxists'." [112]

Anti-war Edit

In Trafalgar Square, London in 1958, [113] in an act of civil disobedience, 60,000–100,000 protesters made up of students and pacifists converged in what was to become the "ban the Bomb" demonstrations. [114]

Opposition to the Vietnam War began in 1964 on United States college campuses. Student activism became a dominant theme among the baby boomers, growing to include many other demographic groups. Exemptions and deferments for the middle and upper classes resulted in the induction of a disproportionate number of poor, working-class, and minority registrants. Countercultural books such as MacBird by Barbara Garson and much of the counterculture music encouraged a spirit of non-conformism and anti-establishmentarianism. By 1968, the year after a large march to the United Nations in New York City and a large protest at the Pentagon were undertaken, a majority of people in the country opposed the war. [115]

Anti-nuclear Edit

The application of nuclear technology, both as a source of energy and as an instrument of war, has been controversial. [116] [117] [118] [119] [120]

Scientists and diplomats have debated the nuclear weapons policy since before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. [121] The public became concerned about nuclear weapons testing from about 1954, following extensive nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1961 and 1962, at the height of the Cold War, about 50,000 women brought together by Women Strike for Peace marched in 60 cities in the United States to demonstrate against nuclear weapons. [122] [123] In 1963, many countries ratified the Partial Test Ban Treaty which prohibited atmospheric nuclear testing. [124]

Some local opposition to nuclear power emerged in the early 1960s, [125] and in the late 1960s some members of the scientific community began to express their concerns. [126] In the early 1970s, there were large protests about a proposed nuclear power plant in Wyhl, Germany. The project was cancelled in 1975 and anti-nuclear success at Wyhl inspired opposition to nuclear power in other parts of Europe and North America. [127] Nuclear power became an issue of major public protest in the 1970s. [128]

Feminism Edit

The role of women as full-time homemakers in industrial society was challenged in 1963, when US feminist Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, giving momentum to the women's movement and influencing what many called Second-wave feminism. Other activists, such as Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis, either organized, influenced, or educated many of a younger generation of women to endorse and expand feminist thought. Feminism gained further currency within the protest movements of the late 1960s, as women in movements such as Students for a Democratic Society rebelled against the "support" role they believed they had been consigned to within the male-dominated New Left, as well as against perceived manifestations and statements of sexism within some radical groups. The 1970 pamphlet Women and Their Bodies, soon expanded into the 1971 book Our Bodies, Ourselves, was particularly influential in bringing about the new feminist consciousness. [129]

Free school movement Edit

Environmentalism Edit

The 1960s counterculture embraced a back-to-the-land ethic, and communes of the era often relocated to the country from cities. Influential books of the 1960s included Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb. Counterculture environmentalists were quick to grasp the implications of Ehrlich's writings on overpopulation, the Hubbert "peak oil" prediction, and more general concerns over pollution, litter, the environmental effects of the Vietnam War, automobile-dependent lifestyles, and nuclear energy. More broadly they saw that the dilemmas of energy and resource allocation would have implications for geo-politics, lifestyle, environment, and other dimensions of modern life. The "back to nature" theme was already prevalent in the counterculture by the time of the 1969 Woodstock festival, while the first Earth Day in 1970 was significant in bringing environmental concerns to the forefront of youth culture. At the start of the 1970s, counterculture-oriented publications like the Whole Earth Catalog and The Mother Earth News were popular, out of which emerged a back to the land movement. The 1960s and early 1970s counterculture were early adopters of practices such as recycling and organic farming long before they became mainstream. The counterculture interest in ecology progressed well into the 1970s: particularly influential were New Left eco-anarchist Murray Bookchin, Jerry Mander's criticism of the effects of television on society, Ernest Callenbach's novel Ecotopia, Edward Abbey's fiction and non-fiction writings, and E.F. Schumacher's economics book Small Is Beautiful.

Producerist Edit

The National Farmers Organization (NFO) is a producerist movement founded in 1955. It became notorious for being associated with property violence and threats committed without official approval of the organization, from a 1964 incident when two members were crushed under the rear wheels of a cattle truck, for orchestrating the withholding of commodities, and for opposition to coops unwilling to withhold. During withholding protests, farmers would purposely destroy food or wastefully slaughter their animals in an attempt to raise prices and gain media exposure. The NFO failed to persuade the U.S. government to establish a quota system as is currently practiced today in the milk, cheese, eggs and poultry supply management programs in Canada.

Gay liberation Edit

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. This is frequently cited as the first instance in US history when people in the gay community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted Gay minorities, and became the defining event that marked the start of the Gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

Mod subculture Edit

Mod is a subculture that began in London and spread throughout Great Britain and elsewhere, eventually influencing fashions and trends in other countries, [130] and continues today on a smaller scale. Focused on music and fashion, the subculture has its roots in a small group of stylish London-based young men in the late 1950s who were termed modernists because they listened to modern jazz. [131] Elements of the mod subculture include fashion (often tailor-made suits) music (including soul, rhythm and blues, ska, jazz, and later splintering off into rock and freakbeat after the peak Mod era) and motor scooters (usually Lambretta or Vespa). The original mod scene was associated with amphetamine-fuelled all-night dancing at clubs. [132]

During the early to mid 1960s, as mod grew and spread throughout the UK, certain elements of the mod scene became engaged in well-publicised clashes with members of rival subculture, rockers. The mods and rockers conflict led sociologist Stanley Cohen to use the term "moral panic" in his study about the two youth subcultures, [133] which examined media coverage of the mod and rocker riots in the 1960s. [134]

By 1965, conflicts between mods and rockers began to subside and mods increasingly gravitated towards pop art and psychedelia. London became synonymous with fashion, music, and pop culture in these years, a period often referred to as "Swinging London." During this time, mod fashions spread to other countries and became popular in the United States and elsewhere—with mod now viewed less as an isolated subculture, but emblematic of the larger youth culture of the era.

Hippies Edit

After the January 14, 1967 Human Be-In in San Francisco organized by artist Michael Bowen, the media's attention on culture was fully activated. [135] In 1967, Scott McKenzie's rendition of the song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" brought as many as 100,000 young people from all over the world to celebrate San Francisco's "Summer of Love." While the song had originally been written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas to promote the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, it became an instant hit worldwide (#4 in the United States, #1 in Europe) and quickly transcended its original purpose.

San Francisco's flower children, also called "hippies" by local newspaper columnist Herb Caen, adopted new styles of dress, experimented with psychedelic drugs, lived communally and developed a vibrant music scene. When people returned home from "The Summer of Love" these styles and behaviors spread quickly from San Francisco and Berkeley to many US and Canadian cities and European capitals. Some hippies formed communes to live as far outside of the established system as possible. This aspect of the counterculture rejected active political engagement with the mainstream and, following the dictate of Timothy Leary to "Turn on, tune in, drop out", hoped to change society by dropping out of it. Looking back on his own life (as a Harvard professor) prior to 1960, Leary interpreted it to have been that of "an anonymous institutional employee who drove to work each morning in a long line of commuter cars and drove home each night and drank martinis . like several million middle-class, liberal, intellectual robots."

As members of the hippie movement grew older and moderated their lives and their views, and especially after US involvement in the Vietnam War ended in the mid-1970s, the counterculture was largely absorbed by the mainstream, leaving a lasting impact on philosophy, morality, music, art, alternative health and diet, lifestyle and fashion.

In addition to a new style of clothing, philosophy, art, music and various views on anti-war, and anti-establishment, some hippies decided to turn away from modern society and re-settle on ranches, or communes. The very first of communes in the United States was a seven-acre land in Southern Colorado, named Drop City. According to Timothy Miller,

Drop City brought together most of the themes that had been developing in other recent communities-anarchy, pacifism, sexual freedom, rural isolation, interest in drugs, art-and wrapped them flamboyantly into a commune not quite like any that had gone before [136]

Many of the inhabitants practiced acts like reusing trash and recycled materials to build geodesic domes for shelter and other various purposes using various drugs like marijuana and LSD, and creating various pieces of Drop Art. After the initial success of Drop City, visitors would take the idea of communes and spread them. Another commune called "The Ranch" was very similar to the culture of Drop City, as well as new concepts like giving children of the commune extensive freedoms known as "children's rights". [137]

Marijuana, LSD, and other recreational drugs Edit

During the 1960s, this second group of casual lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) users evolved and expanded into a subculture that extolled the mystical and religious symbolism often engendered by the drug's powerful effects, and advocated its use as a method of raising consciousness. The personalities associated with the subculture, gurus such as Timothy Leary and psychedelic rock musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Janis Joplin, The Doors, and The Beatles, soon attracted a great deal of publicity, generating further interest in LSD.

The popularization of LSD outside of the medical world was hastened when individuals such as Ken Kesey participated in drug trials and liked what they saw. Tom Wolfe wrote a widely read account of these early days of LSD's entrance into the non-academic world in his book The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, which documented the cross-country, acid-fueled voyage of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on the psychedelic bus "Furthur" and the Pranksters' later "Acid Test" LSD parties. In 1965, Sandoz laboratories stopped its still legal shipments of LSD to the United States for research and psychiatric use, after a request from the US government concerned about its use. By April 1966, LSD use had become so widespread that Time Magazine warned about its dangers. [138] In December 1966, the exploitation film Hallucination Generation was released. [139] This was followed by The Trip in 1967 and Psych-Out in 1968.

Psychedelic research and experimentation Edit

As most research on psychedelics began in the 1940s and 50s, heavy experimentation made its effect in the 1960s during this era of change and movement. Researchers were gaining acknowledgment and popularity with their promotion of psychedelia. This really anchored the change that counterculture instigators and followers began. Most research was conducted at top collegiate institutes, such as Harvard University.

Timothy Leary and his Harvard research team had hopes for potential changes in society. Their research began with psilocybin mushrooms and was called the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In one study known as the Concord Prison Experiment, Leary investigated the potential for psilocybin to reduce recidivism in criminals being released from prison. After the research sessions, Leary did a follow-up. He found that "75% of the turned on prisoners who were released had stayed out of jail." [140] He believed he had solved the nation's crime problem. But with many officials skeptical, this breakthrough was not promoted.

Because of the personal experiences with these drugs Leary and his many outstanding colleagues, Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception) and Alan Watts (The Joyous Cosmology) believed that these were the mechanisms that could bring peace to not only the nation but the world. As their research continued the media followed them and published their work and documented their behavior, the trend of this counterculture drug experimentation began. [141]

Leary made attempts to bring more organized awareness to people interested in the study of psychedelics. He confronted the Senate committee in Washington and recommended for colleges to authorize the conduction of laboratory courses in psychedelics. He noted that these courses would "end the indiscriminate use of LSD and would be the most popular and productive courses ever offered". [142] Although these men were seeking an ultimate enlightenment, reality eventually proved that the potential they thought was there could not be reached, at least in this time. The change they sought for the world had not been permitted by the political systems of all the nations these men pursued their research in. Ram Dass states, "Tim and I actually had a chart on the wall about how soon everyone would be enlightened . We found out that real change is harder. We downplayed the fact that the psychedelic experience isn't for everyone." [140]

Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters Edit

Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters helped shape the developing character of the 1960s counterculture when they embarked on a cross-country voyage during the summer of 1964 in a psychedelic school bus named "Furthur." Beginning in 1959, Kesey had volunteered as a research subject for medical trials financed by the CIA's MK ULTRA project. These trials tested the effects of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and other psychedelic drugs. After the medical trials, Kesey continued experimenting on his own, and involved many close friends collectively they became known as "The Merry Pranksters." The Pranksters visited Harvard LSD proponent Timothy Leary at his Millbrook, New York retreat, and experimentation with LSD and other psychedelic drugs, primarily as a means for internal reflection and personal growth, became a constant during the Prankster trip.

The Pranksters created a direct link between the 1950s Beat Generation and the 1960s psychedelic scene the bus was driven by Beat icon Neal Cassady, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg was on board for a time, and they dropped in on Cassady's friend, Beat author Jack Kerouac – though Kerouac declined to participate in the Prankster scene. After the Pranksters returned to California, they popularized the use of LSD at so-called "Acid Tests", which initially were held at Kesey's home in La Honda, California, and then at many other West Coast venues. The cross country trip and Prankster experiments were documented in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, a masterpiece of New Journalism.

Other psychedelics Edit

Experimentation with LSD, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, MDA, marijuana, and other psychedelic drugs became a major component of 1960s counterculture, influencing philosophy, art, music and styles of dress. Jim DeRogatis wrote that peyote, a small cactus containing the psychedelic alkaloid mescaline, was widely available in Austin, Texas, a countercultural hub in the early 1960s. [143]

Sexual revolution Edit

The sexual revolution (also known as a time of "sexual liberation") was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s to the 1980s. Contraception and the pill, public nudity, the normalization of premarital sex, homosexuality and alternative forms of sexuality, and the legalization of abortion all followed. [144] [145]

Alternative media Edit

Underground newspapers sprang up in most cities and college towns, serving to define and communicate the range of phenomena that defined the counterculture: radical political opposition to "The Establishment", colorful experimental (and often explicitly drug-influenced) approaches to art, music and cinema, and uninhibited indulgence in sex and drugs as a symbol of freedom. The papers also often included comic strips, from which the underground comix were an outgrowth.

Alternative disc sports (Frisbee) Edit

As numbers of young people became alienated from social norms, they resisted and looked for alternatives. The forms of escape and resistance manifest in many ways including social activism, alternative lifestyles, dress, music and alternative recreational activities, including that of throwing a Frisbee. From hippies tossing the Frisbee at festivals and concerts came today's popular disc sports. [146] [147] Disc sports such as disc freestyle, double disc court, disc guts, Ultimate and disc golf became this sport's first events. [148] [149]

Avant-garde art and anti-art Edit

The Situationist International was a restricted group of international revolutionaries founded in 1957, and which had its peak in its influence on the unprecedented general wildcat strikes of May 1968 in France. With their ideas rooted in Marxism and the 20th-century European artistic avant-gardes, they advocated experiences of life being alternative to those admitted by the capitalist order, for the fulfillment of human primitive desires and the pursuing of a superior passional quality. For this purpose they suggested and experimented with the construction of situations, namely the setting up of environments favorable for the fulfillment of such desires. Using methods drawn from the arts, they developed a series of experimental fields of study for the construction of such situations, like unitary urbanism and psychogeography. They fought against the main obstacle on the fulfillment of such superior passional living, identified by them in advanced capitalism. Their theoretical work peaked on the highly influential book The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Debord argued in 1967 that spectacular features like mass media and advertising have a central role in an advanced capitalist society, which is to show a fake reality in order to mask the real capitalist degradation of human life. Raoul Vaneigem wrote The Revolution of Everyday Life which takes the field of "everyday life" as the ground upon which communication and participation can occur, or, as is more commonly the case, be perverted and abstracted into pseudo-forms.

Fluxus (a name taken from a Latin word meaning "to flow") is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music, visual art, literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is often described as intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in a famous 1966 essay. Fluxus encouraged a "do-it-yourself" aesthetic, and valued simplicity over complexity. Like Dada before it, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an anti-art sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. As Fluxus artist Robert Filliou wrote, however, Fluxus differed from Dada in its richer set of aspirations, and the positive social and communitarian aspirations of Fluxus far outweighed the anti-art tendency that also marked the group.

In the 1960s, the Dada-influenced art group Black Mask declared that revolutionary art should be "an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth." [150] Black Mask disrupted cultural events in New York by giving made up flyers of art events to the homeless with the lure of free drinks. [151] After, the Motherfuckers grew out of a combination of Black Mask and another group called Angry Arts. Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers (often referred to as simply "the Motherfuckers", or UAW/MF) was an anarchist affinity group based in New York City.

Music Edit

Bob Dylan's early career as a protest singer had been inspired by his hero Woody Guthrie, [153] : 25 and his iconic lyrics and protest anthems helped propel the Folk Revival of the 60's, which was arguably the first major sub-movement of the Counterculture. Although Dylan was first popular for his protest music. the song Mr. Tambourine Man saw a stylistic shift in Dylan's work, from topical to abstract and imaginative, included some of the first uses of surrealistic imagery in popular music and has been viewed as a call to drugs such as LSD.

The Beach Boys' 1966 album Pet Sounds served as a major source of inspiration for other contemporary acts, most notably directly inspiring the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The single "Good Vibrations" soared to number one globally, completely changing the perception of what a record could be. [154] It was during this period that the highly anticipated album Smile was to be released. However, the project collapsed and The Beach Boys released a stripped down and reimagined version called Smiley Smile, which failed to make a big commercial impact but was also highly influential, most notably on The Who's Pete Townshend.

The Beatles went on to become the most prominent commercial exponents of the "psychedelic revolution" (e.g., Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour) in the late 1960s. [155]

Detroit's MC5 also came out of the underground rock music scene of the late 1960s. They introduced a more aggressive evolution of garage rock which was often fused with sociopolitical and countercultural lyrics of the era, such as in the song "Motor City Is Burning" (a John Lee Hooker cover adapting the story of the Detroit Race Riot of 1943 to the Detroit riot of 1967). MC5 had ties to radical leftist organizations such as "Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers" and John Sinclair's White Panther Party,. [153] : 117

Another hotbed of the 1960s counterculture was Austin, Texas, with two of the era's legendary music venues-the Vulcan Gas Company and the Armadillo World Headquarters-and musical talent like Janis Joplin, the 13th Floor Elevators, Shiva's Headband, the Conqueroo, and, later, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Austin was also home to a large New Left activist movement, one of the earliest underground papers, The Rag, and cutting edge graphic artists like Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton, underground comix pioneer Jack Jackson (Jaxon), and surrealist armadillo artist Jim Franklin. [156]

The 1960s was also an era of rock festivals, which played an important role in spreading the counterculture across the US. [157] The Monterey Pop Festival, which launched Hendrix's career in the US, was one of the first of these festivals. [158] The 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York state became a symbol of the movement, [159] although the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival drew a larger crowd. [153] : 58 Some believe the era came to an abrupt end with the infamous Altamont Free Concert held by the Rolling Stones, in which heavy-handed security from the Hells Angels resulted in the stabbing of an audience member, apparently in self-defense, as the show descended into chaos. [160]

The 1960s saw the protest song gain a sense of political self-importance, with Phil Ochs's "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and Country Joe and the Fish's "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die-Rag" among the many anti-war anthems that were important to the era. [153]

Free jazz is an approach to jazz music that was first developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the music produced by free jazz composers varied widely, the common feature was a dissatisfaction with the limitations of bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz, which had developed in the 1940s and 1950s. Each in their own way, free jazz musicians attempted to alter, extend, or break down the conventions of jazz, often by discarding hitherto invariable features of jazz, such as fixed chord changes or tempos. While usually considered experimental and avant-garde, free jazz has also oppositely been conceived as an attempt to return jazz to its "primitive", often religious roots, and emphasis on collective improvisation. Free jazz is strongly associated with the 1950s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Joe Maneri and Sun Ra. Although today "free jazz" is the generally used term, many other terms were used to describe the loosely defined movement, including "avant-garde", "energy music" and "The New Thing". During its early and mid-60s heyday, much free jazz was released by established labels such as Prestige, Blue Note and Impulse, as well as independents such as ESP Disk and BYG Actuel. Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician(s) involved. The term can refer to both a technique (employed by any musician in any genre) and as a recognizable genre in its own right. Free improvisation, as a genre of music, developed in the U.S. and Europe in the mid to late 1960s, largely as an outgrowth of free jazz and modern classical musics. None of its primary exponents can be said to be famous within mainstream however, in experimental circles, a number of free musicians are well known, including saxophonists Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton, Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn, drummer Christian Lillinger, trombonist George Lewis, guitarists Derek Bailey, Henry Kaiser and Fred Frith and the improvising groups The Art Ensemble of Chicago and AMM.

AllMusic Guide states that "until around 1967, the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly completely separate". [161] The term, "jazz-rock" (or "jazz/rock") is often used as a synonym for the term "jazz fusion". However, some make a distinction between the two terms. The Free Spirits have sometimes been cited as the earliest jazz-rock band. [162] During the late 1960s, at the same time that jazz musicians were experimenting with rock rhythms and electric instruments, rock groups such as Cream and the Grateful Dead were "beginning to incorporate elements of jazz into their music" by "experimenting with extended free-form improvisation". Other "groups such as Blood, Sweat & Tears directly borrowed harmonic, melodic, rhythmic and instrumentational elements from the jazz tradition". [163] The rock groups that drew on jazz ideas (like Soft Machine, Colosseum, Caravan, Nucleus, Chicago, Spirit and Frank Zappa) turned the blend of the two styles with electric instruments. [164] Since rock often emphasized directness and simplicity over virtuosity, jazz-rock generally grew out of the most artistically ambitious rock subgenres of the late 1960s and early 70s: psychedelia, progressive rock, and the singer-songwriter movement. [165] Miles Davis' Bitches Brew sessions, recorded in August 1969 and released the following year, mostly abandoned jazz's usual swing beat in favor of a rock-style backbeat anchored by electric bass grooves. The recording ". mixed free jazz blowing by a large ensemble with electronic keyboards and guitar, plus a dense mix of percussion." [166] Davis also drew on the rock influence by playing his trumpet through electronic effects and pedals. While the album gave Davis a gold record, the use of electric instruments and rock beats created a great deal of consternation amongst some more conservative jazz critics.

Film Edit

(See also: List of films related to the hippie subculture) The counterculture was not only affected by cinema, but was also instrumental in the provision of era-relevant content and talent for the film industry. Bonnie and Clyde struck a chord with the youth as "the alienation of the young in the 1960s was comparable to the director's image of the 1930s." [167] Films of this time also focused on the changes happening in the world. A sign of this was the visibility that the hippie subculture gained in various mainstream and underground media. Hippie exploitation films are 1960s exploitation films about the hippie counterculture [168] with stereotypical situations associated with the movement such as marijuana and LSD use, sex and wild psychedelic parties. Examples include The Love-ins, Psych-Out, The Trip, and Wild in the Streets. The musical play Hair shocked stage audiences with full-frontal nudity. Dennis Hopper's "Road Trip" adventure Easy Rider (1969) became accepted as one of the landmark films of the era. [169] Medium Cool portrayed the 1968 Democratic Convention alongside the 1968 Chicago police riots. [170]

Inaugurated by the 1969 release of Andy Warhol 's Blue Movie, the phenomenon of adult erotic films being publicly discussed by celebrities (like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope), [171] and taken seriously by critics (like Roger Ebert), [172] [173] a development referred to, by Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times, as "porno chic", and later known as the Golden Age of Porn, began, for the first time, in modern American culture. [171] [174] [175] According to award-winning author Toni Bentley, Radley Metzger 's 1976 film The Opening of Misty Beethoven, based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (and its derivative, My Fair Lady), is considered the "crown jewel" of this 'Golden Age'. [176] [177]

In France the New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced by Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of classical cinematic form and their spirit of youthful iconoclasm and is an example of European art cinema. Many also engaged in their work with the social and political upheavals of the era, making their radical experiments with editing, visual style and narrative part of a general break with the conservative paradigm. The Left Bank, or Rive Gauche, group is a contingent of filmmakers associated with the French New Wave, first identified as such by Richard Roud. [178] The corresponding "right bank" group is constituted of the more famous and financially successful New Wave directors associated with Cahiers du cinéma (Claude Chabrol, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard). [178] Left Bank directors include Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, and Agnès Varda. [178] Roud described a distinctive "fondness for a kind of Bohemian life and an impatience with the conformity of the Right Bank, a high degree of involvement in literature and the plastic arts, and a consequent interest in experimental filmmaking", as well as an identification with the political left. [178] Other film "new waves" from around the world associated with the 1960s are New German Cinema, Czechoslovak New Wave, Brazilian Cinema Novo and Japanese New Wave. During the 1960s, the term "art film" began to be much more widely used in the United States than in Europe. In the U.S., the term is often defined very broadly, to include foreign-language (non-English) "auteur" films, independent films, experimental films, documentaries and short films. In the 1960s "art film" became a euphemism in the U.S. for racy Italian and French B-movies. By the 1970s, the term was used to describe sexually explicit European films with artistic structure such as the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow). The 1960s was an important period in art film the release of a number of groundbreaking films giving rise to the European art cinema which had countercultural traits in filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luis Buñuel and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Technology Edit

Cultural historians—such as Theodore Roszak in his 1986 essay "From Satori to Silicon Valley" and John Markoff in his book What the Dormouse Said, [179] have pointed out that many of the early pioneers of personal computing emerged from within the West Coast counterculture. Many early computing and networking pioneers, after discovering LSD and roaming the campuses of UC Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT in the late 1960s and early 1970s, would emerge from this caste of social "misfits" to shape the modern world of technology, especially in Silicon Valley.

Religion, spirituality and the occult Edit

Many hippies rejected mainstream organized religion in favor of a more personal spiritual experience, often drawing on indigenous and folk beliefs. If they adhered to mainstream faiths, hippies were likely to embrace Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Unitarian Universalism and the restorationist Christianity of the Jesus Movement. Some hippies embraced neo-paganism, especially Wicca. Wicca is a witchcraft religion which became more prominent beginning in 1951, with the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1735, after which Gerald Gardner and then others such as Charles Cardell and Cecil Williamson began publicising their own versions of the Craft. Gardner and others never used the term "Wicca" as a religious identifier, simply referring to the "witch cult", "witchcraft", and the "Old Religion". However, Gardner did refer to witches as "the Wica". [180] During the 1960s, the name of the religion normalised to "Wicca". [181] [182] Gardner's tradition, later termed Gardnerianism, soon became the dominant form in England and spread to other parts of the British Isles. Following Gardner's death in 1964, the Craft continued to grow unabated despite sensationalism and negative portrayals in British tabloids, with new traditions being propagated by figures like Robert Cochrane, Sybil Leek and most importantly Alex Sanders, whose Alexandrian Wicca, which was predominantly based upon Gardnerian Wicca, albeit with an emphasis placed on ceremonial magic, spread quickly and gained much media attention.

In his 1991 book, Hippies and American Values, Timothy Miller described the hippie ethos as essentially a "religious movement" whose goal was to transcend the limitations of mainstream religious institutions. "Like many dissenting religions, the hippies were enormously hostile to the religious institutions of the dominant culture, and they tried to find new and adequate ways to do the tasks the dominant religions failed to perform." [183] In his seminal, contemporaneous work, The Hippie Trip, author Lewis Yablonsky notes that those who were most respected in hippie settings were the spiritual leaders, the so-called "high priests" who emerged during that era. [184]

One such hippie "high priest" was San Francisco State College instructor Stephen Gaskin. Beginning in 1966, Gaskin's "Monday Night Class" eventually outgrew the lecture hall, and attracted 1,500 hippie followers in an open discussion of spiritual values, drawing from Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu teachings. In 1970, Gaskin founded a Tennessee community called The Farm, and he still lists his religion as "Hippie." [185] [186] [187]

Timothy Leary was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. On September 19, 1966, Leary founded the League for Spiritual Discovery, a religion declaring LSD as its holy sacrament, in part as an unsuccessful attempt to maintain legal status for the use of LSD and other psychedelics for the religion's adherents based on a "freedom of religion" argument. The Psychedelic Experience was the inspiration for John Lennon's song "Tomorrow Never Knows" in The Beatles' album Revolver. [188] He published a pamphlet in 1967 called Start Your Own Religion to encourage just that (see below under "writings") and was invited to attend the January 14, 1967 Human Be-In a gathering of 30,000 hippies in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park In speaking to the group, he coined the famous phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out". [189]

The Principia Discordia is the founding text of Discordianism written by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Younger) and Kerry Wendell Thornley (Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst). It was originally published under the title "Principia Discordia or How The West Was Lost" in a limited edition of five copies in 1965. The title, literally meaning "Discordant Principles", is in keeping with the tendency of Latin to prefer hypotactic grammatical arrangements. In English, one would expect the title to be "Principles of Discord." [190]

The lasting impact (including unintended consequences), creative output, and general legacy of the counterculture era continue to be actively discussed, debated, despised and celebrated.

External video
2014: 1960s-Era Counterculture University professors and authors Alice Echols and David Farber discuss the content and legacy of the counterculture on C-SPAN.

Even the notions of when the counterculture subsumed the Beat Generation, when it gave way to the successor generation, and what happened in between are open for debate. According to notable UK Underground and counterculture author Barry Miles, "It seemed to me that the Seventies was when most of the things that people attribute to the sixties really happened: this was the age of extremes, people took more drugs, had longer hair, weirder clothes, had more sex, protested more violently and encountered more opposition from the establishment. It was the era of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll, as Ian Dury said. The countercultural explosion of the 1960s really only involved a few thousand people in the UK and perhaps ten times that in the USA – largely because of opposition to the Vietnam war, whereas in the Seventies the ideas had spread out across the world. [191]

A Columbia University teaching unit on the counterculture era notes: "Although historians disagree over the influence of the counterculture on American politics and society, most describe the counterculture in similar terms. Virtually all authors—for example, on the right, Robert Bork in Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: Regan Books,1996) and, on the left, Todd Gitlin in The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987)—characterize the counterculture as self-indulgent, childish, irrational, narcissistic, and even dangerous. Even so, many liberal and leftist historians find constructive elements in it, while those on the right tend not to." [192]

Screen legend John Wayne equated aspects of 1960s social programs with the rise of the welfare state, ". I know all about that. In the late Twenties, when I was a sophomore at USC, I was a socialist myself—but not when I left. The average college kid idealistically wishes everybody could have ice cream and cake for every meal. But as he gets older and gives more thought to his and his fellow man's responsibilities, he finds that it can't work out that way—that some people just won't carry their load . I believe in welfare—a welfare work program. I don't think a fella should be able to sit on his backside and receive welfare. I'd like to know why well-educated idiots keep apologizing for lazy and complaining people who think the world owes them a living. I'd like to know why they make excuses for cowards who spit in the faces of the police and then run behind the judicial sob sisters. I can't understand these people who carry placards to save the life of some criminal, yet have no thought for the innocent victim." [193]

Former liberal Democrat Ronald Reagan, who later became a conservative Governor of California and 40th President of the US, remarked about one group of protesters carrying signs, "The last bunch of pickets were carrying signs that said 'Make love, not war.' The only trouble was they didn't look capable of doing either." [194] [195]

The "generation gap" between the affluent young and their often poverty-scarred parents was a critical component of 1960s culture. In an interview with journalist Gloria Steinem during the 1968 US presidential campaign, soon-to-be First Lady Pat Nixon exposed the generational chasm in worldview between Steinem, 20 years her junior, and herself after Steinem probed Mrs. Nixon as to her youth, role models, and lifestyle. A hardscrabble child of the Great Depression, Pat Nixon told Steinem, "I never had time to think about things like that, who I wanted to be, or who I admired, or to have ideas. I never had time to dream about being anyone else. I had to work. I haven't just sat back and thought of myself or my ideas or what I wanted to do . I've kept working. I don't have time to worry about who I admire or who I identify with. I never had it easy. I'm not at all like you . all those people who had it easy." [196]

In economic terms, it has been contended that the counterculture really only amounted to creating new marketing segments for the "hip" crowd. [197]

Even before the counterculture movement reached its peak of influence, the concept of the adoption of socially-responsible policies by establishment corporations was discussed by economist and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman (1962): "Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundation of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible. This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a social responsibility other than making maximum profits for stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected private individuals decide what the social interest is?" [198]

In 2003, author and former Free Speech activist Greil Marcus was quoted, "What happened four decades ago is history. It's not just a blip in the history of trends. Whoever shows up at a march against war in Iraq, it always takes place with a memory of the efficacy and joy and gratification of similar protests that took place in years before . It doesn't matter that there is no counterculture, because counterculture of the past gives people a sense that their own difference matters." [199]

When asked about the prospects of the counterculture movement moving forward in the digital age, former Grateful Dead lyricist and self-styled "cyberlibertarian" John Perry Barlow said, "I started out as a teenage beatnik and then became a hippie and then became a cyberpunk. And now I'm still a member of the counterculture, but I don't know what to call that. And I'd been inclined to think that that was a good thing, because once the counterculture in America gets a name then the media can coopt it, and the advertising industry can turn it into a marketing foil. But you know, right now I'm not sure that it is a good thing, because we don't have any flag to rally around. Without a name there may be no coherent movement." [200]

During the era, conservative students objected to the counterculture and found ways to celebrate their conservative ideals by reading books like J. Edgar Hoover's A Study of Communism, joining student organizations like the College Republicans, and organizing Greek events which reinforced gender norms. [201]

Free Speech advocate and social anthropologist Jentri Anders observed that a number of freedoms were endorsed within a countercultural community in which she lived and studied: "freedom to explore one's potential, freedom to create one's Self, freedom of personal expression, freedom from scheduling, freedom from rigidly defined roles and hierarchical statuses . " Additionally, Anders believed some in the counterculture wished to modify children's education so that it didn't discourage, but rather encouraged, "aesthetic sense, love of nature, passion for music, desire for reflection, or strongly marked independence." [202] [203]

In 2007, Merry Prankster Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Garcia commented, "I see remnants of that movement everywhere. It's sort of like the nuts in Ben and Jerry's ice cream—it's so thoroughly mixed in, we sort of expect it. The nice thing is that eccentricity is no longer so foreign. We've embraced diversity in a lot of ways in this country. I do think it's done us a tremendous service." [204]

The 1990 Oscar-nominated documentary film Berkeley in the Sixties [205] [206] [207] highlighted what Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly noted:

"The film doesn’t shrink from saying that many of the ’60s social-protest movements went too far. It demonstrates that by the end of the decade, protest had become a narcotic in itself." [208]

Films like Return of the Secaucus 7 and The Big Chill [209] tackled life of the idealistic Boomers from the countercultural 60s to their older selfs in the 80s alongside the TV series thirtysomething. [210] That generation's nostalgia for said decade was also criticized as well. [211] [212]

Panos Cosmatos, director of the 2010 film Beyond the Black Rainbow, admits a dislike for Baby Boomers' New Age spiritual ideals, an issue he addresses in his film. The use of psychedelic drugs for mind-expansion purposes is also explored, [213] although Cosmatos' take on it is "dark and disturbing", a "brand of psychedelia that stands in direct opposition to the flower child, magic mushroom peace trip" wrote a reviewer describing one of the characters who happened to be a Boomer: [214]

I look at Arboria as kind of naïve. He had the best of intentions of wanting to expand human consciousness, but I think his ego got in the way of that and ultimately it turned into a poisonous, destructive thing. Because Arboria is trying to control consciousness and control the mind. There is a moment of truth in the film where the whole thing starts to disintegrate because it stops being about their humanity and becomes about an unattainable goal. That is the "Black Rainbow": trying to achieve some kind of unattainable state that is ultimately, probably destructive. [215]

The following people are well known for their involvement in 1960s era counterculture. Some are key incidental or contextual figures, such as Beat Generation figures who also participated directly in the later counterculture era. The primary area(s) of each figure's notability are indicated, per these figures' Wikipedia pages. This section is not intended be exhaustive, but rather a representative cross section of individuals active within the larger movement. Although many of the people listed are known for civil rights activism, some figures whose primary notability was within the realm of the Civil Rights Movement are listed elsewhere. This section is not intended to create associations between any of the listed figures beyond what is documented elsewhere. (see also: List of civil rights leaders Key figures of the New Left Timeline of 1960s counterculture).

A Brief Timeline of the 1950s

The 1950s were the first full decade after the end of World War II and is remembered as a prosperous time of recovery from the Great Depression of the 1930s and the war years of the 1940s. Everyone collectively breathed a sigh of relief. It was a time of new styles that broke with the past, like mid-century modern design, and many firsts, inventions, and discoveries that would become symbolic of the 20th century as a time of looking forward.

Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

In 1950, Diners Club, the first modern credit card was introduced, which would eventually change the financial lives of every American in the years to come. In February, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) claimed in a speech in West Virginia that there were over 200 Communists in the U.S. State Department, beginning a witch hunt that would result in the blacklisting of many Americans.

On June 17th, Dr. Richard Lawler performed the first organ transplant, a kidney in an Illinois woman with polycystic kidney disease and, on the political front, US. President Harry S. Truman ordered the building of the hydrogen bomb, on June 25th, the Korean War began with the invasion of South Korea. On July 7, the Population Registration Act was enacted in South Africa, requiring that each inhabitant of the country would be classified and registered according to his or her "race." It would not be repealed until 1991.

On October 2, United Features Syndicate published Charles Schulz's first "Peanuts" cartoon strip in seven newspapers.

On June 27,1951, the first regularly-scheduled color TV program was introduced by CBS, "The World Is Yours!" with Ivan T. Sanderson, eventually bringing life-like shows into American homes. Truman signed the Treaty of San Francisco, a peace treaty with Japan on September 8, officially ending World War II. In October, Winston Churchill took the reins in Great Britain as prime minister for the first time after the close of World War II. In South Africa, people were forced to carry green identification cards that included their race and under the Separate Representation of Voters Act people who were classed as "coloureds" were disenfranchised.

On February 6, 1952, Britain's Princess Elizabeth took over the responsibility of ruling England at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI. She would be officially crowned Queen Elizabeth II the next year. From December 5th to the 9th, Londoners suffered through the Great Smog of 1952, a severe air pollution event that caused deaths from breathing issues numbering in the thousands.

In the "firsts" department, tinted glass became available in Ford automobiles (although only 6% of customers wanted such a thing), and on July 2, Jonas Salk and colleagues at the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh began testing for a successful polio vaccine. They tried their refined vaccine on children who had recovered from polio and discovered that it successfully produced antibodies for the virus.

In April 1953, Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick published a paper in the scientific journal Nature, announcing the discovery of the double-helix chemical structure of DNA. On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to ever climb to the summit of Mount Everest, the ninth British expedition to attempt to do so.

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 5 in Kutsevo Dacha, and on June 19, Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in the electric chair for conspiracy to commit espionage. Another first: in December, Hugh Hefner published the first Playboy magazine, featuring actress Marilyn Monroe on the cover and nude centerfold.

In a landmark decision on May 17, and after two rounds of argument, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation was illegal in the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

In other news, on January 21, the first atomic submarine was launched in the Thames River in Connecticut, the U.S.S. Nautilus. On April 26, Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was given to 1.8 million children in a massive field trial. Epidemiological research by Richard Doll and A Bradford Hill published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on August 7, reported the first irrefutable evidence that men who smoked 35 or more cigarettes per day increased their likelihood of dying from lung cancer by a factor of 40.

The good news of 1955: On July 17, Disneyland Park opened, the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the only theme park designed and built by Walt Disney himself. Entrepreneur businessman Ray Kroc founded a franchise business on a successful restaurant operated by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, forming what would become McDonald's.

The bad news: 24-year-old actor James Dean died in a car accident on September 20, after making only three movies.

The civil rights movement began with the August 28 murder of Emmett Till, the refusal on December 1 by Rosa Parks to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott.

In November, the first retractable seat belts were described in the Journal of the American Medical Association by neurologist C. Hunter Shelden.

On the light side of 1956, Elvis Presley burst onto the entertainment scene with a September 9th appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on April 18, actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco that great device, the TV remote, was invented by Robert Adler who called his ultrasonic device the Zenith Space Command and on May 13, George D. Maestro registered the Velcro brand for use on products.

Internationally, the world saw the explosion of the Hungarian Revolution on October 23, a revolution against the Soviet-backed Hungarian People's Republic and on October 29, the Suez Crisis began when Israeli armed forces invaded Egypt over their nationalization of the critical waterway known as the Suez Canal.

The year 1957 is most remembered for the October 4 launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, which orbited for three weeks and began the space race and the space age. On March 12, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) published the children's classic "The Cat in the Hat," selling over one million copies within three years. On March 25, the European Economic Community was established by a treaty signed by representatives of France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

Memorable moments of 1958 include American Bobby Fischer becoming the youngest chess grandmaster on January 9 at the age of 15. On October 23, Boris Pasternak was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, but the Soviet government, which had attempted to ban his novel Doctor Zhivago, forced him to reject it. On July 29, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the act establishing the The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). British activist Gerald Holtom designed the peace symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Hula hoops were invented by Arthur K. "Spud" Melin and Richard Knerr. And another toy that would become a classic was introduced: LEGO toy bricks, pioneered and patented the final shape, even though the right material for the product took another five years to develop.

Internationally, Chinese Leader Mao Tse-tung launched the "Great Leap Forward," a failed five-year economic and social effort that led to millions of deaths and was abandoned by 1961.

57h. Flower Power

Make love, not war. Don't trust anyone over 30. Turn on, tune in, and drop out. I am a human being &mdash please do not fold, bend spindle, or mutilate.

These and many more became slogans for emerging youth culture &mdash a counterculture &mdash in the 1960s. The baby boom was entering its teen years, and in sheer numbers they represented a larger force than any prior generation in the history of the United States. As more and more children of middle-class Americans entered college, many rejected the suburban conformity designed by their parents.

The Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco gave rise to many of the popular rock groups of the era, including Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. This poster advertises a concert held at the Fillmore Auditorium, a popular San Francisco venue for psychedelic bands.

Never more than a minority movement, the so-called "hippie" lifestyle became synonymous with American youth of the 1960s. Displaying frank new attitudes about drugs and sex, communal lifestyles, and innovations in food, fashion, and music, the counterculture youth of America broke profoundly with almost all values their parents held dear.

The sexual revolution was in full swing on American college campuses. Birth control and a rejection of traditional views of sexuality led to a more casual attitude toward sex. Displays of public nudity became commonplace. Living together outside marriage shattered old norms.

In addition to changes in sexual attitudes, many youths experimented with drugs. Marijuana and LSD were used most commonly, but experimentation with mushrooms and pills was common as well. A Harvard professor named Timothy Leary made headlines by openly promoting the use of LSD. There was a price to be paid for these new attitudes. With the new freedom came an upsurge of venereal diseases, bad trips, and drug addictions.

Like the utopian societies of the 1840s, over 2000 rural communes formed during these turbulent times. Completely rejecting the capitalist system, many communes rotated duties, made their own laws, and elected their own leaders. Some were philosophically based, but others were influenced by new religions. Earth-centered religions, astrological beliefs, and Eastern faiths proliferated across American campuses. Some scholars labeled this trend as the Third Great Awakening .

Most communes, however, faced fates similar to their 19th century forebears. A charismatic leader would leave or the funds would become exhausted, and the commune would gradually dissolve.

One lasting change from the countercultural movement was in American diet. Health food stores sold wheat germ, yogurt, and granola, products completely foreign to the 1950s America. Vegetarianism became popular among many youths. Changes in fashion proved more fleeting. Long hair on young men was standard, as were Afros. Women often wore flowers in their hair. Ethnic or peasant clothing was celebrated.. Beads, bellbottom jeans, and tie-dyed shirts became the rage, as each person tried to celebrate his or her own sense of individuality.

The common bond among many youths of the time was music. Centered in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, a new wave of psychedelic rock and roll became the music of choice. Bands like the Grateful Dead , Jefferson Airplane , and the Doors created new sounds with electrically enhanced guitars, subversive lyrics, and association with drugs.

Dr. Timothy Leary &mdash seen here in his later years &mdash encouraged people of the 1960s to "Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out" through the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD.

Folk music was fused with rock, embodied by the best-known solo artist of the decade, Bob Dylan . When the popular Beatles went psychedelic with their landmark album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , counterculture music became mainstream.

It is important to note that the counterculture was probably no more than ten percent of the American youth population. Contrary to common belief, most young Americans sought careers and lifestyles similar to their parents. Young educated people actually supported the war in Vietnam in greater numbers than older, uneducated Americans. The counterculture was simply so outrageous that the media made their numbers seem larger than in reality. Nevertheless, this lifestyle made an indelible cultural impact on America for decades to come.

What happened to the ideals of the counterculture? Why weren't they able to sustain their utopian views? In part there views were subsumed by the greater culture. Moreover, it's one thing to say you want a revolution, quite another to try to affect one.

Psychedelic drugs, hippie counterculture, speed and phenobarbital treatment of sedative-hypnotic dependence: a journey to the Haight Ashbury in the Sixties

The 1960s were a time of social upheaval, wars, vibrant creativity and missed opportunity. Mainstream culture and a psychedelic drug-using counterculture shared a belief in "better living through chemistry'," but they disagreed about the particular chemistry. The Vietnam war and the cold war with the Soviet Union, racial discrimination, and gender roles fueled political activism. "Yes we can" was not a slogan of the time but political activists clearly believed they could change the beliefs, attitudes and behavior of mainstream culture and they did. Hippie counterculture on the other hand was largely alienated and strove primarily to develop a separate culture with its own mores, beliefs and lifestyles. Although there was some overlap between hippies and activists, hippies didn't generally have the same sense of political empowerment. Hippie enclaves developed in New York Boston Seattle Austin, Texas and elsewhere but the epicenter was arguably the Haight-Asbury District of San Francisco. Psychedelic drugs, marijuana and the Vietnam war were among many wedge issues. This paper conjures up a personal history related to the evolution of the hippie counterculture, changing drug use patterns in the Haight-Ashbury, and the origins of a technique of withdrawing patients from barbiturates and other sedative-hypnotics using phenobarbital variously known as the "Phenobarbital Withdrawal Protocol, or the "Smith and Wesson Protocol."


In the early years of the decade, fashion continued along the lines of the 1950s. Skirt suits and coordinating accessories were emphasized as one decade transitioned into the next. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy epitomized this look during her husband’s presidential campaign and short presidency. She was admired around the world for her put-together, lady-like look consisting of boxy skirt-suits like the Givenchy suit in figure 1 and navy suit in figure 2, sheath and A-line dresses (Fig. 3), and luxurious coats–all accessorized with white gloves, pearls, and a matching hat. This look was being produced by the likes of Hubert de Givenchy and Cristóbal Balenciaga (Fig. 4), but as the decade progressed, it became clear that the momentum was towards a new kind of designer in the 1960s.

Fig. 1 - Hubert de Givenchy (French, 1927–2018). Suit, 1960. Wool. New York: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Ar, 2009.300.453a, b. Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009 Gift of Lauren Bacall, 1967. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fig. 2 - Robert Knudsen (American, 1929-1989). President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy attend Mass at St. Mary’s Church, Newport, Rhode Island., October 8, 1961. Negative (2.25 x 2.25 in). Boston: White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, KN-C19037. Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Fig. 3 - Cecil Stoughton (American, 1920-2008). First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy tours the island palace of Jag Mandir (also called the “Lake Garden Palace”) on Lake Pichola, during her visit to Udaipur, Rajasthan, India., March 17, 1962. Negative (2.25 x 2.25 in). Boston: White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, ST-C117-20-62. Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Fig. 4 - Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, 1895–1972). Cocktail dress, 1962. Silk. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.147.3. Gift of Rosamond Bernier, 1994. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fig. 5 - Photographer unknown. Swinging London. Teenagers in London's Carnaby Street., 1969. The National Archives UK. INF 14/147. Source: Flickr

Fig. 6 - Mary Quant (British, Ca. 1934-). Ensemble, ca. 1968. Wool, acetate. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989.336a–c. Gift of Paula A. Heidelman, 1989. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The cultural phenomenon termed Swinging London began in 1955 but reached its zenith in the early- to mid-1960s. It was a phenomenon that focused on youth, spotlighting music and fashion. It brought us The Beatles and the miniskirt, Twiggy (Fig. 9) and The Who. The designer who led the way in the “youthquake” was Mary Quant who opened her first shop, Bazaar, on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London in 1955. Quant’s simple, colorful designs appealed to teenagers and young people who had more disposable income than any generation before. It differed from the stuffy looks of the older generation and appealed to young women who embraced the child-like styles Quant produced (Fig. 7). Fashion historian James Laver writes of Quant in Costume and Fashion: A Concise History,

“Rejecting the constraints of seasonal shows, she produced as many as twenty-eight collections during her early years, creating simple, practical, often mix n’match designs which had an element of classlessness perfectly suited to the mood of the sixties” (261-262).

Bazaar was in the new boutique style, a revolutionary new way to shop that differed from the traditional designer atelier and the department store. Besides the accessibility of the clothes in the shop, boutiques also created a frenetic atmosphere, as seen in figure 5. In her book The Lost Art of Dress, Linda Przybyszewski writes, “Boutiques were groovy places where modern music played and young owners and customers collaborated on new looks that came only in small sizes” (202).

One of the most revolutionary designs attributed to Quant was the miniskirt and minidress (Fig. 6). Eschewing the prim below-the-knee skirts of the late 1950s and early 1960s, by the mid-sixties, young women were wearing skirts that fell at the upper thigh. Like the short skirts of the 1920s, the miniskirt shocked but was also a highly popular look for young women. Miniskirts and minidresses were adopted by Parisian designers as Quant and her contemporaries continued to gain popularity.

Fig. 7 - Unknown. Jean Shrimpton and Celia are wearing Mary Quant designs, ca. 1960s. Kristine. Source: Flickr

Fig. 8 - André Courrèges (French, 1923–2016). Boots, 1967-69. Leather. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.115.28a, b. Gift of Jane Holzer, 1977. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fig. 9 - Unknown. Twiggy is wearing Pierre Cardin, 1967. Kristine. Source: Flickr

Fig. 10 - Pierre Cardin (French, 1922-). Miniskirt, 1969. Wool, plastic. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.412.2. Gift of Glady Whitfield Solomon, 1977. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

While the miniskirt reached its height mid-decade, by the late 1960s, a new style and culture was emerging. Skirts dipped back to mid-calf and by 1969, the full-length maxi-skirt had emerged (Fig. 12). This came with the move towards the “hippie” aesthetic. Elizabeth Wilson writes in Gerta Buxbaum’s Icons of Fashion: The Twentieth Century, “Between 1965 and 1967, the uncluttered, futuristic design of André Courrèges and Mary Quant – featuring short skirts, childish pinafores, and boxy shapes – were superseded by a return to the styles of Art Nouveau, Hollywood, and William Morris” (98). Suede, headbands, kaftans, Afghan coats, beads and other non-Western elements of adornment were embraced as were flowing skirts and secondhand clothing (Laver 267-268). Janis Joplin, seen in figure 13, embraced this style in the late 1960s.

Both the “Mod” movement, to which Quant contributed, and the hippie movement were part of a new model of “street style” in which fashion is disseminated from the streets up to the designers rather than vice versa. Jane Mulvagh writes in Icons of Fashion, “1962 to 1968 were crucial years in which the allure and originality of street style challenged, and finally broke, the hegemony of high fashion” (86). The trajectory of fashion in the 1960s saw three very diverse overarching styles but also a shift from a designer-centric fashion ecosystem to one where the consumer was at the center of creation.

Fig. 11 - André Courrèges (French, 1923-2016). Dress, 1968. Cellulose acetate/styrene-butadiene copolymer, rayon, silk, cotton, metal. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012.182. Purchase, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation Inc. Gift, 2012. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fig. 12 - Mr. Eric. Mr. Eric evening gown, 1969. Ink, marker (9 x 11 in). New York: Bergdorf Goodman Custom Salon Sketches. Source: SPARC Digital

Fig. 13 - Ashley Famous Agency/Albert B. Grossman-management. Publicity photo of Janis Joplin, 1969. Source: Wikimedia

The effect of new technologies

During the 1980s the fortunes of the American film industry were increasingly shaped by new technologies of video delivery and imaging. Cable networks, direct-broadcast satellites, and half-inch videocassettes provided new means of motion-picture distribution, and computer-generated graphics provided new means of production, especially of special effects, forecasting the prospect of a fully automated “electronic cinema.” Many studios, including Universal and Columbia, devoted the majority of their schedules to the production of telefilms for the commercial television networks, and nearly all the studios presold their theatrical features for cable and videocassette distribution. In fact, Tri-Star, one of Hollywood’s major producer-distributors, was a joint venture of CBS Inc., Columbia Pictures, and Time-Life’s premium cable service Home Box Office (HBO). HBO and competitor Showtime both functioned as producer-distributors in their own right by directly financing films and entertainment specials for cable television. In 1985, for the first time since the 1910s, independent film producers released more motion pictures than the major studios, largely to satisfy the demands of the cable and home-video markets.

The strength of the cable and video industries led producers to seek properties with video or “televisual” features that would play well on the small television screen (Flashdance, 1983 Footloose, 1984) or to attempt to draw audiences into the theatres with the promise of spectacular 70-mm photography and multitrack Dolby sound (Amadeus, 1984 Aliens, 1986). Ironically, the long-standing 35-mm theatrical feature survived in the mid-1980s in such unexpected places as “kidpix” (a form originally created to exploit the PG-13 rating when it was instituted in 1984—The Breakfast Club, 1985 Stand by Me, 1986) and, more dramatically, the Vietnam combat film (Oliver Stone’s Platoon, 1986 Coppola’s Gardens of Stone, 1987 Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, 1987). Responding to the political climate, the studios produced some of their most jingoistic films since the Korean War, endorsing the notion of political betrayal in Vietnam (Rambo: First Blood, Part II, 1985), fear of a Soviet invasion (Red Dawn, 1985), and military vigilantism (Top Gun, 1986). Films with a “literary” quality, many of them British-made, were also popular in the American market during the 1980s (A Passage to India, 1984 A Room with a View, 1985 Out of Africa, 1985).

Watch the video: Kids in the 1960s predict what the year 2000 will be like (July 2022).


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