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HIS378 Lecture - Mar. 20.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Candice Sobers

HIS378 Lecture – “Tune In, Turn Out, Drop Out: Counterculture(s)” March 20 , 2014 - Difficult to speak of one, unified counterculture - Difficult to find another decade in which people fought back so hard against society - In many ways, this movement has become something of a modern joke - More than challenging the hierarchical and patriarchal society, the counterculture also fought the very foundations ofAmerican society and theAmerican dream - The definition of success inAmerica is being brought into question I. Introduction - People believed in a personal protest of mind, body and soul - Consistent belief thatAmerica has lost its ways - Felt they were reclaiming the basic tenet ofAmerican democracy: that you can live however you see fit. - Other view on the counterculture: People with a transformative urge. Imp. because dismiss hippies as naïve, but we have to remember that they, and many other Americans, believed that the world could genuinely change for the better. - Bob Dylan was the icon of the early 1960s, the “good 1960s.” - In “The Times TheyAre a-Changin’” Dylan painted a hopeful world.Anthems of the anti-war and protest movement. - 1965: Dylan went electric. High treason for the folk community. The guitar represented everything that they went against. - Significance of this was that “something” was changing in the youth culture. Emergence of the Hippies - Mainly white, middle class - No real consensus on where the name “hippie” came from - Haight &Ashbury: Chicken and the egg regarding the Grateful Dead hanging out there. - “The Diggers” – community anarchist group – hung out there. - Is this another version of the “personal is political”? Hippies rejected politics, but also sought a new society which made a political statement through its existence. - This is about individual experience. Aspects of Hippie Culture - Anti-materialist, status and capitalism - Rejection of social norms: appearance, clothing, etc. o Easier in California because it was warmer - Embrace of Eastern and NativeAmerican spiritual practices: Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism. Believed in Shamanism, sweat lodges. Talked about astrology and theAge of Aquarius. - Genuine belief that non-violence and non-confrontation could make a change - Respect for nature, in proto-environmentalism. Rachel Carson had written “Silent Spring” in which she found the pesticides had been damaging the environment. - Intentional communities with atypical family structures: Communes, kibbutzim. o Went against the nuclear family - Anti-technology and rejection of industry - Point of these alternative lifestyles was “safety in numbers” Summer of Love - All the hippie dreams came together in the summer of 1967 - Human Be-In o Invitation for all to come and protest the illegality of LSD o Attended byAllan Ginsberg and Jerry Rubin - “IN” becomes a common suffix. E.g. laugh-in, teach-in, sit-in - The Be-In was the moment when mainstream culture took note of the hippies and what youth were doing. - CBS reports on the events - Vietnam War is in its early stages and civil rights raging, thus it had to be something special for people to take notice. - Hippie movement tended to be white for socioeconomic reasons and because civil rights was still going on II. Sex - Part of the problem about the hippies was perceived promiscuity - Emphasis on gender equality and free love - Move towards consensual sex - Equating sex with liberation. - Explicit undermining of hetero-normative ideas of marriage - You should be able to experiment sexually - Number of unmarriedAmericans 20-24 doubled. o Deliberate steps by women to take control of their bodies - New sexual practices become common: open marriages and swinging. - V. serious critique: “Make Love, Not War”  how different was this from Vietnam? - Stanford’s Sexual Freedom League. Elevation of nudity as part of sexual liberation. - Idea that there is nothing wrong with your body. III. Drugs - Idea of drug use and recreational drug use goes beyond just the hippies - Anti-anxiety drugs being embraced as “mother’s little helper” - Not a far leap from that to taking recreational drugs, but the medical community may not necessarily agree - Whatever is wrong, medication helps - Marijuana is becoming popular among the middle class and middle aged - Real difference h
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