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Geeks CH2

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University of Toronto St. George
Marcel Danesi

CHAPTER 2: Rockers, Hippies, and Geeks - Three terms that were being used as monikers for teenagers at the time- geeks, nerds, and dorks - Origin of true youth culture is in the 1950s and 1960ss, with the emergence of young rebels of the post-war era - Youths who created and engaged in Elvis culture were rebels without cause - Youths who became a part of Beatles culture engaged in real rebellion- social, political, and cultural - Rebellion- driving force in subsequent generations of youth - Rebellion was not socioeconomically motivated; it was symbolic - Teenagers were rebelling against an adult world that saw them as different, both chronologically and emotionally - Feeling disjunction b/w the arrival of puberty and the infantile social expectations, they rebelled  Did by creating their own lifestyle (en masse) - Rebellion had a profound impact on society - Rebellion in the 1950s was about carving out a new look, talk, and walk- cool lifestyle at the time- for young people to follow  Manifested itself in dress, language, music, which expressed sexual energy and emerging romance - Sense of moral consciousness- need to make things right in the world ELVIS CULTURE - Veritable watershed one in the history of youth culture - Music, style, and perceived sexual rebelliousness- “Elvis the Pelvis”- created modern-day youth culture - Evoked moral panic - Body style in particular aroused a storm of criticism- he shook his hips in rhythm  Some cities and towns banned his concerts, and refused to play his records on radio - Carved out a rebel image for him- image that every single male teenager wanted to emulate THE ROCKER CODE - Followers of Elvis and the whole rock scene that grew up around him were called rebel teens/ rockers - Rocker: crafting the right look and utilizing the right talk, listening to rock and roll  Car played a significant role: sign of both maturity and independence - Male rocker’s appearance became symbolic of the silent rebellion that was unfolding; it was a way of communicating coolness through dress, hairstyle, etc - Female rockers developed two kinds of cool looks: hard (wearing of tight pants), soft (poodle skirts) - V-Power started in the 1950s, when adolescent females began to take matters into their own hands  Found her identity in herself  Has become a universal pattern across the world - Degendering: tendency to blur and even eliminate traditional gender roles (started in the rocker 1950s) ROCK AND ROLL - Voice of a new rebellious generation that made it obvious to everyone alive at the time that change was needed - Traces its roots ultimately to jazz - Jazz is executed on the basis of the improvisational abilities of the musician over a set chord progression pattern  never play the same song twice [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] - Term jazz was coined as a metaphor for sexual intercourse - In 1920s, jazz musicians became extremely popular among the youths  musicians began to play in big bands in 1930s  swing era (because of dance style)  bebop/bop in 190s (sexual metaphor) - Emotional range and appeal of the music expanded  rock and roll (first used by Alan Freed) - Rock had established itself firmly and loudly as the musical voice of a fledgling new youth culture - 1956: rock and roll year, blew up as a youth movement, reflection of changing world - As rock and roll spread nationwide, it allowed youths throughout the nation to feel a part of a new and exciting community - 1970s TV sitcom Happy Days: symbolic importance of jukeboxes - Changes in the world of rock music became sources of change in teem lifestyle - Simplicity of melodies and harmonic progressions gave rock and roll its distinctiveness - Songs dealt with themes such as cars, girls, boys, sadness of love, sex, and joy of being young - Rock and roll dances = sock hops - Any dancing was seen as indecent, coarse, and offensive by adults COOLNESS - Cool: being associated with the club sense of the 1930s and 1940s - Slow and smooth jazz style that was typical of that late-night scene came to be called cool - Was subsequently extended to describe any handsome, attractive male jazz musician who played in clubs - Being cool was what every teenager wanted to be in the rocker era - Cool is a version of a more general form of style-conscious behaviour that was called hip - Hip is all about getting people to open their eyes to see the attitude imprinted in the walk, talk, and look of hipster (has always been associated with musical styles- blues, jazz, rock, etc) - Hip and cool are all about a flight from conformity, a way to put oneself in contrast to it, to stand out, to look and be different - Association of hip with rebellious or differential lifestyles  Fear of being unhip/uncool is stronger than most other fears  Teens tend to ostracize peers from their social milieu and activities - Cool also means engaging in risky behaviours (e.g. smoking cigarettes) - Cigarette smoking was a display of cool, rebellion, and maturity - Slang became part of hipness (chick, jock, cat)  Today, language is being shaped more and more by ever-changing categories of adolescent slang  It’s everywhere in music, movies, on television, and so on END OF THE ELVIS ERA - Hippies were ready to take the rebellion ball and run with it in a different direction - By the mid 1950s, teenagers had more pocket money than any young person had ever had before in America  Youth culture had become a significant market segment - In 1964, rock and roll took an unexpected turn = counterculture HIPPIE CULTURE - Elvis culture was about rebellion against anything that smacked of adulthood - Beatles was a cause of rebellion that was political and cultural THE BEATLES - American debut in 1964 (established as a new and exciting phenomenon) CHAPTER 2: Rockers, Hippies, and Geeks - Songs were about life and the questions that beset human beings in their existential condition - Term generation gap: tensions between parents and counterculture youths became tens
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