11 May 2008

The Beat Generation

"They were the first to protect what they considered to be the blandness, conformity, and lack of serious social and cultural purpose in middle-class life in America. If much of the rest of the nation was enthusiastically joining the great migration to the suburbs, they consciously rejected this new life of middle-class affluence and were creating a new, alternative life-style; they were the pioneers of what would eventually become the counterculture.

If other young people of their generation gloried in getting married, having children ,owning property and cars, and socializing with neighbors much like themselves, these young men and women saw suburbia as a prison. They wanted no future of guaranteed pensions but instead sought freedom -- freedom to pick up and go across the country at a moment's notice, if they so chose. They saw themselves as poets in a land of philistines, men seeking spiritual destinies rather than material ones."
-David Halberstam, The Fifties-