Beating Down on America
The Beats were a group of poets and writers who rejected the lifestyle of the conventional society. The Beats came together in places like New York City, San Francisco, and other college towns. Common beliefs and values endorsed by the Beats were spontaneous behavior, immediate gratification through the use of drugs, and sexual exploration. The Beats were against the transformation of America into a society, whose focus was on work, material consumption of goods and services, and the war-effort. Even though the Cold War advertised that freedom was the defining characteristic of America, the Beats believed individual and political inhibition were more accurate terms in depicting the country.
Many wonderful pieces of literature came out of the Beat Generation. For instance, the novel, On the Road, by the Beat writier, Jack Kerouac, described the nomadic protagonist’s adventures across the country. This book inspired the youth, who also disapproved the traditions of the middle-class but were unable to find a substitutable culture. Another popular Beatnik was Allen Ginsberg, the author of Howl (1955). The book condemned the practice of materialism and submission to popular culture.