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Encyclopedia > Beatnik

Beatnik is a media stereotype that borrowed the most superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s to present a distorted (and sometimes violent), cartoon-like misrepresentation of the real-life people and the spirituality found in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical fiction. Beatnik can mean: Beatnik, a term coined by Herb Caen to describe members of the Beat Generation Beatnik programming language, an esoteric programming language based on any sequence of English words Beatnik Inc. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Beats redirects here. ... Jack Kerouac (pronounced ) (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist, writer, poet, and artist from Lowell, Massachusetts. ...

In "Aftermath: The Philosophy of the Beat Generation" Kerouac spoke out against this distortion of his ideas:

The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late Forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way--a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word "beat" spoken on street corners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America--beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction. We'd even heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer. It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn't gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization... [1]


John Clellon Holmes (March 12th, 1926 - March 2nd, 1988) is best known for his 1952 book Go, which described characters such as Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg and is considered the first Beat novel. ... Irwin Allen Ginsberg (IPA: ) (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Hipster (contemporary subculture). ... Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a short story by American author Herman Melville (1819-1891). ...

Marketing and Madison Avenue

In her Minor Characters memoir (Houghton Mifflin, 1987), Joyce Johnson described how the beat stereotype was absorbed into American culture: Joyce Johnson Joyce Johnson (b. ...

“Beat Generation” sold books, sold black turtleneck sweaters and bongos, berets and dark glasses, sold a way of life that seemed like dangerous fun – thus to be either condemned or imitated. Suburban couples could have beatnik parties on Saturday nights and drink too much and fondle each other’s wives.

Ann Charters, in Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation? (Penguin, 1991) observed how the term "beat" was appropriated to become a marketing tool: Ann Charters was a close friend of Jack Kerouac. ...

The term caught on because it could mean anything. It could even be exploited in the affluent wake of the decade’s extraordinary technological inventions. Almost immediately, for example, advertisements by “hip” record companies in New York used the idea of the Beat Generation to sell their new long-playing vinyl records.have xx x ho

Beatific etymology

The word "beatnik" was coined by Herb Caen in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 2, 1958.[2] Caen coined the term by adding the Russian suffix -nik after Sputnik I to the Beat Generation. Caen's column with the word came six months after the launch of Sputnik. It may have been Caen's intent to portray the members of the Beat Generation as un-American. Objecting to Caen's twist on the term, Allen Ginsberg wrote to the New York Times to deplore "the foul word beatnik," commenting, "If beatniks and not illuminated Beat poets overrun this country, they will have been created not by Kerouac but by industries of mass communication which continue to brainwash man." Herbert Eugene Caen (April 3, 1916 – February 1, 1997) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist working in San Francisco. ... Todays San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. ... is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ... The English suffix -nik is of Slavic origin. ... Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite to be launched into orbit, on October 4, 1957. ... Un-American is a pejorative term used in the United States. ...

Eight months later, Kerouac explained his meaning of "Beat" at a Brandeis Forum, "Is There A Beat Generation?", held November 8, 1958, at New York's Hunter College Playhouse. Panelists for the seminar were Kerouac, James A. Wechsler, Princeton anthropologist Ashley Montagu and author Kingsley Amis. Wechsler, Montague and Amis all wore suits, while Kerouac was clad in black jeans, ankle boots and a checkered shirt. Reading from a prepared text, Kerouac reflected on his Beat beginnings: is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jan. ... This article is about the social science. ... Ashley Montagu (June 28, 1905, London, England - November 26, 1999, Princeton, New Jersey), was an English anthropologist and humanist who popularized issues such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development. ... Sir Kingsley William Amis (April 16, 1922 – October 22, 1995) was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. ...

It is because I am Beat, that is, I believe in beatitude and that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to it... Who knows, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion actually, the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty? [3]

Kerouac's address that night was later published as "The Origins of the Beat Generation" (Playboy, June 1959). In that article Kerouac noted how his original beatific philosophy had been ignored as Caen and others had intervened to alter Kerouac's concept with jokes and jargon:

I went one afternoon to the church of my childhood and had a vision of what I must have really meant with "Beat"... the vision of the word Beat as being to mean beatific... People began to call themselves beatniks, beats, jazzniks, bopniks, bugniks and finally I was called the "avatar" of all this.

Beat culture

In the vernacular of the period, "beat" indicated the culture, the attitude and the literature, while the common usage of "beatnik" was that of a stereotype found in lightweight cartoon drawings and twisted, sometimes violent, media characters. This distinction was clarified by Boston University professor Ray Carney, a leading authority on beat culture, in "The Beat Movement in Film," his notes for a 1995 Whitney Museum exhibition and screening: Ray Carney, also known as Raymond Carney, is an American interdisciplinary arts scholar primarily known for his work as a film theorist. ...

Much of Beat culture represented a negative stance rather than a positive one. It was animated more by a vague feeling of cultural and emotional displacement, dissatisfaction, and yearning, than by a specific purpose or program.
It would be a lot easier if we were only looking for movies with "beatniks" in them. San Francisco columnist Herb Caen coined the word (which by sarcastically punning on the recently launched Russian Sputnik was apparently intended to cast doubt on the beatnik's red-white-and-blue-blooded all-Americanness). And the mass media popularized the concept. Dobie Gillis, Life magazine, Charles Kuralt, and a host of other entertainers and journalists reduced Beatness to a set of superficial, silly externals that have stayed with us ever since: goatees, sunglasses, poetry readings, coffeehouses, slouches, and "cool, man, cool" jargon. The only problem is that there never were any beatniks in this sense (except, perhaps, for the media-influenced imitators who came along late in the history of the movement). Beat culture was a state of mind, not a matter of how you dressed or talked or where you lived. In fact, Beat culture was far from monolithic. It was many different, conflicting, shifting states of mind.
The films and videos that have been selected for the screening list are an attempt to move beyond the cultural clichés and slogans, to look past the Central Casting costumes, props, and jargon that the mass media equated with Beatness, in order to do justice to its spirit.[4]

Since 1958, the terms Beat Generation and beat have been used to describe the anti-materialistic literary movement that began with Kerouac in 1948, stretching on into the 1960s. Music historians saw that the beat philosophy of anti-materialism, combined with its fundamental soul-searching ethos, influenced 1960s musicians, such as Bob Dylan, the early Pink Floyd and The Beatles. Philippe Halsmans famous portrait of Marilyn Monroe Life generally refers to two American magazines: A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936; A publication created by Time founder Henry Luce in 1936, with a strong emphasis on photojournalism. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... This article is about the recording artist. ... Pink Floyd are an English rock band that initially earned recognition for their psychedelic or space rock music, and, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. ... The White Album, see The Beatles (album). ...

At the time that the terms were coined, there was a trend amongst young college students to adopt the stereotype, with men wearing goatees and berets, rolling their own cigarettes and playing bongos. Fashions for women included black leotards and wearing their hair long, straight and unadorned in a rebellion against the middle-class standards which expected women to get permanent treatments for their hair. Marijuana use was associated with the subculture, and during the 1950s, Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception further influenced views on drugs. A traditional goatee, notice the mustache par does not touch A goatee is a beard formed by a tuft of hair on the chin and a moustache around the upper lip. ... Basque style beret Black beret with military emblem A beret (pronounced pronounced in French or [ˈbɛreɪ] in English[1], except in the USA, where it is usually pronounced [bəˈreɪ][2]) is a soft round cap, usually of wool felt, with a flat crown, which is worn by both... Bongos Bongo drums or bongos are a percussion instrument made up of two small drums attached to each other. ... A leotard is a skin-tight one-piece garment that covers the torso and body but leaves the legs free. ... Turn of the century advertisement for Nesslers permanent wave machine. ... Cannabis, also known as marijuana[1] or ganja (Hindi: गांजा),[2] is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa. ... Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. ... The Doors of Perception is a 1954 book by Aldous Huxley detailing his experiences when taking mescaline. ...

The beat philosophy was generally counter-cultural, anti-materialistic and stressed the importance of bettering one's inner self over and above material possessions. Some beat writers began to delve into Eastern religions such as Buddhism or Taoism. Politics tended to be liberal; with support for causes such as desegregation (although many of the figures associated with the original Beat movement, particularly William Burroughs, embraced libertarian/conservative ideas). An openness to African-American culture and arts was apparent in literature and music, notably jazz. While Caen and other writers implied a connection with communism, there was no direct connection between the beat philosophy (as expressed by the leading authors of this literary movement) and the philosophy of the communist movement, other than the antipathy that both philosophies shared towards capitalism. Buddhism is a variety of teachings, sometimes described as a religion[1] or way of life that attempts to identify the causes of human suffering and offer various ways that are claimed to end, or ease suffering. ... Taoism (or Daoism) refers to a variety of related Chinese philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. ... Modern liberalism in the United States is a form of liberalism that began in the United States in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Ethnocracy Anti-discriminatory Affirmative action in the United States Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity... William S. Burroughs. ... See also Libertarianism and Libertarian Party Libertarian,is a term for person who has made a conscious and principled commitment, evidenced by a statement or Pledge, to forswear violating others rights and usually living in voluntary communities: thus in law no longer subject to government supervision. ... Conservative may refer to: Conservatism, political philosophy A member of a Conservative Party Conservative extension, premise of deductive logic Conservativity theorem, mathematical proof of conservative extension Conservative Judaism britney spears Category: ... Languages Predominantly American English Religions Protestantism (chiefly Baptist and Methodist); Roman Catholicism; Islam Related ethnic groups Sub-Saharan Africans and other African groups, some with Native American groups. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Beats redirects here. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ...

Stereotypes, cartoons and parodies

In The Simpsons a young Ned Flanders is seen with his beatnik parents.
In The Simpsons a young Ned Flanders is seen with his beatnik parents.

In its official history, American Greetings notes that beatniks and cartoon studio cards of the mid-1950s prompted its humorous Hi Brows card line in 1957: Simpsons redirects here. ... Nedward Ned Flanders is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons. ... Parenting comprises all the tasks involved in raising a child to an independent adult. ... The first studio cards were created in 1946 by Fred Slavic and Rosalind Welcher, seen here in 2002 at their Mount Monadnock home in New Hampshire. ...

Beatniks launched the anti-establishment movement in the 1950s, and Americans began to question tradition. Building on this counterculture momentum, American Greetings introduced a new kind of greeting card - Hi Brows. These irreverent, witty cards were slim and tall. Even the name of the cards was a rebellious parody. The inspiration for Hi Brows came from funny cards being made by Bohemian artists in their Greenwich Village studios. Hi Brows featured short, comic punch lines and cartoon-style artwork, a new generation of greeting cards to help a new generation communicate. [5]

The character Maynard G. Krebs, played on TV by Bob Denver in the Dobie Gillis (1959-63), solidified the beatnik stereotype, in contrast to the rebellious, beat-related images presented by popular film actors of the early and mid-1950s, notably Marlon Brando and James Dean. Maynard G. Krebs was the beatnik sidekick of the title character in the early 1960s U.S. television sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. ... Robert Osbourne Bob Denver (January 9, 1935 – September 2, 2005) was an American comedic actor best known for his role as Gilligan on the television series Gilligans Island. ... The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was a situation comedy which ran on CBS from 1959 to 1963. ... Marlon Brando, Jr. ... For the film, see James Dean (film). ...

The subculture surfaced on Broadway as musical comedy in The Nervous Set (1959) by Neurotica editor Jay Landesman and Theodore J. Flicker with music by Tommy Wolf and lyrics by Fran Landesman; this was the source of two jazz standards, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men" (recorded by Gil Evans, Anita O'Day, Roberta Flack, Petula Clark, Rod McKuen, Shirley Bassey and others). Stanley Donen brought the theme to the film musical in Funny Face (1957) with one Audrey Hepburn production number revamped into a Gap commercial in 2006. In yet another Madison Avenue manipulation, one of Jerry Yulsman's photographs of Kerouac was altered for use in a Gap print ad by airbrushing Joyce Johnson right out of the picture. Theodore J. Ted Flicker (born 1929) is a screenwriter, playwright, television writer, stage director, film and television director, and actor. ... Stanley Donen (born April 13, 1924) is an American film director and choreographer hailed by David Quinlan as the King of the Hollywood musicals. His most famous work is Singin in the Rain, which he co-directed with Gene Kelly. ... Funny Face (TV series). ... Audrey Hepburn (May 4, 1929) – January 20, 1993) was an Academy Award, Tony Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award-winning film and stage actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian. ... Gap, Incorporated (NYSE: GPS) is an American clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco, California and founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher. ... Jerry Yulsman photo of Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson at the Kettle of Fish Bar Gap ad with Joyce Johnson airbrushed out For the Florida photographer with a phonetically similar name, see Jerry Uelsmann This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

A sensationalist Hollywood interpretation, The Beat Generation (1959), made an association of the movement with crime and violence, as did The Beatniks (1960). The notion of violence or other criminality possibly arose because hardcore outlaws and criminals were popularly portrayed as using many of the same jive terms in their speech, and this distortion could also be seen in popular TV shows with regard to hippies a few years later. Promotional poster for The Beat Generation The Beat Generation is a motion picture released in 1959 by MGM starring Steve Cochran and Mamie Van Doren, with Ray Danton, Fay Spain, Maggie Hayes, Jackie Coogan, Louis Armstrong, Cathy Crosby and Ray Anthony. ... See also: 1958 in film 1959 1960 in film 1950s in film 1960s in film years in film film Events The Three Stooges make their 180th and last short film, Sappy Bullfighters. ... Hippies (singular hippie or sometimes hippy) were members of the 1960s counterculture movement who adopted a communal or nomadic lifestyle, renounced corporate nationalism and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism, and/or Native American religious culture, and were otherwise at odds with traditional middle class Western values. ...

Among the humor books, Beat, Beat, Beat was a 1959 Signet paperback of cartoons by Phi Beta Kappa Princeton graduate William F. Brown, who looked down on the movement from his position in the TV department of the Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn advertising agency. Suzuki Beane (1961), by Sandra Scoppettone with Louise Fitzhugh illustrations, was a Bleecker Street beatnik parody of Kay Thompson's Eloise series (1956-59). In the television cartoon Scooby-Doo, the character Shaggy is a portrayal of a beatnik. In the animated series The Simpsons, the parents of character Ned Flanders are beatniks who have him placed in a mental institution as a child after they have trouble disciplining his bad behavior (Complains his mother: "We've tried nothin', and we're all out of ideas!"). Also, in the television cartoon "Doug", Judy Funnie, Doug's older sister, is characterized as a beatnik. Download high resolution version (356x917, 122 KB)Movie Poster The Beat Generation from loc. ... Download high resolution version (356x917, 122 KB)Movie Poster The Beat Generation from loc. ... New American Library (aka NAL) began publishing paperbacks in the 1940s. ... BBDO is a worldwide advertising agency network, with its headquarters in New York. ... Suzuki Beane is a book written in 1961 by Sandra Scoppettone and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. ... Sandra Scoppettone is an American author whose career spans the 1960s through the 2000s. ... Bleecker Street looking west from The Bowery. ... Kay Thompson (born November 9, 1908 in St. ... Eloise (Ell-o-eze) is a womens name, originating from the French language. ... Scooby-doo is also British naval divers slang for civilian sport scuba diver. Scooby-Doo is an important character in animation up to this day Scooby-Doo is a long-running animated series produced for television by Hanna-Barbera Productions from 1969 to 1986, 1988 to 1991, and from 2002... Simpsons redirects here. ... Nedward Ned Flanders is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons. ... This article is about the series. ...


  1. ^ Kerouac, Jack. "About the Beat Generation," (1957), published as "Aftermath: The Philosophy of the Beat Generation" in Esquire, March 1958
  2. ^ Caen, Herb. San Francisco Chronicle, April 2, 1958.
  3. ^ Aronowitz, Al. The Blacklisted Journalist
  4. ^ Carney, Ray. "Program Notes," Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965. New York: Whitney Museum of Art and Paris: Flammarion, 1995.
  5. ^ American Greetings History, 1957: "Meet Hi Brows"


See also

Beats redirects here. ... Look up cool in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (born August 1, 1936 in Oran, Algeria), is a French fashion designer, considered among the greatest of the 20th century. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Beatnik - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (681 words)
The term "beatnik" was coined by Herb Caen in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 2, 1958.
Many historians have asserted that the beatnik philosophy of anti-materialism, combined with its fundamental soul-searching ethos, may have influenced some of the lyrics of popular 1960s musical groups such as the early Pink Floyd and The Beatles, and was the precursor of the hippie generation.
Most beatnik politics tended to be liberal; many beatniks supported causes such as desegregation, and an openness to US African-American culture and arts is apparent in beatnik music and literature, such as their love of jazz.
  More results at FactBites »



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