Countering the Counterculture: Rereading Postwar American by Manuel Luis Martinez

By Manuel Luis Martinez

Rebelling opposed to bourgeois vacuity and taking their countercultural critique at the highway, the Beat writers and artists have lengthy symbolized a spirit of freedom and radical democracy. Manuel Martinez bargains an eye-opening problem to this characterization of the Beats, juxtaposing them opposed to Chicano nationalists like Raul Salinas, Jose Montoya, Luis Valdez, and Oscar Acosta and Mexican migrant writers within the usa, like Tomas Rivera and Ernesto Galarza.     In an cutting edge rereading of yankee radical politics and tradition of the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, Martinez uncovers reactionary, neoromantic, and occasionally racist lines within the Beats’ imaginative and prescient of freedom, and he brings to the fore the complicated stances of Latinos on player democracy and innovative tradition. He analyzes the ways in which Beats, Chicanos, and migrant writers conceived of and articulated social and political views. He contends that either the Beats’ severe individualism and the Chicano nationalists’ slender imaginative and prescient of citizenship are betrayals of the democratic perfect, yet that the migrant writers provided a enormously radical and inclusive imaginative and prescient of democracy that was once really countercultural.

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Extra info for Countering the Counterculture: Rereading Postwar American Dissent from Jack Kerouac to Tomás Rivera

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Burroughs in a letter to Allen Ginsberg, 1951 The hippie movement ... has its roots directly in the Beat Generation. Barry Miles, William Burroughs In William Burroughs: EI Hombre Invisible (hereafter Burroughs) Barry Miles, biographer of both Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, makes a typical interpretation of the Beat phenomenon's cultural and political significance: "The group was more of a fraternity of spirit and attitude than a literary movement, and their writings have little in common with each other; what they did have in common was a reaction to the ongoing carnage of World War II, the dropping of the A -bomb and the puritan small-mindedness that still characterized American life.

The provision's "Custodial Detention Program" required the compilation of names, based not on previous criminal conduct but on beliefs and associations. The public had to be convinced of the threat of infection of radicalism. Much as a community would mobilize for a quarantine, the Congress began to put into place a system that would arrest the "radical-virus": By the end of 1952, another thirty-three communists had nevertheless been convicted, three others had been acquitted, and further trials were scheduled.

In a letter written to Allen Ginsberg in 1955, Burroughs recounts a sketch that would gain infamy in Naked Lunch. He writes Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his ass hole to talk? This man worked for a carnival, you dig, and to start was like a novelty ventriloquist act. Real funny, too at first.... After a while the ass started talking on its own.... Then it developed sort of teeth-like little, raspy, in-curbing hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the ass hole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal No Fear Like Invasion 35 rights.

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