(Jack Kerouac - the endless quest for something resembling truth)
The Beat Generation (a label some people cringe hearing) has become something of a quaint artifact of late, mostly caricatured and marginalized, relegated to stereotypes of an approximated past.
In the 1950's and early 60's it didn't fare that much better. Mainstream media wasn't sure what to make of it. Entire talk shows were devoted to asking the question "what is it these people want?". Discussions went on endlessly over the anthropological importance of "the beats" and magazines bent over backwards with articles posing the question "where did we go wrong?"
Truth was, it was all part of the great upheaval in society as we once knew it. One that wouldn't really blossom until the 60's, but whose groundwork was solidly laid down in the 50's, when questioning the status quo brought perplexed stares and hostile reactions. Cold War fear and a general unease were putting cracks in the facade. And maybe that split-level bungalow ranch-style just wasn't that important in the bigger scheme of things.
And so on April 5, 1960 CBS Radio, as part of their "Hidden Revolution" series narrated by Howard K. Smith, sought to bring to light the real issues behind the discontent by way of a documentary on The Cool Rebellion.
Some of the interviews are awkward, self-conscious and self-serving. But the basic gist is, something was going on - people were changing their ideas about the world and their place in it.
Like all great movements in society, it starts with being misunderstood.