Posted: November 28th, 2013
American Cultures in the Sixties
The book, “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby” by Tom Wolfe shows how the American culture in the sixties was. Wolfe wrote the story when he was assigned to cover the hot rod shows for his paper. He experienced something that was not common to people at that time. He saw how the teenagers were reinventing art, and how they were redesigning cars to suit their taste. The book describes the culture of people in various cities such as New York, and Las Vegas. The American culture was changing fast after the Second World War. The men and women who had gone to fight in the war had come back, and they had much time on their hands. America had also recovered economically, and people had more income. People in different cities had formed various societal classes. Some wanted to be identified with the elite, and this is seen in the way they behaved. Wolfe observes that some of the magazines and newspapers at that time were published as totems. People felt that they had to carry them, as a way of showing that they belonged to a certain class.
The economic prosperity in the country made it possible for people, especially the younger generation, to pursue other interests. They were involved in art, and they were not necessarily interested in the money they got, but in developing and perfecting their art. They wanted to be recognized and esteemed in their own circles. The teenagers had their own subculture. They designed and customized their cars, something that was not heard of during that time. Wolfe recognized this as art, and he wanted to learn more about it, and inform the people. Wolfe appreciated the fact that the teenagers were doing something different, and they were not afraid to defy the societal norms. He was able to do this because, as a journalist, he had chosen to deviate from the norm in his style of writing. He created and adopted his own unique style of writing, which came to be popularly referred to as the new journalism. By showing the trends that he and the teenagers were setting, he illustrated the changing culture of the sixties. He showed how the young generation in the sixties was not afraid of change.
People were more prosperous in the sixties, and they could afford the kind of lifestyle they wanted. They had more money to spend, and they could afford luxuries. Unlike before, most of the young people had more money, and they chose how they spent it. They abandoned traditions and things of old, and they chose to create their own lifestyles, which could accommodate their needs. American culture in the sixties was characterized by a shift from the conservative eras of the fifties. The country’s population has increased tremendously during this time. This revolutionized their way of thinking, and they changed the American culture. Young people during this time yearned for change. They influenced these changes in every area of their life including education and lifestyle. They changed their values and customs. They were not content with following and practicing the values that their parents had practiced.
Wolfe describes the change in fashion and hairstyles during that time. He describes the bouffant hairstyles that were the norm in the sixties. People in the sixties were keen on having fun in whatever way they could. Wolfe describes the dances and the rock music, which was popular at the time. The stock car races were a big event, especially for the younger generation. The trends that the young generation set in the sixties continued in other years. The increase in population has made people more confident. They knew that they would make many achievements. They did not have to follow the rules that had been set before, but they chose to set and change their own rules. Wolfe describes how the men smoked, drank, and chased women. They were no longer concerned with what the society thought of them, and they did things for their own pleasure.
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