- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
In Smoking Typewriters, historian John McMillian shows that one answer to these questions can be found in the emergence of a dynamic underground press in the 1960s. Following the lead of papers like the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, and the Berkeley Barb, ...
In Smoking Typewriters, historian John McMillian shows that one answer to these questions can be found in the emergence of a dynamic underground press in the 1960s. Following the lead of papers like the Los Angeles Free Press, the East Village Other, and the Berkeley Barb, young people across the country launched hundreds of mimeographed pamphlets and flyers, small press magazines, and underground newspapers. New, cheaper printing technologies democratized the publishing process and by the decade's end the combined circulation of underground papers stretched into the millions. Though not technically illegal, these papers were often genuinely subversive, and many of those who produced and sold them-on street-corners, at poetry readings, gallery openings, and coffeehouses-became targets of harassment from local and federal authorities. With writers who actively participated in the events they described, underground newspapers captured the zeitgeist of the '60s, speaking directly to their readers, and reflecting and magnifying the spirit of cultural and political protest. McMillian pays special attention to the ways underground newspapers fostered a sense of community and played a vital role in shaping the New Left's highly democratic "movement culture."
Deeply researched and eloquently written, Smoking Typewriters captures all the youthful idealism and vibrant tumult of the 1960s as it delivers a brilliant reappraisal of the origins and development of the New Left rebellion.
An unusually thoughtful account of the in-your-face underground press of the 1960s and its role in fomenting a decade of youth revolt.
McMillian (History/Georgia State Univ.;co-editor: Protest Nation: Words that Inspired a Century of American Radicalism, 2010, etc.) immersed himself in Bell & Howell's Underground Press Collection on microfilm to write this readable, richly detailed study of the hundreds of anti-establishment 1960s newspapers—from theLos Angeles Free Press to Rag (Austin, Texas) and The Paper (East Lansing, Mich.)—that "educated, politicized and built communities among disaffected youths in every region of the country." Edited by young radicals, filled with heated prose and muckraking by reporters who were engaged in the events they covered and made possible by inexpensive new printing technologies, these brash, often amateurishly produced, grassroots publications helped unite revolutionaries and bohemians and played a seldom-acknowledged key role in fostering the protest culture of the '60s. Sympathetic but fair, McMillian points out the aesthetic and intellectual shortcomings of these often-salacious publications even as he traces their astonishing success at reflecting the democratic sensibilities of '60s youths. The author provides numerous sharp portraits: Art Kunkin, half-Marxist, half-hippie founder of theLA Free Press(the "Freep"), and his superior coverage of antiwar activities and the 1965 Watts riot;Ray Mungo and Marshall Bloom, founders of the Liberation News Service, which issued weekly packets of political news and analysis from an urban commune; and the legendary John Wilcock, a founder of the Underground Press Syndicate. The chapter on the papers' role in spreading rumors about getting high on "banana joints" is a hoot. In 1968, the FBI began compiling information on underground papers. Federal and local authorities busted underground journalists for obscenity or drugs; intimated the landlords, advertisers and printers; and hassled their street vendors. By decade's end, most underground papers ceased publication. In their wake, they left a bevy of lifestyle-heavy alternative publications like the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper.
A welcome book on the '60s—a nostalgia trip for those who were there and a vivid work of history for anyone curious about the journalism that jolted a decade.
Introduction Chapter One: "Our Founder, the Mimeograph Machine": Print Culture in Students for a Democratic Society Chapter Two: "A Hundred Blooming Papers": Culture and Community in the 1960s Underground Press Chapter Three: "Electrical Bananas": The Underground Press and the Great Banana Hoax Chapter Four: "All the Protest Fit to Print": The Rise of Liberation News Service Chapter Five: "Either We Have Freedom of the Press or We Don't Have Freedom of the Press": The War against Underground Newspapers Chapter Six: "Questioning Who Decides": Participatory Democracy in the Underground Press Chapter Seven: "From Underground to Everywhere": Alternative Media Trends Since the Sixties Afterword Notes Bibliography