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Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Evolution of an American Youth Culture


Douglas Brode

Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n’ Roll analyzes the cultural, political, and social revolution that took place in the U.S. (and in time the world) after World War II, crystalizing between 1955 and 1970. During this era, the concept of the American teenager first came into being, significantly altering the relationship between young people and adults.
As the entertainment industries came to realize that a youth market existed, providers of music and movies began to create products specifically for them. While Big Beat music and exploitation films may have initially been targeted for a marginalized audience, during the following decade and a half, such offerings gradually become mainstream, even as the first generation of American teenagers came of age. As a result the so-called youth culture overtook and consumed the primary American culture, as records and films once considered revolutionary transformed into a nostalgia movement, and much of what had been thought of as radical came to be perceived as conservative in a drastically altered social context.
In this book Douglas Brode offers the first full analysis of how an American youth culture evolved.
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Chapter 5. The Tramp Is a Lady: Mamie Van Doren and the Meaning of Life


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Mamie Van Doren and the Meaning of Life

“She loves the free-flown wind in her hair;Life without care.She’s broke, but it’s ok . . .That’s why the lady is a tramp.”

—Lorenz Hart, Babes in Arms, 1937

In Woody Allen’s science-fiction comedy classic Sleeper (1973), hero Miles Monroe wakes up in a dystopian future. There, he learns everything he’s ever been told (and, without question, believed) was good for him is, in fact, bad. And vice-versa:

Dr. Melik:

This morning for breakfast, (Miles) requested something called ‘wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.’

Dr Aragon:(chuckling)

Oh, yes. Those were the ‘charmed’ substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving qualities.

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