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eBook Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America ePub

eBook Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America ePub

by John McMillian

  • ISBN: 0195319923
  • Category: Americas
  • Subcategory: History
  • Author: John McMillian
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 17, 2011)
  • Pages: 304
  • ePub book: 1782 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1721 kb
  • Other: mbr mobi azw lrf
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 635

Description

John McMillian's Smoking Typewriters is as vivid, subtle, and scrupulous as the '60s upheaval, in all . Smoking Typewriters is a diligent work of history, and its toggling between numerous close-ups and the occasional wide shots adds up to an impressive montage of the period.

John McMillian's Smoking Typewriters is as vivid, subtle, and scrupulous as the '60s upheaval, in all its audacity and weirdness, deserves. -Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage. The forgotten cradle of today's 'indymedia' and blogosphere was the Underground Press of the Sixties revolution, an autonomous journalistic culture of writers, critics, poets and political radicals who were the connecting tissue for our generation.

-Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement

How did the New Left uprising of the 1960s happen? What caused millions of young people-many of them affluent and college educated-to suddenly decide that American society needed to be completely overhauled? 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

Download Citation On Apr 1, 2012, Robert Jensen and others published Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties .

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Smoking Typewriters The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America.

McMillian seems to want to locate the sixties underground press within a historical narrative that arcs from the radical tradition of the 1930s (another critical moment in independent journalism history) to the alternative media o. .

McMillian, John (2011). Uncovering the Sixties (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985). Smoking typewriters : the Sixties underground press and the rise of alternative media in America. Oxford University Press. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, The University of Chicago Press, 2011. Friedman stated "Fluxus West, for example, was one of the six or seven founding publishers of the Underground Press Syndicate in 1967, but we never gained any traction on the way the papers were design ed or what they dealt with.

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 and cheap printing technologies had democratized the publishing process, and by the decade's end the combined circulation of underground papers stretched into the millions.

How did the New Left uprising of the 1960s happen? What caused millions of young people-many of them affluent and college educated-to suddenly decide that American society needed to be completely overhauled? 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.

Comments

Freaky Hook Freaky Hook
Smoking Typewriters is a brief but well written and researched addition to Sixties studies. McMillian argues that the Underground Press became the counterculture movement's primary means of internal communication. Prior to the birth of the UG press, the youth revolt, says the author, was marked more by fragmentation than cohesion.

In recent times, the internet created the opportunity for Blogging which expanded and democratized contemporary political dialogue. Similarly, technological change in the 60s, in the form of photo-offset printing, made newspaper production cheap and easy. "For just a couple hundred dollars, one could print several thousand copies of an eight- or sixteen-page tabloid." This change made the Underground Press possible. McMillian shows how and why it developed. He starts with an examination of the early histories of local papers such as the LA Free Press, The Paper of East Lansing and the Rag from Austin. He moves to an analysis of the the rise of the Liberation News Service, which centralized newsgathering and dissemination nationally. Along the way, we see how traditional media and the Underground Press covered events such as the Columbia University Riots, the March on the Pentagon, the Stones Concert at Altamont and the Great Banana Hoax of 1967.

This new source of information and analysis had to overcome government disruption and the challenges of creating a product through participatory democracy in order to become what cultural critic Louis Menand called "one of the most spontaneous and aggressive growths in publishing history." McMillian believes the UG press was critical to the growth of a sense of identity in the counterculture. "Underground newspapers," he argues, "began contributing mightily to the New Left's sense that it stood at the heart of a new society." He shows how a local left-wing or avant-garde community provided the market and impetus for a radical paper and how, in turn, the paper accelerated the development of the community that birthed it. The author also demonstrates how these papers not only reported the news of the New Left community but, in some cases, created situations out of which the news emerged.

The book succeeds in adding to our understanding of the events of the 60s. It also has value in demonstrating how even a minor disruptive change in technology such as development of photo-offset can have immense impact on political dialogue. Finally, Smoking Typewriters provides an additional historical example of how media influences as well as reports events. To help achieve these goals, the author has assembled an impressive bibliography which includes interviews and correspondence with participants, Document Collections (SDS records, Student Protest files), University papers (Columbia, Amherst, University of Michigan), Underground press and Alternative Media collections.

This is a good initial analysis: succinct, grounded in research and well written. I would recommend especially to people interested in Sixties history and in the role of media in contemporary America.
generation of new generation of new
This is a Harvard University trained historian's perspective on the rise and fall of the Underground Press during its rise as proponent and explainer of the civil rights movement, and Opponent of the Indochina War, as well as all the attendant sideshows such as drugs, sex and rock and roll. It's a good beginning overview, but it's structure tied to its notion that the press was a reflection of the leading white student group of the era, Students for A Democratic Society, lead it in too narrow a path to adequately judge the diverse achievements of such papers as the Austin, Texas RAG, the Atlanta Great Speckled Bird, the NOLA Express of New Orleans, or KUDZU of Mississippi, or many others, and their respective downfalls, changes suppression during the Nixon era. There remains thousands of FBI documents still to be examined by some or several future his/her storians, 15,000 documents,according to New Left Historian Gregg Michel, were generated about one small group in Nashville, the Southern Student Organizing Committee, which gave a small grant to start one of the first student papers, THE VIRGINIA WEEKLY, at the University of Virginia, in the spring of 1967. The management of dissent, from the Hoover era to the present is a large field left for plowing, tilling and a larger harvest than this first, but interesting, overview. Howard M. Romaine, chair SSOC '65-66, CO-FOUNDER, the Great Speckled Bird, journalist, lawyer, writer (THIS SUMMER, 2016, research of The Va. Weekly will be undertaken by veterans of that endeavor.
MrCat MrCat
A few years ago, I stumbled across a source in our library (I'm an academic librarian) titled the "Underground Newspaper Collection." It didn't look like it had been touched in years- just more yellow boxes of film covered with cobweb in a section the students no longer venture. Having always been fascinated with sixties movements, I was extremely delighted to find out that within this collection were over 500 "underground" newspapers/ newsletters. I considered this a huge treasure find as most of these newspapers can't be found freely on the Internet. I wondered who took the time to preserve all these amazing papers which provide a snapshot of the lifeblood of those movements? Where did the collection come from? What was the story behind this collection?

McMillian's "Smoking Typewriters" answers all of these questions. How shocked I was to learn that the man who founded "High Times" was, in part, responsible for the preservation of this collection. I was also amazed to learn the lengths (some quite comical) the "establishment" went to in attempting to shut down and censor underground newspapers. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking "this is the kind of stuff that would make a good Coen brothers movie).

"Smoking Typewriters" is a must read for anyone interested in journalism. McMillian traces the roots of the underground newspapers of the sixties to the alternative presses that later grew and the impact they left on journalism. Although the Internet has transformed and democratized news and media in new and different ways, there is something so beautiful and brilliant about the underground newspapers that flourished during the sixties. McMillian delves into what made those newspapers so unique and why they are an important part of our cultural, political, and journalistic history. Not only is the book very enlightening but it is filled with references to original sources which are of such an interesting and curious nature, that he provides a kind of bibliography for anyone exploring the collection.

There seems to be such a blandness among the cultural and political spirit of today's college students. Having been given all the tools to disseminate information fast and engage in a dialogue easily with readers, the activist passion of the sixties seems incredibly absent. In "Smoking Typewriters," McMillian made me aware of the extreme value of these papers. I am already thinking of ways to promote the "Underground Newspaper Collection" in our library. If our students were to read this book, which I will recommend, I'm sure we might see our microfilm machines smoking again, as well.