Blog Post 3: The cost of individualism

Today it is hard to imagine being arrested simply for playing music in a city park but unfortunately, this was a reality that many folk musicians and their listeners faced if they chose “organize” without permission. The sixties as I see it was a time where Beatniks faced oppression for choosing to be individuals in a public place. Jonny the foot wanted to challenge this and chose to express himself vocally in a public place and was arrested for his chosen form of expression. He left his not so perfect niche in Nebraska and come to a place where people could be individuals as weird and wonderful as they wanted. He’s chosen form of expression was feet art that showed the miles he put on them similar to the way a car shows its mileage. He, like many other Beatniks, was after individuality. This wasn’t uncommon for the people of his generation that grew up un the cookie cutter towns that preached materialism and sameness. Not everyone chose to express themselves like Johnny. One form of expression arose in the form of the Folk Revival where musicians like Bob Dylan proved their individuality lyrically speaking out against injustices through rhythm and lyrics. Some of these Folk revivalists were women like Joan Baez who chose to express her independence and liberation as a woman from men who wanted to tie her down. In the end, all of these people were after the same thing, freedom to express themselves where ever they chose. They were met by the “upstanding citizens” who arrested and brutalized them for simply protesting or playing music publically. This was the cost of being an individual, potential arrest, police brutality, and jail time. Today, in a time where singing and participating in demonstrations in a public park is not something people are being arrested for, it is easy to forget the social change that the Beatniks and Folk Revivalists brought about, however, without them we may not be so familiar with the ability to express ourselves.

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