By William Graebner
Pegged pants poodle skirts, checklist hops, rock 'n' roll, soda outlets: within the period among the bombing of Hiroshima and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, those have been distinguishing marks of the "typical" postwar teenager-if there has been a "typical" teen. during this richly illustrated account of teenage in postwar Buffalo, William Graebner argues that the so-called early life tradition was once rather a number of "disparate subcultures, united through age yet in clash over category, race, ethnicity, and gender." utilizing scrap books, oral histories, institution Yearbooks, and fabric tradition, he indicates how Buffalo youngsters have been items of numerous and infrequently adversarial subcultures. The risk free traces of "Rock round the Clock" muffled the seething gang loyalties and countercultural impression of James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Buffalo's personal "Hound puppy" Lorenz. Racial antipathies as soon as held in fee spilled out on Memorial Day, 1956, whilst white and black formative years clashed on board a take Erie excitement boat in a "riot" that recast the city's race family members for many years to come back. whereas exploring the variety inside formative years subcultures, Graebner examines the ways that adults - educators, clergy, representatives of the media, and different professionals - sought to include this iteration. The Hi-Teen membership, Buffalo Plan gown code, list hops, commencement ceremonies, movie censorship, and regulations on mystery societies and on nook lounging have been all varieties of social engineering that strengthened social and fiscal obstacles that have been on the middle of the dominant tradition. the existing grownup impact on actions, attitudes, and elegance served to redirect the "misguided adolescence" of the fifties and to obliterate their snapshot from public reminiscence. even if the media nonetheless portrays this decade because the golden age of cultural homogeneity, the variety in musical personal tastes, hair and garments types, and allegiances to disc jockeys recommend the huge range of teenage stories and demanding situations to grownup authority that have been a part of coming of age in postwar the United States. writer word: William Graebner is Professor of historical past on the nation college of recent York, collage at Fredonia. he's the writer of numerous books and co-editor (with Leonard Richards) of "The American list: photographs of the Nation's Past".
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Extra resources for Coming of Age in Buffalo: Youth and Authority in the Postwar Era
Insisting that parents and teachers did not "condemn all modern music," Davenport labeled some modern compositions "excellent," others representative of the time and "enjoyable," and a few "combinations of rhythmic noise and ghoulish howls. Do not be prejudiced against any particular type of music," he concluded. "Listen with an open mind and receptive heart. l l;J>. Refreshments ",'f. C. Churches and church organizations were regular sponsors of record hops, an adult-sanctioned aspect of youth culture.
Although this collective memory may accurately describe the formation of a fraternity or sorority, it does not fully explain "Hi-Teen," a social-engineering venture from the beginning. To a considerable degree, youths were the objects of middle-class, adult efforts to shape and contain youth culture and subcultures. The musical culture of postwar youth was extraordinarily diverse. Its major components included the disc jockey, dancing, records, live performances, and intense consumer and fan loyalties.
It is purely personal prejudice," added the editorial staff at the News, "that causes us to flee the premises when Mr. " Buffalo teenagers were just a step behind the media, voting Presley male vocalist of the year in 1957 but selecting Como the following year. 27 Record hops were for middle-class, mostly white teenagers-a substantial majority of them young girls-who were not attuned to hard-core rock 'n' roll or rhythm and blues. One version of the genre was WBEN's "Statler Hop," hosted CULTURE AND SUBCULTURE 35 In the mid-1950s, disc jockeys had much the same celebrity status as recording artists.