Beatnik is a term invented in 1958 by American journalist Herb Caen to parody the beat generation and his followers, just months after it was published Along the way, the novel-manifesto written by Jack Kerouac movement. The beat writers rejected the term, however it was adopted and widely publicized by the media, applying it to a distinct stereotype youth how to dress and groom that became fashionable, and relating it to a rather negative attitude. Over time the name ended up being applied indiscriminately to both the stereotype, and artists of the Beat Generation and its followers. Beats and beatniks were diluted in the second half of the sixties, immersed in the counterculture movements.
In American slang of the time, the term “beat” indicated culture, attitude and literature, while the word “beatnik” was used to stereotype the culture beat, as it appeared in the cartoon characters.
The terms Beat Generation and beat correspond to the literary movement anti materialistic started in the early 50s and mid-60s was diluted as such to influence decisively developed youth counterculture movements in the second half of it, and particularly in its key players.
The philosophy was basically beat counterculture, anti materialism, anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian, who remarked the importance of improving the interior of each beyond the material possessions and rules imposed by the system. They attached great importance to sexual freedom and drugs as assistant inner exploration. Some writers beat approached the Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Taoism. In politics tended to be Democrats or center-left Social Democrats (called “liberals” in the US), supporting causes such as anti-racist struggles of those years. In art they adopted an open towards the African-American culture attitude, something that was very significant in jazz and rock and roll.
By that time the trend became widespread among US students to take as fashion beatnik stereotype, generalized among men using the “goatee” beard, beret, shirt with horizontal stripes, dark glasses, turtlenecks, roll their own cigarettes and playing the bongos.
For women fashion was black tights, leggings or pants halfway up the leg, dark glasses, chest knotted shirt or large sweaters, shoes without heels or simply barefoot and long hair, no arrangements or decorations in displays of rebellion against standards average that stipulated that a woman should treat your hair to have it permanently fixed (“permanent”).
The fashion beatnik also generated a special jargon, characterized by the use of terms and uninhibited expressions, many of which have persisted as “cool man” (translated as “cool, man”), “daddy-o” (translatable insufficiently as daddy or daddy), to address other, “rad” (great), etc. The beatnik man was referred to as a “beatnik cat” a “cat”.
Both the beat culture as fashion and beatnik stereotype, spread over the first half of the 60s to almost disappear in the second half, largely replaced by other countercultural movements, which were also the subject of stereotypes and simplifications in media and a specific fashion.
The beatnik stereotype opened a tendency of suspicion and persecution of the cultural manifestations of youth, who finished stretching, youth itself.