This is my parent’s generation and time.
The Beat Generation, especially those associated with the San Francisco Renaissance, gradually gave way to the 1960s era counterculture, accompanied by a shift in terminology from “beatnik” to “freak” and “hippie”. Many of the original Beats remained active participants, notably Allen Ginsberg, who became a fixture of the anti-war movement. On the other hand, Jack Kerouac broke with Ginsberg and criticized the 1960s protest movements as an “excuse for spitefulness”. Bob Dylan became close friends with Allen Ginsberg, and Ginsberg became close friends with Timothy Leary. Both Leary and Ginsberg were introduced to LSD by Michael Hollingshead in the early 1960s, and both became instrumental in popularizing psychedelic substances to the hippie movement.
In 1963, Ginsberg was living in San Francisco with Neal Cassady and Charles Plymell. Around that time, Ginsberg connected with Ken Kesey, who was participating in CIA sponsored LSD trials, at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital where he worked as a night aide. while a student at Stanford. Cassady drove the bus for Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, and he attempted to recruit Kerouac into their group, but Kerouac angrily rejected the invitation and accused them of attempting to destroy the American culture he celebrated.
According to Ed Sanders, the change in the public label from “beatnik” to “hippie” occurred after the 1967 Human Be-In in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, where Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Michael McClure led the crowd in chanting “Om”. Ginsberg was also at the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention and was friends with Abbie Hoffman and other members of the Chicago Seven. Stylistic differences between beatniks, marked by somber colors, dark shades, and goatees, gave way to colorful psychedelic clothing and long hair worn by hippies. While the beats were known for “playing it cool” and keeping a low profile, hippies became known for displaying their individuality.
One early book hailed as evidencing the transition from “beatnik” to “hippie” culture, was Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Fariña, brother-in-law of Joan Baez. Written in 1963, it was published April 28, 1966—two days before its author was killed in a motorcycle crash.