The Yippies´ Role in Media

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The Yippies and their role in media exemplified on Do it! by Jerry Rubin

1. Introduction

Reading Jerry Rubin´s Do it! I questioned myself what is the message he wants to convey to his readership. Jerry Rubin was one of the co-founders of the Yippies that is why the Yippies as a countercultural movement will be regarded in general first. I was especially curious to do research on the type of media that covers almost every single page of the book. An overview of the different types of media demonstrates that Jerry Rubin cooperated with Quentin Fiore who was responsible for the design of Do it!. The following analysis of a representative photo collage outlines insights into miscellaneous important matters of the Yippies that represent most of the current issues of the 1960s. Politically and socially a motive force of countercultural movements was present in the past who affected significantly the ongoing development of the United States. Due to the lack of space and time only one type of media (a photo collage) can be viewed in detail and from which will be reasoned by analogy. Next I will highlight what makes the design of Do it! revolutionary to the 1960s/ 1970s and present impulses for interpretations. An important key factor displays the commercialization of television sets in the American households and its impact on the current society. Which messages Jerry Rubin (and Quentin Fiore) intended to convey in Do it! will be analyzed in great detail and length in the last chapter. My investigations lead also to Marshall McLuhan´s media theories which will be briefly discussed.

2. The Yippies

The "Youth International Party" whose adherents named themselves "Yippies" were established around 1966 in the United States. This party represented one sample of countercultural movements back in 1960s - a time of anti-war movements and offshoot of the free speech movement. Other prominent movements were the Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panther Party for example. The Yippies did not intend political activism at first place rather than to mock the current social status quo with the help of theatrical gestures. There existed neither a formal membership nor a hierarchy within the Youth International Party. The public environment better knew the Yippies for street theatre and politically-themed pranks. Many of the political left party either ignored or denounced them and one Communist newspaper in the USA derisively referred to them as "Comedians". The Yippies focused on promoting an uninhibited lifestyle (Boyer 629f.). The most famous founders represented protesters and authors respectively writers such as Abbie Hoffman, Nancy Kurshan, Paul Krassner and last but not least Jerry Rubin. Jerry Rubin became popular due to the obscenity shout on The Frost Programme broadcast live on British TV but monumental famous due to the publicity surrounding the five-month Chicago Seven Conspiracy trial of 1969. During the Democratical National Convention in August 1968 massive demonstrations against the Vietnam War politic by using signs, banners, music, dancing, poetry and the dot of the i of provocation or amusement illustrated by a pig that was brought to the city to be "nominated" for president.

The Congress felt compelled to respond to the ever-increasing numbers of anti-war protests around the country and for that reason a grand jury indicted eight defendants (amongst others the Yippies: Hoffman and Rubin) of political conspiracy in September 1969. It lead to the Chicago Seven Trial which ended in 1970 whereby all defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy. This case was especially widely publicized because Hoffman and Rubin turned the trial into entertaining theater that would receive maximum attention in the press. For detailed illustration the Yippies would spice up the days of the trial by, for example, wearing judicial robes, bringing into the courtroom a birthday cake, blowing kisses to the jury,...
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