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Beginning to See the LightSex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680788

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.001.0001

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See America First: Easy Rider and Alice’s Restaurant

See America First: Easy Rider and Alice’s Restaurant

(p.51) See America First: Easy Rider and Alice’s Restaurant
Beginning to See the Light

Ellen Willis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter presents the author’s analysis of the films Easy Rider and Alice’s Restaurant set against the broader narrative of the cultural revolution taking place in 1969. At this point, hate and love for America seemed to be converging into a sense of cosmic failure, a pervasive feeling that everything was disintegrating, including the counterculture itself, and that there was really nowhere else to go. Easy Rider is about the failure of America on all levels, hip and straight. In contrast, Alice’s Restaurant concentrates almost entirely on decay from within, along with sex as a central theme. Both films however, deal with the overarching question: What went wrong with America?

Keywords:   cultural range, cultural revolution, Easy Rider, Alice’s Restaurant, counterculture

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