HopperPaul Goodman is not terribly well known now (with good reason), but his Growing Up Absurd, 1956, was one of the bibles of the first wave of post-war rebels, particularly those who tended to passively revolt through lifestyle rather than actively in politics.

Growing Up Absurd

interior"Those of the disaffected youth who are articulate, however – for instance, the Beat or Angry young men – are quite clear about the connection: their main topic is the “system” with which they refuse to co-operate.

They will explain that the ‘good’ jobs are frauds and shells, that it is intolerable to have one’s style of life dictated by Personnel, that a man is a fool to work to arrowlinepay installments on a useless refrigerator for his wife, that the movies, TV, and Book of the Month Club are beneath contempt, but the Luce publications [Life magazine,Time magazine, Fortune magazine] make you sick to the stomach; and they will describe with accuracy the cynicism and one-upping of the “typical” junior executive.

p. ix.

Paul Goodman became one of the most influential social critics of the 1960s after he published Growing Up Absurd, which looked at the problems of youth in the "organized system" of modern American society. He wrote on many subjects, criticizing the failings of our oppressively organized, technologically dependent, and conformist society. He critically revealed the callous underside of alleged progress and making practical proposals to create a modern society on the human scale.

Pauline Kael was one of a band of struggling bohemians and home-grown existentialists — writers like Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Paul Goodman, and Norman Mailer — who mostly did not know or like each other very much — who provided much of the intellectual content of the youth explosion now known as "the Sixties." Linear advocates of non-linear thinking, they discarded the prissy intellectualism of the T. S. Eliot–W. H. Auden crowd, which had pretty much prissified themselves out of existence, the tendentious theorizing of the Marxists, whose arguments didn't make much sense to a generation raised in the wealthiest society civilization had ever known. They discarded these earlier criticisms of society along with the anal-retentive good taste of fifties liberalism, which simply could not get past defending the New Deal.