The omnipotent Cold War fear of destruction for the beat generation and after was two words - The Bomb. The atom bomb. The big one.
Paranoia and Hiroshima’s clouds still hung over America. Air-raid procedures were being rehearsed all over the country. Schoolkids hid under their desks, and America busily grew its Cold War nuclear arsenal.
Gregory Corso's "Bomb" mocks all this beautifully. A roguish mix of contempt, pity and bleakly comic irony: "Into our midst a bomb will fall / Flowers will leap in joy, their roots aching."
Hipsters responded smugly by wearing Ray Bans in public. To protect themselves from the bomb's all-melting white flash.