Easy Rider- Jesse Stapp
In the film Easy Rider, Donald Costello's arguments show up in many scenes. First, Costello claims that, "The young of the 60s had contended that their culture was based not on exploitation but on love..." I would agree with this argument only to some extent. While it may be true that the young of the 60's based their culture on love, there is also a degree of exploitation shown in the film. The opening scene of the film shows Wyatt and Billy exploiting the Mexican community when they purchase cocaine from them for a cheap price relative to the price they resell it for in America. Also, there are scenes in which Billy is harassing a woman when he and Wyatt arrive at Mardi Gras. These exploitations contradict Costello's argument that the young generations of the 60's based their culture not on exploitations, but on love. Second, Costello claims that the younger crowds of the 60's based their culture, "...Not on violence but on peace." This is an argument that I absolutely side with. As discussed in class, the younger generations witnessed firsthand the harsh brutalities of the war in Vietnam. Because of this, these generations protested the use of violence and adapted peaceful ways of living. These ideals are exemplified in the film through images such as communal living. Also, the use of drugs was a method for the younger generations to expand their minds and live in harmony rather than violence. Last, Costello states that the younger groups lived, "...Not on restraints but on freedom." This is another point in which I would argue against Costello. I would not claim that the younger generations in the 60s did not seek freedom and limited restraints, but instead think that this was a time for them to learn what freedom meant to them as individuals. Costello claims that the young in the 60s based their culture on freedom. However, in the film, one can easily see that Wyatt and Billy are unsure what freedom is. Is it, for Wyatt, the ability to live on one's own and survive through hard work and determination? Or is it financial freedom if Wyatt and Billy were to ever settle down in Florida? I believe that to base one's culture on a specific ideal, one first has to define it and what they want out of it. In the film, it's clear that Wyatt and Billy are unsure as to what freedom means to them.