Since his first major poem, Howl, Allen Ginsberg has been a center of controversy. His poems talked about homosexuality before it was considered acceptable to discuss, and openly admitted his use of marijuana. He was an advocate of making it legal for adults to have sex with those under 18 years or age. Because of the views that Ginsberg had, his poems all have some common themes.
One of the most prevalent themes however, especially in his more recent poetry, is anti-industrialism. In Ginsbergs view, industrialization has made people less social, A Supermarket in California is about this idea. In this poem he says that in a Supermarket, even though one is surrounded with people, one is alone because they dont talk to anyone. He talks about how people go home to lonely cottages with cars in the driveways. He seems to be ridiculing the American Dream, saying that they have achieved that dream, but is it worth it to live in loneliness. Ginsberg also shows his anti-industrialism in Industrial Waves.
In this poem Ginsberg comments on the reduction of freedom that smart cards would cause. He also says that while the individuals freedom is being taken away, big businesses continue to have freedom. He says this in his usual fashion, using a image not usually considered appropriate, Freedom for Exxon to examine your pee! In Who Runs America Ginsberg asserts that America is run by the oil industry.
First he described the effects of oil on cities. He described the smog and smoke over cities and across the horizon. Next he talks about all the companies that use, and make products that use oil. Some examples of the companies that he says are General Motors, General Electric, IBM and Exxon. Ginsberg also points out the oil spills that ar inevitable around oil tankers and oil rigs. This is obviously an anti-industrialist poem, specifically taking a stand against the use of oil.
Hum Bom! is another poem dealing with oil, but specifically the Gulf War and how it started. Ginsberg says in this poem, that nobody really wants to go to war, but wars come into existence because of a slowly escalating misunderstanding. The Gulf War was fought over oil and never wouldve happened if industry werent so dependent on petroleum products. Perhaps Ginsbergs most famous poem, Howl is loaded with anti-industrial ideas. For example, in part two, Ginsberg addresses Moloch, who, according to legends, people sacrificed children to. Ginsberg uses Moloch to represent the modern things to which people are still sacrificed, such as robot apartments and invisible suburbs.
He says that people broke their backs lifting Moloch to heaven, meaning that people spend all their energy on modern things such as demonic industries, apartments, suburbs and blind capitols. Throughout his poetry, Ginsbergs views on industry can be seen. It can be seen in almost every poem he writes whether it is in there literally symbolically. Even poems that have a different central theme still seem to have anti-industrialism stuck in there somewhere.