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Monday, May 19. 2008
For our younger readers: Reminiscences of the 60s
Our younger readers - younger than me, that is - might be interested in the reminiscences of the 60s by six prominent writers and commentators in City Journal.
Let me say that I was there. There is no period of time that is more wrongly romanticized, glorified, and magnified in importance. It was the lunatics trying to run the asylum, and little more. The socio-cultural story of the 60s belongs in the dustbin of history.
Just one quote from Sol Stern's contribution, to tempt you:
Whether the Vietnam War was a wise idea or not (debatable, as wars usually are), the cultural news of the time was dominated by nihilists, Communists, the drug-addled, and mixed-up adolescents - all magnified by a press who found a pimply "society-rejecting," pot-smoking "hippie" more intriguing than an upright, straight-arrow kid who volunteered for the Marine Corps.
The only consolation for us in the US is that the press in Europe took this BS far more seriously than ours did. Our press just wanted voyeuristic and disturbing new stories to sell magazines and newspapers. Their press wanted a Communist revolution. (They would have been quite surprised, however, if it did happen, to find that they and their friends were not in charge.)
Photo: The appalling and deluded Tom Hayden - Communist, traitor.
Posted by The Barrister in History, Our Essays at 14:57 | Comments (35) | Trackbacks (0)
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"Let me say that I was there."
How old were you in 1967 and where were you living?
Tom Hayden's wife, Jane Fonda was equally a traitor, when she accepted a note slipped to her by an American being held prisoner and then handed it over to his captors. Will never forgive her for that. No one else should either.
I qualify as younger than thou. Born of nincompoops such as these.
I have always wondered where the hell the "greatest" generation was when all these drugged up hipsters were raising havoc.
It flipped between the 50s and 60s for sure, but where did the "will to empire" evaporate to in one decade?
I worked at a recycling plant in SJ 20 years ago. I found all kinds of vintage papers being recycled. I saved one SJ Mercury with a cover story about how TWO Marines just back from Korea beat up a crowd of commie protesters - with their own signs no less. By the time the altercation was gaining steam some other concerned citizens joined in.
Where did THAT America go and how can I get there now?
RE: The only consolation for us in the US is that the press in Europe took this BS far more seriously than ours did.
No consolation, Mr. B. Hayden was an elected official too. That is serious.
from Wiki...Hayden later served in the California State Assembly (1982-1992) and the State Senate (1992-2000).
I met Abbie Hoffman one night while waiting on line for a concert at Carnegie Hall. At the time he was on the run for drug trafficing. We had a real intelligent conversation. He said: " You got any stuff," meaning drugs. I said no, I lied. I didn't want to share my stuff with him. My little encounter with a worthless historical figure.
When one makes a strong statement such as:
"Let me say that I was there."
one is telling everyone "You can believe everything I say because I was there."
So it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask you to define what "there" means, does it?
Again, how old were you in 1967 and in what area of the country were you living at the time?
You're the one who made the statement. As such, you're the one who must justify it.
I was there, too. Don't forget that the anti-war protests were originally anti-draft protests. The Kennedy and early Johnson administrations did an even worse job of selling the Vietnam war than the Bush administration has done of selling Iraq. But during Vietnam, young people just beginning their adult lives were being drafted into a war they had not been taught to believe in.
Where were the "greatest generation" people? These were the folks who were drafted and enlisted into WWII - a war that was sold by our enemies. They grew up in the depression, where folks waited for Roosevelt to bail them out, then followed orders for the rest of their young adult lives as member of the military. In 1965, they couldn't understand not following along blindly as the government led us into another shooting war.
Then along came people like Tom Hayden. They were very media savvy and learned to get out in front of the demonstrators, grab the reporters, and take ownership of the demonstration, even though most of the demonstrators had no idea who Hayden and his crowd were.
And it didn't have to be a demonstration - the leftists made any gathering into one. For instance, the University of Georgia had an absurd event for freshmen called the shirttail parade. Freshmen male students were assembled outside on a fall day in white shirts, jackets, ties, wing tip shoes, boxers and no trousers. They marched around campus this way.
Then came the three hippies attending the school. They made an anti-war banner and marched ahead of the shirttailers. The photographs the news media took made it look like the shirttailers were marching against the war, when in fact, they hadn't even seen what was on the sign.
It was a time when many traditions were destroyed by people who would do anything to make a political point.
So...you're saying the GreatGen was caught with it's pants down then?
Excerp from that City Journal review of Saul Bellow's 'Mr. Sammler's City':
The professors were turning against Western culture because, with religion weakened among the elites, culture was the last authoritative bastion of “Thou Shalt Nots,” the repository of the great thinkers’ conclusions about what kind of life and behavior is best for man, what makes our existence meaningful and human, what allows us to fulfill our highest potentialities—and what leads to strife and sorrow. This final push for liberation on campus, including a liberation from Enlightenment reason itself, didn’t want to hear about the right life or the wrong. Every kind of experiment in living—“coupling in all positions, tripling, quadrupling, polymorphous”—was fine in elite culture’s “united effort to conquer disgust.” The era’s artists and playwrights turned against culture, too: Bellow mentions the painting of Andy Warhol, with its fey, arch insistence that there’s no difference between the higher accomplishments and the lower, or among art, commerce, and celebrity; and he mentions the Performance Group’s famous production of Dionysus in ’69, whose naked actors evidently had missed Nietzsche’s caution that art needs the shaping, ordering Apollonian element to contain the frenzy, sexual license, and intoxication of the Dionysian, which, left to itself, ends in murder. For the elites, it was Dionysus all the way.
That’s what worried Bellow most about the radical professors and their elite allies. “You don’t found universities in order to destroy culture,” he wrote after the fracas at San Francisco State. “For that you want a Nazi party.” Who could tell where the professors’ overturning of the Thou Shalt Nots would end, now that sexual restraint had evaporated? They claimed they wanted a revolution, and they hailed the Black Panther “revolutionaries” and black radicals who brandished rifles at Cornell in 1969. Sammler, for his part, can’t help recalling that almost all modern revolutions, from the Jacobins to the Nazis and the Communists, have ended with the streets running with blood, because murder has been at their heart, rather than an incidental means to an end. For revolutionary leaders like Stalin, “the really great prize of power was unobstructed enjoyment of murder,” while the revolutionary masses in turn “loved the man strong enough to take blood guilt on himself. For them an elite must prove itself in this ability to murder.”
Each modern revolution (the American one alone excepted) overturned civilization’s ultimate restraint and became “a conspiracy against the sacredness of life.” So while Sammler understands the violence of the camel’s-hair-clad robber as a brutish reversion to the state of nature when society fails to keep order, he knows from experience that when a revolutionary elite calls for the overturning of restraints and the trashing of culture, it can end in something still worse—in the elite’s seizing control of the government and unleashing against some of its own citizens the very same murderous violence that government theoretically exists to curb. And such elites have done so even with the genius of the Nazis, who learned how to “abolish conscience” and “how to get the curse out of murder” by making it “look ordinary, boring, or trite.”
((much, much more at link))
My pore ole dad, 50 yrs old in 1970, once said to me (in the midst of my candy-ass-but-blind-to-it explaining of the world to him), "goddammit, spend fifty years learning the rules and then they up and change all of 'em."
No they didn't, dad -- it just seemed so for awhile.
IIRC, Abbie Hoffman was a fugitive for several years from drug charges while living on Wellsley island, which is a beautiful place in the Thousands Islands of Upstate NY. Wiki says he was involved in the environmental movement for saving The St. Lawrence River. Google Wellsley Island Images. It is a great place. He went unrecognized for years.
"I was there, too."
For the moment, we'll have to drop the "too". I asked Barrister what he meant by "there" and he refused to answer me, which I suppose is an answer unto itself.
In your case, may I ask the same thing? What do you mean by "there"? How old were you in 1967 and what area of the country were you living in?
I keep being surprised as the cranky, self satisfied blather written by the commentaters and readers on this blog. The 60's were a genuine revolution in cultural values, democracy, and political culture yet I find you all whining that somehow you either were not at the center or think it should not have happened. What's done is done. Stop the self centered blather.
I was 19 years old in 1967 and I was attending universities in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as playing in rock bands that toured the southeast. I also helped lead one of the first student demonstrations on the east coast protesting the Georgia legislature's appointment of Lester Maddox as governor after the 1966 election failed to produce a candidate with more than 50% of the vote.
As I described in my previous post, I witnessed the hippies beginning to invade the University of Georgia (we were later than California) in 1966, attended the first two Atlanta International Pop Festivals in Piedmont Park and Atlanta International Raceway, and watched SDS and other pro-communist organizations plying their trade at Georgia State University from 1969-1972.
I even regularly read The Great Speckled Bird with it was a more libertarian, pro-freedom underground newspaper. I stopped reading it when it turned into a pro-commie, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli rag after Arafat blew up those planes in the desert.
I don't know what difference this makes, but do I pass whatever standards you are attempting to set?
Is that enough to qualify as being there?
Sounds like some pretty exciting times. By coincidence, I, too, was in a rock band in '67, although just one of a zillion S.F. Bay Area rock bands at the time. Yeah, the SDS were assholes, and never really got what they deserved.
"I don't know what difference this makes, but do I pass whatever standards you are attempting to set?'
Setting standards? If someone such as yourself or Barrister says "I was there", it doesn't seem too invasive to ask the person what "there" means, does it? I was just curious whether you actually meant "there" as in location, or "there" meaning you were alive at the time.
There as in alive and young at the time. I don't see the 60s as a location, more of a mind set. I was attracted to the promises of freedom, but upon investigation almost always found increased totalitarianism.
BTW, I'm enjoying your computer geek series. I'm still moving all the crap off my C drive. Ha.
''The 60's were a genuine revolution in cultural values, democracy, and political culture yet I find you all whining....'' sez Boot.
''The 30's were a genuine revolution in cultural values, democracy, and political culture yet I find you all whining....'' could've said Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao.
Overstated? Not within the logic of your satement, which posits without any qualification whatsoever that 'revolution is good'.
This country was founded on revolution.
Does that qualify as 'good'?
Well, admittedly I'm prejudiced because I don't like eating cow stomach linings, but I'd mark it down in the 'Good' column. I presume you do, too.
So, now that we've established that revolution can be good, does that verify Boot's statement? If you'll read over your remark to him, that's what you were hinging his argument on, and please note that you were the first one to use the word "logic". Ergo, by logic's dictums, once we've proven that revolution can be good, then it follows that the rest of his argument must be true.
Additional "revolution" substantiation here.
classic inductive vs deductive error, drM. Are we talking about revolution, or the 60s?
Boot in effect said that since the 60s were a revolution, the 60s were good.
I said in effect that since revolutions may be bad, the 60s weren't necessarily ("necessarily" is the key word) good.
The only reason i challenged Boot is, Boot is a committed liberal (from what i've seen of his thinking), and in his comment exhibited, imho, one of the more unfortunate mental habits of committed liberals: the tendency to try to end debate, to own the right to the last word, to shout down the opposition.
Broadly, the dismal tide of arrogance leads toward totalitarianism and eventually toward physical elimination of the opposition.
Boot does not understand this, of course, so he is not necessarily evil -- he merely at times -- imho -- treads upon the path that leads there.
Well, Boot's primary statement, "The 60's were a genuine revolution in cultural values, democracy, and political culture" certainly can't be debated. The argument is whether what happened back then was good or bad for the country overall. That could be debated to the end of time, as I'm sure it will be.
Er, just for the record, the point I made was that there is no point. :)
BTW, Habu and Buck are different people. Habu, as he's stated, lives in Florida and Buck lives in the Southwest. I think you misread both of them last weekend. Even after Buck realized that he'd pwned himself by believing the parody, he still couldn't let go. Habu may be a bunch of bad things, but "dense" isn't one of them. If Habu was going to make some kind of attack, he wouldn't take the "I'm an idiot" approach.
As idiosyncratic as it may appear, it appears ol' Buck is well named.
maybe you're right on Buck -- i dunno where the posts originate -- habu does use the nome de plume quite often tho -- and Buck sounded like him in that context. however, point taken --will pay attention to adding qualifiers next time -- blanket statements so often pull wool over eyes despite making for warmer commentary.
Your point toward your pointlessness is pure non sequiter -- you said it was pointless to argue a certain topic, but that WAS a point. A point made about pointlessness is still a point.
And my point all along was that Boot had made a point he didn't mean to make: he said 60s good because 60s were revolutionary. That is an assertion, and the point made by any assertion is that an assertion has been made.
There is no other point possible in an assertion, other than "i make this assertion". The point becomes "i make this assertion".
The point of making an assertion is to make the point that you are an assertion-maker.
In an assertion, the actual imbedded topic (in this case, whether or not something is something) becomes instantly another subject entirely.
don't go movin' dem goalposts on me, merc -- i is wise to such trickery!
"...you said it was pointless to argue a certain topic, but that WAS a point. A point made about pointlessness is still a point."
If I say "point taken", do I still lose a point?
I didn't mean to say it was pointless to discuss the issue, I just meant it wasn't what ol' Bootsie was driving at. He's upset with the smug, self-righteous tone exhibited by the bloggers and commenters alike, but, if that's his beef, he's going to have a long, long row to hoe.
well, if that's all you meant, bootsie said THAT himself. so there never was any misunderstanding at all -- except for the misunderstanding that there had been a misunderstanding.
A misunderstandings about a misunderstanding makes me let out a respectful whistle. That's some misunderstanding, that misunderstanding about a misunderstanding. It's the best there is.
"Because he's crazy," Doc Daneeka said. "He has to be crazy to keep flying combat missions after all the close calls he's had. Sure, I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to."
"That's all he has to do to be grounded?"
"That's all. Let him ask me."
"And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked.
"No. Then I can't ground him."
"You mean there's a catch?"
"Sure there's a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
ha -- well, who could ever forget that immortal Yossarian/Daneeka conversation?
Well I'll be looky here... seems the 'logs' might be around after all. I'm thinking you need go back and read that there thread again Doc. As it appears to me you maybe missed a thing or two... or just choose to overlook what don't make you look too good. But here, I'll save you some trouble... when you did your big deletion frenzy on that thread you left one comment that referred to the whole mess. That one comment of course was yours. And in it you criticized Meta and Buck. No other context left for anyone to see whether your comment was righteous or not. And you know, golly gee, there weren't a bit of parody in that. It was calculated to make you look good, that's all.
That's what got me riled. By the way, I have the before and after on file if you should have problems finding what I'm talking about. Hell, I can put'em right here if you like... even bold out the pertinent parts for you.
And oh, Doc... careful please on the casting of aspersions.
You can ignore me Doc... but I ain't ignoring you. Nice that you once again 'cleaned up' that post. But I have everything here, on my non-partitioned hard drive. Waiting for the 'right' moment.
I regret you are not more challenging. It could have been fun.
Sorry, didn't know you were expecting a response. What was it you wished to discuss?