Skip to comments.ENGELHARD: Revenge of the '60's
Posted on 04/26/2005 3:06:35 PM PDT by Dave123
Revenge of the '60's Written by Jack Engelhard Monday, April 25, 2005
The 1960s just won't quit. Today, from the New York Times and elsewhere, we learn that Pope Benedict XVI was turned into a traditionalist when, back in the 1960s and serving as a professor at the University of Tubingen, he saw the face of Marxism and radical leftism and said, no thank you.
The 60s changed all of us, some for better, some for worse.
Jane Fonda is back and getting fairly good press. Ward Churchill keeps drawing big crowds, and of the three A-list authors we've lost over the past few months, Arthur Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, Saul Bellow -- Thompson appears to be getting most of the acclaim. Something is going on and I think it's less about a radical left-wing revolt and more about nostalgia for the 1960s.
Thompson (as seen by his contemporaries) left the room and turned off the lights. It's over? We're done? Can't be.
A generation goes, a generation comes, but we're not ready to go so fast. Yes, the 60s are still with us in newsrooms, on campus, and in spirit, and the children of that era have been grandfathered into editorial desks and faculty staffs. So conservatives may be correct. Between the media and academia, radical liberalism rules and the 60s are to blame.
But I would argue that it is not all about politics. It is about romance, the romance of a time when we were all so young and everything was possible. (I'm talking mostly about the first half.) We were subversive all right, we made trouble, but we were not political as politics is defined today.
Remember, for most of the 60s, during all those protests, sit-ins, love-ins and teach-ins, later the riots, we had two Democrat presidents, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. JFK encouraged us to express ourselves and 'let the chips fall where they may.' We loved JFK for what he was, youthful and vigorous, and for what he wasn't, Dwight Eisenhower.
We did not love LBJ, and that's when it got ugly, with LBJ, but not political. We simply wanted change, a better America for women and for African Americans and, of course, out of Vietnam. We were down on business and industry and up with song and poetry. We resented the Establishment - Democrat, Republican, no matter.
We simply wanted the ins to get out. Nothing personal, nothing political as to left versus right. I was there and never met a liberal or a conservative. There were no such people, not with those names. JUSTICE - that was the word going forth. Back then, Michael Moore would not have been making films. He'd be reading his poetry alongside Allen Ginsberg in Washington Square Park.
I did my 60s apprenticeship as a doorman at the Bitter End night spot on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, right alongside NYU, whose campus was also in an uproar, though not as big as Columbia's and Berkeley's. Activists like Mario Savio were not content with panty raids to express their civil rights.
So, from the doorpost of the Bitter End, I saw the 60s as a parade and I remember that cops were called fuzz or pigs, as they were the face of the Establishment. Remember also, that Eisenhower himself warned against the military/industrial complex, so that we were only doing what came naturally. We wanted change and we refused to take orders irrespective of the party in power.
Mostly - and I am sure to be hearing about this - it was about fun. We were on an extended spring break.
Two voices were most prominent - Jack Kerouac and Lenny Bruce. Make that three, Bob Dylan. Okay, make it three more, Peter, Paul and Mary, and, I almost forgot, Joan Baez. Since I'm on a roll, we must include Richard Pryor. These, and more, gave us the culture of the 60s, a culture still alive today.
But left-wing subversive? According to J. Edgar Hoover, yes, but he thought everybody was left-wing (communist) and subversive.
Read Kerouac carefully. He called for a free-spirited America, as did Emerson and Thoreau. Yes, read him carefully and you will find his rebelliousness shaped within the confines of big-hearted patriotism. Likewise Lenny Bruce. I caught his act numerous times and he was among the group around our table at the Hip Bagel, where we all gathered after-hours to gripe about everybody and everything - but what fun it was!
Lenny was in trouble with the courts for drugs and obscenity. Those Seven Forbidden words were his, not George Carlin's. I saw the fuzz go in alone, at the Café Au Go Go, and come out with Lenny Bruce, in shackles, for that language, and the drugs. Lenny was profane and political, but against any political party, the entire Establishment. Lenny Bruce loved America except for the rules.
So really, he was not political at all, as we know politics today, and the same goes for all the rest who are still here and want to do it all over again.
If they can't, in their fading years, they want the kids to take up the chant of mutiny. Call this an extended teach-in.
The difference? The activists of yesteryear sought change to build America. The activists of today seek reasons to destroy America. (Ward Churchill is not alone.) The Jane Fondas and the flag burners were the exception, and besides, these came later, when the true 1960s (the first half) were all done and all that innocence and idealism were dashed. They got it all wrong, those who sit in today's high places. They misunderstood and they misunderstand, and we can only pity, and fear, what Generation X will turn into from such false messiahs.
A few weeks back, in New York, I met up with a man who was a star-maker back there at the Bitter End. He is now a Hollywood producer. I asked him if he planned to make a movie (actually my movie) about that era, the idealism, the protesting, the counterculture. He is now an old man, naturally, and after giving it some reflection, he said, 'All I remember is getting laid.'
Maybe that's all there was, and that's all there is.
About the Writer: Jack Engelhard is the author of the bestseller "Indecent Proposal," the award-winning "Escape from Mount Moriah," and the novel "The Days of the Bitter End," which is being prepared for movie production. Jack receives e-mail at email@example.com.
Though I came of age in the 70's (Born in '59 - last of the Boomers..), I always thought the 60's were some magical time where everyone got high & got laid and fought for rightous causes. I had great admiration for the hippies and emulated them as much as I could.
Then I grew up.
Ah, you probably still think America was one of the good guys during WW 2.
These new history books are much better at explaining how everything (including the times before America was around) was really Bush's fault including WW 2.
Yeah I was mislead by people who actually fought in that war or saw the atrocities commited. I was young and didn't know any better, I believed. Thankfully, I now know the real root of Evil ... the US of A.
BTW ... for those who don't get it ... I was being very sarcastic on post #25
Vietnam didn't even cook up until 65 or so. And it took until the late 60's for the country to really turn against the war. Check out the movie "Woodstock". Sure, there were some anti-war themes from the performers, who were the real radical ones. But the crowd was there for the music and getting laid in the weeds. They could care less for David Horrowitz's communist revolution. No one showed up for the protests after they ended the draft.
Yeah, the 60's were over the top. And I was too young to do much more than observe from the wings.
But it sure looked like fun if you were 16.
When we've finally learned to love
who'll teach us how to hate again?
And what will we begin
to break down first,
our bodies or our friends?
Like cats that claw
amid the chaos of new garbage
will we become adept at hate,
good enough to call ourselves professionals?
Or will we go like gypsy vagabonds
seeking out new targets every night?
~ any guesses?
If you want real historical revisionism, check how Cleopatra is taught.
She's now "African-american".This despite the fact that...
1)She was not african (or even egyptian for that matter), she was of greek heritage.
2)There was no America back then.
Yeah! Red-State Baby Boomers! I'd go for that distinction. Blue State Boomers are the worst.
That bit about David Horowitz is so odd... I guess it's true what they say: poachers make the best game wardens.
I have predicted this for quite awhile, now. We Boomers will have a lot to answer for, and when we get old, those younger than us who reaped the worst of what the Boomer generation wrought, will be glad to bump us off. Boomers maybe didn't invent them, but they massively popularized (among other things) divorce, sexual promiscuity, abortion, and structurally simplistic, angry, chronically adolescent negative music -- NOT LYRICS, but MUSIC.
Newer generations haven't yet comprehended that truly horrific musical legacy and its long-term psychological effects on a nation's psyche. On the other hand, listen to the music (who cares about the lyrics, I'm talking music) of the WWII generation. It's music for grown-ups. It's complex, optimistic, INTERESTING, and inspiring -- No wonder they won the war.
Another Boomer boomerang is their liberal stalling and objecting to further space exploration and pioneering ("We need to solve problems here on earth, first!" Like that day will ever come). Our future survival as a free nation will hinge on our capabilities to master space technology. The country that dominates space, WILL dominate the rest of the planet. Just like England, a little tiny nation that nonetheless mastered the seas, and thereby built an empire on which "the sun never set."
But, Waterleak, don't blame me! I was ten years old in the Summer of Love (1967) and even then knew college-age hippies were shallow sheep, rebelling out of peer pressure and for rebellion's sake. I was especially pissed off at the protesters of the Viet Nam war (click on my screen name) because I believed that Communism was as cruel as the grave. As a teen in the '70s, I didn't fit in with my generation, not with the politics and not even with the music -- aside from a few interesting groups like Jethro Tull, the Beatles, the Moody Blues, Santana, and others, I found the music tedious, predictable, whiny, negative, juvenile, and boring. And now the stupid idiotic liberal Boomers are advocating euthenasia, mercy-killing, etc. They are signing their own death warrants.
real hippies were POOR!! Today's pseudo/neo/wanna-be hippies have a $30,000 Nissan Pathfinders, $125 Birkenstocks, a $50 tie-dye they bought online and a $200 bag of weed in their pocket. At least Che gave up his wealth and lived with the destitute, these kids couldn't go a week without an ATM card and a cell phone.
OMG ... unreal.
"The Sickie's generation"
(Yes I'm from the time too..hated it)
The boomers are stereotyped by the hippies. But if I remember the stats from the last election, they weren't all democrat.
There are boomers in the red states too.
In probably every high school, there are divisions, usually on racial lines. But my HS was entirely white. Just no minority students anywhere in range to bus.
So the division in our school was between the "hippies" and the "cowboys" (although that wasn't the name we used, a name that I'm told remained at that school until at least the late 80's). I'll have to admit today that I side with the philosophy of the cowboys. But back then, many of them were the litteral "slow" guys from special ed. There's no way any self respecting guy who had designs out for the girls would hang out with THEM.
And the worst part was that I lived in Oklahoma. And if you traveled out of state and told anyone where you were from, the very next sentence out of their mouth would be "Oh, you're an Okie from Muskogee"! (thinking they had made up a new joke) Talk about embarrasing.
So, I'm a proud "hippie", that gew up and discovered I was conservative. And I can't stand country and western to this day.
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