It’s been a tough week, so I say we continue our enjoyable generation-on-generation warfare with a completely masturbatory post (and hopefully subsequent discussion) about the 60s and early 70s.
I was born in 1969, a little after the moon landing, and yet to me, Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights marches, and the 1968 Democratic convention are more real to me than any political event that has happened in my own lifetime (Obama’s inauguration and the fall of the Berlin Wall come close). The French New Wave and early Robert Altman are more real than anything that was made when I was an of age to see adult movies (Pulp Fiction comes fairly close). Ditto for What’s Going On, Exile on Main Street, and the Beatles with popular music (the Clash and the Sex Pistols might come close but not really). There’s no journalism today that has the ring of Hunter S. Thompson or Slouching Towards Bethlehem (not to me). And in terms of scandals, nothing will ever come close to Watergate, even though by some measures what went on under Bush was worse. I’m not really talking about the 60s per se, it’s really about 1962 to 1975.
I don’t mean that cultural and political stuff was better then. More that there was a sense that these were things everyone might attention to, not just weirdos or pajama-clad blogofascists or graduate students or whatever.
I don’t think I’m alone this way. Why is this? Is it that what’s real to people is what happened to them between 15 and 25 and the country was, in effect, between 15 and 25 during that period? Does the Hunter S. Thompson “wave speech” explain it all?
I’ve never understood this and I don’t think it has to do with me or exactly when I was born.
All in all, this is probably an open thread.