Hey, kids, what time is it?

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Last Thursday, I railed about Tom Brokaw’s book Boom!, a book purporting to portray the ’60’s.  Ignoring the book’s dearth of insight on the influence of Vietnam on the culture of the decade, an unfathomable omission, I challenged Broke-jaw’s authority to interpret the history of that age based on his distance from the action at the time.  I had to say something, sometime, to someone, and thank DD, you were there.

The ’60’s have been in revision since the ’80’s, and I am tired of hearing my brothers-in-arms defined as doped-out, immoral, self-indulgent, wrongheaded, and lazy. Huh-uh, baby; we are doctors and lawyers and teachers and artists and public servants and, yes, there are sell-outs among us, too.  We took time out to make a statement, and we had an influence.  Fortunately, there are books like The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage by Todd Gitlin, president of the SDS who led the first protest of the Vietnam War in 1963, to pull the ’60’s back into a perspective that we who lived through the decade can indentify.  You may know Gitlin from the Huffington Post.

An editorial review of Gitlin’s book from Amazon:

The author was elected president of Students for a Democratic Society in 1963, and he brings an insider’s perspective to bear on the turbulent whirl of political, social, and sexual rebellion we now call “the sixties.” Gitlin does a nice job of integrating his first-person recollections with a broader history that ranges from the roots of 1960s revolt in 1950s affluence and complacency to the movement’s apocalyptic collapse in the early 1970s–a victim of its own excesses as well as governmental persecution. His lucid summary of the complex strands that intertwined to form the counterculture is essential basic reading for those who don’t know the difference between the Diggers and the Yippies. –Wendy Smith

Read the book, Tom Brokaw.

It’s ass-kicking time!

Speaking of the past, let’s take up from where we left off last week:

More from the introduction to Boom!

In fact, here we are, nearing the end of the first decade of the

twenty-first century, and as you will discover in this book, many of

the debates about the political, cultural, and socioeconomic meaning

of the Sixties are still as lively and passionate and unresolved as

they ever were.

All right, then.  Maybe we have been asleep at the wheel, and maybe we have grown a little complacent with age, but the conversation is still going on.  And now, there is economic turmoil that is tearing the nation apart.

Buhdydharma, you sounded the call.  Your challenge to propose concrete steps inspired me, and I’ve been pondering a course of action.  I suggest a little subversion, suitable for responsible, over-worked, family-involved folk such as we.  My proposal:  a Statement of Intention, the spawn of a line of formal documents, beginning with the presentation of the Magna Carta to King Richard stating the demands of his nobles for a new order, encompassing Martin Luther’s 95 Theses which challenged the one true church’s authority and heralded the Protestant Revolution, and moving through our Declaration of Independence proclaiming the right of American landed gentry to rule their own.

While the idea was taking form, I thought, “Is this too revolutionary?  Am I proposing something that is too outrageous?”  But just this week, we have heard Noam Chomsky’s and Howard Zinn’s statements on the necessity of considering Obama’s election as a starting place.  Suddenly, my idea wasn’t out of line at all with ideas already “out there”.  And when Obama wins, the time is ripe for a peaceful and rational movement, driven by wisdom and devotion to one end–the acquisition of our government for We the People.

According to Sarah Palin, we are anti-American:  we’ve been called this and worse before.  We are not the ones dedicated to end this Great Experiment and establish a new form of serfdom, referred to by others as corporate socialism.  Funny how those two terms can be used to portray one social construct.  If McCain and Palin win, it’s definitely ass-kicking time.

What will the Statement of Intention–er–state?  More next Thursday.  The required materials for the project are virtual parchment, cut-and-paste capability, and someone to channel the philosophical argument of a William Godwin or a C.S. Lewis.  

The cat is out of the bag.  Invite your friends.

5 comments

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    • Robyn on October 24, 2008 at 2:08 am
  1. You’re so kind.

    • Temmoku on October 25, 2008 at 2:47 am

    There are many points of view/perspectives of the 60s….most of them have to do with where you lived or where you were from. They reflect your socio-economic upbringing and philosophy. They depend on the location of your youthful environment. Mine is influenced by a working class neighborhood as I worked my way through a commuter college in Chicago. It is also shaded by growing up in near poverty in a Project in Chicago and influenced by the depression(recession) of 1958. {If you had a job, it was a recession, if you were out of work and lost or almost lost your home, it was a depression.}

    The SDS probably had very little impact on someone with Brokaw’s background and all of his memories are influenced by his relatively secure childhood. Plus, he is older than I am and has had vastly different experiences….The 50s being a very apathetic era that slowly gave way to the desire for change and color…very much like the advent of color TV and Technicolor movies.

    His work should never be taken as definitive…any memoir is filtered though a rose colored screen of our own fantasy and desire.

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