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The 60's, then and now
January 10, 2007 6:46 AM   Subscribe

San Francisco, 1967. CBS news is there: "This is the house of a popular local band that plays hard rock music. They call themselves the Grateful Dead." In between some seriously heavy-handed editorializing from grand old man of the news Harry Reasoner, you can catch an interview with Garcia and company plus footage of a Golden Gate Park concert. Jump ahead 38 years, and another CBS newsman, a rather more respectful Ed Bradley, pays a friendly visit to grand old man of the 60's, Mr. Zimmerman. [links to Google video]
posted by flapjax at midnite (97 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
pays a friendly visit to grand old man of the 60's, Mr. Zimmerman.

Shalom...

posted by jonmc at 6:51 AM on January 10, 2007


hahahahaha!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:54 AM on January 10, 2007


Bah, I say! If Janis Joplin had accepted Dick Cavett's marriage proposal, Cavett would rightfully have been the grand old man of the 60's! And let's not forget the grand middle-aged man of the 60's...
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:00 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Harry Reasoner was a square.
posted by three blind mice at 7:01 AM on January 10, 2007


Bah, I say! If Janis Joplin had accepted Dick Cavett's marriage proposal, Cavett would rightfully have been the grand old man of the 60's!

And if Mama Cass had given Karen Carpenter that ham sandwich, they'd both be alive today. What's your point?
posted by jonmc at 7:02 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Reasoner" - what a great name for a journalist.
posted by wsg at 7:06 AM on January 10, 2007


Thanks for the Dylan interview, flapjax.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 7:08 AM on January 10, 2007


If Janis Joplin had accepted Dick Cavett's marriage proposal...

That certainly would've been one of the oddest (mis)matches I can imagine. And... are you serious? Did he actually ask her, like on his show or something?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:19 AM on January 10, 2007


Even more odd, Janis Joplin dated a young man named Bill Bennett, who grew up to be Bill Bennett.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2007


Bill Bennett and Janis Joplin?

Oh my!
posted by caddis at 7:34 AM on January 10, 2007


She also dated an unusal character named Seth Morgan, who led a checkered life, wrote one really good book, and died a weird death.
posted by jonmc at 7:35 AM on January 10, 2007


Wow. Reasoner comes across as a Matt Groening or Robert Smigel imagining of a square 1950s filmstrip voiceover artist.

That said, it's pretty cool that the guys in the band got a full minute to talk about what they think, and that people got to hear a couple minutes of "Dancin' in the Streets."

Today's Harry Reasoners and their producers are much better at giving the illusion of presenting an opposing viewpoint, with their rival's views chopped up into disjointed segments, or being screamed at all along.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:46 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Harry Reasoner was a square.

No kidding. That piece was hilarious. "These young people... hippies... drugs... lifestyle... drugs... real estate... drugs... and did I mention DRUGS???" His cluelessness and bewilderment and fear are so patent you want to hand him a joint and tell him to mellow out.

Totally irrelevant, but every time I see footage from the late sixties I look at those kids and think, with a pang, "My people! Where have you gone?" And then I turn and tell you kids today to get off my lawn.
posted by languagehat at 8:00 AM on January 10, 2007


This is a great video.
posted by stbalbach at 8:03 AM on January 10, 2007


She also dated an unusal character named Seth Morgan, who led a checkered life, wrote one really good book, and died a weird death.

Wow. "Checkered" and maybe slightly horrific. That said, Homeboy is a hell of a book.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 8:05 AM on January 10, 2007


My people! Where have you gone?"

Last I checked the Baby Boomer generation is in power - they hold the Whitehouse and most of the Congress. Of course instead of idealogical young hippies they are now idealogical old conservatives. I estimate that Boomers will remain in power until around 2024 or so when maybe the GenX'ers will get a term or two if we're lucky (chronologically, the first GenX president should be 2012, but that ain't happening).
posted by stbalbach at 8:09 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Totally irrelevant, but every time I see footage from the late sixties I look at those kids and think, with a pang, "My people! Where have you gone?" And then I turn and tell you kids today to get off my lawn.

Here's a joint. Mellow out.
posted by jonmc at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2007


Reasoner comes across as a Matt Groening or Robert Smigel imagining of a square 1950s filmstrip voiceover artist.

Right, he has all the determined cluelessness of Ken Brockman.

And then I turn and tell you kids today to get off my lawn.

Not much has changed with regards to relationships between the generations. When he says that the hippies don't want much from our civilization except on their own terms, I automatically switched the words around in my head to describe kids today: they want it all on the terms given to them. And the line about style without content made me think of this thread.
posted by peeedro at 8:24 AM on January 10, 2007


Last I checked the Baby Boomer generation is in power - they hold the Whitehouse and most of the Congress.

Yeah, that was kind of the point. If you had told me, or those kids in the video, that in 40 years our generation would be running things and everything would be even more fucked up, we wouldn't have believed you. If we had, we'd have dived off the cliff like lemmings.

Here's a joint. Mellow out.

*tokes, smiles beatifically*

Thanks, compadre!
posted by languagehat at 8:34 AM on January 10, 2007


"Hard Rock"
A lot of time passed between the first time I heard of the Grateful Dead via the 'square" media and first time I actually heard the music. Needless to say, I was surprised and pretty let down by the time I heard that hippy wank noodling when I was already familiar with "hard rock" like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper.
And before the Dead heads jump on me - don't worry, I came to appreciate it more as I got older.
posted by 2sheets at 8:35 AM on January 10, 2007


If you had told me, or those kids in the video, that in 40 years our generation would be running things and everything would be even more fucked up

I was watching Gimme Shelter* recently, and as I gazed upon some stoned topless hippie-chick swinging her boobs around like overfilled sandbags to "The Other Side Of This Life,' I thought, 'She either died a few years later from an OD, or she's running a corporation, now.'

The story'll probably be the same for my generation.

*my parents were the other kind of boomers, so I had discover the 'sixties' on my own, with some help from a few uncles and friends
posted by jonmc at 8:44 AM on January 10, 2007


The story'll probably be the same for my generation.

Well, maybe not exactly... I mean, young women at Lollapaloozamahooja or whatever haven't generally been seen swinging 'em around like, er, sandbags to Sonic Youth, have they?

I tell you man, it was different then.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:52 AM on January 10, 2007


Faaaar out, maaaaan.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:56 AM on January 10, 2007


Boy, that sure exemplifies my little anecdote.

Last I checked the Baby Boomer generation is in power

Amazing. Congress is largely made up, today, of people between the ages of 46 and 63. I know, I know, hard to believe.

I estimate that Boomers will remain in power until around 2024 or so when maybe the GenX'ers will get a term or two if we're lucky (chronologically, the first GenX president should be 2012, but that ain't happening).

Obama is Generation X (according to some definitions). Just sayin'. It could happen sooner than you think.

Given the median age at inauguration being 55, it's most likely to happen between 2012 and 2024. I don't think there's any reason to be certain it won't.

Now, if you're trying to make a point about the Boomers being unusually tenacious in power, I'm not sure where that's coming from other than the expanding elderly demographic. Or a point about the disinterest in politics by Gen-Xers, but that doesn't hold up to much scrutiny either.

The guys that missed out were really the Silent Generation. It's not entirely clear why -- I think they were the first (Strauss & Howe defined) generation to have no Presidents at all. Except Cheney's a Silenter. It could still happen.
posted by dhartung at 8:57 AM on January 10, 2007


Well, maybe not exactly... I mean, young women at Lollapaloozamahooja or whatever haven't generally been seen swinging 'em around like, er, sandbags to Sonic Youth, have they?

I've only seen public flashing twice, once at Metallica in '91 and once at Rocky Horror in '90. The metal crowd still digs the boobie displays, but the indie rock, it dosen't make the girls want to show their nay-nays. But we still did plenty of drugs, if that's any consolation.
posted by jonmc at 9:03 AM on January 10, 2007


Somehow Reasoner neglected to mention that hippies are filthy communists.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2007


Homer: "Lisa, Am I a hippie?"
Lisa: "Well, you're lazy and self-righteous and have dirty feet."
posted by jonmc at 9:08 AM on January 10, 2007


I think HST put it best:

“Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era--the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special timeand place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . .

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning . . .

And that, I think, was the handle--that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting--on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark--that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

posted by mosk at 9:20 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bill Bennett and Janis Joplin?

Oh my!


Yeah, I'm not sure which one I would've told "You can do better!".

I love the end of the clip, Reasoner leaning casually - well, as close to casual as he gets - against a tree, then turning his head to the camera, as though he was just standing off to side and observing the longhaired bacchanalia. CBS News is there indeed!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2007


Last I checked the Baby Boomer generation is in power - they hold the Whitehouse and most of the Congress. Of course instead of idealogical young hippies they are now idealogical old conservatives.

I often find that the ones who've done their best to remain hippies are the saddest and most ineffectual of the bunch.

I've been to a lot of antiwar happenings in the past five years. And at every single one of them, there are people who are more interested in their own image and relevance than in discussing the issues. These people are, without exception, over 45.

Left or right, could the Boomers be the generation that never got past ideology and into real work?

Of course, here I am in the generation far too afraid of any ideology.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:31 AM on January 10, 2007


Harry Reasoner:

...it appears to be style without content...

They object to the ills that beset society...but their remedy is to withdraw into private satisfaction.


A fitting epitaph for 21st Century America as well.
posted by squalor at 9:34 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark--that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

HST got it all wrong, it is still going to happen. A second wave will come.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:49 AM on January 10, 2007


Left or right, could the Boomers be the generation that never got past ideology and into real work?

Only if you don't consider anticommunism, organized labor, isolationism, hard money, manifest destiny, etc., etc. to be ideologies. Ideology IS real work and I hope our leaders never "get past it." And it's hardly inconsistent with bipartisanship or pragmatism. In fact, ideology + bipartisanship = pragmatism.

I think people who look at ideology as damaging to the system are really talking about intolerance -- the belief that not only is your ideology best for the country, but that any competing ideas have no worth or legitimacy, even that disagreement is treason.

In short, your problem is with Republicans and the Christian right, not with Boomers as a generation.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:56 AM on January 10, 2007


And you have to be excited that a guy like this got sent to Congress in November.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:59 AM on January 10, 2007


Thanks for schooling me, Flanders. You're right. Ideology is not the problem; intolerance is.

I think people who look at ideology as damaging to the system are really talking about intolerance -- the belief that not only is your ideology best for the country, but that any competing ideas have no worth or legitimacy, even that disagreement is treason.

What I was trying to say (and I know I'm not saying anything new here) is that intolerance, by the above definition, is just as rampant on the left as it is on the right. Especially among a certain segment of the left I will call, for lack of a better word, hippies.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:01 AM on January 10, 2007


And you have to be excited that a guy like this got sent to Congress in November.

Wow. I am.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:03 AM on January 10, 2007


intolerance, by the above definition, is just as rampant on the left as it is on the right

True. It's probably the #1 depressing thing about government right now.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:08 AM on January 10, 2007


Wow. Haight used to not look like shit.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on January 10, 2007


stupidsexyflanders: "And you have to be excited that a guy like this got sent to Congress in November."

Just what sort of fucking poverty of soul have you been smoking to bring you to think that the leader of a boring soft-rock band is a breath of fresh air?

It's precisely this sort of "wow kids, look-- a guy with a cool guitar!" shit that makes me loathe anyone and everyone involved in politics today. At least in the 50s, though it was the dry, humourless bastion of starched shirts, the realm of politics had a little respect for itself. Now, politics means pandering-- which means that, even if we don't have to watch people like this dance around, we have to be subjected to Democrats keening about how they understand our interests, or some such. The Republicans have a little self-respect-- they don't do that sort of thing-- but it's easy for them, since they don't really care about anybody's interests.

It's all the fucking same. In everybody's rush to beat the Repubs, a lot of kids seem to have forgotten what we learned some time ago: politicians are filth. I assure you, they haven't changed.
posted by koeselitz at 10:39 AM on January 10, 2007


Call me when they elect Lemmy president.
posted by koeselitz at 10:39 AM on January 10, 2007


flanders was making a joke. Calm down.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:50 AM on January 10, 2007


My biggest client right now is a publisher in the Bay area. After working there a while, I discovered that most of the old timers in the office -- including the company's founder & an adorable sweet grandma-type lady -- used to live in a SF commune together back in the day. I have never been able to get that information out of my head... during project meetings, I get disturbing mental pictures of my oldest coworkers all dropping acid & having crazy hippie sex together. Freaks me out.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:50 AM on January 10, 2007


... just wanted to say I'm enjoying these comments. I'd been slowly giving up faith in the collective genius inside MetaFilter - that somewhere in between all the individual educated opinions lay the closest thing to truth as can be found. There's nothing particularly spectacular here, but I think that's what makes it good. No one's trying to be a spectacle. Thanks, guys.

Perhaps I should just stop NewsFilter threads.
posted by trinarian at 10:56 AM on January 10, 2007


miss lynnster: I work at a company like that, too. A bunch of dot-com robber barons who also were all bigga-time hippies back in the day. I just assume they felt the need to overachieve at everything, including decadence. But, they're still assholes. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, and all that shit. I predict that most of todays hep young folks will making some futurejonmc's life miserable a generation from now.
posted by jonmc at 10:56 AM on January 10, 2007


"The hippies are capable of extremely hard work."

Hey man, like don't, ya know, forget all those hardhats hoisting beers, man. Anyway, get in the van E-Z rider, we've gotta finish the gardening 'cuz my old lady's like moving man! Yeah, far out!

Damn. What was finer than scoring the latest Zap comic at the magazine store? Free love, man! Peace.
posted by Twang at 11:02 AM on January 10, 2007


"I often find that the ones who've done their best to remain hippies are the saddest and most ineffectual of the bunch."

Ya know, as I recall, there wuz never any actual *agreement* on what "hippy" meant, except that it was a media word.

Ya mean people living their life, minding their own business, doing what people have always done, staying mellow, dancing? that's so sad?

Effectual? Look what solutions have done for us all, huh? Go ahead and point to "effectual". And I'll show you the blood spot.

Anyway ... back to rereading "The Outsider".
posted by Twang at 11:16 AM on January 10, 2007


Interesting video. The first 2/3 or so seems pretty balanced, until Reasoner starts in with the heavy moralizing. However, he's pretty on point in some respects - a lot of the energy of the 60s was utterly wasted, bringing about the enormous crash-and-burn that was the 70s.

Also, I think its important to note that my generation has been totally overconditioned by TV specials and movies about The Sixties. From what I understand, it really was a very small percentage of people who actually were hippies. Most people went about doing the same boring crap that people did before and after The Sixties.

Aah, the Baby Boomers. What to say about the generation that gave us both Bob Dylan and George W. Bush? I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, but I can't quite tell you what it is.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:17 AM on January 10, 2007


a lot of the energy of the 60s was utterly wasted

What's that supposed to mean? The energy we expended trying to end the war was wasted because Nixon didn't end it? The energy we expended trying to figure out how to lead more satisfying lives was wasted because... what? You don't like how we chose to lead them? The ones who grew up to become politicians are assholes, I'm not defending them, but I'm curious about what you might have in mind otherwise.
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The thing that I liked best about the Dead video was the Hell's Angels guys in front of the stage. Whether it was luck, the natural progression of time in a Heraclitus world, or whatever, it is an interesting video to pair with that Rolling Stones Altamont thing that was posted a few weeks ago. Jerry Garcia et al's peace and love and understanding was powerful enough to neutralize Hell's Angels, and they could not be imitated. Or maybe they couldn't even repeat themselves. The summer of love was there for one moment and then the hordes crashed in and nobody ever would want to go there again because now it's too crowded.
posted by bukvich at 11:22 AM on January 10, 2007


Something about that old news reel reminds me that what the Jerry and the boys were trying to do in the 60s, is what we're still trying to do now on MetaFilter; create new community, create positive change. To hear Harry Reasoner's robotic delivery and prejudicial line of questioning reminds me just how entrenched the mindset was that the Dead were trying to break out of. Also had the counter culture movement not happened I can't imagine that we would now have personal computers. "Computing is a complicated science that should be left to statisticians and experts", would probably be the general view. The world would be a very different place today.
posted by gallois at 11:24 AM on January 10, 2007


Ya know, as I recall, there wuz never any actual *agreement* on what "hippy" meant, except that it was a media word.

And yet, after 40 years, there sure is a uniform.

Punk started that way too. And after 30 years, it sure as hell has a uniform too.

Ya mean people living their life, minding their own business, doing what people have always done, staying mellow, dancing? that's so sad?

Yes, rather sad.

Even sadder is the massive sense of entitlement that I see among these wonderful mellow, dancing people. They'll go to antiwar rallies in full costume, demand to lead us in singing their crappy songs, but respond with utter apathy at anything resembling discussion. Just like their neocon counterparts, they're completely uninterested in the complex problems of world politics, only in simplified dogma.

Get off my lawn, Gramps.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:39 AM on January 10, 2007


a lot of the energy of the 60s was utterly wasted

What's that supposed to mean?


Well, I think a lot of people thought that they could change the world just by doing drugs and "tuning out" the parts of society that they didn't like. As it turns out, they were wrong - society just "tuned them out" and went on being stupid and evil.

In regards to the political sphere - the civil rights movement was very much a success, although I don't think that the protesters were able to accomplish as much as they would have liked to. The anti-war movement was also a great mobilization, although I would argue that it largely failed - how long did Vietnam drag on for?

However, I think that there was a lot of wasted energy in the political sphere. Look at the Students for a Democratic Society - the movement started out with a handful of New Left intellectuals, became popular and infulential, and then at the peak of its influence, splintered into a number of ineffectual factions and gave birth to groups like the Weather Underground.

On the whole, I would say that there were a lot of groups that were working hard for change, but a lot of this hard work was squandered in a fit of youthful impatience by people who wanted change NOW! and weren't willing to commit in the long term to the kind of work that it takes to really change a society.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:50 AM on January 10, 2007


flanders was making a joke. Calm down.

No, I wasn't. I'm not excited about people like John Hall because he was in a band, which is different from koeselitz, who seems to trust people based on how hard they rock, and who seems to have absolutely no hope or ambition for any kind of change. Don't tell me about poverty of the soul.

I'm excited about someone like John Hall because he seems to be about standing up against entrenched interests and thinking beyond the next election cycle and the attendent fundraising, and he got elected from a GOP district. The merits of "Still The One" vs. "Ace of Spades" don't really factor for me as much as they do for you.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2007


I didn't mean a "Ha Ha" joke.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:56 AM on January 10, 2007


Afroblanco, well said.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 11:59 AM on January 10, 2007


< venting>
Well jonmc, I kinda have the opposite problem. Sometimes it feels like I'm working for people who are struggling through a high school project (not running a big corporation!). At times I'll come into the office & 70% of the desks are empty. Then later in meetings everyone will looks so serious & stressed out, like chickens with their heads cut off. When I ask how they are, many respond "Ohhh, I have so much to doooo. It's crazy. I'm so behind." (And I'm thinking, "Well what about coming in before 11am then? Might help.") They will insist something is due from me on Friday yet not give me the materials I need to create it until a week AFTERWARDS... so with astounding regularity major deadlines will be missed by 2-3 weeks or more and yet the people at fault (not me) are never in danger of being fired. Nobody wants to be mean or uptight... so they don't fire people even when they suck. Because... hey, it's all right man... copasetic.

I guess I just have never related to hippies, even ex-hippies... maybe I worked in LA too long.
< /venting>

Ok after reading that back to myself, I think I'm the one who needs a joint. The ex-hippies in my life might just drive me to drugs!!! Sigh. Relax, Lynn. Ohhhmmmmmm...

posted by miss lynnster at 12:25 PM on January 10, 2007


Afroblanco, well said.

Sigh. I was going to let well enough alone, but if other people are going to go around patting you on the back for it... No, not well said. Or rather, just plain wrong.

Well, I think a lot of people thought that they could change the world just by doing drugs and "tuning out"


Wrong. A lot of people thought they could change the world by participating in politics, marching, writing their congressman, and doing whatever they could think of to get it changed. A lot of the time it didn't work? Big surprise. What, you think if you want to change the world it'll magically happen because, you know, you're you, not some hippie loser? I was there, you (I presume) weren't, so I'll thank you not to make lazy, prejudiced assumptions. And yeah, a lot of people took drugs. Drugs are fun. If you want to give the antidrug lecture, the Puritan Room is down the hall to the left.

The anti-war movement was also a great mobilization, although I would argue that it largely failed

Yeah, I would too. And your conclusion is what: that we shouldn't have tried? That we're hippie losers because we couldn't stop the war machine? What have you done about the current war, and how come it hasn't worked?

weren't willing to commit in the long term to the kind of work that it takes to really change a society.

Bullshit. More lazy assumptions. Lots of people worked really hard, and some things even got accomplished, but yeah, a lot of things didn't. And your conclusion is what: that we shouldn't have tried? That we're hippie losers because we didn't "change society" enough for you? Societies are hard to change. Try it sometime.
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


[Insert speech about Puritanism's left-wing roots.]

Barring that, languagehat wins.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:52 PM on January 10, 2007


I used to think it would be cool to jump in a time-machine and go back and experience the 60's for a few weeks.

Now I think it would be cool to buy up all those houses in the Haight and make myself a gazillionaire.

Phil Lesh can suck it.
posted by bardic at 1:03 PM on January 10, 2007


*puts on leather vest, mounts Harley, brandishes lead-cored pool cue*

Pipe down, hippies!
posted by jonmc at 1:12 PM on January 10, 2007


And your conclusion is what: that we shouldn't have tried?

My conclusion is that much of it was half-assed and doomed to fail for no better reason than who was at the contols: potheads, con artists and idealists. And then Nixon slithered into office. Twice. Great job, guys.

Nobody would say shit were it not for the fact that hippies are so self congratulatory and much of it simply due to the fact that they were alive when someone got shot. Dear hippies, you didn't get shot, you're not a Kennedy, and most of you did nothing more than steal a page or two from the civil rights movement, get high, and stage screw-ins.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 1:20 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damn hippies.
posted by homunculus at 1:40 PM on January 10, 2007


My conclusion is [blah blah moronic uninformed bullshit]

Excuse me, I was talking to Afroblanco, who I generally respect even when (as here) he's annoying me; you don't seem to have anything to contribute but abuse. The Abuse Room is down the hall to the right.
posted by languagehat at 2:26 PM on January 10, 2007


No, not well said

Excuse me, you referenced my comment and this ("blah blah moronic uninformed bullshit") is not the first time you've talked down to me. But you're very shrill and it's very funny.

Bullshit. More lazy assumptions.

Yes, I see you're very respectful. But that's really nothing more than the usual self-righteous hippy bullshit, isn't it.
posted by Brown Jenkin at 2:33 PM on January 10, 2007


Languagehat - I appreciate your respect.

As far as our discussion goes -

I didn't mean to downplay the efforts of the people who worked hard for change during the 60s. As I mentioned, I think that a lot of positive social changes were acheived, especially in the civil rights arena.

However, I don't think that you can deny that there were a lot of people who thought that just by changing their lifestyle, they could affect some sort of larger social change. While they may have had the best intentions, I think that their decision not to take part in the larger struggles, such as protests, marches, and writing their congressmen, ultimately disempowered them.

And yes, I realize that there were a lot of people in the various movements that were committed to the "long haul," and that some of them are still working for positive change to this day. However, I think that many of the people involved in the social struggles of the sixties contributed an explosion of energy in their youth, followed by a slow fizzling out in their adult years. Not that I really hold this against them - the world can be a tough place for people who genuinely care about important issues.

And in regards to drugs and puritanism - I regret that I may have come across as a puritan in my post. Let the record state that I see nothing wrong with responsible drug use, and that I think all drugs should be legalized. However, in retrospect, it seems pretty laughable that people once thought that drug use was a social statement or that it could lead to a better society.

Or, who knows - maybe at one time it was more of a social statement. I don't really know, because, as you correctly surmised, I wasn't there at the time.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:02 PM on January 10, 2007


There's one thing I'd like to point out about the 60's "peacenik" movement that has never been addressed as far as I can tell: there was no leader. There was no one person to speak for the group, field the questions, give the speeches, and inspire the people like you had in the Civil Rights movement with Martin Luther King. They needed that and they needed a message that didn't end in "man".
posted by Brown Jenkin at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2007


I'm with koeselitz.

It's funny. My generation, the generation in question (I come at the tail end of the Baby Boomers), was the last to get away with "it." Our parents were failry clueless to every new social movement. Even the media portraying the changes happening was new and unfamiliar to them.

So we could smoke pot in the basement and they didn't have a clue.

But kids today are not so lucky. We are wise to you guys. There are few firsts for you that we didn't try. I think THAT is what pisses off people about the 60 generations.

It's easy to see why people get hung up on the Hippy's. The generations before us were largely very sober, very responsible, adults. They saw WWII and Korea and a total realignment of the world. And they acted. The did their best with very crude tools.

After the War the world got too complicated and fast for them. I think they were very well intended people, surely. They created the UN. The started real debate on human rights. They reached into space. They cured diseases.

But they thought a fixed ideology — representative democracy and capitalism — had the answers to EVERYTHING. It lifted them out of poverty. Why not the world?

And as it became apparent that it DID NOT have all the answers our parents went into idealogical and social retreat and depression. Think of how the initially mis-read the environmental movement.

Anyway. This created a vacuum in society. Things still NEEDED to change. The power class didn't know what to do. So their kids stepped in. Us. Maybe prematurely. but we had little choice not wanted to continue a terrible immoral war our parents refused to end.

And we were not really very well prepared for the gritty reality of running the word since we had been much more shielded from it than previous generations. Both materially and philosophically. And then we saw how ugly the world was. And that reality conflicted with our ideals. Ideals we had been spoon fed from birth without much exposure to putting them into practice in the nasty world outside.

But we tried all the new things previous generations were afraid to try. Some worked. Some didn't. But by God we tried. Nobody should whine or bitch about that.

The sad thing is THIS administration is throw back to trying things the old pre-1968 dysfunctional way... like some autistic kid or a OCD patient trying the same idiot thing and seeing it have the same disastrous consequences but not excepting the consequences simply because they don't want, or have, anybody (they respect or understand) to tell them to stop.
posted by tkchrist at 3:29 PM on January 10, 2007


However, in retrospect, it seems pretty laughable that people once thought that drug use was a social statement or that it could lead to a better society.

Maybe, just maybe, we have not invented the right drugs yet?

There may yet be one that WILL elevate us to the status of Post-Humanity.

Though I doubt it will be recreational in origin.
posted by tkchrist at 3:34 PM on January 10, 2007


I didn't mean to downplay the efforts of the people who worked hard for change during the 60s. As I mentioned, I think that a lot of positive social changes were acheived

Thanks, I appreciate the clarification.

However, I don't think that you can deny that there were a lot of people who thought that just by changing their lifestyle, they could affect some sort of larger social change... I think that many of the people involved in the social struggles of the sixties contributed an explosion of energy in their youth, followed by a slow fizzling out in their adult years.

Sure, agreed on both counts. But that's inevitable. There are always going to be posers in any group, and just about everyone fizzles out to some extent as they age (*doffs cap to exceptions like Dorothy Day and Father Berrigan*). I think it's more interesting to concentrate on the good that was done and the people who contributed to it. But I'll readily admit I'm prejudiced.

However, in retrospect, it seems pretty laughable that people once thought that drug use was a social statement or that it could lead to a better society.

Yeah, I know. What can I tell you? We were young and naive. But at least (*cue rocking chair, grumbling grampa*) we were obsessed about peace, love, and understanding rather than the latest electronic toy.

as far as I can tell: there was no leader. There was no one person to speak for the group

Yeah, that was a feature, not a bug. "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters."
/still a proud anarchist

this ... is not the first time you've talked down to me

Tell you what, champ, if you don't want to be talked down to, start talking like an adult, which involves not spewing generalized insults at entire generations.
posted by languagehat at 3:42 PM on January 10, 2007


Yeah, that was a feature, not a bug. "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters."
/still a proud anarchist


I kinda figured it had to do with that communal spirit or whatever.

Tell you what, champ, if you don't want to be talked down to, start talking like an adult, which involves not spewing generalized insults at entire generations.

I didn't mean to insult an entire generation. Just hippies. But I do like "Zimmy" so we don't have to keep dueling.

He said it was okay to call him "Zimmy".
posted by Brown Jenkin at 3:53 PM on January 10, 2007


But at least (*cue rocking chair, grumbling grampa*) we were obsessed about peace, love, and understanding rather than the latest electronic toy.

Well, in some respects, I think that the latest electronic toy does have some potential to change the world. The internet, hybrid engines, microcredit - all of these things have a great potential for positive change.

But yeah, I wish that my generation was less apathetic about world events. People care so damn much about Paris Hilton and Tom Cruise and whatever stupid fashion trend is going on, and I'm like, "don't you know there's a freakin' war going on?" If anything, I wish we could recapture some of the hope and idealism of the 60s, even if a lot of it didn't quite pan out. I wonder what would need to happen for young people to become socially aware again.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:56 PM on January 10, 2007


I wonder what would need to happen for young people to become socially aware again.

The draft?

I don't think that is all that likely. However, I think the the next ten years or so you will start seeing the consequences of of our fiscal policies (currency bomb, the so called "10th sigma event" or rogue wave event, etc) holding back entire swaths of society from advancement and bringing a huge portion of formerly middle class peoples down. People will have to re-evaluate priorities.
posted by tkchrist at 4:05 PM on January 10, 2007


And to follow up on my last comment, here is another new technology that I think could change the world - one laptop per child.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:06 PM on January 10, 2007


Can we please put to rest the tired truism that hippies "cared" more about changing the world? Not that Gen X or Y or whatever deserves raves and accolades, but there's a reason Altamont happened. The Love Generation was bullshit, through and through. Individually, I'm sure there were people who made contributions to the world (especially in music IMO, not so much in literature), and who worked to change things. But when you look at pictures of Civil Rights protesters and marches, you see lots of "square" types, black, white, and every other shade, who kept day-jobs and probably cast more than a few sidelong glances at "longhairs." They demonstrably contributed more to making America a better place.

Generalizations are worth avoiding, on both sides. But having been lectured by more than a few fossils about how much "better" things were in the 60's ("man"), I think an instinctual revulsion to hippiedom isn't such a bad thing.

There are vital subcultures and communities going on right now, they just don't take time to posture for CBS reporters. And you aren't invited, anyways.
posted by bardic at 4:28 PM on January 10, 2007


("You aren't invited" comes off stronger than I intended. "They don't care if you haven't heard about them" is more like it.)
posted by bardic at 4:39 PM on January 10, 2007


I didn't mean to insult an entire generation. Just hippies. But I do like "Zimmy" so we don't have to keep dueling.

OK, we're cool.

Well, in some respects, I think that the latest electronic toy does have some potential to change the world. The internet, hybrid engines, microcredit - all of these things have a great potential for positive change.

You're right, and I should try to keep that more at the forefront of my mind. The internet has changed my life for the better, for sure (it enables me to live in the boonies and be an editor, and to have access to an incredible range of information), and I'm sure hoping microcredit can eventually revolutionize the life of the poor worldwide.

People care so damn much about Paris Hilton and Tom Cruise and whatever stupid fashion trend is going on, and I'm like, "don't you know there's a freakin' war going on?" If anything, I wish we could recapture some of the hope and idealism of the 60s, even if a lot of it didn't quite pan out.

Right on, brother!
posted by languagehat at 4:48 PM on January 10, 2007


However, in retrospect, it seems pretty laughable that people once thought that drug use was a social statement or that it could lead to a better society.

I think the hippies were on to somthing with the drug use. There is alot of history regarding drug use and the advance of mankind. However, drugs, sadly, also cause many people to turn into self-absorbed parasites (hippies).
posted by snsranch at 4:48 PM on January 10, 2007


Every time I'm reminded of Harry Reasoner, I think of an old "Doonesbury" cartoon. Harry is visiting the Walden campus to cover some sort of uprising. He's doing his standup when he turns toward Mark and tells Howard K. Smith or whoever was anchoring the news that day, "I'm about to interview student leader Mark Slackmeyer ..."

And Mark interrupts: "Sure you are, Harry, you great, gross, liberal establishment media freak."

In the final frame, a grinning Mark is flashing a peace sign with his arm around Harry's shoulders. You can practically see the black cloud above Harry's head as he says, "Back to you, Howard."

Heh.
posted by diddlegnome at 6:16 PM on January 10, 2007


I wonder what would need to happen for young people to become socially aware again.

'Apathy and withdrawal in disgust are not the same' - Richard Linklater.
posted by jonmc at 6:21 PM on January 10, 2007


I think the hippies were on to somthing with the drug use.

People use drugs to get loaded. Attaching social significance to this beyond destigmatizing drug use is silly. You're not smoking that joint to save thrid worls orphans, Captain Herbalife, anymore than I'm drinking my beer to show solidarity with factory labor.
posted by jonmc at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2007


anymore than I'm drinking my beer to show solidarity with factory labor.

Oh yeah? Well, every single beer I drink is a defiant statement of solidarity with factory labor.

*burp*

Or was that facory parts?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 PM on January 10, 2007


I think the hippies were on to somthing with the drug use. There is alot of history regarding drug use and the advance of mankind.

True. And, granted, the drug culture of the 60s did lead to the relaxation of some drug laws - before the 60s, I think it was common for people to get multi-year sentences for simple marijuana posession.

However, I would argue that Leary and his ilk ruined psychedelics for the rest of us. His line of reasoning that "everyone should do LSD" led a lot of the wrong people to do psychedelics, and inspired many a bad trip. Furthermore, Leary and his followers reinforced the common conception of psychedelics as being a part of "drop-out" culture. Only now are people beginning to come around on the issue - the new millennium has seen some of the first studies in a quarter century into the theraputic use of drugs like psilocybin and DMT.

Drugs have their place, when used responsibly. However, anybody who appears on national media and says that everybody should use LSD is not being responsible.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:25 PM on January 10, 2007


anybody who appears on national media and says that everybody should use LSD is not being responsible.

Ahh, responsible reshmonsible, let's all get HIGH!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2007


before the 60s, I think it was common for people to get multi-year sentences for simple marijuana posession

That doesn't sound right to me. I do know that LSD was legal until, what, 1968 or so?
posted by bardic at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2007


That doesn't sound right to me. I do know that LSD was legal until, what, 1968 or so?

Yes, but Marijuana has been illegal since the 1930s. Actually, you could say it officially became illegal in 1914 when the Harrison Act more-or-less taxed it out of existance. The various decriminalization laws weren't passed until, I believe, the early 1970s. Until then, you really could go to prison for multiple years for pot. Up until a few years ago, I think there were still a couple states where this was still true - Oklahoma and Nevada being a couple. I don't know about Oklahoma, but I know that Nevada has since decriminalized.

Here's one good source :
With the passage of each of these acts, the states passed little Boggs acts, and little Daniel acts, so that in the period 1958 to 1969, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Virginia was typical, the most heavily penalized crime in the Commonwealth was possession of marijuana, or any other drug.

It led to a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years, no part of which you were eligible for parole or probation, and as to no part of it were you eligible for a suspended sentence.

Just to show you where it was, in the same time period first degree murder in Virginia had a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years. Rape, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Possession of marijuana -- not to mention sales of marijuana with its mandatory minimum of forty years -- mandatory minimum of twenty years.
Here's a page with a bunch more sources.

And, sad to say, even in states where you can't go to prison for a long time for misdomeanor posession, you can still go to jail for the better part of a year for for it. The NORML website is a good source of info on this.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2007


Also, see John Lennon's song, John Sinclair, which is about the poet John Sinclair receiving a 10-year sentence for posession of two joints.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:29 PM on January 10, 2007


But kids today are not so lucky. We are wise to you guys. There are few firsts for you that we didn't try. I think THAT is what pisses off people about the 60 generations.

Actually, I've always been most irritated by the solipsism.
posted by gompa at 11:41 PM on January 10, 2007


Bardic: "I think an instinctual revulsion to hippiedom isn't such a bad thing.

There are vital subcultures and communities going on right now, they just don't take time to posture for CBS reporters."


"Revulsion" is a strong word.

You say generalizations should be avoided, and then immediately revert to a gross generalization ("I think an instinctual revulsion to hippiedom isn't such a bad thing.")

Not every "hippy" postured for the media's cameras. No doubt, the vast majority of them didn't. They only lived their lives the way they thought best, and therefore made their statements by example like the subcultures and communities of today of which you speak. Should we be repulsed by the modern counterparts?
posted by wsg at 1:08 AM on January 11, 2007


anybody who appears on national media and says that everybody should use LSD is not being responsible

I can't more strongly disagree.
Have you, my friend, tried LSD?
If you've never tried this thing, you should.
This thing is fun, and fun is good.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:06 AM on January 11, 2007


wsg, you're right. I'll stop thinking a majority of hippies were "solipsistic" (great term) wastrels who talked a big game about love while many middle-class workaday folk carried much of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam load once former-hippies stop lecturing me on the supposed "apathy" of later generations.
posted by bardic at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2007


I think the worst legacy of "hippies" was that it, at least in retrospect, made social activism a lifestyle thing, that for a great many people, marching and protests were not something that "ordinary people" did, but something outlandishly dressed people who seemed to make a lifestyle of complaining did.

Now, I understand this was probably not the "hippies" intent, and had much to do with the media's construction of the 1960's in the public mind, but I don't think that a lifestyle that was largely based on intentional quasi-consumerist rebellion really helped.
posted by Snyder at 1:45 PM on January 11, 2007


or a great many people, marching and protests were not something that "ordinary people" did, but something outlandishly dressed people who seemed to make a lifestyle of complaining did.

Huh. If I've run across that thought before, I've managed to forget it. Good point.

You know, the word hippie is really pretty useless except as a term of abuse. Even back in the day, it was used more by outsiders as a convenient label—I don't recall anyone who self-identified as such—and now it's just a convenient way to bash one's stereotyped image of an imagined 60s type, shiftless and goofy and covered with flowers and love beads and following the Dead around and smoking dope and... Anyway, to me it reflects lazy thinking and I wish people would give it a rest.
posted by languagehat at 2:37 PM on January 11, 2007


Anyway, to me it reflects lazy thinking and I wish people would give it a rest.

Thank you, languagehat.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:39 PM on January 11, 2007


"I'll stop thinking a majority of hippies were "solipsistic" (great term) wastrels who talked a big game about love while many middle-class workaday folk carried much of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam load once former-hippies stop lecturing me on the supposed "apathy" of later generations."


I dunno where you get this notion that Joe Sixpack was the silent driving force behind the civil rights and anti-war movements of the mid to late sixties, cause believe me, he wasn't. In fact, popular support for the Vietnam war steadily increased year by year until '68 or so.

Todd Gitlin has some great statistics on that misconception in his book Letters to a Young Activist.

The reality is that it was always a dedicated and vocal minority doing the heavy lifting on these issues, and they were vocal and "in your face" about it, because they had to be, in the face of overwhelming public opinion.
posted by stenseng at 10:21 AM on January 12, 2007


The reality is that it was always a dedicated and vocal minority doing the heavy lifting on these issues, and they were vocal and "in your face" about it, because they had to be, in the face of overwhelming public opinion.

And these people weren't hippies either.
posted by bardic at 11:46 AM on January 12, 2007




Thanks for that link, homunculus. Nice to know some of them are seeing the light.
posted by languagehat at 3:23 PM on January 13, 2007


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