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"The events of 1968 marked the birth of globalization."
May 7, 2008 11:33 PM   Subscribe

1968: Lessons Learned. Dissent Magazine examines the transcontinental legacy of one of the most tumultuous years in world history. Essays from Marshall Berman, Robin Blackburn, Mitchell Cohen, Ralf Fuecks, Vivian Gornick, Michael Kazin, Enrique Krauze, Lillian B. Rubin, Christine Stansell and Michael Walzer.
posted by amyms (42 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
The great governmental lesson of 1968: leave the college students alone and they will leave you alone.

Damned hippies.
posted by three blind mice at 3:13 AM on May 8, 2008


One of my lessons from 1968, which I spent in Vietnam: America's news media were knee-deep in bullshit. It's over their heads now. Also, Nixon's election demonstrated that the electorate is capable of profound stupidity.

Nothing subsequent has challenged the truth of those two lessons.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:56 AM on May 8, 2008


I will have to spend some time on this. I'm old enough to be endlessly fascinated with what was happening without my being aware. Sometimes I'm amazed at how unaware I actually was. Such is life, at age 11.
posted by Goofyy at 4:02 AM on May 8, 2008


See also, 1968 - Myth or Reality?
posted by dmt at 4:21 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:35 AM on May 8, 2008


1968 was the year the music died. The lead guitar came to dominate rock. This macho movement, led by Jimi Hendrix, killed the pop sensibilty that had made the mid-sixties so much fun. A great darkness fell over the land. As Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane said, "For about two weeks in the summer of 1967, everything was perfect." But the figures of Jann Wenner and Yoko Ono crouched like gargoyles, ready to swoop down on their black bat wings.
posted by Faze at 4:37 AM on May 8, 2008


Michael Kazin: Consider the fact that most ordinary Americans and Europeans enjoy a degree of personal freedom that was considered ultra-radical in the 1960s. Women can pursue a variety of occupations, gays and lesbians no longer have to lie about their sexuality, racial identity poses no legal barrier to full participation in civil society, and the urgency of protecting the environment is taken for granted.

I don't think he's talking about the majority of ordinary Americans there. I certainly don't feel like I'm enjoying an ultra-radical degree of personal freedom. Maybe he doesn't fly, or go through Customs, or take pictures of public buildings, or live in a place where you have to have a picture ID to vote.

Maybe all the people he talks to or reads are on board with environmentalism, so he isn't aware of the corporate-funded anti-environmental push.

Maybe he's out of touch.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:51 AM on May 8, 2008


@ Kirth:

With all due respect, are you certain that the experiences you cite are shared by a "majority of Americans"?
I am presently living in Austria and have flown home several times, never have I had any real trouble (although non-Americans certainly do, and I have no doubt some citizens are in fact inconvenienced). I've taken pictures of public buildings, many times, since 9/11, and have never been challenged for it. These are personal anecdotes, certainly, but I don't think that statistically speaking the majority of Americans get hassled over these things.
Why is it that corporations feel the need to push anti-environmental causes with serious wads of cash? Why is it that the picture ID issue is being challenged in several states? Might it be because a large chunk, perhaps even a majority, of the population feels these are serious issues?
My point is that while Kazin may be "out of touch", it is also possible that you are - or that you are simply not looking at the broader picture of the "majority of ordinary Americans". That isn't meant to be an insult (I'm out of touch with the general population on a great many things myself). Certainly things aren't perfect, and there is no monolithic consensus on these issues. But Kazin's argument that even the limited and sometimes besieged freedoms we enjoy today would be considered "ultra-radical" in the 1960s, and that a wide spectrum of the population enjoys these freedoms, and an even larger slice accepts that even if they do not enjoy them at present they have a right to enjoy them that is being trampled on seems to be true.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:26 AM on May 8, 2008


  • Nixon's
  • Reagan's 2nd
  • George H. W. Bush's
  • George W. Bush's

    election(s) demonstrated that the electorate is capable of profound stupidity.


    I'll give us a break on Carter, Reagan's first and Clinton's two terms, because those were, at least at the time, the best choices available.

    I have always felt this, but it's never been more clear than it has been this year. Our process virtually ensures that only the most pandering, mean-spirited, calculating, lowest common denominator, egomaniacal bastards get to be President. Whatever you think of Kennedy, Truman, Eisenhower, FDR, etc. I think most can agree that they were dedicated public servants. Not to say they weren't egotists, but I suspect they were motivated by something other than personal glory. Not so with every President since (save perhaps Carter, and maybe Reagan, who was stupid enough to believe that he stood for something).

    I still hold out hope for Obama, but based on the changes he's had to make in his own presentation in order to keep up with Hillary and her unhesitating drive deep into the muck, but it does not portend well for him.
    posted by psmealey at 6:28 AM on May 8, 2008


    Now that the 20th century is history and a self-contained "unit" it's possible to look back and ask questions like: What was the most important decade? Year(s)? I'm of the opinion that the 1930s and the 1960s were the most important decades, with 1933 and 1968 ranking up there in the most important years. The 1930s tend to get a bad rep as depression, dust bowl and gangster but huge changes happened on many levels from politics, to society to technology to culture.
    posted by stbalbach at 7:24 AM on May 8, 2008


    Sorry, AdamCSnyder, but I do think your personal, anecdotal experience is pretty irrelevant. That I don't get my backpack searched every time I ride the subway does not mean my personal freedom is not diminished by the police now having the power to do so for no reason. That the government may not actually be logging all my phone calls, emails, and Internet searches doesn't mean my freedom isn't diminished by the fact that they may be, or by the fact that no one has any way of knowing if they are. That my name has so far not appeared among the hundreds of thousands on the No-Fly list doesn't mean my freedom isn't diminished by the fact that it may appear there tomorrow. That the state I live in does not require a government-issued ID to vote does not mean my freedom isn't diminished by the Supreme Court ruling that I could be required to do so.

    I could go on; there's a long list of things the government claims the right to do WRT my personal freedom that were prohibited in 1970. (Because my being in the military in 1968 meant the government had all those powers over me then.)
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:30 AM on May 8, 2008


    1968 was one long dark slide into heartbreak after heartbreak.
    posted by y2karl at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2008


    >Maybe he's out of touch.

    Yeah, you're right. My mom had friends who were incarcerated in "homes for wayward girls" because they had the audacity to have sex. Having avoided that fate, my mother could not attend her state's flagship public university, the University of Virginia, because it was men only (and whites only) when she graduated from high school in 1961. When my mother started applying for jobs, she looked in the section called "help wanted: women," and so the best jobs were denied to her, because they were listed in "help wanted: men." Because she lived in Virginia, my mother could have been hauled out of her bed, arrested, and incarcerated for a year if she'd broken the law by marrying a black man. When her cousin had the immense, mind-blowing courage to come out of the closet in the late 1960s, his parents disowned him. He did not talk to either of them again until his mother was on her death bed in 2003. Now, that guy's niece is active in GLBT organizations at a university that she wouldn't have been permitted to attend in 1965. She brings her girlfriends to family events and nobody thinks it's a big deal.

    But none of that matters, because you have to show a photo ID when you get on an airplane.

    I'm as concerned about the civil liberties situation as anyone. But I don't think that Kazan is the one who's out of touch here.
    posted by craichead at 7:56 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    1968 is so overrated, usually by those that overrate their own "accomplishments" during that time.
    posted by Pollomacho at 8:11 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, you're right. My mom had friends who were incarcerated in "homes for wayward girls" because they had the audacity to have sex.

    That's a cultural difference, not a legal one. Muddled headed thinking doesn't help these causes. Kids are still susceptible to this kind of treatment today. A girlfriend I had in high school was sent away to boarding school because her mother found out we were sexually active. And don't forget about the high school kid in Alabama who was jailed and nearly branded a sexual predator for life because he engaged in consensual oral sex with his girlfriend.

    No matter what we might like to think, there has been a rapid push to rollback much of the progress made in recent history in this country. Changes in cultural attitudes, while important, are highly malleable. Legally, we're not a whole lot better off now and in many ways we're worse off.

    Culturally, things have taken a turn for the worse. This is totally anecdotal, but a young lawyer at a law firm I know recently chided one of his coworkers for walking unescorted with a married man, a simple exercise of personal freedom he characterized as 'sinful'. That kind of thinking is not nearly as uncommon as it should be. The culture is regressing, and the laws are getting worse. Don't be mislead into believing the late 60's brought about some kind of permanent, immutable social change. That would be a grave misjudgment.
    posted by saulgoodman at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2008


    But none of that matters, because you have to show a photo ID when you get on an airplane.

    Yeah, that's all that the President's new legal authority to declare any American citizen an enemy combatant at his own discretion with no legal rights or recourse to due process amounts to: Asking people to show a photo ID. You're not the slightest bit out of touch, that's for sure.
    posted by saulgoodman at 8:27 AM on May 8, 2008


    1968 is so overrated, usually by those that overrate their own "accomplishments" during that time.

    Not to diminish the laudable advances made in this period but this chimes with my take on the BBC's recollection of 1968 linked above.

    Those boomers sound awfully pleased with themselves yet won't take any responsibility for the world which they've brought about. Vide: environmental degradation, fiscal irresponsibility and a palpable failure to refashion the world for the better at the end of the Cold War. These days the peace dividend looks paltry indeed.
    posted by dmt at 8:27 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Muddled headed thinking

    heh. "muddle-headed thinking" is right.

    posted by saulgoodman at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2008


    That's a cultural difference, not a legal one.
    Kazin is talking about cultural differences.

    I also think it's pretty funny to posit the pre-'68-era as some sort of golden age of civil liberties. I mean, remember the House Un-American Affairs Committee? McCarthy? J. Edgar Hoover and his minions? Bobby Seale bound and gagged in court? (Not pre-'68, but you get my meaning.)
    posted by craichead at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Kirth, how precisely does the fact that those things were illegal in 1970 demonstrate that things have gone downhill since 1968? Seems to me there's been a great deal of progress with some rollback recently - two steps forward, one step back, as they say. My point is not that there are no problems with civil liberties but that Kazan is correct in saying that we're better off today as a society, in terms of civil rights (and especially in the specific areas that he cites) than we were then.
    posted by AdamCSnider at 9:10 AM on May 8, 2008


    I'm of the opinion that the 1930s and the 1960s were the most important decades

    I think World War II makes the 1940s (and 1939) the most important decade because it changed the world and shaped the rest of the century. The United States emerged as a superpower. The atomic bomb was developed and used. The end of World War II laid the foundation for the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.

    North Korean and South Korea were based on the post-WWII Soviet and US occupation zones. Ho Chi Minh fought the Japanese occupation of Vietnam with American assistance, then declared independence in September 1945 (based on the American Declaration of Independence). The US went against the principles of the Atlantic Charter and backed France's re-colonization of Vietnam. The Soviet Union liberated the Eastern Bloc countries from Germany, then didn't leave.

    Also, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, which was a milestone for American civil rights.
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:12 AM on May 8, 2008


    to posit the pre-'68-era as some sort of golden age of civil liberties.

    uh, who did that?
    posted by saulgoodman at 9:26 AM on May 8, 2008


    uh, who did that?
    Kirth Gerson implied it:
    I could go on; there's a long list of things the government claims the right to do WRT my personal freedom that were prohibited in 1970. (Because my being in the military in 1968 meant the government had all those powers over me then.)
    There's a long list of things that the government can legally do now that they couldn't do then. On the other hand, we now know that they were doing some seriously fucked up shit in the '60s, despite the fact that it was illegal. Not long before that, they had been doing even more fucked up shit in a completely above-board fashion.

    But more generally, I don't think that Kirth Gerson and his supporters' position makes any sense. Kazin says that the revolution of the '60s really bore fruit in a cultural shift: people under 30 now expect freedoms that were considered wild and crazy in the '60s. I think it would be hard to dispute that people under 30 take certain freedoms for granted, notwithstanding the backlash. We're now shocked by things that would have seemed utterly commonplace in 1960. It makes the news when Southern high schools ban interracial couples from the prom, whereas the idea of interracial couples going to the prom would have been completely unthinkable in the South fifty years ago.

    In response to that, Kirth Gerson et al say that there aren't more personal freedoms now, because of the WoT and assaults on civil liberties. But I'm just not convinced that the civil liberties situation really is so much worse now that it offsets the very real cultural shift that Kazin is talking about.
    posted by craichead at 9:42 AM on May 8, 2008


    March 31 - LBJ says, "I'm outta here"
    April 4 - MLK is taken away
    May 13 - I am born
    June 5 - RFK doesn't make it to Chicago

    WFT chance did I have?
    posted by Senator at 9:48 AM on May 8, 2008


    There's a long list of things that the government can legally do now that they couldn't do then.

    yeah--then: in 1970. not in the "pre-'68-era" you mentioned in the comment i quoted.
    posted by saulgoodman at 9:49 AM on May 8, 2008


    yeah--then: in 1970. not in the "pre-'68-era" you mentioned in the comment i quoted.
    Fine. He implies 1968, too: the only reason that it could do those things in 1968 is that he was in the army. So we have Kent State and Jackson State, the debacle during and after the 1968 Democratic convention, widespread illegal FBI surveillance of all sorts of radicals... a lot of bad stuff that happened in the supposed good old days. I don't think that 1970 was any kind of golden age when it comes to the American government's respect for personal freedoms. And I don't think that the deterioration of civil liberties in the last couple of years offsets the immense progress that several formerly-disadvantaged groups have made.

    I realize that this might seem different to people who are not members of one of those groups that has reaped the benefits of the cultural shifts since the 1960s.
    posted by craichead at 10:02 AM on May 8, 2008


    The revolution of the 60's was over by 1968 however. The Selma-Montgomery March and the Civil Rights Act were in 1964. The "Great Society" cornerstones were already laid. The Beatles, Dylan, Miles Davis, the Rolling Stones were already established musical icons. The anti-establishment movement was already being overtaken by drug-addled morons as was the by then suffused anti-war movement. Even the environmental movement was being coopted by these hippy-dippy idiots by that point. The true activists of the Kennedy generation were either working on getting tenure or raising their kids by the "Summer of Love" while the youth were worried about getting some free love and dope in the back of a VW and sticking it to the man by refusing to wear shoes. The accomplishment of '68 was to get Nixon elected, which at least brough the excess of abuse and arrogance of power to the fore, but not by their efforts. Those who were screaming for Nixon's head on the White House lawn either quickly lost the fervor for civil liberties and joined in the Reagan Revolution or burned out. The hippies became the Me generation became the Yuppies who became the boomers and produced the two great presidents, Clinton and Bush.
    posted by Pollomacho at 10:08 AM on May 8, 2008


    An Ask Mefi (specific to Paris '68).
    posted by xod at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2008


    While we're at it, is anyone else a little annoyed by the last paragraph of Christine Stansell's essay?:
    The result is an abiding illiberalism, a profound distrust of the normal politics of compromise and maneuver, even as ’68 feminists have done their own compromising and maneuvering working their ways into positions of great influence in the culture. Feminist politics are still seen, by definition, as pressure politics or protest politics, exerting force from outside rather than working on the inside (those dreaded dull words). Female (and feminist) politicians can be useful allies, but in the terms of ’68, by definition they cannot inspire. Which brings us to the odd story of our first serious woman candidate for president, and the feminists who decided not to support her.
    I'm a feminist, and I don't support Hillary Clinton. I don't think that's because of the anti-state, anti-compromise attitude of feminists in the '60s. If anything, I think that generation of feminists mostly does support Hillary Clinton. Feminist non-Hillary-supporters, like me, tend to be people who were not politically conscious during the 1960s and who were influenced by things that happened after the '60s. We don't assume that it's enough just to have women in positions of power, because we came of age in the era of Margaret Thatcher, Jean Kirkpatrick, Condi Rice and a whole slew of conservative women whose x chromosomes did not lead them to pursue a feminist agenda. We're influenced by theories of intersectionality. We don't have a lot of exposure to separatism, and we believe that men can be feminists. Hillary Clinton doesn't inspire me because Hillary Clinton doesn't inspire me, not because I believe that any female or feminist politician can't inspire. I'm evaluating Clinton as a particular candidate with a particular record and history, not as "our first serious woman candidate for president." And I'm not going to apologize for that.
    posted by craichead at 10:18 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    our first serious woman candidate for president
    posted by Pollomacho at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2008


    My point is not that there are no problems with civil liberties but that Kazan is correct in saying that we're better off today as a society, in terms of civil rights (and especially in the specific areas that he cites) than we were then.

    You think so. I don't. Were you here, then?
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2008


    I guess not:

    ...we came of age in the era of Margaret Thatcher, Jean Kirkpatrick, Condi Rice...
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:36 AM on May 8, 2008


    I guess not
    Nope, and that's a limitation on my perspective. On the other hand, your perspective is limited to. You were there, but you had a particular experience, and you can only access other people's experiences second hand. Your memories may also have been distorted by what's happened since then. Having been alive in the '60s doesn't make you the world's expert on the '60s. It only makes you an expert on your own particular perspective on the '60s.

    I'm a historian, and we get this a lot. People think that because they were there, or because they heard stories from their grandparents who were there, that they can somehow trump all other analysis of the past. And it doesn't work that way. Just because some white guy tells you that he lived in the South in the '50s and black people didn't mind sitting in the back of the bus doesn't mean that's true. All it tells you is that a particular white guy doesn't remember black people minding sitting in the back of the bus.
    posted by craichead at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Argh. Too. My perspective is limited too.
    posted by craichead at 10:46 AM on May 8, 2008


    [...]I remember thinking that one reason America had come to hate the Sixties was because so many of us who came of political age in that decade were such tiresome performers. Like something exotic—like, say, Madagascar—we had detached ourselves from the Mother Continent, grown our own flora and fauna, and turned into Mikea Pygmies whose feet are pointed backward so they can't be tracked by their many enemies. Like a bottle-trunked crassulescent baobab, a bygone elephant bird, or a dog-faced, monkey-bodied, panda-coated indri lemur, we were a precious act. On the cusp of extinction, we were showing off instead of hunkering down. In the American Bush, wild Borks were waiting for us.
    posted by xod at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2008


    My perspective is limited to my experience and to my reading a lot of the things that make up your perspective. I am not a 60s expert, but I lived it. It's like you're saying, "you were there, and heard the sounds, and smelled the smells, and saw the sights, and slept and ate in it, and witnessed it unfolding, but I went to the movie."

    I am fully aware that lots of people went through much worse crap than I did in those days, because of their race or gender, but as Pollo pointed out, by '68 lots of the big legal rights battles were over. (And no, Kirth did not "imply" anything about the early 60s.) The abuses of power that people of color endured in the late 60s were not nationally sanctioned, they were local subversions of the law. That still happens today, but the general erosion of liberties provides more excuses for it.

    Also, are you aware of the irony in the following?
    People think that because they were there, or because they heard stories from their grandparents who were there, that they can somehow trump all other analysis of the past.

    That comes after you wrote
    My mom had friends who were incarcerated in "homes for wayward girls" because they had the audacity to have sex. Having avoided that fate, my mother could not attend her state's flagship public university, the University of Virginia, because it was men only (and whites only) when she graduated from high school in 1961. When my mother started applying for jobs, she looked in the section called "help wanted: women," and so the best jobs were denied to her, because they were listed in "help wanted: men." Because she lived in Virginia, my mother could have been hauled out of her bed, arrested, and incarcerated for a year if she'd broken the law by marrying a black man. When her cousin had the immense, mind-blowing courage to come out of the closet ... etc.

    Which way do you want it to be? Your mother and her cousin are living history, but I'm just some guy?
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    It's like you're saying, "you were there, and heard the sounds, and smelled the smells, and saw the sights, and slept and ate in it, and witnessed it unfolding, but I went to the movie."
    I'm saying that you were there as a particular person, with a particular experience. That experience is male. I could be wrong, but I'm going to guess that it is straight and white. And that colors your perspective on the changes that Kazin is talking about. He claims that feminism, the gay rights movement, etc. have significantly altered society and that this matters. You think it doesn't matter, or that the ways in which it matters are offset by the assault on civil liberties associated with the "war on terror". I would say that the fact that you were alive in the '60s does not make you a better judge than someone who was more directly affected by those changes, especially since a large part of Kazin's argument is that the people who are reaping the benefits of these changes are those who are now under 30. So if you have special insight because you were there, then you are also limited by the fact that you're not currently under 30.

    >Which way do you want it to be? Your mother and her cousin are living history, but I'm just some guy?

    I think their experiences are exactly as valid as yours. However, there's a ton of independently verifiable evidence that there was widespread, systematic sexism and homophobia in the 1960s and before. I don't have to take them on their word. Every time I look at a newspaper from the era, I see gender-segregated help-wanted ads. You can find the records of Florence Crittendon homes and other internment centers for sexually wayward girls and young women. You can find Mildred and Richard Loving's arrest records from the incidents in which they were hauled off to jail for violating anti-miscegenation statutes, back in the good old days when the state respected straight white male people's personal freedoms, as long as they were straight and didn't marry black women. You can find police records of raids on gay clubs. My mother and her cousin are examples, but one doesn't need to rely on their stories. There is a ton of evidence of state-sponsored and state-tolerated violence and repression directed against people who now have a lot more opportunities to live as they please.
    posted by craichead at 12:33 PM on May 8, 2008


    I could be wrong, but I'm going to guess that it is straight and white. And that colors your perspective on the changes that Kazin is talking about. He claims that feminism, the gay rights movement, etc. have significantly altered society and that this matters. You think it doesn't matter,...

    Where did I say I think that? You're batting about .005 on putting accurate meanings to the things I've written. Why don't you just go with the words I used, instead of making shit up?

    I would say that the fact that you were alive in the '60s does not make you a better judge than someone who was more directly affected by those changes...

    The 'someone' in question being either you or Kazin, right? Since you weren't around, it must be him. I didn't see where he claimed to be "more directly affected" than someone like me. In fact, he doesn't talk about his personal history at all. Oh, wait - it seems he was one of the cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion. Well, I'm certainly going to give his opinions all the weight they deserve.

    I'm going to guess you're either not white or not straight, and that colors your perspective on the changes that Kazin is talking about, which he claims are a "fact" that applies to "most ordinary Americans." I don't think it's a fact, and I don't think it's correct. Maybe if you paid a little more attention to the actual words that he and I used, instead of continually trying to steer the conversation onto your agenda, you'd make more sense. Kazin's assertion is that "most Americans" (not just minorities) are enjoying more freedom than they did in the 60s. That's what I'm disagreeing with, not your straw-decade of the 1950s. For instance Loving's arrest was in 1958; by 1968, miscegenation laws had been declared unconstitutional, and that was the law of the land.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:46 PM on May 8, 2008


    Where did I say I think that? You're batting about .005 on putting accurate meanings to the things I've written. Why don't you just go with the words I used, instead of making shit up.

    Kirth Gerson, will all due respect, your point is that you disagree with Kazin and think that 'most Americans' are not enjoying more freedom than they did in the 60s. To back this up, your two arguments are 1) most legal battles were over by the 60s, and 2) 'you were there' and it didn't seem like that to you.

    1) An end to legal battles doesn't mean that people are going to immediately have more freedom. Kazin is talking about social and cultural changes, not legal ones -- surely you don't think that, if gay marriage was legalized across the country, homophobia would disappear instantly? It's been a generation and a bit more since the 60s happened, and we're just now reaping the overall social effects of these legal battles.

    2) A blind man touching an elephant's trunk could very well say "I touched an elephant -- elephants are long and flexible, like snakes -- I was there." Nobody's disputing the fact that you lived in the 60s, but it's just that a first-person account of things is never empirical and always completely biased, by nature.

    An essay that's really worthwhile to read is "The Evidence of Experience", by Joan Scott -- she talks about how historians assume that the experience of individuals is proper evidence, and in doing so both legitimize their historical position by situating their argument outside of themselves ("look - I'm not making this up - she said so!") and also fail to realize how experience and individuals are produced and created as a result of societal structures and norms.

    In your case, Keith, I'm not disputing what you saw, or even saying that you weren't looking right -- I'm saying that the experiences you underwent and the specific life you had defines you as a specific person, and so it's really impossible for you to say "I was there, and I can say it wasn't like that" with neutrality, because what you encountered makes you say what you say. All you -- or anyone else -- can really say about their experience is "I was there -- it was like this for me, it may not have been like this for you. That was my experience, which is inherently subjective by nature."

    In any case, thanks for your anecdotes.
    posted by suedehead at 6:16 PM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


    I just realized that 'craichead' and 'suedehead' look very similar -- I'm not craichead, just to dispel any potential confusions..
    posted by suedehead at 6:18 PM on May 8, 2008


    Thanks amyms! A lot of interesting perspectives to consider.
    posted by owhydididoit at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2008


    To back this up, your two arguments are 1) most legal battles were over by the 60s, and 2) 'you were there' and it didn't seem like that to you.

    No, those are the two arguments that you decided to pick as the ones to argue against. Since you are ignoring all the rest of my comments, I will return the favor.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:54 AM on May 9, 2008


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