one of two questions (fwd)
Tue, 14 May 1996 16:15:59 -0400

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Subject: one of two questions

Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 11:31:41 -0400
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: two questions/60's

The second question could be phrased like this: why did
academia decline so precipitously from the 60's onward? Those
of us who remember going to college in the 60's remember the
excitement, vitality, connectedness between academia and the
rest of the world, flashing ideas that challenged every orthodoxy
in and out of the academic world etc.
The academic world is now seen (by the looming society around
it) as a marginal arm of the public sector that is supported mainly
for its research/development capabilities--that, and strong football/
basketball programs. What happened? Why does the academic world,
generally, lack credibility and/or compelling interest?
These questions are central when you zero in on what was
happening in America at that time.
I think one of the great lessons of the 60's is that
cultural vitality 'begins' somewhere ie. academia, then moves
onward leaping from one vital node to another vital node until
the generation is exhausted.
Good luck

actually i think cultural vitality begins in the streets and then has the
life flogged out of it by the academy. it was henry miller who said in
Black Spring that (and here paraphrasing): "All that is not out in the
street is false and derived - that is to say literature."

i think the fact that the ferment occurred at universities may have had
more to do with the people who were attending those universities than the
universities themselves. but as far as people producing the culture - and
here I am speaking particularly of the musicians - they had all long since
dropped out or finished college. Dylan, Garcia, Hunter, Kantner, McGuinn,

(Interestingly, none of the major cultural figures of the sixties were
actually of the baby boom. they all were born immediately prior to or
during ww II. the boom provided the market.)

the best analysis of what happened to the academy during/since vietnam and
what it is today is contained on pages 322-337 of a book entitled Backfire
(Vietnam- The Myths that Made us Fight, the Illusions that Helped us Lose,
the Legacy that Haunts us Today. It was written Loren Babitz.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to read these 15 pages or so if you are

Marty Blank