re:blaming the 60s
Tue, 4 Jun 1996 22:01:43 -0400


I meant my response to Mike Rappe's post more as a rant than anything else,
with all the hyperbole, impressionism and lapses in logical sequence that
rants entail. If I knew that my post would be subjected to autopsy, I
guess I would have fleshed it out more. BTW, I'm not of the 60s, I just
like to spell Amerikan with a "k" sometimes to celebrate the era.

My problem with Mike's post had to do with a phenomenon which I've had
occasion to criticize in various things I've written and presented--namely,
the tendency of those people unfamiliar with the 60s to take a couple of
media-inspired sound bite images and droplets of "information" on the era
and then criticize it based on that superficiality of knowledge. In the
case of Mike's post, the 60s "hidden costs" were boiled down to:

1)sacrificed fetuses(which Mike called children)
3) "Free Love"(which Mike wouldn't define, but which seems to exist in a
triangular relationship with 1) and 2).

So, basically, Mike heard somewhere about people taking LSD and diving out
of windows, and then grafted this "information" onto his pro-life
sensibilities. The product was Mike's take on the 60s. Naturally, that
got me upset, because it wasn't based on anything but impressionistic
flotsam that Mike threw together to form a hazy impression of an era which
he then criticized.

Now, I personally don't think that because frail male egos in the 50s got
sloshed on martinis and sexually harassed their secretaries makes 60s drug
culture "all right" and "better," it's just that every era has its "shames"
and excesses, and I'm tired of people focusing on "excesses" of the 60s as
somehow standing out from all other eras. Such a selectively critical
perspective seems suspect. Drug use, in fact, peaked in the 70s, not the
60s. In any case, maybe this phenomenon is tied in with the drive to
enshrine the decade as exceptional--therefore, its presumed "excesses" are
accorded exceptional status as part of this larger endeavor. In any case,
your post indicated that we ultimately agree on this score.

Peter Braunstein