stop blaming sixties
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 14:40:08 -0400

It seems we were WERE there in "the '60s" should be able to avoid the
conservative cliches about the time's drugs/"free love" (so much older a
term)/etc. I agree it is certainly "ironic"--in fact, it's a normal part of
reaction--that the real social ills we struggled against should now be blamed
on that struggle...
As for the consequences/effects of the period, I think much truth can be
found through recalling our own actual experiences; in many women's cases,
inc. my own, there was great liberation--and I do mean the term--from the
long effects of being seen (inc. by oneself) as "sick", neurotics, etc. in
regard, especially, to our sexuality (There were many variants on this, from
Wylie etc. to/through campus intellectuals/Beats/postBeats and...even Left
males...when not getting what they wished but it was also used by us/women as
an appeal-ploy ["secondary gains"?!] Cf. the woman in "Red Desert" whose
sexual longings Antonioni treats as those of a sick animal in heat (though
recognizing her emotional/ecological needs as saner than her
companions'/culture--a brilliant film that too much seemed to speak for us
when it came out but which now shows so much of, and much ahead of, the
culture of the time.)
Sometimes we lost much personally--in my case, I gave up to adoption a baby
because I believed "a child needs two parents"; but this line came of the
'40s-'50s adoption mandate and was beginning to be challenged by the late
(See Rickie Solinger's Wake Up Little Susie, a brilliant book, on many of
these points.)
We did gain much, though--opening to others, to other ways of beings,
learning our own wholeness and new ways to reach.
And politically, there really WERE the gains that came out of, eventually,
the '60s--for Blacks, for disabled, for women, etc.--those basically liberal
and cooptable gains that have made a difference for real lives, in spite of
their limits. And it's important to see how the efforts of the Right, over
many years, has been the main limit to change.
Or is this to say the too-obvious? Unless one believes, as do many of the
hip Gen X, I'm afraid, that it's all cyclic, no point to expect longterm
change, etc. ...though, no matter, as long as these kids take the streets and
bridges as they did during the Gulf War.
Paula Friedman