Beginning of the sixties
Sat, 22 Jun 1996 22:35:01 -0400

In an earlier post, I wrote:

>The sixties . . . didn't begin until after the voter registration drives in
the South.

Ted Morgan replied:

>Perhaps ironically, it echoes the bizarre (but convenient) notion of "the
Sixties" >paraded by conservatives like Jonathan Yardley, Joseph Sobran and
Allen Bloom

"Perhaps ironically," seems to imply that I'm some kind of right wing ringer;
that hardly seems fair considering the topic discussed.

My take on the beginning of the sixties is pretty simple. There may have
never been two eras as distinctly different as the sixties and the fifties.
If you went back in time, there really wouldn't be much difficulty in
spotting which was which. The sixties began at different times in different
places, some places did not witness the sixties until the last half of the
decade and others, arguably, never. But if you are going to identify the
beginning of the sixties, you have to go back to a time in which it existed
somewhere. When the voter registration drive began, the sixties simply
didn't exist, no where, no place, no how, the entire nation was fifties to
the bone. I agree that the roots of the sixties can be found in the voter
registration drives, but the roots of something are not the thing itself.
The primary roots of the sixties, after all, was the fifties.

My support doesn't come from Bloom's nefarious gang of three, but from Annie
Gottlieb. In her excellent book, Do You Believe in Magic, she interviewed
numerous "survivors" of the sixties, people who were deeply involved in
various aspects of it. To each, she asked them when they thought the sixties
began and overwhelmingly, the reply was when John Kennedy died. (p.18.)
That's a little earlier than I would put it, but it's definitely after the
voter registration drives.

Based upon Gottlieb's research, at least, a majority of those sympathetic to
the sixties agree with my position. Martin