Re: Sixties language

Sandra Hollin Flowers (flowers_s@MERCER.EDU)
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 11:35:32 -0400 (EDT)

I think I missed the first installment of this thread, so I don't
know if the issue began with a discussion of slang or has simply become
focused on that as the contributions continued. At any rate, the
impression I have is that we seem to be wondering about how the attempt to
create verisimilitude by the use of terms such as "right on" affects the
receptivity of current '60s fiction ventures.

If that is the case, I think we are swatting at a fly with a
baseball bat. David Vancil is right in saying that, "To publish works with
mainstream publishers that are going to appeal to a wide audience about
the 60s is going to require more than verisimilitude....It's got to be
taken down to the character level and highly individuated...."

As far as language in the sixties is concerned, we didn't always
include a "right on" or "uptight" in our personal exchanges. Nor, contrary
to the impression one might form when reading black nationalist speeches
and writings, did we punctuate everything with profanity. Nor was every
political discussion laced with socialist and revolutionary rhetoric. As
ordinary people, which is what we were, our objectives were the same as
they are now--to communicate our ideas to one another. Sometimes that
effort led to passion and invectives; but more often than not, didn't we
just--well, talk? It seems to me that our characters can do likewise most
of the time without loss of versimilitude.

Sandra in Maconga

Sandra Hollin Flowers, Ph.D.
Deparment of English Voice: (912) 752-2813
Mercer University Fax: (912) 757-4956
Macon, GA 31210