Re: [sixties-l] more .. generations

From: Ralph S. Carlson (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 18:03:24 CUT

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    Hi --
       Taking a tangent from some of this discussion, yet a parallel to some,
    I'd like to cycle back to a topic frequently drubbed in the earlier days
    of the list -- the college deferment.
       I sometimes suspect (but have not researched the point) that a bunch of
    us who took the college deferment, and then elected military service
    either through waiting for the draft letter to arrive or by volunteering
    for one service or another because we knew the letter was sure to come
    unless we went underground, left the country, had a relative on the local
    draft board, or elected to put a hand in the garbage disposal or a foot in
    a lawnmower, or...
      In some familiar rhetoric and classifications, all college folk are
    classed as among those who evaded the draft.
      But realistically, aren't there a few hundred thousand of us who simply
    delayed the military service, then acquiesced, because Nixon still hadn't
    gotten the lottery system in place?
      Not all of us went from Ivy league to seminary or law school until we
    were safe from the draft, and then changed callings, but some who write
    reflectively of the era seem to cloak the majority of those with college
    deferments as almost entirely and eternally privileged.
       Hey-- there were guys with deferments, then college degrees, then boot
    camp and advanced training or officer candidate school, a few weeks or
    months of all-expense-paid vacation in sunny S E Asia, and then a free
    ride home in a box or on a hospital flight.
       Whether patriotism or rueful resignation to a sense of fate might have
    been the "instrumental motivation" for such folk, as researchers now look
    back at all the fractions of the social order, remember that time in
    college was an escape for some, yes, but simply a delay for others, too.
       [End of tooting the horn]
    Grace & Peace,

    R. S. Carlson VOICE: (626) 815-6000 x3102
    Professor, English FAX: (626) 969-7180
    Azusa Pacific University
    901 East Alosta Avenue
    Azusa, CA 91702
                      ^^Opinions expressed are my own, not my employer's^^

    On Wed, 7 Jun 2000, Sandra Hollin Flowers wrote:

    > What I learned in my own "real world" was that I was at once part of
    > and separate from the larger world. All my father's activities, and
    > thus the way I learned to look at and behave in the world, were
    > patriotic and civic, and none of his affiliations except, ironically,
    > the army (even after the war when he was a reservist) was segregated.
    > But not even my father's contributions to his community and nation
    > were enough to stop our neighbors from driving us out of a modest
    > integrated neighborhood we dared to move into when I was in jr hi. And
    > neither did "Leave it to Beaver" et al (read, "The Media") shape my
    > expectations in any way because, a) my family was too poor to afford a
    > TV, hence expose me to that powerful medium, until I was in junior hi;
    > and b) I knew enough to realize that I couldn't reasonably aspire to
    > what my white counterparts later became disillusioned with. So I never
    > went through the kind of awakening that comes with being disabused of
    > one's illusions. What illusions??? (With apologies, Ted. I know I'm
    > taking reductionist liberties with your media theory.)
    > All of this is just to say that what I've concluded after following
    > this thread is that one of the shortcomings of the generational
    > approach to history is that it appears to be too monolithic to be
    > fully applicable to any generation at any time in America's history,
    > at least as I've come to understand that history. That's true even
    > here on Sixties-L, as has become apparent in this thread. Of course
    > we'll always have to resort to chronological makers such as those that
    > generations afford. But beyond that, I think we're going to find that
    > we are who we are because of who we're not, as much as for any other
    > reason.
    > S. Flowers

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