Fixing the Truth ( was Re: [sixties-l] Fixing the Problems of Who Owns the Sixties )

From: drieux (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2001 - 12:09:02 EST

  • Next message: Ted Morgan: "Re: [sixties-l] Todd Gitlin on the war (fwd)"

    On Wednesday, November 14, 2001, at 12:18 , Ted Morgan wrote:
    > Good to see drieux back in form --another good read with some sharp digs
    > & insights! I agree with much of what he says about the pc-ness, the
    > fixation with 'who's in - who's out,' etc. Except that this can tend
    > towards a nihilistic (or perhaps postmodern) relativism: there is not
    > larger truth, do your own thing, find your own truth, express yourself,
    > etc.

    Obviously one should start with a, 'why thank you'. And yes, the problem
    bringing the same self critical view to 'the sixties' means risking
    the process out into the forms of nihilistic solopsistic relativism that
    was such the popular 'conservative' critique of 'the sixties' ever since
    then. But wasn't half the fun of it all that we were risk takers to begin
    with, we were young once, and willing to risk it all on a dare?

    But as I look at what I want to pass along from my father to my son,
    don't I too have to risk that what I am passing along is merely family
    history and OurWay - perchance nothing more, no Grand Moral Imperatives,
    no Divine Revelation of the Finger of God written on stone?

    That I have basically figured out that the years of collecting notes,
    'to my unborn son' - while a reasonably sound genetic approach, given
    the highly low probability that I would be the one in my generation to
    have a daughter - given the reasonable statistical profile of
    generations -
    merely shows up not 'the sexism' of my planning, but the sheer
    that comes wandering down the trail that I would have the daughter for
    this generation of the family, and, well, should have planned ahead?

    Some how passing along the wisdom of the women who married into our
    family, was, uh, not what I was thinking about at the moment....

    And the intervening years has not helped me solve the less than simple
    porting over of the data that father's pass to sons, into some equally
    relevant suite of facts that father's pass to their daughters. But at
    least I've opted out of trying to figure out or worry about what mothers
    are suppose to do in those classes of dialogs.

    But I can say that I have a better frame of reference now to 'get it'
    about that Marine Corp Commandant, who invited me into his study, while
    he cleaned his M1911A1 .45 semi-automatic, as we waited for his
    daughter to finish up, so I could take her off to what ever high school
    soiree it was that I had come to pick her up for. I can empathise
    now in ways I hadn't fathomed back then.

    And yea, I think it is a wonderful way to help a young man focus on
    what the mission is, and how to do an appropriate risk assessment.

    How much of this was really there, just fixed in the way the species
    goes about just doing its thing, and we could have seen it as fixed
    and immutable cosmic truth, with the big Capital T, but we just didn't
    have the 'time in country' to get it back then. And how much of it is
    made big T truth because its as good as we can approximate it this time
    around and our kids are gonna pick up our notes and relearn most of it
    the same way we did, fumbling in the dark, and try and make their own
    peace with the Cosmic Epsitemology Final Exam.


    The short list of the basic isms

    1. Racism
    2. Poverty and Economic inequities
    3. Sexism


    But isn't the Real Irony here that these are essentially 'left over'
    issues that should have been closed out BEFORE JFK took office? The
    Brown v. Board of Education, upheld at bayonet point, in Little Rock,
    was a Fifties Kinda Thing. Have we really settled all that much about
    when it is a legitimate issue, and when it is merely more of the same
    old fashion political leveraging game, pitting the US v. THEM, that
    attempts to re-order the coalition elements in the right proportions
    so that Our Team Wins?

    I mean, hasn't the fun of the last thirty years worth of sorting out
    we should 'back off' on that whole 'european cultural myopia' should
    have been
    and when was it just so much Hog Wash. Since it really isn't the fact
    that we like the
    bard because he is a white heterosexual male elitist snob, but because
    we have stood there in the rain, and the mud, and the blood, and we
    know all so well the inner meaning of the Saint Crispin's Day Soliloquy
    in ways that no amount of deconstructionist post modernist method
    acting English Lit Majoring will ever be able to share with us? Words
    we ourselves can no better say, than that "He Got It!"

    Or to take up with Jonathan Shay's "Achilles in Vietnam" approach, that
    it may not have been some yuppy piece of effemete boarding school
    but that the problem of getting back home from the war is a little more
    complex than getting on the Freedom Bird and showing up back on the

    That we wind up there, staring not only into the face of our father, but
    though him to our grandfather and grand grandfather, and the line of our
    generations stretching back through time, that we share this common
    this unexplainable moment, this something that separates us from our
    who were not there. That it is not just some 'guy thing' but some
    else that we share, having seen the dental floss marks in the maw of

    Then waking up in the cold sweat of the instance, and the frivilous
    about wordings mean less to us, since we have little time left in our
    to play word games, since one side feels that they are being repressed,
    rather than breathing in the luxury of living.

    "Oh excuse me, I keep forgetting that for those with the time to be
    it is more important to delineate and define, and specify all the means
    methods by which they are repressed." Or maybe the problem is that we no
    longer have the luxury of bifurcating the world male and female, gay and
    straight, rich and poor, black and white, we're just trying to deal with
    the simpler issues on our plate, the living and the dead - and
    trying to find some other mechanism to kick start the gestalt for others
    than having them scream 'MEDIC!' on some nameless hill half way between
    nowheres and the abyss.

    The good news then is that we have a cure for all the left over ills that
    were not effectively fixed during the sixties, the information is that
    most of the players will not survive the cure....

    but those who do will not have any ambiguity about who is living,
    and who is dead....



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