Day by Day



11 December 2007

Holy retrospective...


Well it’s here. The baby boomer generation is indulging in its favorite pastime of navel gazing. The New York Times advertising section reports that advertisers are now increasingly tying their products to some whimsical representation of the 1960s. There is hardly anything wrong with categorizing any period as the good old days. As humans, we have a unique ability to emphasize any aspect of an experience over another.



Let’s just recapture the essence of the sixties. Political assassination was routine, even in the United States was common. Our armed forces were a last vestige of institutionalized slavery due to conscription. Many cities were reeling from racial violence and wide spread abandonment by middle class citizens. The threat of actual, all-out nuclear war was nearly made real with the Cuban missile crisis. The environment was NOT a top consideration of any mainstream party.



Some good aspects. The space race meant something. Civil rights were evolving for the good. Government control over the economy was waning. But the sixties were marked by chaos. The unpredictable result of decades of social unrest and overturning of the old order. There are a thousand different ways this period could have transpired. It could have happened with less violence, less pain and more insight.



But it didn’t. It happened the way it happened due to the actions and reactions of humanity. We will likely look back on this first decade of the 21st century and make similar comparisons. I think I would vote for Obama if only to move the nation away from the false memory of the 1960s.



I was born in the middle of that decade. My memories are locked squarely in the midst of the 1970s. Those days, naturally, seem magical to me. I was growing up and forming my worldview. The Soviets were bad. Hijackings didn’t end with plunges into cities. The economy was in tatters and we were retreating from our initial push into space.



There were no good old days.



The only good old day is now.



Do your part to make it the best one possible.



By the way, I know some folks who are – Capt Jack Harkness and Sonic Frog are boldly entrenched in making sure the youth of the planet have a touchstone of sanity in an otherwise anything goes society.



Rock on.


11 comments:

captjackharkness said...

Aw, thanks for the compliment. But as a child of the 60's, born in the beginning year of the decade, I do have a wonderfully romanticized view of it....because the decade formed my life and mindset. Of course, perhaps it helped that I had a brother who was 13 years older than I, and I saw a lot of it through his eyes. I remember the first run of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, GREEN ACRES, PETTICOAT JUNCTION, THE PRISONER. I remember watching the first season of STAR TREK when I was six. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. etc, etc, etc. Going to see grand movies in real movie palaces. And, of course, watching all the strife and changes on televsion and thinking...."this is cool". Because, frankly, I don't think the changes could have or would have happened any other way. It was a time of strife and change yes, and it was reflected mainly in the music. Without the civil rights movement, MOTOWN would never have happened. Without the cold war, I am not sure the Beatles would have ever been as strong a force as they were. The Music of the '70'S? Banal by comparison, fun in retrospect, but please....Thank God It's Friday???? The only good to come out of the time was ELO (and I argue that they were really more of a '60's extention band), the Eagles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and the entire Punk Movement. In the 60's we had a people who truly questioned authority, did not conform (however much they started conforming later on), and lived a romantic, if kind of dirty and sweaty life on the road. It was a decade that existed becasue of people like Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghettie, Neal Cassady....and, god help me, the Partridge Family and the Brady Bunch, who all began IN THE 60'S! It was the beginning of the movement that allows me to live life openly as a gay man, with the Stonewall riots, inspired not only by the anger of how people were treated but by the death of a gay icon....It was assaniations, yes, but it was also Carnaby Street and Twiggy and incredible films such as EASY RIDER and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Other than STAR WARS, THE STING, and CABARET, how many great movies really came out of the '70?

The '70's was, to me, a time of conformity which rivaled the halcyon days of the Eisenhower Administration. If you did not dance disco, have feathered hair, or wear polyester and shoulder pads, who were you, really? The conformity of the '70's was a reaction to the '60's, which in turn led to punk, new wave, and the counter culture of the '80's....

It is all cause and effect.

I would love to have been a hippy, and run around with Ken Kesey.

Citizen Deux said...

The 70s were the time when we truly faced our fears about the end of the world - Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, etc. It was about mortality.

captjackharkness said...

Planet of the Apes was made in 1968 and released in 69. BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES was 1969, and ESCAPE FROM... in 1971....Omega Man was, I believe, 1969 as well...along with THX whatever....and the bizarre zeppelin movie with Michael York and Elke Somer. Sad but true, I spent saturdays at the movies....eating jujubees. I saw later two at the Avo Theatre in Vista,Ca. because, my mother would not let me see the first one when I was nine, even though all the other kids got too..... I was also forbidden to see BONNIE AND CLYDE, and Doctor Shivago. . The Omega Man was made in 1969......(BTW, based on I AM LEGEND, and originally made as a 1950's conformist allegory as THE LAST MAN ON EARTH with Vincent Price.....
Also, in 1969 I saw HAIR at the Aquarius Theatre in LA. I wore a silver nehru jacket and a peace symbol necklace. I was on the aisle, and during the opening number,as the cast entered down the aisles, a lovely Lt. Uhura like black woman sat on my lap, touseled my hair and said "How you doin, Sugah?". It was a defining moment of my life, and that was before the nude scene...

captjackharkness said...

Oh yes..our fears about the end of the world were also faced in the late 50's/early 60's with the novel and film of ON THE BEACH, the as yet and sadly unfilmed novel, ALAS, BABYLON, ss well as INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (conformist/communism allegory),THEM,FORBIDDEN PLANET, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and pretty much every other episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE and THE OUTER LIMITS.....And of course, let us not forget DOCTOR STRANGELOVE and FAILSAFE (still one of the most frightening movies, in my mind, ever made) , both made in the, um,early to mid 60's......and I am sure that I forgetting something made by Roman Polanski or something...

sonicfrog said...

Without the civil rights movement, MOTOWN would never have happened...

Uhm, no. Motown preceded the Civil Rights movement, and, through it's success, probably influenced it. It would be more accurate to say, without the civil rights movement, you would not have the fantastic solo careers of Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross. The Civil Rights cause helped motivate their split with Motown.

CD, I suspect we share the same time period experiences. If you want to look to cultural references and relevance of the 70's, I think you have to look toward TV, and start with "All In The Family" and its spin-offs: "The Jeffersons", "Maude", etc. These shows, along with "Good Time" and even "Sanford and Sons" and "Chico and the Man" all attacked racial issues in a funny yet realistic fashion that doesn't seem possible (or credible) in todays entertainment environment....

Oh, Hell! I just had a brain cloud and forgot what I was going to say....

Damn I'm getting old!

sonicfrog said...

Oh, yeah, now I remember...

Cap., Damned you're old!!! :-)

sonicfrog said...

The only good to come out of the [70's] was ELO (and I argue that they were really more of a '60's extention band), the Eagles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and the entire Punk Movement.

Uhm, what about Elton John, Supertramp, Dire Straights, Queen, AC/DC, Rush, Lynard Skynard, Police, Talking Heads... who else am I forgetting....

70's movies: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Godfather, American Graffiti (sp?), Exorcist, Alien, Jaws, Day Of The Condor, Nashville, Taxi Driver, Pink Panthers, Silver Streak, French Connection, Close Encounters, Woody Allens best movies, Mel Brooks best movies, Airplane (a cheat since it was released in 1980) and its relative, The Big Bus!

Oh, and "Clockwork Orange" is a 70's movie, released in 1971.

captjackharkness said...

Sonic, I think you and I are the only people who even remember THE BIG BUS. Stockard Channing in her greatest role.....

And yes, damn, I am old. And yes, I had been drinking, so I did forget some of the better musicians and movies. And yes, I ded have a hard day at school. So there.

Citizen Deux said...

I remember the big bus! I remember clearly the bar fight with the broken milk carton. I laughed until my own milk came out of my nose.

Yes, I am the daughter of poison gas!

sonicfrog said...

OK. It's official. We need to start a "The Big Bus" Fan-club Website!

PS. The movie is now in our Netflix cue.

captjackharkness said...

This is scary....and rather pathetic, it's own geeky way