Tuesday, November 21, 2006

If the 60s DIED in 1968,

Progress Schmogress!
The 60s era actually ended before the decade ended. The dream of a New Age by a monolithic Baby Boom Generation had vanished in 1968. The illusion of a real 'United' States was murdered with the man who seemed to be the last chance to deliver the Dream.

The youthful, utopian hope of the USA fixing their country and then the world, maybe even as one big happy family, died on June 6, 1968 when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated by a puny Palestinian man named Sirhan_Sirhan.

The other shoe had dropped.
I was a 10 year old Canadian kid but I remember that day.

For me this marquee moment has as much of an impact on our modern world as did Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9/11, Walking on the Moon in '69 and the assassinations of his brother Jack in 1963 and Martin Luther King in '68.
I was only 5 when the President was shot in Dallas.

By 1968 many of the first and most influential wave of the BABY BOOMERS, those born between 1946 and 1956, I was born in '57, were already deeply ensconced in the midst of a tumultuous period in American history.
The Civil Rights and Gender Equality movements, the War in Viet Nam, and the Generation Gap were in full swing when Bobby was assassinated in June of '68.

The assassinations of Bobby Kennedy, JFK in '63, and then Martin Luther King Jr. just a few months earlier on April 4th, 1968 (U2's Pride/In The Name Of Love) polarised the Boomers into the two separate directions that still strangles American politics. The Presidential election in 2008 is shaping up to be fought along the same lines with another unpopular and unwinnable War, this time in Iraq, at the forefront of the confrontation between these two camps.

Half of the Baby Boomers have become exactly what the other half feared most..old fashioned right wing squares, just like their parents.

For many Bobby was the embodiment of Hope. That is why I see his death as the straw that broke the camel's back. The day that the Dream died and gave rise to the bleak mixture of nihilism and hedonism that we associate with the bleak 70s and it's proverbial Me Generation...
as well as the subsequent opposing view of the Conservative Christian Yuppy Reagan era of the 80s.

After 1968, in order to cope with this violent, crazy,
self-destructing world, one side of the Boomers returned to Old Fashioned values, a conservative Republican view of God and Country and Law and Order in search of a more structured environment.

The other half tuned in to Woodstock, was turned off by the past, and turned on to fight for the the Dream.

Both Boomer camps then had a little time out and retreated briefly to suburbia and began raising families. This procreational phenomenon peaked in 1985 when almost 3.7 Million births were recorded..nearly identical to the 4 Million anuual births of the original Baby Boom!

Speaking of families, back in the 50s when the Boomers were growing up Spock said,

not that Spock!

the other one, Dr. Benjamin Spock, who told parents to how to raise children:remember 'Love them, Feed them and leave them alone.'
The old school method of raising little cyborgs was out and Dr. Spock became the scapegoat of the old school Gi/Great Generation, who were the parents of the Boomers, who had fought the War and saved the World, and felt that he was creating a generation, and many agree, that was hooked on
instant gratification!

Spock also was a vocal opponent of the Viet Nam War, Circumcision, and a strong advocate for gender equality..
Spock addressed children in his books in the feminine form she in equal measure ..the nerve eh? Where was I...

For me the assassination of Bobby appears to be a flashpoint, the final nail in the coffin, because after that any chance of a monolithic YOUTH MOVEMENT was dead!

The Boomers were divided and morphed into Hippys and or Yuppys and off they went to reorganise themselves and battle each other in the simmering Culture War that percolated during the Watergate years of the early 70s and exploded around 1980

The Baby Boomers of course had a whack of kids, half of which were raised in a pseudo Leave It To Beaver- 50s style- back to the future- Red State model and the other half in the more moderate- liberal- man in the mirror -Blue Democratic world.
Each with it's own positive and negative side effects.

Naturally I am excited to see the film Bobby
and see how they handled the killing of the Dream.
Bobby was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and is about the night that Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The huge cast includes Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Anthony Hopkins,Helen Hunt,Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, James Marsden, Lindsey Lohan, William H Macy, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Sharon Stone, Christian Slater, and Elijah Wood.

This movie follows a cross section of America who are at the hotel anticipating Kennedy’s arrival for the primary election night party. This historic night is set against the backdrop of the cultural issues gripping the country in 1968.

Is it just me or was Yogi Berra right?

"This is like deja vu all over again!"


  1. history repeats itself every few years.

    btw 60s is in fashion again...look at the polka dots and the headbands with mini skirts ;-)

    I know...its not what u mean here tho...I can see HE rolling eyes...:):)


  2. The fall of Camelot is forever burned into my psychi, even though I was only 8 at the time. I just knew something terrible, so terrible I couldn't grasp it, had happened.

    I could only peek out at the amazing things happening outside my "Mississippi burning" prison bars, but I knew the world was getting turned upside down by MY generation, and I was rooting for them.

    Then I grew up and many of my baby-boomer compatriots turned traitor, turning yuppy and getting lazy, and all that progress we envisioned came to a crawl and ushered in the retro-Reagan era that almost resulted in us getting to put those duck-and-cover exercises of our paranoid youth into practice, at least for the 5 seconds it took for the heat and shock wave to reach us.

    When Bill Clinton came along, I honestly wondered if the spirit of Kennedy had somehow possesed this charasmatic cracker from the edge of Dixie, and how he emmulated Jack was downright spooky, right down to the womanizing, which in this new era he couldn't pull off like Presidents of yesteryear did so well. How we could have succeeded this incredible, if stained, success story with the likes of Bonzo Bush is proof to me that starting with my own generation and amplified by each succeeding one, we have turned into a country of complete idiots.

    What a sad segway out of an amazing legacy.......sigh........

  3. ha ha keshi,
    thank you so much for commenting ....
    period. You are absolutely right about the 20 year fashion cycle..what would designers do without..lazy frickin' bastards!

    I knew that I should have discussed something more important like the big hissy match going on between KELLY RIPPA and CLAY AIKEN but what are ya gonna do...:)
    I was reading about the movie BOBBY last week and I have always wondered why 1968 wasn't iconic...

    THE michael,
    I knew that you would understand what I was getting at..I know what you mean..I was just a kid but I knew that something was wrong with people and that the universe wasn't following some perfect little plan just for us humans..horrible things shouldn't happen to good people and even a child can understand that much.
    Like Hillary said, "Bill is a hard doawg to keep on the porch" and his Kennedyesque skirt chasing just wasn't possible with today's hyper media coverage.
    I hope that the Rovian whores don't try to rehash his every indiscretion when the Hillary machinery gears up but....guess what...it will...bastards!

    I thought that it was interesting that only half of the adult Boomer population graduated to the 21st century.

  4. Clay/Kelly Update!

    I heard that Clay didn't even realise that he shouldn't be covering Kelly's mouth with his 'you never know where these little closeted hands have been!'
    Thank Gawd that Rosie is lookin' out for him!

    Gee Whillikers I sure hope that they work it out.

  5. Anonymous10:46 a.m.

    I know nothing about these Kelly and Clay people of whom you write (and I'm probably better off)...

    I was watching American Experience this weekend, on the Kennedy's (being from New England you must genuflect) and an older African-American man was talking about RFK and when they got to his assassination he very quitely said "we knew it was all over then" - meaning the changes that were taking place died.

    I think the older Boomers just lost faith. They were in college or had graduated and they lived through the lies of the 50's, the hope of JFK being dashed to bits, then Dr. King's murder, then RFK. Seriously, how much can a soul take?

    But I also damn them (being born in '65 I'm technically generation X) for losing the way. RFK's death was a watershed for the older boomers; Watergate was another for the younger boomers and older X'ers. And no one learned very much from either experience.

    So now we have new progressives, new liberals, trying to fix this mess, trying to motivate, push people, into a better national identity and we get met with shrugs and ennui. The older boomers sold everyone out - sex and drugs and rock 'n roll were so much more fun than dealing with reality and trying to fix it. Then they got greedy: this generation is also responsible for the McMansions and excessive "Greed is Good" mentality that has afflicted us since the 80's. They refuse to stand up and tell off the religious whack jobs, the lying politician; they refuse to risk what they've gained by doing what's right. Their hedonism and selfishness have cost us dearly and I'm not sure if it can be fixed.

    And, obviously, it pisses me off. Sorry.

  6. BOBBY? let me go look it up...


  7. laura e,
    Clay aiken and Kelly Rippa...and I'm glad that you don't care.
    Let me just say how much I appreciate your comment regarding this post.I knew that you would get something out of it...the shock troop boomers did give up and led us into the McWorld that we live in....half and half were left and right and both are ridiculous...their sense of entitlement fell far below their instant gratification expectations..now it may be too late.
    Thank You so much.

    I am very optimistic that this film will deliver what I am nattering about in this post. There was a time when we North Americans actually believed that the world could become a better place...that died along with the sense that everything was progressively getting better..here and around the world..it all vanished in 68. The darkest period followed..the 70s and the get rich 80s and gogo 90s were all about money...then 911 and now we have an even bleaker vision of the world...but back in 68 there was still hope.'There is an amazing cast in that movie..I hope that it delivers.


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