If the 60s DIED in 1968,
THEN WHY IS 2008 LOOKING SO FAMILIAR?
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
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!"