Any historian can write the history of a conventional movement, but to write the history of a hip movement, to know when to laugh and when not to, to be able to distinguish--most difficult of tasks-- straightforward literal language from the hyperbole that is hip's special trait, to see the logic in the foolery, to evoke some of the joyfulness of a hip rebellion, to remember always that standards of conventional politics don't apply to movements devoted to oppositional politics--to do all this one needs not only a suitable background but also to have in some measure overcome that background.
-- Paul Berman, The New Republic
So much of what you had counted on as a solid wall of convictions now seems on bad nights, or in sickness, or just weakness, no longer made of much that can be leaned against. It is then that one can barely place oneself in time. All that you would swear had been can only be found again if you have the energy to dig hard enough, and that is hard on the feet and the back, and sometimes you are frightened that near an edge is nothing.
-- Lillian Hellman, Maybe, A Story
The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memory.
-- Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel
I began work on this book in 1983 as an attempt to understand not only what had happened to the guerrilla television of the 1970s but