Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Fourth Estate

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Fourth Estate

Article excerpt

LIKE POT SMOKE OVER WOODSTOCK

The naive hopes and dreams of an entire American generation were blown away when the World Trade Center crumbled

Now that I've got your attention, a caveat: I am neither pundit nor expert. I am a baby boomer, and I spend most of my leisure time with just plain working folk, not with journalists or other members of the so-called "information class." What follows is the product of observation, not education or politics or philosophy or worldview. So here goes: What ended on Sept. 11, 2001, at once and forever, was the 1960s. It has been quite difficult to put that last sentence to paper, but I was emboldened greatly this morning as I read in The New York Times that Sara Jane

Olson, the '60s radical leftist, is now headed to jail because of her compassion for her compatriots. I wondered whether there could possibly have been a more insignificant person or issue for the paper to have splayed across four columns of its "National Report" page. Some people just will not give it up.

The '60s (actually the late '60s into the early '70s) are sometimes best examined through the dominant media of the baby-boom generation, music and TV. So I'm going to use songs and TV shows to illustrate the utter naivetE and, yes, foolishness, of several concepts that have endured.

Peace and harmony ("I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," from the Coke commercial). Who am I to be teaching anyone? Isn't that American hegemony at its worst? And if we've all been teaching, has anyone learned anything?

Multiculturalism ("It's Your Thing," The Isley Brothers). Has anyone thought that maybe it's not such a good idea to have guerrillas in our midst?

Free love ("Love the One You're With," Stephen Stills). We have a generation's worth of broken homes, single parents, and children of lunatics who go off to fight wars against themselves. In the movie "Getting Straight," a youthful Elliott Gould plays a schlump named Harry who, during his masters oral, witnesses a riot breaking out on his college campus. His observation was right on when he mused that the rioting students really were not particularly consumed by the cause but instead driven by the desire to have sexual intercourse.

The brotherhood of man ("Playing in the Band," Grateful Dead, or "We're All Playing in the Same Band," Bert Sommer). …

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