Thursday, November 15, 2007

'1968: The Long Goodbye'

Daniel Henniger has a column in the WSJ this morning which hit upon some critical points and made me think a bit about things this morning: ["1968: The Long Goodbye"]. The online version is corrected from the print one, which had Henniger claiming that George Wallace was "shot dead" in 1972. Wallace was only wounded and paralyzed, and ran for president that year and in 1976.
But the column indirectly makes some interesting points especially in light of what we consider "the modern society."
If you compare the events of the 1960s and how our society has dealt with similar issues in the early part of the 21st Century, there are some significants differences.
Even though many protests during the 1960s shut a lot of things down, or at least attempted to, the best this generation has been able to do is bust some Radio Shack and Starbucks windows at some global trade riots [Battle for Seattle, for example]. Even the large scale protests semi-annually protesting the Iraqi occupation are nothing like the old days. Sometimes they are big; sometimes sparsely attended. And what do the protesters actually accomplish? Nothing really. Do the protesters abandon the Democrats because they haven't accomplished anything and refuse to stand up to this president? No, they get back into the Subarus, lament about how great it was, and go back to whatever they were doing. John Edwards and others are right on this.
I wonder. Is it because the standard of living was easier back then? Is it because workers are all in hock up to their eyeballs, so much so that they must show up for work everyday or they'll lose everything? Whereas, the hippies and yippies did not have much of anything, were able to live on less, so there is less to lose?
Is it because college students are more interested in beer, Internet porn, free file sharing and video games to care about the thousands of Americans dying in a fraudulent war and occupation - never mind the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis dying for nothing, many of them women and children? Are young people too busy texting about the latest in the Britney Spears child custody hearings to worry about some soldier getting his legs blown off and then having the VA say, Sorry, no more medical treatment for you ... and good luck finding a job now in the retail slave wage sector now without any legs. What a way to treat a hero.
And what does that say about our news media, which would distract us from the important things with the trivial. News directors will constantly say, This is what the public wants. But who are they talking to? Maybe I'm weird but I don't know a single person who gives a damn about this tabloid crap. Yeah, maybe they will scoff at the latest headline, but half of that scoff is because we are even being told this information. Remember when the entertainment report was the latest movie preview or update and not about some star's divorce?
Would we truly call all of this "enlightenment"?
Don't get me wrong: I'm in my early 40s now and I think my parents' generation, generalizing, were sellouts and completely screwed everything up. I like to joke, every time I hear about the good old days, how they wrecked sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, and gave us AIDS, addiction, and classic rock, which gets played over and over and over and over again ... Maybe that is harsh but it is also accurate. Our generation has yet to be judged but I'm sure we'll get ours too.
But it has been a long goodbye. And I, for one, can't wait for it to finally say goodbye and be done already. 'Nuff said. Back to my morning coffee.

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