People sometimes ask me about my tastes in music, literature, movies, etc. Generally speaking, I’ll freely discuss such subjects without hesitation or reservations. In fact, I’ve openly pursued these matters in several columns.
However, whether friends or casual acquaintances, in many cases they’re inquiring about my artistic tastes because such preferences give hints about my personal beliefs. Like, am I a Christian or an atheist? (In either case, I really can’t say until certain terms are defined.) My personal philosophy is something I’ve never written about in these feeble ramblings and I’m not about to start now. Such discussions are best conducted in bars, when our minds are properly tempered with one or two hits of tequila.
However, as you surely realize if you’ve read these weekly episodes for any length of time, there’s one insightful revelation I’ve reveal on many occasions: To wit, I’m a child of the Sixties. Specifically, the late ‘60s. To a degree, this is also true of many of you. But in my particular case, I didn’t flirt with the outer fringes of that era. Instead, I was completely submerged in it. As such, my current attitudes, lifestyle and general philosophical underpinnings were greatly influenced by those reckless, spontaneous, whirlwind days, when “freedom was just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”
The late 1960s were a major social convulsion, especially among American youth. (The New York Times referred to a tectonic “youth quake.”) Led by writers like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, American women registered their complaints of inequality and injustice in no uncertain terms. Blacks unleased their pent-up rage in cities and on college campuses all across the country, from the Deep South all the way to the sheltered confines of Washington State University. College kids were fed up with the pointless and unjustified war in Vietnam and they took to the streets, raising hell in the sacred halls of government. And these front-line troops were inundated by the unholy screams of Jim Morrison and more psychedelic drugs and pharmaceuticals than any 10 DEA agents had ever imagined.
I was quite lucky simply because I survived that era in relatively coherent shape. Some of my friends didn’t.
Today, many of our most progressive social innovations are a direct legacy of the Sixties. For example, the election of a black president, the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan (we’re sick and tired of wars), the relatively large number of women senators and governors, several socialistic programs like Obama Care, the legalization of weed and last, but certainly not the least, the end of the much ballyhooed sexual revolution because, finally, there simply aren’t any “perversions” left uncovered.
All of these innovations are a product of the ‘60s. With the exception of World War II, the late ‘60s were the most significant era of the 20th century and it changed the world forever.
So, if you want to talk philosophy, bring on the tequila. But know from the outset, I’m coming from the late ‘60s.