Cultural Revolutions

Cultural Revolutions

Heroes are back in style. According to a recent poll, the  approval  ratings given to the objects of our admiration are up significantly from a few years back. The official story goes something like this: back in the bad old days of Vietnam and Watergate,  the  Ameri can people lost their youthful idealism and learned to distrust all figures of authority. Now, five years into the Reagan era, we have regained  enough of our confidence to be able to invest some of it into the heroes of the 80's.

Perhaps it is so. It is possible that most of us were losing heart in the 1960's. Not everyone remembers the decade of the apocalypse as a time of doubt and cynicism. It was, after all, a time when entertainers like Jim Morri son were deified for acts of obscenity. (You still can't go into a state university men's room without seeing Jim Morri son Lives! scratched into the fresh paint.) Bob Dylan, the Stones, and the Beatles were treated as prophets, and radical groups like SOS had all the aura of crusaders on their way to the Holy Land (and most of them behaved about as well as the participants in the Fourth Crusade). The Weathermen, the Panthers, the Red Guard … Janis, Jimi, and Mama Cass … Woodstock, the Chicago Convention. "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very...

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