Cultural Revolutions

The Big Chill Generation

The Big Chill generation came bouncing into town with all of the hoopla you could imagine—bright, in-your-face articulate, self-righteous, and pompous enough to remind us that they were people more likely to be found in bus stations than in airports and that this, in itself, somehow demonstrated their moral superiority. During their second week in power, a waving White House aide yelled to reporters that they were on their way to "a Big Chill weekend" at Camp David. With an entourage of cabinet officials in tow they were out to show that they'd make governin' fun. The centerpiece of the movie The Big Chill is, of course, the music, the wonderful music that is perhaps the only thing about the 60's that should remain pure and wholly intact. Songs, unlike people, do not need to be tempered by time or rewritten by reality checks. The Big Chill, after all, is about disillusionment, a sadder-but-wiser coming-of-age party, best expressed by Mary Kay Place's character, a public defender whose ideals have been tarnished by the real criminals she has had to defend. "I didn't know they'd be so guilty," she says.

Many of us who are just a few years older than Bill Clinton and who have already had copious amounts of cold water thrown upon our 60's ideals are more than a little nervous that his coming-of-age has to occur in the White House. He still has that shoot-from-the-hip,...

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