The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard: What the Current Cultural-Political Regression Has to Do With the Struggles of Generations
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Who Won’t Die and the Abortion of Cultural Rebirth … What the Current Cultural-Political Regression Has to Do With the Struggles of Generations
Since the Nineties: America Getting Free and America in Chains
America Getting Free, Breaking Out
What do these events have in common? The popularity of Democrats since the Nineties, with Obama’s favorability ratings high despite US entanglement in several wars; the astounding progress in race relations exemplified by ever increasing numbers of African-Americans elected and appointed to the highest posts in US government since the Nineties, highlighted by the election of the first ever black President in the most lopsided victory in decades;
…the wild success of the Occupy Wall Street and Wisconsin union movements; massive demonstrations around the U.S., attended by hundreds of thousands at times, in favor of liberal Democratic causes and opposing Republicans and showing people carrying signs displaying the peace symbol; outpourings of peaceful pro-freedom and democracy protesters throughout the Middle East and North Africa; the reborn popularity of the “peace sign”–two fingers extended in a V-like shape, for those who don’t know—including saying “peace” while extending it as a greeting (most often these days, when leaving);
…renewed interest in the book, Catcher in the Rye; the nostalgia for Sixties and Seventies cultural accouterments as exemplified by the TV show, That 70s Show ; the resurgence of fashion items like bell-bottoms and, on women, clunky high-heel shoes; the movies “Pleasantville” and “The Truman Show”; the popularity in the Nineties of shows like Ally McBeal and The X Files;
…one-time Sixties activist Bill Clinton’s sixty-some percent approval rating throughout almost the entirety of the White House Sex Scandal alongside the pundits’ complete and total befuddlement as to the causes for it; the strong presidential run by a woman, also with roots solidly in Sixties activism, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 Presidential race…significantly only beat out, and barely, by an African-American;
…the passage of medical use of marijuana laws in a number of states and poised for passage legalization of marijuana initiatives (I may be wrong, but I believe that the voters ruled that marijuana’s medical use would be allowed, or would continue, in every instance where this issue was on the ballot!); the return to ballad-style, Dylan-esque music embracing and expressing social, philosophical, and extremely intimate personal views and experiences….
We’ve also seen, in California, the passage of Proposition 10—the ballot measure that imposes a fifty-cents tax on cigarettes to fund programs for young children…which ballot measure, significantly enough, was begun by Sixties-Generation representative Rob Reiner—formerly Meathead from All in the Family! The passage of single payer health insurance in Vermont… I could go on.
America in Chains, Breaking Down
On the other side of this we have seen, in the last two decades, several “Republican revolutions” taking the opposite side on women’s issues, union and worker’s rights, environmental policy, health care and education, budget and economic issues benefiting the poor and middle class, and all other “liberal” causes;
…the rise of a media-supported Tea Party movement, heavily funded by wealthy and corporate interests, espousing wildly reactionary and regressive measures like eliminating Social Security and Medicare, gutting environmental policies to give corporations a free hand in despoiling the environment, anti-union measures, deep budget cuts in social programs, and the showing in this movement of demonstrators hoisting signs with racist images and slogans and gleefully applauding the acting out of a slave auction depicting an African-American president, Obama, and his supporters in Congress and his administration as bloodied slaves in chains;
…the popularity of a news network promoting, in blatant and mostly dishonest form, reactionary issues and figures; the resurgence in the careers of Pat Buchanan, right wing propagandist out of the Nixon administration turned talk show pundit, and Newt Gingrich, reactionary culture warrior during the early Nineties; extreme pro-gun positions and actions, including openly carrying weapons to political rallies and events and proposing the allowance of children to bring guns to schools; thuggish attacks on left-leaning activists and demonstrators; the murder of physicians on the pro-choice side of the abortion/ women’s rights issue; and attacks and threats against progressive politicians and legislators, including the nearly successful assassination attempt on Democratic Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords…. I could go on.
Most folks would see nothing connecting these issues on either side. What I believe we are seeing is a resurgence of the underground “culture war” that has been going on in the US since the 1960s between the Sixties Generation—those whose adolescent and young adulthood, formative years were influenced by the events of the Sixties—and the World War Two Generation—those whose equivalent times of life were forged in the Forties, during and around the time of World War Two.
Generation Gap and Counterculture
The huge ravine separating the views of these two generations was most apparent when those of the Sixties Generation were in their youth, engaged in the process of discovering and exploring their values and therefore expressing them blatantly and with all the indiscretion, lack of subtlety, confrontation, and rebelliousness that characterizes the inexperienced. Thus, terms like generation gap and counterculture were bandied about, analyzed, and fervently discussed. The differences were “on the table,” in full view; and because the views and values of the youth were so “counter” or opposite to those of the WWII Generation, much debate and analysis was spawned in the media to try to explain–for the most part to the WWII Generation–how this could be so.
But these terms of generation gap and counterculture, which highlighted the great disparity of views, would fade mostly into disuse. This was because, later, the Sixties Generation would learn to keep their private views and values more hidden, for practical reasons having to do with making a living, advancing in their careers, being able to raise their children, and so on; but this did not mean their values had changed. They were biding their time, waiting—sometimes hopeless that it would ever arrive–for a reversing of the pendulum and a return in society to the ideals and visions of a better world that had so inspired them in their earlier years.
For the most part, these Sixties adherents did not know about the psychohistorical tendencies I will be describing here—as for example in the evolution of child-caring and the triumphant phase of generations. For most it was just an awareness that something so strong and so right could not simply have completely vanished from the Earth, that with time comes change, and therefore there had to be a time, again, when the mood of the country would swing in the direction they felt to be healthiest and more ideal. For some of these people their hopes were based on the simple rules of gambling: Eventually, at some time or other, with the passage of time, the dice just had to roll their number, if just out of pure chance or randomness.
Others had a slightly more reasoned view buttressing their hope for a return to idealism. These folks were those of the Sixties Generation who had applied themselves to implementing the values they learned in the Sixties in the jobs and careers they held, in whatever small or not-so-small way that they were allowed by their older generation superiors, bosses, managers, or supervisors. Never knowing that they had allies among their generation that were doing the same kind of thing in their separate fields, they followed through, the best they could, on simple conviction, born of experience, of the rightness of the more idealistic ways.
Lastly, there were those of the Sixties Generation who identified themselves completely with their youthful idealism. In putting themselves “out front” this way in their values and beliefs they found others who were doing the same. They would together become the “New Age” movement, actively engaged in bringing about the better world their generation had envisioned in the Sixties and early Seventies. They would wonder, as decades passed, why it took so long for the rest of society to catch on to what they felt was an inviting and appealing evolution—one both necessary and therefore inevitable as well.
But these last, the New Agers, would be marginalized and scapegoated by the mainstream of society—a mainstream whose outlines, of course, were determined and inscribed by the mainstream media, which was, in turn, controlled by the wealthy elite of the World War Two Generation (more about this to come). Examples included Jerry Brown labeled “Captain Moonbeam,” the family dynamics in the TV show Family Ties, the burnt-out hippie depiction of cabdriver, Jim, in the Taxi television series, and thousands of other instances where those holding New Age views were labeled “flakes.”
Another reason these terms depicting cultural division, viz., generation gap and counterculture, went into disuse was due to the mobilization of the World War Two Generation—after their initial phase of somnolent confusion over the events that were emerging in the Sixties which left them paralyzed and watching, growing in irritation and anger—into a comprehensive counterattack against the Sixties Generation, using all the Nixonian-like tactics in their arsenal…understandably, since Nixon was of that generation and his tactics were typical of the defensive style of his contemporaries.
Lassoing the Universities
In the early Seventies, the World War Two Generation used their power and wealth, being themselves in the Triumphant Phase of their lives, to put pressure on colleges and universities, nationwide, to discontinue the programs, courses, and the professors that they felt were responsible for the youth’s rebellion. Their targets for destruction included such noteworthy “dangers” as liberal arts programs in general, and especially “highly revolutionary” philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, and humanistic psychology courses. A transformation of colleges and universities into “career mills”—whose primary function was to prepare the young for practical and skill-oriented jobs and professions—was called for…or else! Or else these World War Two alumni would discontinue their contributions to these educational institutions. The “bottom line” being threatened in this way, no university administration, to my knowledge, withstood their demands for very long, if at all.
Cloning Themselves … WWII Generation Creating an 80s Generation of “Mini-me’s”
The youth produced by these institutions would hereafter be dissuaded from thinking for themselves and from “questioning authority”—as the previous generation had been encouraged to do—so part of the lapse in the terms of division between the generations—counterculture and generation gap—had to do with the fact that the wave of youth that followed the Sixties Generation would be molded, in their college years, into distant replicas of World War Two Generation members. They would be termed the “Me Generation,” since selfishness, greed, money-as-god, and upward mobility were characteristics of the WWII Generation that they were able to instill in their youthful clones.
Thus, we saw the rise of Young Republicans on campus in the late Seventies, the return of ROTC to campuses, and the seeding of fertile young minds with the values that would later be verbalized—in the movie “Wall Street”—in the mantram “Greed is good!” At the height of this phase, periodicals were declaring how similar the “youth of today”—meaning those of the late Seventies and Eighties—were to their parents, how close they were to their parents in the beliefs and values they held, and how the generation gap had inexplicably closed. Such was the success of the WWII Generation in cloning themselves in producing Eighties youth.
In sum, beginning in the early Seventies institutions of higher learning turned away from their idealistic goals of “bringing out” from the students their inner truths and wisdom (the original meaning of the term educate), which is the avowed role of liberal arts programs, and instead turned hard, to the right, onto a path of churning out engineers, MBAs, hard scientists (even in the field of psychology, where humanistic psychology was shunned), medical professionals, lawyers, and the like. My liberal arts, semi–ivy-league college—founded, by half, by Benjamin Franklin—turned from the idealistic studies that typified Franklin and those of his time and swung from being a bastion of energetic inquiry into all controversial realms—political and spiritual and societal—a virtual “Plato’s Academy” of inquiry, into being a career mill centered around a “pre-med” program.
Harnessing the Media
Similarly, these frightened and wealthy WWII “conspirators” (however unconscious their alliance) would use their leverage to ensure that books and the media—TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers—would expound their views predominantly, would present events through the particular psychological lenses and filters with which they were familiar, and would eschew viewpoints, and even coverage of events, that would in any way strengthen the stance of the, by this time, scapegoated Sixties Generation. The media declared, with much fanfare, in the early Seventies that a “conservative backlash” was occurring; and they published books documenting this event. Meanwhile they ignored the polls and the events—specifically the ongoing and growing antiwar and other counterculture “demonstrations”—that would show the lie to this idea, and they rejected and refused publication of the kind of books and articles, still being effusively churned out—that would support the counterculture movement. Controlling the media in this way and saying it long and loud enough, the “big lie” of the “conservative backlash” began to be accepted as truth. And even many in the counterculture and among the youth began to believe it.
Interestingly, those on the extreme right did not forget that the great divide in views was still with us. In the Nineties, Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich said a “culture war” was going on. More recently we see WWII and Fifties style Tea Partiers going up against huge rallies of Sixties style pro-union demonstrators and massive recall efforts.
So those on the right decry such massive outpourings against them, but they are correct that it is a “culture war.” Obviously they can see that the world has changed from the Fifties-style “Pleasantville” that they had imagined and wanted it to be.
The King Wouldn’t Die: World War Two Generation Clung to Power, Abomination and Stagnation Filled the Land
An Aborted Changing of the Guard
Culture War — The King Must Die
But the World War Two Generation could not maintain control forever. For one thing, people die. And being older than the Sixties Generation, eventually their numbers had to dwindle. Their numbers dwindling, they had to be replaced by those younger–some of whom were of the Sixties Generation and were now in what psychohistorians call the triumphant phase of life–that is, the time of life when a generation is in its “prime,” when it is most influential, when it takes over the reins of society, when it gets behind the wheel of the cultural bus.
From this perspective, we can view a remarkable film, “Pleasantville,” released in the late Nineties at the peak of the Sixties Generation’s triumphant phase, and see that it is a metaphorical review of history from the early Fifties up to that time–one which shows the Sixties Generation, in the end, finally realizing their vision of a more colorful, alive, open-to-new-experience and to change, growthful, changeful, passionate, unregimented, truthful, sensual, feeling and emotionful, and less determined, ritualized, and preordained existence. More about this later.
The Generational Changing of the Guard
First let me point out that this change in power, evident by this movie and the other recent cultural items I’ve mentioned, is a change as old as our species. Every generation, at some point, leaves or is removed from their seats of power when they are at or near the end of their arc of effectiveness and prowess by a younger generation that is coming into or—as in the unusual case of the Sixties Generation for the reasons unique to this time to be mentioned below—is fully in the prime of its life.
Myths, fairy tales, stories, historical tales, and legends the world over depict this change of power. The myth that is most transparent in its depiction of this change is the one in which a monarch, despot, or ogre controls and rules the land, keeping the people miserable with oppressive and selfish decrees and policies. A young prince emerges and, after a period of trial (in the case of the Sixties Generation, an unusually long period of trial) in which the prince proves himself worthy, he takes up the cause of the people and overthrows the old king and takes his place. Thus the saying “The king is dead. Long live the (new) king.”
The triumphant phase of the Sixties Generation had been delayed, however, longer than any other generation in history because of the advances in modern medical science, which has served to keep the World War Two Generation alive and kicking longer than any previous generation. The average life expectancy in the last sixty years (since the time when the World War Two Generation were in their youth or young adulthood) has increased remarkably. Hence the Sixties Generation has had to wait longer than the World War Two Generation to get a chance behind the wheel of society. It is strange and ironic that at a time when the speed of cultural change is greatest because of an ever increasing speed of technological change, at a time when the elder generation’s worldview becomes obsolete sooner and faster than ever before, at such a time when it would seem the younger generation’s view would attain relevancy and effectiveness faster and sooner than at any previous time, at such a time we have the reverse occurring, that is, the younger generation’s ascendancy is delayed and the older one’s stranglehold on power is extended.
But this rapid change and increasing rate of obsolescence may just have something to do with the WWII Generation’s desire to hang on and their vehement struggle against change. For, as mentioned before, there is a gap—greater than ever before—between the views of the younger and those of the older. This gap is wrought of the different technological worlds and the corresponding sociocultural worlds that each experienced. It is widened by different, more advanced on the one side, child-caring of children as well as by different drugs used and the contrasting world views they would elicit—as explained previously, in Chapter Three.
So the WWII Generation might be said to be more threatened than any previous one by the generation to succeed them, because the ascendancy of the next generation would appear to overturn and oftentimes reverse so much of what they believe, value, worked and sacrificed for.
Because of the unprecedented technological change and corresponding change in material culture, catalyzing in ways too numerous to mention a myriad of sociocultural and psychological changes in their successors, there is less overlap than ever before between the worldviews of the generation handing over power and the generation coming into power. It follows that it would seem to the generation in power, even as they approach the end of their mortality, that less of what they are and were will live on after them than has ever been the case in the history of generational succession.
This being so, this generational succession represents a previously unheard of personal invalidation and undermining of the self-esteem of those of the World War Two Generation and a corresponding unprecedented attack on the usual delusions of immortality (themselves living on in some fashion in their successors) that older generations are allowed in exchange for their relinquishing power.
Generational Changing of the Guard, Aborted
At any rate and whatever may be the reason, the fact remains that the World War Two Generation has used their longevity for all their worth to block the ascendancy of their successors. They used their longevity to amass wealth and power–wealth greater than any previous generation before and, because of their actions, likely to come.
For example, their actions have led to a situation, currently, wherein they were taken care of in their old age by a Social Security and Medicare system funded by the work of the Baby-Boomers, aka Sixties Generation, at the same time that predictions abound that that same Social Security and Medicare system will be depleted when it is the Baby-Boomers time to belly-up to the bar. One might also note the WWII Generation’s environmental and ecological decisions making it that no generation after them will enjoy anywhere near the benefits—health and quality of life among them—of clean environment, abundance of natural resources, and ecological balance that they enjoyed. Finally, their decisions regarding arms buildup and proliferation may deny life itself to the generations following them. Other unprecedented ogre-like—greedy, selfish, and uncaring-of-succeeding-generations—actions can be numbered against this generation.
So the World War Two Generation used their unprecedented wealth and power to wage a war against the generation who would be taking over from them, keeping them and their values under attack and away from the centers of power and influence in society as long as they possibly could.
Examples. This is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. See also “Balance the Budget on the Back of Billionaires” at the bottom of Chapter 27: Life Vs. Matrix
World War Two Generation
Stephen J Bechtel, Jr., born 1925
Richard Vos, born 1926
Fred Koch, born 1900, died 1967, co-founder of John Birch Society, living on through Fifties Generation sons, David H and Charles C., below
Pawlenty donor goes to Bachmann: Billionaire media mogul Stanley Hubbard, a longtime friend and donor of the Minnesota governor, told POLITICO on Tuesday that he’s now backing the Minnesota congresswoman.
Conservative Fifties Generation Followers, Fawning Fallow Fascist Generation
David H. Koch, born 1940
Yuppie Freak WWII Gen Clones. Examples:
Desperate Last Stands in the Generation Wars: Clinton, Abortion, War, Voting, Wealthifying, Health Care, Tea Party, OWS
King Won’t Die – Generational Changing of the Guard, Aborted
Last Stands in the Generation Wars: Sex, Abortion, Neo-Con 9-11, Election Stealing, Corporate Personhood, Tea Party, OWS
So the World War Two Generation used their unprecedented wealth and power to wage a war against the generation who would be taking over from them, keeping them and their values under attack and away from the centers of power and influence in society as long as they possibly could.
Desperate Stand: The Battle of the Bill (Clinton)
It is enlightening to consider in the Nineties the persistent attacks on Bill Clinton (similarly, on Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, continuing)—the first Sixties Generation U.S. president—ever since he took office. The Monica Lewinsky scandal is a typical example of the extent to which the World War Two Generation so effectively controlled the views and values expressed and subtly expounded in the media ever since it took conscious control of the society’s “collective consciousness” in this way in the early Seventies. By this I mean that in the entire time of the scandal, it was assumed that sex is bad, or at least that sex outside of marriage is bad. It was assumed that Hillary must be horribly pained and angered by the revelation of her husband’s affair(s).
Make Love, Not War
It is as if the slogan “Make Love, Not War” was never a generational outcry. I don’t believe you will ever find in the history books paid for/ published by World War Two Generation owned publishing houses mention of the fact that slogan was ever used. Indeed, with all the talk by pundits, analysts, and commentators on literally hundreds of TV shows during the entire time of the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment drama, that slogan, “Make Love, Not War,” was practically never mentioned. I am aware of only one time–when I heard it slipped in unnoticed by a participant in the middle of a talkin’-all-at-once brouhaha on the TV show “Politically Incorrect,” whereupon it was totally ignored. Even more astonishing, those same pundits discussed, ad nauseum, this scandal and all the myriad ramifications of it yet never, to my knowledge, made note of Clinton’s generational status and the views, exemplified by “Make Love, Not War,” which our generation espoused. It has simply been assumed that all of the Sixties Generation “grew out” of that kind of “nonsense” and had adopted the views of the WWII Generation..again, polls on values and viewpoints be damned.
Most telling of all in the attacks on Clinton’s behavior is the assumption that such a stance on open marriage and uninhibited sexuality is a product of uncontrolled lewdness and the sexual license exhibited primarily by the young, which naturally everyone grows out of in order to adopt the constrained and secretive sexual views of the old. The sexual revolution’s parallel growth in the Sixties with expanding civil rights, women’s rights, and individual liberty is completely ignored. Its roots in an idealism about final and complete gender equality is totally vanquished as if it were never so.
In fact, I doubt you, the reader, know of this. Yet hordes of Sixties youth shared with each other, conspiratorial like, the Sixties novel, The Harrad Experiment by Robert H. Rimmer, that portrayed—in poetic and highly intelligent fashion—an evolution to a radical equality between the genders, to an elimination of neurotic suffering around sexuality as, for example, in painful jealousy, to an ending of sexual violence as in spouse abuse, and a final and complete solution to a gender war existing for all time with incalculable casualties and near infinity of suffering on both sides. It was a story about non-monogamy and open relationships…”free love.”
Neither did the pundits point out that Bill Clinton is of a generation who made a book on “open marriage” a bestseller. The clinch on the media by that older generation has been so complete as to have, apparently, completely dismissed or erased from the minds of the pundits the facts that those ideas and books ever existed. Another thing erased from history since the Seventies: the “sexual revolution.” Remember that? When was the last time you heard that talked about? All of the energy that had surrounded these controversial ideas has, because of media manipulation and repression of these views, been channeled into and reduced to a fight over a woman’s right to choose, i.e., the abortion issue, and more recently to fights over union rights and budget cuts.
Incidentally, it is no coincidence that the issue of abortion has taken on such importance for so many in the electorate, for it is the last remaining battle of the “culture war” directly continuing from the Sixties. Prior to the Sixties, women’s bodies could not be considered their own, in many ways; a prominent way was the illegality of abortion, which made outcasts and corpses out of untold numbers of women. It was reversed by Roe v. Wade in the Sixties. But the battle never went away and is the major front in a Gender War that has been going on for millennia.
And your position on the abortion issue is the closest thing to a military uniform indicating on which side of the culture war you have enlisted. Specifically, I am saying that there are few of the Sixties Generation who would not classify themselves as “pro-choice.” Meanwhile, the anti-abortionists are found to be comprised primarily of those of the WWII Generation, their Eighties Generation clones, and the Eisenhower-Presley-McCarthy—and now we might add “Pleasantville”—Fifties Generation. (For a definition and explanation of Fifties Generation see the previous chapter, “Chapter Four: Concocted Worlds“)
World War Two Generation just doesn’t get it…never has, and never will
Of course, I am saying that the War on Clinton was, in its essence, an unacknowledged but desperate battle in the Culture War that has been going on since the Sixties–despite these attacks not being framed or talked about this way–between the World War Two and the Sixties Generations. The World War Two Generation, especially after the elections of November 1998, has learned that it is way off in some of its assumptions, that their analysis of what has been happening in this country is woefully miscalculated. They are like the deluded schizophrenic who has believed passionately in the world he has himself created coming up against some of the hard, harsh, and indisputable facts of existence which undermine his world. The World-War-Two-Generation–minded—whatever the individual’s age—have been fighting back, since the Nineties, with all the firepower they can muster against realizing the harsh realities around them of their waning ideals. They have been in total and absolute denial of the direction of the American, indeed the world, consciousness; and they have been flinging all their wealth into the mix to try to repress the emerging truths.
When I first published on this topic in 1998 I wrote, “But we shouldn’t be surprised if we see some of those in their ranks–wealthy and facing their inevitable demise—merely increasing the ferocity of their war waging…humiliating themselves and seeming ever more pitiful in the minds of the majority of observers, who increasingly, as time continues to decimate their WWII ranks, are younger than they and thus do not share their delusions.”
I’m sorry to say I was more correct than I could ever have dreamed as we have faced, since the change of the millennium, neo-con wars built on lies and confused tea-baggers railing against their own interests.
Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds
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America’s Lying Times, Beginnings – Matrix Aroused and The Hidden Puppeteers … It Started in the Sixties
Talkin’ Bout My Generation – The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged…the All-Out Campaign to Slander, Distort, and Scapegoat a Generation
Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?
There was a time, after all, when the influence of the “baby-boomer” youth generation was everywhere to be found. Their activities were broadcast daily on the TV news. They were making political events. They were setting trends in fashion and style which business did its worst to copy, package, and sell–attempting thereby to cash in on such powerful enthusiasms.
Suddenly, faster than their appearance, this generation of youth faded from significance in the early Seventies. At the time, commentators were falling over each other attempting to fit a rationale to the relative disappearance of youth influence and the comparative placidity of events.
A common explanation that surfaced in those days was that many youth leaders, particularly activists, had begun being disillusioned about the effectiveness and results of confrontational politics.
Some argued that activists were beginning to “look inward” for the roots of problems or were reevaluating and seeking to come up with better ways of eliciting change. As for the less activist sectors of the youth culture—those referred to by the originally pejorative terms “flower children” or “hippies”—many had moved out of the cities, often in disgust and equal disillusionment, to the countryside.
There they were reputed to be actively carrying out their “back to nature” values singly, in couples, and in communal groups. As far as the larger culture was concerned, they were invisible.
What happens to a revolution not televised:
Others have asserted that the media played a large and active part in the “disappearance” of this generation. It has been noted, for example, as simply one indicator, that 90% of youth protests were reported by the media in 1969, but only 20 to 25% were covered in 1970-71, and only 1% of such dissident activities could be found in the media coverage of 1972.
One could argue in response to this that demonstrations were becoming commonplace, so they qualified less as news as time went by. But this reasoning does not fully explain the precipitous nature of this decline, nor the resulting virtual elimination of coverage. In respect to comparable events of recent times, such a pattern has elicited the label “media cover-up.”
Killing “The Sixties”
It is therefore much more likely–and there has been evidence and published commentary to this effect—that this decline was part of a concerted effort by the media, in collusion with the threatened established sectors of society, to actively put a lid on student and youthful dissent and unrest.
Keeping the People Down
I myself have knowledge and personal experience of how a similar suppression at exactly this time was perpetrated on university campuses.
Specifically, at the college I was attending—Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania—and other colleges and universities around the country, wealthy alumni threatened to withdraw funding unless (1) certain faculty members, considered “threatening” to established interests, were fired, (2) certain programs—considered too innovative, “disruptive,” or “instigative”—were cut back or eliminated, and (3) certain “unorthodox,” “undisciplined,” or “publicly disrespectful” student behaviors were discouraged, suppressed, and/or harshly responded to and clamped down on.
The total remaking of society, so such a generation would never arise again
Indeed, such active “blacklisting” of counterculture figures, behavior, and values on university campuses seemed to be part of a general dictum across institutions—including publishing, films, TV, education at all levels, medicine and science, and the work place—to actively fight back at what was seen as dire threats to traditional mainstream values—values, incidentally, that were calculated to placate the masses and keep them, as for hundreds of years, feeling nervous, unworthy, inferior, and slavish in relation to the wealthy and powerful.
Culture War and Matrix Beginnings
The Fear We Engendered in the Privileged
Some commentators speculated that established societal powers had been caught off guard by the initial fervor and tenacity of counterculture energy and demonstrations, but that toward the end of the Sixties and early Seventies there had been time to regroup.
Declaration of Culture War
A massively funded attack by “the establishment.”
These established forces and economic interests began to implement a well-conceived, hugely funded, well-orchestrated, and highly cooperative counteroffensive against the new cultural values, which in their minds represented a dagger poised at the heart of their very existence.
From this perspective, then, the media’s active refusal to cover events could be seen as a small, albeit influential, aspect of a much larger effort—however unconsciously carried out—at suppression of the new values and reinforcement of traditional ones by the powerful interests that those values, if successful, either directly or indirectly put in jeopardy.
Creating a “conservative backlash.”
With these considerations, it is understandable that in 1971 and 1972—despite increasing unrest and demonstrations on college campuses, increasing liberalization of values among all age groups and growing liberal and counterculture political power—there would be a number of books published and widely reviewed which, closing their eyes on all this, instead presented dubious evidence and selectively chosen incidents to make a case for a so-called “conservative backlash,” which there is no doubt the authors earnestly hoped for and fervently sought to bring about in their proclamation of it.
The same tactics are being used today to create a conservative Tea Party “movement.”
This may be seen as the beginnings of the use of “The Big Lie” as a major, sometimes the only strategy, in conservatives’ attempts to fight back against this outpouring of sensitivity to injustice at all levels.
Strong man truth—Big lies!!…big ones
As background: The Big Lie basically amounts to the idea that you can say the most outlandish thing long enough, loud enough, and from the highest pulpit, and eventually it becomes accepted fact. No doubt, its use can be traced to the earliest times of civilized history and is certainly evident in this past century in the tactics of Hitler and Mussolini, where it played crucial and primary roles.
However, its more recent re-emergence in contemporary America and its rise to the heights of skillful political brandishment came in the hands, first, of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr.
Then later it had its most pervasive use, however awkward and skill-less, during the eight years of George W. Bush, where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, and others took it to such moronic lengths they eventually were seen to be what they were—big lies, with no attempt to educate the public at all; but simply to cover up and to manipulate, like common criminals would. [Footnote 1]
Nevertheless, these later major uses, in fact the evolution of The Big Lie into the ONLY strategy of Republican politics may find its beginnings in such publications as these books from the early 70s, as well as to its highly skilled, and much documented, use by Richard Nixon throughout his political career.
Creating Their Own Reality –
It’s Their World, We Only Just Live In It
The Success of The Big Lie, and Its Eventual Morphing into the The Big Web of Deceit, More Easily termed The Matrix
The hidden puppeteers.
Whereas Sixties youth had only their enthusiasm and their heartfelt passion to allow a world of freedom, and all the other values espoused in our Constitution, they were up against huge entrenched, and filthy with wealth, nameless puppeteers. The wealth of these puppet masters got them any support they wanted for anything.
These wealthy manipulators sensed a threat to the status quo, hearing about idealistic notions of equality, freedom, and such. But they also knew that their positions depended not on the actual enjoyment of the masses of their supposed “freedoms” but only of ordinary folks being convinced they had them.
Culture War, Beginnings: Trauma at the Top: “Our Youth Have Gone Crazy! They Actually Believe That Claptrap About Freedom That We Put in Schoolbooks To Keep the Masses Complacent! They’re Daring to Use Them!”
So it was a huge threat to see masses of people proclaiming their rights and actually daring to use them. They could be slowed down in using their rights by having them violently bludgeoned by police and riled up construction workers in Chicago; they could be taken off track perhaps, by having several of them killed at Kent State; and they could be continually arranged to be misreported in the media and maligned as well. But this seemed to make them only more determined.
Paying the piper, calling the tune.
Still, these puppeteers owned the media and therefore controlled what the public would be told; they were the main sources of income for universities across the country, so they controlled what would be rolled out as truth and knowledge. Ultimately they could fund politicians and speakers…and radio and TV show hosts who would speak their Big Lies. They really had all the weapons to roundly put down this band of idealists whose only weapons were truth, and righteous feeling, and passion of youth, and clarity of youthful mind.
It was no contest, especially as only one side was fully aware that they were at war. Indeed the other side—most of them—had no inkling of the powers behind the scenes. That reality would of course be left out of the history and sociology books they had read—funded by the puppeteers of course.
Many 60s youth even began to believe that they had lost and that most Americans were lashing back at them. This would be disheartening to many; especially to those who had seen the coming together of middle class, upper middle class, and working class to join in mass movements like the one million who showed up from all over the country to be at Moratorium Day on November 15, 1969. In this way the media had a big influence on taking the wind out of the sails of many of the youth.
Living Under the Big (Conservative) Lie
Others felt they must have been wrong because they had now, according to the media, become the enemy of those they hoped would see the wisdom of these values that basically came from them! That is to say that young radicals in general had come from middle class liberal family backgrounds. They always felt they were carrying out the values that their parents had taught them.
“First, We’ll Instill Doubt in the Masses, Thereby Creating Division”
These youth saw the country come awake to their values through massive movements like the antiwar movement and the cultural flowering, which older and middle class folks were increasingly taking on themselves. It was therefore disconcerting and confusing to be told they were actually at odds with a conservative majority, a “silent majority.” This wasn’t true, but that would not be obvious to them at the time. So thinking the country was at odds with the actual following through on the values of their parents and the liberal worlds they grew up in, doubt was palpable.
“Next, We’ll Push Them Into Poverty, Thereby Eliminating Alternatives.”
For these youth, their response, unfortunately, was to try to reintegrate with the society they had thrown behind them, but now saw as the only one possible.
“Last, We’ll Compel Obedience”
Still, this cadre of youth retained their values into later life. It became common to hear that these motivated youth decided on a strategy of playing the game to gain entrance to the positions of power and to change the structures of violence and hatred from within. To some extent they succeeded, as we see from the careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Peter DeFazio, to give just three names of many that could have been used.
1. The results of this are discussed, with a fair amount of humor, in my article/audiocast “Naked Republicans.”
For the author’s reading of “Naked Republicans,” click on the link to the audio site above (36 minutes):
You might also be interested in the 4-minute clip taken from “Naked Republicans.” Click on the link to the audio site below:
“You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”:
Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors
Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus
to “Score Points” Against Obama”
Audio of Chapter Two: Matrix Aroused
For the author’s reading, with elaboration, of this part, click on the link to the audio site below.
The Why of Obvious Truths, Culture War and Matrix Beginnings:
Pt. 1, “Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?”
The Fear they Engendered in the Privileged,
the All Out Campaign to Slander, Distort, and Scapegoat a Generation
Matrix Aroused – Topics
- Whatever Happened to the Sixties Generation?
- The Fear they Engendered in the Privileged
- The All Out Campaign to Slander Them, Distort their Actions, Activities, History, and to Scapegoat the Sixties Generation, their Values and Ideals
- The “Big Lie” of the “Conservative Backlash” That Never Was
- The Total Remaking of Education, Publishing, Media, Middle Class Prosperity, and Other Institutions so Such a Generation Would Never Rise Again
- The Beginnings of the Comprehensive Blanket of Untruth–Put Out by a No Longer Free Media, a Media Bought and Owned…
- Which Is Increasingly Being Termed “The Matrix”
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