Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to the Garden

With the passing of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, it seems a good time to ask about the living legacy of the 60s. What appealed so much to many of us who were not there was not only the peace and love that were supposed to serve as guiding principles, but the sense at that time that the culture was starting with a clean slate. The term revolution conjures too many images of violent overthrow, and while in some sense the term is appropriate, in many ways it was just a point in time where social structures and ways of being could be formed anew. Because of the size of the baby boom, because of the advances in technology, because of the way it had been rebuilt since the Depression and WWII, the culture seemed plastic in a way that it usually is not. It seemed reasonable to believe the world could, in fact, be changed by popular will and the movements of the time attempted to do just that.

How much did they succeed? How much and in what ways has the culture changed because of those years? As a guy with a ponytail who gets not a second glance, there surely are some things that are now a normal part of American life and thereby invisible to us that had been radical and absent from American social life. What?