Saturday, August 21, 2004

LRC picks
A pox on both their houses
Unromantic looks at both hippies and boomers in general on one hand and Ronald Reagan (by the godfather of American libertarian politics, the late Murray Rothbard - long but worth it) on the other.

In the first Robert Klassen remembers and explains succinctly:

I drove through the Haight district and Golden Gate Park every day, marveling at the colorful costumes and the wild hair these children wore. Where did they come from? How could they afford to bum around like this?

I found some answers eventually. They came from post-war middle-class suburbs all over the country, and their parents were paying for their juvenile antics. That they had access to money was not lost on marketing departments, especially in the recording industry.
I've said it before but it's a great line: Frances McDormand in Almost Famous saying 'Adolescence is nothing but a marketing campaign'.

Comments: First a minor nitpick. I don't think the boomers grew up with full-fledged, all-indoor shopping malls. Those appeared in America just after the boomers came of age and as I recall still were largely unknown in Britain 15 years ago (you were starting to see them).

Second, more importantly, one can't blame the boomers for all this - the generation before them had ditched objective truth paving the way for them. (Elaine Pagels has said when she was growing up no thinking person took religion seriously. Also, did you know that TV's Ozzie Nelson was a lifelong atheist?) The élite had been rejecting it for decades, with 19th-century scepticism and the 18th-century 'Enlightenment'... all the way back at least to northern Europe rejecting the Catholic faith at the 'Reformation'.

The hippies were in part an understandable, healthy romantic reaction to a lot of this, with their interest in Asian religions, going back to the land and baking bread, but of course as Klassen points out nobody taught them any better so in a lot of ways they just didn't have a clue. That and simply the results of fallen human nature - hepatitis, VD and people on drugs jumping out of windows.

On being a thin fat person, especially approaching middle age
Imagine Chris Farley's belly on Mick Jagger's frame. That's me.

Me too. The holistic approach to things is right - 'it's all connected' (that's how God made it) - so when one has a brain glitch one's body often has quirks too. That's one of mine even though I bicycle up to 85+ miles a week. (Another example: Glenn Gould, who was a brilliant but in ways Rain Man-like person, lived on scrambled eggs and Arrowroot biscuits.)

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