Monday, June 04, 2007

The Twilight of the '60s

While I was watching "My Music: The British Beat" on PBS here in MN tonight, I wasn't really paying much attention until the camera was on a guy playing violin who looked rather bored. The song was Gerry Marsden's "Ferry Cross the Mersey." He's a younger guy and didn't experience anything of the 1960s music explosion.

While the song itself doesn't do much for me, as the camera panned the audience it seem rather strange/interesting to see gray haired people waving their arms to and fro in unison in rhythm. A few years ago I had officially joined the ranks of "old people," the old fogies who get nostalgic about the past on certain occasions. I'm on the tail of that generation, the Boomers. These folks are at least 10 years my senior acting like they did when they were kids.

Anyway, this kid playing the violin within this context of people harkening back to a more creative time looking bored, I wanted to convey something of the magic of that time to him. It was mythic in proportion to anything we have now.

I'm not sure what it's going to take to experience that kind of creativity, and especially the idealism, again, but I fear it will take going through a period of real hardship. But I also wonder if what happened then will ever be repeated. The 1960s was truly a watershed event. It was at the nexus of huge forces (post-depression, post-mass production, post-WWII, mass education, economic parity, and drugs) that I don't think can be repeated, at least not in my lifetime or in many lifetimes to come.

We are still trying to assilimate what happened as the shockwaves are still reverberating, but without having passed it on to the next generation. As with all things, it's energy is waning with they graying of peoples' hair. And the powers-that-be that run things in the world and in America are not going to put up with anything that encroaches on their power such as an educated and active citizenry. It won't be until the perfect storm that is now brewing sweeps away the hoary shell of a once great country that creativity and renewed energy will be released.