August 29, 2005

The '60s Were Great   ...for about ten minutes?

One thing that interests me about the '60s is how the decade brought improvements artistic and moral but both lasted for about as long as free Guinness would at an Irish festival. It reminds me how I was very skinny as a youth and then I gained poundage and for all of ten minutes at the age of 21 I was at my ideal weight.

Some of the folk music, such as Bob Dylan's stuff, was an improvement over "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" (which I understand was a big hit). And politically speaking, who wouldn't take the '60s Martin Luther King over the '50s Gov. Wallace? But it's stunning how quickly openness and vulnerability morphed into exploitation and decadence. Martin Luther King gave way to Malcolm X and then worse. Bob Dylan gave way to acid-dropping rockers and then worse.

It might be a stretch to suggest a parallel in the Church but perhaps Vatican II showed a similar cycle: an improvement, an openness, but one that was quickly exploited and debased during the late '60s and early '70s. And eventually perfectly upstanding words like peace, justice, and openness became tainted by association.

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