This week, I found myself somewhat incensed by the mid-Atlantic and mildly-amused intonation of an ABC announcer extolling the virtues of a documentary of the decade which apparently ‘changed everything’, the 60’s.
Boomer self congratulation knows no bounds and continues to shamelessly parades itself, largely unchallenged.
Let’s run a quick inventory; that business on the moon, Delia Derbyshire and The Beatles; all very cool. There’s a few Blue Note albums I think are rather good too and that Rothko chap was smashing!
Hmm, there’s probably a fair bit of the cultural output of that decade that I’m a fan of on reflection.
But I’m still not okay with ‘changed everything’ at least not in the smug way posited by the ageing stakeholders. Yes, there was some seminal art made and who can deny that social unrest led to some novel and positive change in that decade? Surely though, the same can also be said for any decade since or before.
The sum total of change is something I believe is worth looking at and this was the decade that birthed the cold war, the Vietnam war and established contemporary Middle Eastern Geo-politics.
Let’s see what has changed since by reviewing this year so far; refugees needlessly punished, personal metadata up-for-grabs, police brutality abounds and, my favourite, this week our Prime Minister took a unilateral decision to enter into a war on a ‘death cult’.
No, the 60’s birthed some lovely ideas as some of its inhabitants looked for new ways to live but it also paved the way for the neo-conservative co-opting of language that has allowed us to go to war against nouns (what a rip-roaring success they’ve all been too).
It did this by giving up on its ideas. Lofty ideals exchanged for a reinforced status quo once the initial optimism ran out.
Not that my generation (the one called X) fared any better; I’m not sure we ever had the optimism to begin with. Did any one really believe D:REAM when they warbled ‘thiiiings can only get bettaaaah’ as Blair strutted to the dais?
One of the benefits of entering one’s middle years is the full realisation that we frequently have to endure what we’ll put up with.
It is our tax being spent on sending ‘our boys’ on Abbott’s chest-beating exercise and it is being done in our time and in our name.
Let’s give the Boomers their due, THEY took to the streets to challenge the ideas they found abhorrent.
What do WE want to be remembered for?