Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the parents of the 1950s yielded the children of the 1960s

This truth also holds philosophically and culturally-- as well as familially.

Here's a little more on that-- in a brief review of Fred Kaplan's 1959: The Year Everything Changed from Marvin Olasky in World...

He doesn't stick to events of 1959 but shows us how before, during, and after that year so many creative Americans abandoned traditions and plunged us into the brave new 1960s....

For me, though, the shock came in Kaplan's descriptions of the hot new books of that era, because those were the books assigned to me as great works in college classes 10 years later...the Marxism mainlined by C. Wright Mills and William Appleman Williams....Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth, and Advertisements for Myself by Norman Mailer.

It's not helpful for any of us to look back at the 1950s as a golden age just because it had a religious veneer and a certain Cold War unity based in opposition to Communism. It was a saner decade than the one to come, but the propaganda of leftist professors in the late 1960s had plausibility because millions were searching for meaning....

The bricks of the 1950s gave way to the sand castles of the 1960s, so we look back on solidity lost, but solidity by itself was insufficient....

1 Comments:

At May 13, 2010 at 9:36 AM , Blogger William Lang said...

I had to read that book because 1959 happens to be the year I was born. It's quite interesting. The author is a jazz critic, and some of the more interesting stories in the book concern jazz. For example, someone had the great idea to have jazz musicians go on international good will tours to counter Soviet propaganda that America had no art. Dave Brubeck went on one of these tours, and while in Turkey heard music with unusual meters and rhythms—which inspired Time Out and its famous hit single Take Five.

Kaplan also talks about the art world at that time. One story that charmed me was of Allen Kaprow, who pioneered the audience-participatory performance art events known as "Happenings." These were popular in the 1960s, but the first one happened on the day I was born.

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home