The title of chapter seven is Before the Revolution and it is essentially all about the sixties. Because I was born in the late-seventies, I was hearing most of this for the first time. I found it intriguing that Myers thinks that The Sixties aren’t just a decade but more like an era ala The Reformation or The Enlightenment, and which lasted from 1952 to 1973. I had never thought about it that way, that I was born right after Something Happened.
As I’m working through this book, I’m still struggling with this idea of High Culture. I have trouble connecting with it, really understanding why it is important, and keep wondering where Folk Culture is in all of this.
At one point, Myers delineates Roger Shattucks’ four traits which characterized The Sixties:
…the cult of childhood, which attacked education and society at large for introducing concern about self-control; the delight in humor, especially in the absurd; the confusion between reality and fantasy; and a preference for ambiguity over clarity.
I am beginning to have a greater understanding of our politicians, since it is the children of The Sixties who are now in control. I never understood why it was acceptable for Obama to give long speeches which were devoid of real content and what was said could mean one of any a number of things, but now I understand that this generation lives with confusion and has a fondness for ambiguity.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is a segment of children of The Sixties who think that ambiguity it a sign of intelligence, hence this Obama-is-intelligent mentality which baffles me, since I have always believed that the most intelligent people are the ones who can grasp a really complicated or high-level subject and then understand it well enough to communicate to those who are farther down the intellectual ladder. The fact that someone speaks in such a way that no one understands them is, in my opinion, emphatically not a sign of intelligence.
But all that I have said here has little to nothing to do with Myers’ book, nor this chapter, about which I don’t have a lot to say.
A quote that stuck out to me:
The gap between those who worship different gods is not so wide as that between those who worship and those who do not.
That was C.S. Lewis, by the way.
Here’s hoping someone else in the book club has something better to say.
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