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    All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Chapter Seven

    February 11, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    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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    5 Comments

  • Reply Civilla February 13, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Also, I forgot to mention the Kennedy assasination. The Vietnam war. Lots of stuff going on in the earlier part of that century, culminating in the 60’s.

  • Reply Civilla February 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Yes, some of us, like my husband and I, outgrew the 60’s. Most of this liberal junk starts on university campuses. My husband thinks the 60’s was our country’s post traumatic stress disorder after two world wars and the Korean war. He thinks it was inevitable that we blew up. I mentioned this in my intro about the 60’s.

  • Reply Brandy February 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Dana,

    I will have to check out that book you mentioned. I wonder if my difficulty in tackling this subject stems from being generally uneducated in the subject of art (painting art, I mean–I am a musician, so it’s not as bad when he’s discussing orchestras and such)? I wasn’t given a liberal arts education and the extent of my reading begins and end with Schaeffer.

    Civilla,

    I plan to check out your posts! I am noticing a difference as our national leaders are increasingly made up of 60s children, which is to say that I really don’t understand these people, even though my parents grew up in the era. I think the difference is that my parents outgrew the 60s, which is something a lot of politicians didn’t do. I look forward to reading all that you’ve written. Thanks for the links!

    As far as recovery goes…the world has yet to recover from other major lightening bolts of history, like The Reformation or The Renaissance, so I think it is unlikely unless we can call recovery “learning from our mistakes.”

  • Reply Civilla February 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Yes, I was born in ’53, so I lived through the ’60’s. It was a total paradigm shift. I wonder if we will ever recover. I did a (long) series of posts on the 50’s and 60’s on my blog. There are about 30 posts and they are lengthy, but I recount my memories of growing up in the N.Y. City area at that time. I was not a hippie. They are under my labels on my side bar under “1950’s Housewives” and “The 1960’s — Confessions of a Non-Hippie”.

  • Reply Dana February 12, 2009 at 12:34 am

    What Myers delineated in this chapter made a lot of sense to me. It explained a lot of the background.

    For example, it makes sense to understand what the movers and shakers were reeling against, i.e. Andy Warhol.

    Plus I related Myers’s synopsis to Ross King’s book, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade Which Gave the World Impressionism.

    Both authors shed light on the years (be it 10 or 20 yrs) prior to the actual *coming of age* for each movement.

    I am planning to re-read and supplement my weak entry.

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