The Null Device

Not another 1960s retrospective

The Graun's Jonathan Freedland's broadside against the mythologisation of the 1960s, a decade much of whose alleged uniqueness and revolutionary character says more about the self-absorption and historical ignorance of those who grew up during it than about any genuine transformation of the world:
Note how everything they did was a first, a "revolution". Most have quoted Philip Larkin so often - "sexual intercourse began in 1963" - they've come to believe it, imagining their bedhopping was a genuine innovation. They seem unaware of the hedonistic 1920s, the naughty 1890s, the bawdy 18th century, to say nothing of the Roman and Greek empires. No, in their eyes, promiscuity was unheard of till they invented it.
They were "the first teenagers" too, as if before 1960 children mysteriously skipped from age 12 to 20 overnight. I know, I know - they're referring to the youth rebellion that gave the 60s its fire. Except that wasn't new either. In 1911, 30 kids walked out of Bigyn school in Llanelli, to protest over the caning of one of their peers, sparking a pupils' strike across Britain. Young people were at the forefront of the conscientious objection movement in the first world war a few years later. Whenever there has been a call for change, youth has usually been its voice.

(Though wasn't the whole deal about "the first teenagers" being that they were the first generation in which a large proportion of the adolescent population had the disposable income to create demand for cultural goods marketed specifically at them, hence the rise of rock'n'roll and youth culture and all that it spawned, eventually giving rise to MTV and PlayStations and, arguably, the bulk of the mobile phone industry and such?)

There are no comments yet on "Not another 1960s retrospective"

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
URL:(optional)
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.