The Sixties Unplugged

Just a quick note... no, two notes. Quickly.

Daughter Hannah writes to say that the misspellings she was referring to in her last note to me were referencing those first-graders' lovely notes to me. "I loved them!" she writes. Oh. Thanks. I'll still correct my typos.

A reader has passed on this article about the Sixties, which is a review of Gerard DeGroot's new book, "The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade," which debunks the decade as a total insignificance.

The review makes for fascinating reading (and it's thoughtful, not to mention well-written, always a pleasure). What do you think? The reviewer, Gary Kamiya, says that DeGroot "sets out to demolish once and for all the cant, hyperbole, romanticism, wishful thinking and just plain stupidity that continue to swirl around that era like a giant light-show blob."

Whoa! No decade is insignificant. No moment is insignificant. I have based my life and my writing on that premise. I have based the Sixties Trilogy on the premise that... well, here is a paragraph from my proposal:

"The 1960s was one of the most turbulent, changing, challenging, and defining decades in American history. It shaped a generation – and generations to come -- politically, socially, culturally, environmentally, musically… psychedelically. We are still living with the legacy of the Sixties – young readers are growing up within this legacy. What did it all mean? What does it mean for us today? For the future?"

Gerard DeGroot writes, "But cast aside the rose-tinted spectacles and we see mindless mayhem, shallow commercialism, and unbridled cruelty ... Revolution was never on the cards. Chauvinism and cynicism got the better of hope and tolerance."

Really? It seems Gerald DeGroot and I are at odds. Do I need to add this book to my "must read" collection, to my research? Will it also inform my writing? Or will it derail me? Do I step back and reconsider, or do I continue forward with my point-of-view, which is what a writer has to work with, ultimately -- a point-of-view and a sensibility that fuels his writing, her art.

What do you think?


  1. All viewpoints are valid. Surely there has been some mythologizing of the era. Read what he says, take what you can use, and throw away the rest.

  2. So, I just skimmed through the April 8th post. Happy reading and dogearring of Palmer's The Courage to Teach. I'm nearing the end of my second time though it. Both times have been "forced" readings, once for a grad class and once for faculty development. I've been provoked to deep thought though and have enjoyed the reading both times, which says something for a book when it's forced reading.


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