Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Imitators

I was walking through Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square yesterday. A perfectly beautiful day. Near the entrance, a group of young hippies, early 20's, were playing guitars and singing nothing but songs from the 1960's. It was an image right out of the 60's. Therein's the problem. What kind of generation is this? Where's the originality? The different and new? Everything is retro. I touch on this even a little in my upcoming novel, via a hipster character who feeds on nostalgia for the past.

The situation of course is little different in established literature. What's referred to as "avant-garde" is anything but. Instead, recyclings from the 20's, 50's, 60's, 70's.

What's the attitude the new generation should have?

They should be out to destroy the 1960's and everything connected to it. They should take a sledgehammer to that ridiculous era with its feeble posings and shallow ideas. Detonate it. Blast that culture away and start over. Create something original from the shards that remain.


BradyDale said...

I couldn't agree more, but I do kind of think it's happening. I think today's geeks are yesterday's hippies. They are the ones changing the world. The geeks aren't nostalgic. Maybe the nerds are, but the geeks are all about the next crazy thing.

And there are some geek writers, too. Just don't look for the innovators hanging out in Rittenhouse Square, that' what I say. They got better things to do.
Eat The Babies!

JeffOYB said...

Hey, Karl... I can see that today's young people need to make their own mark, but it would be natural for them to hark back and work to build on the best that they find toward some new solution better fitting today's needs. Slavishness nostalgia and irony are equally lame.

But do you really mean to say the 60's were shallow? Folks put their heads on the line in major ways back then and paid in blood and made big gains. Lessee... Liberation of all types: Sex, media/art/music, women, gay/gender, race, religion, environment, animals, war, family, youth, consumer/safety, medicine, law, workplace. There were massive actions and gains on all these fronts -- often up against nightsticks. I'd say a new generation would be enormously hard-pressed to come close. OK, the Net singlehandedly has come close.

I highly recommend reading "Tales of Beatnik Glory" by Ed Sanders of the Fugs, probably also his memoir "Fug You." Also listen to their whole playlist (I had to a few times til it grew on me).

As for failures, it seems like PC was a bad side effect with sizable censorship of reality now in place, unspoken, unstudied, unadmitted. Drugs are a 60's failure: awareness burst out but the backlash ever since has been huge and with so many side-effects that the violent reaction may well be a bigger cause of harm than the substances. Only now are there tiny gains in decriminalizing pot. Possibly the party politics ideas stemming from the 60's have also been a failure since the issue-breakthrus have largely been made but the party system remains as dysfunctional. School liberation seems also to have not been a success, altho the quality gains of the 60's were lost in the quantified 80's. The family-structure made gains but lost hugely on balance in its child-protection function due to the factor of indulgence in single-parent/divorces.