Dr. Richard Cirulli delves further into his growing body of work regarding societal evolution, known as the “Boomerang Series,” in his most recent article: “The Baby Boomer’s Jubilee By Dr. Richard Cirulli, Ph.D.”, (https://www.yonkerstribune.com/?p=39735), on Friday, May 25, 2018th, at 10am EDT, on the Westchester On the Level Internet radio broadcast. Listen “Live” or “On Demand”. Use the following hyperlink — http://tobtr.com/s/10783473 to listen to this segment from 10-11am.
The Baby Boomer’s Jubilee
Over the past year or so the media has highlighted a number of 50th anniversary dates to memorialize some of the more notable events of the Sixties, that to a degree have become part of our popular culture; starting with the release of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the movie The Graduate, the play Hair, and just recently the jubilee of the Columbia University student revolt. The first three cited examples fall within the Sixties mantra: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, while the last falls outside of the general ethos of the era of peace and love. The author will make a few brief comments about the first three examples, and address the Columbia University student takeover as the main theme of this article. The first three examples are used to illustrate the social background of the era, and to a degree, share commonality.
The Graduate has become a part of our popular culture, having been selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry as being “culturally historical, or aesthetically significant.” As most Boomers know, the movie centers around the exploits of a directionless college graduate, Benjamin Braddock transitioning into adulthood via infidelity played out within the hypocrisy of affluent suburbia’s mores. The play Hair, also broke a few taboos by expressing the new sexuality of the Sixties complete with its full nudity, as a backdrop for the anti war movement, and the draft. The play is a memorial to those 58,220 American draftees who never returned home alive from the Viet Nam War. We need to be reminded as Americans, that during the sixties parents and their sons forfeited their rights, lives, freedoms, and future to the US. Government via the draft, who had the right to take them out of their homes, college, and away from their families to be used as cannon fodder to serve in the armed forces in Viet Nam. The author is dedicating this article to the families of those friends and family whose sons never returned home alive from the horrors of the Viet Nam War. And, lastly Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album that made rock and roll respectable, by transmuting rock from a simple medium of strong back beat to serve as the catalyst to make teenagers engage in the socially accepted public foreplay of dancing nto a music form more existential and musically complex that would appeal to one’s intellect as opposed to one’s more primitive sexuality.
The forceful week-long student takeover of Columbia University’s Administration included holding the acting dean hostage, and resulted in 150 injuries and 700 arrests. If viewed logically and without one’s bias and emotions, this event would reveal a contradiction and hypocrisy by the students who were protesting the violence of war with anger and rage. Their view of fighting fire with fire negates their sincerity to pacifism. The media has always reported and commented on such acts as a division between the restless youth seeking new solutions and directions at odds with their parent’s outdated puritanical views and mores. To a degree, the student’s actions failed to manifest this alienation, to only confirm their solidarity with their parent’s generation by regressing to our human frailties of anger, hate, and violence. In general terms, regardless of one’s views and ideologies, humanity is rarely tolerant and/or open to discourse, and tends to set double standards for self-promotion and advancement. In essence do what is good for “me” and not “we”. Humanity is quite frugal with applying the golden rule.
To add to this contradiction, the new left leaning students at Columbia today want a monument built to honor and memorialize this event as a reminder to future students to see this regrettable action. This statement also comes at a time when the new left wants to take down civil war monuments that memorialize the evils of slavery. An objective view of our actions renders the disheartening conclusion humanity is united by our own self contradictions, hypocrisy, that places a higher weighted average on our own views and solutions. As our technological advances scribe arcs of greater radius, we find the radius of our emotional intelligence constricting at an equal pace. We should consider asking ourselves, is anger, violence, and war a better option than true and open discourse? And, with our impressive record of academic achievements, do we still fear a dissenting voice?
In closing the author will take you down memory lane of a few other notable Baby-boomer Jubilees: The National Guard’s Intervention at Civil Rights Marches, the Civil Rights Riots, the Tet Offensive, the Prague Spring, The assignations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy, Dr. Timothy Leary advocates LSD, The Poor People’s Campaign Solidarity March, the Beatles released their White Album, the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, The height of China’s Cultural Revolution, the Democratic National Convention, the seizure of Khe Sanh, the My Lai Massacre, SRI’s Bill English builds the first computer mouse, The launching of the Saturn 1B Rocket from Cape Kennedy, and Apollo 8 entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. Well just a few jubilees to “celebrate” and ponder. Well, here you have it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly: Happy 50th, 1968.
Dr. Richard Cirulli is a retired Professor of Business, Consultant, Writer, Playwright, Author, Columnist, Innocent Bystander, and Critic-at-Large. He welcomes your comments at email@example.com