…You see, because the Catcher in the Rye defined rebellion. As did Elvis, James Dean and The Wild One.
Teenagers wanted to rebel? Maybe they did, maybe they just wanted to have fun, and most importantly, a world of their own.
But the Cold War defined what happened to them after High School. Protest wasn’t allowed, protest was a communist plot. Diversity of speech and attitude wasn’t going to get you ahead in the corporation, so College frowned upon the idea of the young challenging the Status Quo.
Political protest in the 50’s was tantamount to treason, water was thrown on the entire idea of rebellion by the time the Rock and Rollers got into College.
And being the corporate shill was actually admired; doing what your boss did and saying what he said put two cars in your garage, put two chickens in the pot. If you didn’t tow the line, the boss would send a note home to your wife asking why he couldn’t conform and it’s too bad because you would be doing much better if your husband did.
And then 4 guys sat down at a lunch counter in Greensboro. And students started saying no when told to follow the established curriculum, to believe what everyone before them believed.
The Rock and Rollers had something inside of them, it was called spirit. Holden Caulfield defined it as a child jumping off a cliff to adulthood, something to be protected.
The youth of 1960 suddenly started making different choices in small numbers, a choice to challenge what they felt was a factory, they challenged the establishment. The Civil Rights protesters and the white youth in the colleges both made this decision together, neither followed the other and each became sympathetic to the other’s cause.
The SDS and the Diggers and the FSM believed different things, had different objectives but all had a spirit that the generations before them didn’t have.
It was as if they graduated from Rock and Roll and said “this world isn’t good enough”.
It was the youth of 1960 that ultimately built the sixties, and no their brand of Peace and Love couldn’t survive Manson.
But they did try to change the world, and they certainly embraced diversity of attitude and thought.
How is it that today, there is only one accepted version of events, and if you dare challenge that version you are either met with sarcasm or ignored.
The very tactics used by the establishment in 1960 are used by certain Beatle fans today, people who are completely fine in subjugating any free thought to remain in the favor of their benefactors and peers.
And the worst part is, the same people who are credited with trying to change the world, embrace the single theory approach because it makes them money and keeps them out of harm’s way.
They became what they hated.