I wasn't alive during that time, but I heard it was the time of the hippies and was pretty exciting. What was the experience like?
A couple of years ago, when The New York Times reviewed the Scorsese documentary, it wrote of you as a “professional wit.” It said, “She has made a living out of talking, primarily lecturing on college campuses, where she presents herself as an emissary from the world of urbanity, telling the young how it is now, and how much better it was then.” Do you think that’s fair, that you traffic in nostalgia?
I don’t think that’s accurate. [Laughs] People think The New York Times is always accurate, but it is not. I don’t think it is accurate that I traffic in nostalgia. And by the way, it’s been a very long time since most of my lectures were on college campuses, so that’s just factually incorrect. And I don’t believe I present myself as an urban wit. I am an urban wit. Okay? If I am not, who is? But mostly what you see me doing, especially in the movie that Marty made, I always take questions from the audience, so the people asking me the questions, this is what they want to know. I take questions from the audience because then you’re talking about what the audience wants to hear. I am not Stephen Hawking; I don’t have any big truth to deliver to them. So I will talk about with them what they’re interested in. The truth is that kids, by which I mean people in their twenties, are obsessed with the ’70s, much more than I am, let me assure you. And they keep saying, “It was better then, right? It was better then.” If a kid who grew up here saw the change in the city, even if they didn’t apprehend it wholly, what they saw is a lessening of city-like life; it became more suburban here. And not just here. This is in every city. But here obviously it was more marked because it was more urban to begin with. So I do not believe I traffic in nostalgia. That is something that offends me because it’s not true. The longing that I have for the ’70s is the longing for my own youth, which everyone has.
So you’re not advocating a return to—
I am old enough to know things do not return, but I am also old enough to know that the way that things seem now, like irrevocable: “Well, New York used to be like that and now it’s like this.” And I always say to people, “And then it won’t be like this.” And they say, “How do you know that?” “’Cause it didn’t stay like it was!”
That presentist notion we have that the way things are now is the way things will be.
And also one thing about people my age or even people younger than me but not young: If I see a book, the title of which begins The End of, I know that person’s at least 40. The End of This, The End of That. Here’s the really bad news: This doesn’t end. [Laughs] What people mean always—I don’t care what they say—it means the end of their youth, no matter what the next word is. There’ve been numerous books: The End of This, The End of That, The End of History—they’re always wrong. You can never be right if you call a book The End of. So I do not have nostalgia. By the way, when I published my first book when I was 27, I was constantly accused of being a curmudgeon: Why is this young person complaining? So the complaining or the anger, this is just Fran. This is not part of Fran being old.
I was a kid in the 60's.
When the president was assinated, things changed. The war got worst, MLK and RFK killed, and then Manson. Just so dark.
I love Fran. I miss much, but not all of the New York City I met when I moved here in 1981, as well as my youth of the same era.
Why regale someone as tiresome and dull as you with tales of what real life was like, OP, before the benighting of the perma-fetuses?
In another article, Fran said that when she was in her 20s during the 70s, she never fretted about the past. She never buttonholed elders on the street and demand to know about life in the 40s and 50s, and to lead wistfully with the thought that, "it must have all been a lot better then..."
I was born in 1966 and was terrified of hippies. I remember a nightmare from when I was four years old, and a group of hippies shoved me into my sister's play kitchen oven and said they were going to make Goulash out of me. Then I grew up to be terrified of Hell's Angels and the Son of Sam. A couple of years later, the Ayatollah Khomeni terrorized my thoughts. I guess I grew up in fear.
On the other hand, I had a ton of freedom, and was completely without fear that I'd be abducted or hurt by a stranger.
Well of course not, because that would have been pre-feminism and pre-civil rights. Who would look back to that era?
Oh, brother, r6. Try being told to get under your kindergarten desk in an atomic-bomb drill.
In the 70's and early 80's our communities bonds were strong. We had each other's back because no one else did. Plus the devastation of AIDS made it even stronger.
Now, gay people have grown up with little to no oppression and do not relate to other gays anymore. We've lost the bond that made us fight for equality together.
I'm friends with two elderly gay men. Probably late 50s early 60ish. To hear them tell it, apparently it was one non stop fuck fest. You'd go out to empty the trash and you'd get bent over the trash can and get fucked. Go for a run, you get a blow job. Go for a medical checkup, the doctor would fuck you in the exam room. Apparently it was sex, sex, sex, and drugs and drinking and fun.
But then I ask about the closet and all of that stuff and they roll their eyes. They compared it to a secret society where everyone just enjoyed life to the fullest and didn't worry about closets and being unhappy all the time. They say it all just stopped in the 80s with HIV and people dying and it all the joy just ended and everyone just focused on making a lot of money.
R10, I am 59, about as "late 50s" as one can get. In 1981, when we first started hearing about AIDS, I was 27 (I turned 28 late in the year). Just how much cavorting did these "elderly" friends of yours do before their thirties? Enough so that they became elderly by 60?
"What WAS the 60's like?" Well, people were expected to be better educated, apparently.
Not sure why R9 and 10 interpreted this as a question about gay folk.
Unless you were a student at Berkeley, hippies weren't very visible at all except on the cover of LIFE magazine.
I'm talking about the 1960s above. In the 1970s, most "hippies" were just bums. If you were an adult and had a job, you couldn't be a hippie. School hippies don't count.
Its all in the movies OP, watch BLOW-UP or BARBARELLA or WOODSTOCK or MIDNIGHT COWBOY....
I dunno that that was so, R12. Real hippies were pretty much restricted to CA and NY, but the rest of the country had its (watered down) versions.
The freedoms of the '60's filtered into the suburbs of the '70's, to the adults and parents who were just a little too settled to take part in the Aquarian scene. Cheating, flirtations with pills and cosmic loneliness played their part, as the suburban dream revealed itself to be an illusion. See "The Ice Storm" for further details.
[quote]friends with two elderly gay men. Probably late 50s early 60ish
Late 50s is elderly?
Are you 4?
[quote]What was the 1960's and 1970's like?
Are you twelve years old, OP?
Maybe you could do a school project on this.
I was also interested in the '60s when I was your age. But it was so soon after the '60s were over, no books had been written yet.
Is your grandma still alive?...ask her. She'll tell ya.
We had hopes that if we fought hard enough, the good guys would win. A few of them did but as we see now, the military industrial complex actually won out.
Eventually, I discovered this book.
You might like it too.
If you have a birthday coming up you could ask for it.
I don't expect that anyone who asks "What was the 1960's and 1970's like"" reads a lot of books.
No phones, no lights, no motorcars... not a single luxury.
R15, I was there in NYC burbs the 1960s. Once we went down to the village to SEE hippies and only came across some male hustlers hanging on Houston St.
[quote]Unless you were a student at Berkeley, hippies weren't very visible at all except on the cover of LIFE magazine.
Not so. I grew up in a very small town in a rural state. For some reason, our town attracted hippies by the score and became known far and wide as "Hippie Haven." My Dad woke up one morning and found a pair of them tenting on our property. My mother was always afraid they were going to give us kids drugs. Some of those hippies stayed on and are now part of the aging backbone of that community.
YEAR, R25? 1960s? Didn't think so.
R26, I only saw your post at R12. The year we moved to "Hippie Haven" was 1970 which was a lot closer culturally to the 1960s of the hippies than the years 1960-66 were.
These were tie-dye wearing, VW micro-bus driving, sand-candle making hippies. They were a very visible presence in our town and I remember them quite well, thank you.
The 60's were very innocent. The 70's was when thinkg really started to go to pot.
R27 1967 was the so-called Summer of Love, and it was the year everyone in American suburbia was pretty much turning hippie. It stayed kind of like that until 1972, and platform shoes are the signpost of change for me. Most of the truly ugly "fashion" of the '70s was born in that post-'67 period, but platform shoes kind of rang in the '70s.
Just one (northeastern) observation.
Most suburban types adopted The Partridge Family version of the counter culture.
For one thing, OP, in the 60s and 70s, we understood grammar.
It was a heady, carefree time of subject-verb agreement, OP.
1960-1979? Age 15-34 for me. Non. Stop. Fun. Breathtaking social change. Some disturbing things to blame our bad behavior on. No tomorrow. Smoke smoke smoke. Cheap gas, then no gas. There was awesome music but we wouldn't imagine a time would come when there wasn't any left. Massive buttfucking. All the RULES went out the window. Whoopie. And no goddamned condoms, Greens or TSA.
R10: if your friends were living in NYC during the 1970's then what they are telling you is true... the amount of sex and the ease and naturalness of it would be shocking today.
R33, don't forget Bewitched was a prime time TV show then.
You mean you don't get laid every time you walk out the door in NY anymore, R34?
I can't say what the 60s were like, but my childhood was the 70s. Children played outside. There weren't nearly as many fat people, especially among the young. Fast food restaurants were considered a treat, not dinner. There was no super sizing of anything and food was served in smaller portions.
I remember in the early 70s that many of the young men had long hair, beards, mustaches, went shirtless and shoeless and wore bell-bottom jeans. Then by the mid-70s, I remember the "No shirt, no shoes, no service" signs popping up around town.
I also remember a few Vietnam vets who wandered the streets because they were mentally disturbed after coming back from the war, which we now know was PSTD.
I love listening to my older gay friends talk about those times. The uninhibited sex, the drugs, the fun. R11 must have been a square during those days and didn't enjoy all the good times.
Actually the 70s and most of the 80s were sex, sex, sex.
There were hippies all over, except they weren't legitimate hippies. They just dressed like hippes...smoked a lot of pot and did whatever drugs they could hook up with.
The Chicago riots. Martin Luther King and RFK, sad times.
Then we had Watergate. We found out how disgusting Republicans really are but I guess we forgot.
OP, thank you for asking; seriously. I was 16-25 in the 70's. I fucking LOVED the 70's! Farrah hair; people seemed to dress up and make up better; no fucking tatoos except on sailors and blue collar types, etc., etc.
But standards of "beauty" change. TO each his own. There are as many beautiful people now as then. And when I occasionally see old quiz shows on GSN, or "period piece" as it were movies, i realize how HIDEOUS mens' clothes were in the 70's, hee-hee! And mens' hair. I can't stand to see previews of "Argo" for that reason (pretty stupid, I know.)
THe posters who mentioned the 60s changing after JFK was assasinated are right. THe Manson murders, nurses' murders, Boston Strangler, etc. - very creepy.
I would actually have liked to have been 35, 40, 45, 50, in the 70's - that's the age of a lot of WWII vets - hard-drinking, smoking; cocktail parties, "swinging" - looks like was fun.
OP,"Mad Men" gives a very accurate account (60's); reruns of "Match Game 75" (and I do hope that you have a job you like and no time on your hands, like me, to watch the GSN during the day, hee-hee!) actually do in a way, too. Lots of flirting - male and female contestants; celebrities; hosts - and dear GOd, on "Family Feud" - Richard Fucking Dawson (RIP) seen now through my 50+++eyes, comes across like a fucking unPC pig! kissing all the women on the lips - would never fly now.
If you start another thread asking about the 80's, that would be fun, too!
"Mad Men gives a very accurate account (60's)"
The truth is, most of the women in the indiscriminate sex scenes would really be hookers in the 1960s -- expecting compensation. Plus, babies didn't wear "hats" in the 1960s like Joan's infant did. Jeez, the Man Men writers get it so wrong sometimes.
[quote]What was the 1960's and 1970's like
Well, to begin with, the grammar was better.
There's a movie on Netflix - it's only DVD at the moment but I swear they had it on watch instantly once.
Serious question: Will there ever be cultural movements like those in the 60's - 80's again?
Haight/ashbury? 60's pop art? 70's disco? 80's neo-pop? 90's Hip Hop?
This generation just doesn't seem to get to experience shit like that, except in hindsight.
I don't know if anything is shocking anymore in the internet age.
You can keep your "neo-pop" and hip hop, R48.
R42: "Mad Men" does NOT give an accurate picture of the 60's.
Even people who were biggies in advertising back then, (e.g. George Lang, Mary Wells Lawrence) have commented about wrong they get it.
Have any of you ever seen these home movies of a party at Rock Hudson's house in Malibu 1965?
Note the simplicity: hot dogs and beer. The same everyday patio furniture that everyone had. The same clothes that every one wore back then. Every one well dressed but comfortable. (Everything looks like it came out of a Sears Catalog.) Intense conversation and joking around and simple fun. No cell phones. Lots of smoking.
This could have been a Sunday afternoon at any middle-class home at the time:
One of Nation's Oldest Teachers Retires in LA at 94
... Some of Rose Gilbert's fondest memories date from the 1960s, when a spirit of rebellion was rife at high school and college campuses across the country. In one protest she recalled, students and teachers declared a strike and walked out to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Another demonstration occurred over a reason that was another sign of those heady times: the length of boys' hair.
"We had a very strict principal and he said all the boys had to cut their hair or be suspended," she recalled. "All of them were suspended, and we all walked out — students and teachers."
Today's kids are more self-centered, noted Gilbert, whose students call her "Mama G." She calls her students her "bubbelahs."
"It's the entitlement generation," she observed. "'I'm entitled to an A, I'm entitled to go to Harvard.' I think it emanates from their parents."
Americans knew more about Europe and were more influenced by its culture than they are now. Americans read more -- you look at Time and Life magazines and between the fluff and kitten pictures there are substantive articles on international policy, the Cold War, and Vietnam.
It's weird to me that we have so much information on the internet but Americans seem to know less about other places than they ever did.