Tuesday, 15 October 2013

We are all children of the Sixties? Not me!

Since realising that BBC uses my hard earned TV licence fee to promulgate a limited range of views, mainly liberal ones, on TV, I rarely now tune in to BBC's "Newsnight".  However, I heard the discussion on "the massive cultural shift of ŧhe 1960s" last night. 

The question raised was how the 1960s will be viewed, historically? In a discussion chaired by Kirsty Wark, a hardline secular liberal, the 1960s were commended for opening up society. Others spotted that "flower power", free love and the Pill had not led, as predicted, to the end of family structures, though we have, as a result, the weakening and often breakdown of individual families.

The 1960s generation were known as "baby boomers" because they were conceived after the troops returned from the Second World War. They were young adults between 1962-1970. They are now in their late 60s or early 70s. Kirsty Wark saw them as both contradictory and hypocritical, since they were apparently idealistic in youth but they are the most materialistic generation in older age. They are now sitting on huge wealth tied up in overvalued houses. They excuse this by saying that they must hoard wealth to pay for a couple of years of luxury residential care in older age. There is some truth in this as elderly luxury care is very expensive (£60,000 a year). However, young people can no longer afford to buy property and must pay for their college and university education, unlike the 1960s generation.

Others observed that the 1960s pop and sex culture neatly, and in a very timely fashion, soaked up the energy of young men who were no longer obliged to undergo National (Military) Service. This makes me wonder whether the 1960s were constructed for reasons of social control and to make money for those operating "the music scene", who often came from the middle and upper classes.

I was affronted by Kirsty Wark's assumption that "we are all children of the Sixties".  I, for one, never was and never shall be "a child of the 1960s". I hated the 60s culture from its start when I was a child of 4. I never listened as a child or teenager to BBC's "Tops of the Pops" (or its DJs) which I always deeply distrusted. The fact that others found this "60s culture" acceptable was proof to me that many people lack gut instinct, common sense and any real perception about life and evil. For those who do not know, the DJs on Top of the Pops included Jimmy Saville now alleged to be the most prolific sexual predator of underage girls - in British history.

When my manipulated school friends were reading "Jackie Magazine", worshipping Rod Stewart and donning mini skirts, I wore midi skirts - ahead of their time. I repudiated the music, the propaganda and meaningless French Existentialism which we were force-fed (for no clear reason) at our secular state school. I rejected the superficiality, the vulgarity and the drugs. 

I believe that many perceptive, serious-minded people felt as I felt. So when people talk about "us all being the children of the Sixties", they are quite wrong.  Some of us could perceive the dangerous people, moral decline, selfishness and unhealthy anarchy: hence we did not identify with it. Those with perception foresaw that the 1960s would end up as a disastrous cultural wrong-turning. However, we did not, at that time, envisage the "hypocrisy" of the 1960s generation. They say, in their defence, that the 1960s were "just an experiment" and that they never intended mainstream society to take their experimental culture seriously (read Camille Paglia).

I count myself as mildly unlucky to have had to endure the Sixties "culture" as a child, though I appreciate the way the 1960s opened up the Continent - but that had nothing to do with its cultural shift.  I may be old-fashioned, but I feel I was deprived of elegance, conversation, dances and romance (accompanied by string orchestras or bands!) without 60s electronic over-amplification which, in my view, encourages lack of talent.

I believe that the 1960s or rather the majority of its generation will be regarded rather like the decadent and selfish generation of the 1920s. The "Bright Young Things" of the 1920s had good reason to act in a frivolous way - due to the First World War - and their acute sense of mortality.  The 1960s generation did not.  

Therefore my thesis is that history will be very hard on the 1960s generation, particularly with a view to the Western World's current poor state of economic viability - near bankruptcy - which BBC Newsnight says "happened on their watch"....


  1. I do noto know if I personally Gould BE called "Chile of the sixties" since I was born in 1952. I suppose that we got that wave later in Italy. Anyway I personally got exempted from that spirit ad I proudly belonged to che Roman-catholic faithful youth. I was marginally influenced by the myths of the Beatles' and Rolling Stones' Britain from whom I ...learned my English! Beyond that I was fashinated for a while by the left-wing idealism and student demonstrations at the time of the Vietnam war. Ad I joined an Evangelical church (which thing horrified my mother), she was kind of relieved ad her parish priest told her concerning me: "Better a Protestant than a terrorist"...

  2. I personally think that 1964 was the watershed, but I feel that the British media establishment was decadent even in the 1950s - the 'camp' period comedy of that era may bear witness to this. And we have forgotten that the 60s were the decade among other things of the Biafran War and the repressions of Eastern Europe. I also seem to recollect 1968 was when the Guardian first used the 'f' word. This paper, with a long Liberal (in the old sense) history, was viewed as a serious publication in our house. Television started to portray couples in bed, but at first, as long as this was 'period' (i.e. serious) drama, it was OK. Nobody took this to heart apart from Mrs Whitehouse and Lord Longford and they were ridiculed. I expect you have read Malcolm Muggeridge's Christ and the Media (1976). He puts all this well.