#74: Forget the Sixties Nostalgia

So, you were at Woodstock? Ate mushrooms with Kesey, chanted with Ram Dass, wrote poetry naked with Ginsberg?

I’m sure that was all mind-blowingly groovy, but I have news for you, Grandpa (and Grandma): Reminiscing about the sixties now is like recalling Prohibition was when we were young. Cue wavering voice: “Let me tell you, sonny, we got up to some crazy shenanigans in those speakeasies.” For those of you who are mathematically challenged, it’s been 40 whole years since 1968, the same amount of time as 1968 was from 1928.

As further illustration of how long ago that all was, check out these words coined in 1928, from the Online Entymology Dictionary, a very dry name for one of the very best sites I know. Nookie with a bimbo, anyone? But words brought to you by 1968 don’t sound much more modern: unisex, dweeb, and the Fosbury Flop.

The point: The sixties are ancient history and not of great interest to anyone who wasn’t actually there. So too the seventies: We really don’t need to know who did what to whom that night you went to Plato’s Retreat (ewwww, you did?) or what you snorted with whom at Studio 54. Even the eighties, which I basically missed thanks to the joys of parenthood, are getting kind of antique.

As one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons, by Jack Ziegler, goes: “The sixties are over. The seventies are over. The eighties, for God’s sake, are over.” And now the nineties are over, and pretty soon the oughties will be over too.

Young people are allowed to have nostalgia for the decades and icons of their childhoods: early Madonna and late Kurt Cobain, leg warmers and flannel shirts. You can reminisce about where you were in Y2K.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “#74: Forget the Sixties Nostalgia

  1. My husband loves to pretend he was at Woodstock (he was 16 so he could’ve gone in theory but in fact, he did not). He also loves to say in a mock-quavering old-man voice, “In my day, the girls didn’t wear brassieres!”

    Ah, those were the days…maybe that’s why now I can’t go without one…

  2. sheila

    Oh, Pam… that photo is so…. so….. um…. yucky.

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