Thursday, May 03, 2007
Summer of Love Turns 40
In 1967, I was an eight year old fascinated with the emerging hippie counterculture. I was into the Beatles, Doors, Hendrix, Cream, etc. I remember the Cowsills' hit Hair. Also Scott McKenzie's smash San Francisco. I had next-door neighbors with teenagers who intrigued me with their "crazy" behavior. They once put up a huge American flag that covered one side of their house. In short, I was a very impressionable precocious kid. What children aren't? Maybe I was a little more than most. In spite of growing up in a conservative Catholic household, my parents did not believe in censoring what I saw or read. I don't know if this had anything to do with my later foray into sex and drugs, but I'm sure it didn't hinder it, either. My earliest memories of television were watching The Three Stooges around 1962 or so, and then President Kennedy's funeral in November of 1963, the same weekend I turned five. Later, I read books like Valley of the Dolls, Do It! by Jerry Rubin, Portnoy's Complaint, Nigger by Dick Gregory, and Black Like Me. I watched Goldie Hawn's body-painted bikini dance on Laugh In. On the same show in 1968 or '69 then President Nixon (I give the man props for having the balls to do it) said "Sock it to me?" I immersed myself in the pop culture of the times. I didn't quite understand the politics, especially the Vietnam War, but I knew it was very unpopular with the younger generation. Never trust anyone over thirty, they said. Now it's 2007, I'm 48, well over thirty, and I don't know if I even trust myself. Ah, the circle of life.