Gallstone #3

March 1, 1999

Hi, kids. I've been busy trying to graduate, thus no gallstones of late. More like ulcers and anyeurisms. Anyway, I'm in this realityCheck discussion group, where strangers meet online to discuss & debate stuff. One discussion thread is called *the 60s* and people chime in with their memories of the music & politics of the era. Here's my entry; I thought I'd steal it back from the RC website and send it out as a gallstone. It's a little self-indulgent but hey, it beats writing something new.

I was born in 1964, to moderately-hip middle class parents in Pasadena CA. I have unusually clear memories of my childhood. I remember sharing milk-bones with my dog Sammy at age three. I remember the first time I heard "Light My Fire", even down to the name of the kid I was throwing rocks with. I remember the night we landed on the moon. I was in the first grade, folding together a lunar lander from the back of a cereal box and drinking Tang as Armstrong puffed onto the lunar surface.

The politics? A little too young- the first interesting thing I remember politically was Nixon's impeachment. I took a class at UC Riverside called "history of the Sixties." The instructor defined the beginning as JFK's inauguration, and the end as Kent State. I like it. It was great, because childhood memories took on new contexts in that class.
Sex, drugs and Rock-n-Roll? I grew up an angry SoCal punk, and I grew to feel that the sixties had proven itself to be a lie.

There is no room in our culture for free sex, because no one will accept responsibility for all the babies and the diseases.

You could open some doors and expand your mind with drugs. Right. I see a LOT of old hippies doing really interesting things these days, like being dead 30 years before their time, or living as intellectual cripples. Magic drugs were the saddest lie, and the one so many people still cling to today.

The Berkeley FSM? Talk to MOVE about Free Speech, or Jim & Debbie Goad, or Geronimo Pratt, or Leonard Peltier. You're free to say whatever you're allowed to say. Stray too far from the flock, and the wolves will be sent out for you.

VietNam? Lots of reading and research on my part has led me to the inescapable conclusion that I will NEVER trust my country with my life. No one but me will ever decide if I will kill. I have respect for the Nam soldiers and the card-burners alike, because both did what they thought they should do. A lot of the guys that trusted the country, though, are dead or close to it.
I've rotated through the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, and I know that death-counts are the least part of the price of war. What of the men who listened when Uncle Sam told them to go the jungle and kill in the name of freedom? They came back scarred in ways I can't imagine, and the same rich Uncle that sent them on vacation won't even put a roof over their heads. We left a lot of human wreckage in Nam but we also brought a lot back with us. Spend a day at the local VA and you'll get a little hint of the true price of war.
Civil rights? The concept is lost amongst cartoonish champions of self-serving race-quotas. Yes, everyone can sit at the front of the bus now, but racism still feeds hearts under skin of all colors. The race card has become a fashionable red herring.
So, what DO I believe in? Hey, thanks for asking.

  1. I believe fedgov should mind its business.
  2. I believe the police won't be there when i need them, unless it's the police who are causing me to need the police. In which case I'm porked.
  3. I believe racism/sexism/ all isms are wrong, but most people quietly accept the tenets of bigotry because of their own carefully sheltered self-doubt.
  4. I believe most people are witless sheep. It disturbs me to see folks accepting something shitty, when they could change if they had a spine.
  5. I believe I'll have another beer.
  6. I believe in:
  • not taking most things seriously. the notable exception is friendship.
  • taking responsibility for one's actions.
  • speaking my mind, and listening when others step up on the soapbox.

So, that's what I got out of the 60s.
The 70s were worse. Don't get me started.

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