Thursday, July 8, 2010

Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground

I just finished Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Days of Paranoia, by Francis Wheen, about the seventies.

It's not so noteworthy, but it was a good reminder of the malaise of the seventies. Perhaps more than any decade of this century, this was a decade of disempowerment & frustration. McGovern didn't win; and Nixon did instead and then lost; there were 150 hijackings from 1970-'72; numerous gas lines and in Britain, brownouts. Stocks lost their value, so did wages, so did savings. Elites were hemmed in by new rules of democracy, but unions started losing ground around 1974. The punks celebrated despair, and in Germany there was a Tunix movement (Tu Nichts-- "do nothing").

New York City almost went bankrupt, and did face severe increase in either crime of the perception of it; serial killers abounded, each with a nickname (Zodiac, Son of Sam, freeway Killer); city councillors killed city councillors. In the confusion of role models, cults abounded: Moonies, Scientologists, Rajneesh, Elizabeth Clare Prophet. So did shallow encounter groups.
Drugs grew in use, and moved from an earlier psychedelic focus on a higher truth, to an escape from reality and a contest to see who could get higher on heroin, cocaine, pot.

And as the book's title reminds us: crazy mysticism & conspiracy theories false AND true, abounded: Cointelpro, the assassination of JFK, flying saucers, Chariots of the Gods

I begin to better understand the appeal of Ronald Reagan in promising to end many of these things; and actually pulling it off, in the short term & middle term. Until 18 months ago.

The title of the book & my blog entriy is from a song by John Lennon-- Nobody Told Me.

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