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A bunch of aging 68ers

May 16, 2008

Recently a stumbled upon a sweet article from a collection of aging 1968ers intellectuals on how they spent the fateful year. My favourite is as usual Christopher Hitchens,who recollects on his golden boy days at Oxford and how he went to Cuba to harvest coffee to support communism. That is until Fidel Castro denounced the Warsaw pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and little Christopher woke up.

Coincidentally my parents were caught up in the middle of the invasion. My father was nearly shot by some random Russian brute from the Urals for refusing to take down a flower on his shirt as a sign of protest against the invasion. While large scale purges of the cadres withing the party and a systematic elimination of the entire civic society was going on in Prague, the American intellectuals were living up their historic civilizing mission to rid the US of the evils of capitalism and instigate true “democracy”. It never occured to them that perhaps the Czechs might have just wanted a little more breathing space and the same material goods which they were rebelling against.

The other article is from the feminist Kay S. Hymowitz. While I commend the attempts of an assortment of elite white female intellectuals to rid the American society of the baggage of poisonously judgmental and sexually oppressive Anglo-Saxon sex mores, one can but laugh at some of the attempts to do just that:

joys of “polymorphous perversity.”
In the most radical precincts of the Left, women went to inspired extremes to rid themselves of their sexual “hang-ups.”

Smash Monogamy” program requiring all members to sleep with one another; they wanted to wipe out “sick bourgeois habits.”

To Friedan’s dismay, they organized “consciousness-raising” groups where, as they vented about male oppression, conversation often turned to their own disappointing sexual experiences.

Nor, with all its permutations—lesbian feminism, difference feminism, lipstick feminism, what have you—did the movement for women’s rights ever come to a mature accounting of the sexual revolution’s drawbacks, which continue to perplex the lives of young women today.

She was elegantly regal, fiercely intellectual, and transparently neurotic; I remember feeling that this was a woman to whom something awful had happened. Yet Atkinson’s weirdness didn’t stop the sisterhood from listening intently as she pronounced marriage “legalized rape” and concluded—in her ultimate gift to womanhood—that “love has to be destroyed.”

And so they age and get bitter and more bitter with every passing Bush year. At least today the Supreme Court of California gave the Californian lesbians and gays the right to marriage. The 1968ers, however, have a strange capacity to pass on their disappointment with their revolution on to their children, some of whom pick up the fight with renewed vigour.

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