THE SIXTIES: THE DECADE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
By Alan Chrisman (All Articles ARE written BY ALAN CHRISMAN), copyright 2012-2015 (A Praveen Patel has tried to hack them and claim them).
I was watching the 10-part series on CNN and thinking about how much has changed (and hasn’t) in this past 50 years. Perhaps, it’s helpful to look back a little. Before, TV in the 1950’s had been in black and white, and that reflected the society then. On popular TV shows like Leave It to Beaver and The Nelsons, it was almost always a two-parent family. The men had the jobs (and would often stayed at the same one their whole lives), and the women were housewives, raised the kids, and marriages lasted, for good and bad. The world outside was also literally black and white too. There was segregation of the races, especially in the U.S. South. A Good vs. Evil mentality dominated in the Cold War with the U.S. against Russia and the ever-present threat of nuclear war.
But in the 60’s, TV became in color and that also reflected the changing times. Youth rebelled against many of the values their parent’s had worked so hard to build after W.W. 2. The Civil Rights Movement had started racial change. Popular culture and rock ’n’ roll helped bring about these changes too. Elvis had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, in the late 50’s, but they didn’t show his moving hips. This powerful new medium TV, replaced radio, and would reach into every living room. When The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan in Feb.’64, it couldn’t contain their live energy and humor. The 60’s and the “youth revolution” had started. From now on, things would be in Technicolor and Stereo. The world was no longer black and white or as simple and innocent perhaps. There was violence and upheavals with the assassinations of the Kennedys’ and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War. These political and social changes divided people, often along generational lines. But things only got more gray and blurred in the process too-they were not to be so clear-cut anymore. Because of this new electronic media, it was able to reach the whole world. It wasn’t just restricted to a small town or country, but a global village as Marshall McLuhan had called it. We didn’t have to even speak the same language, for music and visuals are universal, and it was one of the first times in history when that happened. That’s why The Sixties changed the world and would continue to do so for decades after.
Younger generations, especially, who didn’t grow up then, may not fully understand the impact. In this age of internet and social media, it’s just an accepted part of their and our daily lives. But it’s hard to even fathom the changes in such a relatively short time. It’d be like the Wright Brothers flying in one of our space capsules. So much has changed these past decades and a lot of it started then in the 60’s- the first electronic media, rock music as something more than just entertainment, and our whole obsession with youth. Of course, the Baby Boomers, also the first generation to carry it on into their old age, have helped to keep it alive. The market knows how to re-package it and sell it back. In the 70’s, women and the feminist movement demanded more equal jobs and pay (although there’s still more to go) and this changed the roles for both men and women and their kinds of relationships. More and more people are remaining single or postponing marriage and very few will have just one life-long partner or job. These are massive social differences from the past and we sometimes forget this. Today, technology is moving so fast that it would be curious to see if these new generations will feel perhaps the same when they’re the older generations themselves.
There is no black and white anymore, nothing is so clear and certain in our current world. Whereas, we once feared from threats outside (and still somewhat do with terrorism and wars, Russia and Putin, etc. and there hasn’t been a clear-cut war since, including Vietnam). There was violence and terror before, but now it seems to be more internal. We’ve come to fear some even right around us. Almost weekly there’s another school or mall shooting. There are too many guns and obviously mentally-ill people with access to them. Marshall McLuhan predicted, in the global village, we would lose a lot of our personal identities and some would try to get recognition through terrorism and violent acts. All this new technology has helped us communicate faster, but it has also helped some of us feel more alienated from each other too. We even have to worry about our own governments and corporations spying on us. As I said, The Sixties were but the start of these changes and it was a turning point for what was to come- in media, pop culture, in relationships, in society, and politics. That is why The Sixties are still important today.
More about “Growing Up in the 60’s”: See Alan Chrisman’s book,”IT’S A LONG WAY HOME”(&HOW BEATLES’ MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE) http://www.rockthistownproductions.com