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The Sixties Perspective On R 'n' R


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Maybe it’s been dizzying for centuries, but I think the pace quickened in the sixties. There was a deadening of language, a thousand new gadgets, an obsession with criminality and cancer in the body politic, a popularization of confessional poetry, drugs, protesting and rock music, even assassination.. Turning on, tuning in and dropping out was all the rage and I went as far away from it all as I could get, in the Canadian Arctic and the few scattered Baha’is in the Eastern Arctic at the time. -Ron Price with thanks to Godfrey A. Kearns, “United States of America”, Literature of Europe and America in the 1960s, editors: Spencer Pearce and Don Piper, Manchester UP, NY, pp.10-43. :P


There was nightmare and wonder, then,

in the tragedy, the trivia and the farce of

those catch-221 days when we got better

and better at consuming even if, like me,

you ate a lot of chilli concarne el cheapo

to help you get through university.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest2 warned

you of things to come as everyone seemed

to be worried about sanity and imprisonment.

Easy Rider’s3 celebration of rock music and

psychedelic drugs only told you what you

saw on the streets when you went out to the

movies or a restaurant: try a little of this man?

And Betty Friedan told everyone about the

conditioning of women in The Feminine Mystique4. :rolleyes:


Things seemed to settle in your life as the seventies

opened and you headed to Australia and a second

marriage and, what was it, your fourth job? Not

really consolidating yet, still on the rise, going places,

or so you thought, but you did, and you will, but where?

And you watched Watergate5 from ten thousand miles

away as it confirmed what you already knew: the

political bankruptcy of western civilization. But

you had your own bankruptcy to worry about as

you flew to yet another state in the big, wide world

not thinking about going home anymore, downunder

now, to stay, for as long as the eye could see, maybe

forever, getting ready for green, maybe greener, pastures

on the edge of the Apple Isle at the end of the Antipodes. :angry:


1 Joseph Heller, Catch-22, NY, 1961.

2 Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1962.

3 Easy Rider, a film, NY, 1967.

4 Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mistique, NY, 1963.

5 Nixon resigned in November 1974 setting in motion yet another period of disillusionment, perhaps permanent, with American politics. 26 July 1997

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