Midweek Meltdown: Peace and Love Edition

The 1960s was a decade of social and political upheaval and it has been suggested that this era was a reaction to the post-war years where strict conformity was expected. This conformity perhaps being a reaction to the insecurities of the War Years.

During the 60s many young people became disillusioned by what they perceived to be the shallowness and materialism of society. I would suggest that ever since the human race was invented young people have rebelled against the previous generation, but in the 1960’s rebellion against conformity became a social movement.

If the previous generation can be typified by the ideals of conformity, obedience, patriotism, sobriety then these were the traditional values to be challenged. Women demanded equal rights and others called for racial equality and a new consideration for the environment. Many more demonstrated against the Vietnam War, conscription and the nuclear industry.

Seldom in history has a social revolution become so all-encompassing and reflected in all aspects of life and lifestyle. Rebellion rather than conformity became an expression of care, protest rather than patriotism, experimentation with drugs such as marijuana and LSD rather than sobriety. These radical changes in society were reflected in the new fashions, hairstyles and styles of music that emerged throughout the decade as was an interest in Eastern spiritual philosophy and a reverence for nature.

The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility. John Lennon (1940-1980)

Were the sixties the best of times or the worst of times? Did we evolve as a nation and we as individuals? Are we better for the experience?

Now apart from the above, which most definitely sounds to be one of Min’s history lessons..the 60’s to me were fun. I started working on this one this morning for Friday, but then thought what the heck, I’ll put it up today.

49 comments on “Midweek Meltdown: Peace and Love Edition

  1. Being just a little (six months older) than you Min, my recollection of the sixties was that the birth control pill was just starting to become available. Back then we were all glad that consenting adults in private would never have to use those horible condoms EVER again.
    Sigh, oh well.

  2. I think that every person in their 20’s thinks that “their generation” is the one that is going to improve the world for the better.

    It’s part of our biology, in much the same way as teens will rebel against their parents.

    I think you are right Min, in that the post-war generation of the sixties was a rebellion against the frugal and depression of the war years…

    Prior to the advent of the internet, music played a huge role in how people connected with each other, shared their values, and expressed themselves.

    The “swinging sixties” were all about cocktail parties, free love, drugs and rock n roll..

    The seventies bacme the Saturday Night Fever era, where the release of pent up angst vented in the sixties was replaced with feel good disco tunes and still plenty of free and widely promoted open sex, and a growing propensity for sexual diversity along the lines of The Village People and Divine. Gay nitclubs were considered at the forefront of the underground entertainment industry.

    Which in turn paved the way for the androdgenous 80’s with bands like Culture Club, Duran Duran and David Bowie – pushing the boundaries of sexuality and sexual identity.

    The advent of AIDS in the early changed all this, and a new found conservatism emerged.

    Reflected in the late eighties with the emergence of clean-cut “boy bands” and manufactured teen commercial pop sensations like Kylie Minogue.

    Today, the commercialisation of the music industry has degenerated into shows like American Idol or manufactured product like Justine Bieber or Lady Gaga.

    In today’s environment, it’s hard to imagine that Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon and the like would ever get a look in.

    With the emergence of ipads and the internet, the youth of today have many more entertainment options available to them, than say when I was a teenager, and all we talked about was what music we had been listening to lately or what bands we had seen.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just evolution and technology.

    Does it increase or diminish the quality of interaction that young people have with each other today? Well that’s arguable. I’d suggest that they just choose to communicate with each other thru different channels be it facebook, sms or whatever…

    Coming back to you question; were the 60’s the best of times or the worst of times?

    I think you already know the answer to that question, and it’s quite possibly in the affirmative.

    For me, the 80’s were the best of times…

    I think we all look back on our formative years favourably, and perhaps that will always be the case of future generations.

  3. Oh I’m much too young to comment on this thread 😉 apart from agreeing with TB of course…


  4. I can positively guarantee that I have never used a condom in my entire life…except there was one time something to do with water balloons.

  5. It’s interesting that we tend to define a particular time, decade by the music that was around.

    I was thinking today about how things that were ‘no go zones’ when I was growing u in the sixties.

    What got me thinking was I’m currently hosting my sister in law who now has two grandchildren one in ‘wedlock’ the other not.

    Now, in the early sixties (and prior) a child out of ‘wedlock’ for many was something to be ‘kept quiet’ until ‘nuptials’ could be organised. To say this attitude change in the sixties is probably drawing a long bow but I suspect it is the case.

    Anyway the ephemeral group…..

  6. Interesting that all the peoples here seem to stem from the generation of the 60’s.

    I’m more an 80’s kid myself…..

  7. Handrab, yes sadly a child born t’other side of the blanket was in the good old days labelled a bastard. This was on the birth certificate and if you wanted to travel overseas it was also stamped on your passport.

  8. The sixties was not the best of times, but it was definitely a turning point in Australia’s social life. It was when we began to come out of the dark ages into the light.

    I kept a child out of wedlock in 1965. I hate to say it, that took guts. They were still seen as bastards and I do not care to know what society thought of me, except that I was seen as selfish, with no concern for my baby’s future.

    There were hundreds of babies available for adoption.

    The only thing I can remember Mr. McMahon doing that was worthwhile, was increasing welfare benefits, but not too a level that you could survive on for long.

    The opening up in the sixties and the young ignoring society’s mores, led to the “It time” success for the Labor government.

    Mr. Whitlam did not create “it’s time”, but took advantage of it.

    It was to me, one of Mr. Whitlam’s greatest and unsung achievements, when he introduced the single mother’s benefit. The orphans full of babies disappeared over night.

    Making the pill available to singles and being able to sign for your own medical needs as a woman were a close second.

    The sixties I believe, was a time when the young began to rebel against the restrictions of society.


  9. ‘I’m more an 80′s kid myself…..’

    As am I. Unfortunately, from my point of view, the 80’s were an extremely sterile time. I used to look back at the sixties I think with rose coloured eyes (while listening to seventies music).

    Any ‘rebellion’ during the 80’s was done under the close watch of the music industry. Even the heavy metal (particularly the glam type) was all carefully stage managed to give the ‘rebel’ look. There were a few authentic ones, but they were few and far between.

    It may have been the same for the sixties, but as I said, looking back from my point of view, it all appeared to be very real.

  10. Speaks for itself…

    Julia Gillard is the Prime Minister. She earns more than $300,000 a year, and she runs the country. She is nearly 50 years old. She can’t cook, sure. But she can scramble a jet, and get Glenn Stevens out of bed in the middle of the night.

    Surely she has earned the right not to endure infantilising questions about whether she really loves her boyfriend.


  11. I thought she handled it pretty well, Min. But like most ALP supporters I wish she hadn’t done that interview. Every second sentence by Charles Woolley was a put down not just of Julia personally but of her government too. I notice that most women and leftie bloggers seem to think that least said soonest mended.

  12. Patricia, from what I’ve heard it was all very condescending and clearly questions that would not have been asked of a male Prime Minister.

  13. Our PM is nearly 50 years old and can’t cook.

    This is really the last straw, I have lost all respect for her.

  14. ‘I have lost all respect for her.’


    BTW, what the hell happened in QT today. yabot was about 40 minutes early moving his suspension of orders or whatever it is he does when he gets on his pulpit.

    No questions that I saw, just speeches and rambling about how bad the government is (according to him).

    Also, Gillard was absent for a fair while.

  15. …’what the hell happened in QT today.’

    Just treading water waiting for the mid winter break?

  16. As a 90s kid (By that I mean I was a kid throughout the 80s and a TEENAGER! throughout the 90s (but my husband was born in 61 so he is a 70s teen) I must say I love 60s and 70s…and *some* 80s music, I love old fogies (I am seriously a young fogie) and I have always had friends of all ages.
    I feel as though I have inherited a hell of a lot of privilege hard-fought-for by many previous generations – from the men and women who argued for the Married Women’s Property Act in Britain during the Mid-Victorian era, to the Suffragists, the Unionists, and all the other people who have fought and sometimes died for my ‘rights’ to live the way I want, be married or not, have children or not, have ‘legitimate’ children or not, vote, earn a minimum wage, I think ‘my’ generation has a responsibility to be aware of the fact that what was won can also be lost, and our conditions are not inevitable and eternal…and to a. not ‘kick away the ladder’ to others who have not had our benefits and b. not take it for granted and always be vigilant in the face of movements to return us to the Industrial Revolution-style industrial conditions and so on.

    I think that not segregated oneself to only people of one’s own age is a good way of maintaining a constant awareness of ‘historical context’ – and not being revoltingly patronising and pigeon-holing towards other people and their life-experiences.

  17. Thank you so much for that Rhiannon. Probably the stand-out for me is the change in the status of women. This without a doubt came from more women being educated to tertiary level. When I was in high school the normal was for most girls to be educated to only year 10 and it was only the wealthy whose daughters went much past this, much less go to university.

    The effect of The Pill cannot be underestimated as this then gave women options other than the kitchen.

  18. I feel like some kitchen dancing. It’s an old joke from Tim Dunlop’s Blogocracy, or maybe from Joni and Reb’s Blogocrats..one of ’em anyway.

  19. Thanks Pip. It might be lady’s choice here at the Café tonight..although we might let a few blokes through the door.

  20. Min before I move on to the LOUD blues what about bit of Springsteen in his blue jeans….OOOOOOOOOOo did I say that out loud 😳
    It seems like yesterday but he’s still singin’.

  21. Oh Pip, I am thinking of someone who looks rather good in jeans 🙂 The time of my life and I owe it all to you..

  22. I have to own up, we’ve watched that movie over and over and over again 🙂
    Boy, could he dance.

  23. Love it too Pip. I have to fess up to being a ballet dancer..was given the choice to do Yr 12 or enter the Royal Victorian Ballet. I chose to do Yr 12, I would never have done better than the chorus of the ballet.

  24. Then you would probably like this one Pip..I know I do. I don’t know whether I’m being foolish, I don’t know whether I’m being wise, but…

  25. Don’t know what happenend there but it works..:oops:

    What about “I’ll be home on Monday”

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