The equivalent of the blogosphere in the 1960s and 1970s, [The New Yorker’s Hendrik] Hertzberg says, was the “underground press.” Hertzberg attended several of “the ramshackle underground-press convocations that took place from time to time.” The fashionable look there was decidedly not normal: “The stereotypical look then was rock roadie or medieval wizard for men, groupie or earth mother for women.” Hertzberg adds:
"On my bathroom wall I have a photograph taken at one of these underground-press convocations. It shows a crowd of a hundred or so undergrounders in a discussion circle. I’m in the middle, in shaggy haircut, Lennonish eyeglasses, and turtleneck, earnestly making some point (probably about the need to avoid alienating the great mass of Americans). And, sure enough, if you make allowances for a certain number of extravagant mustaches and batik prints, the crowd does look kind of normal, most of it. Except that three of the young women listening (somewhat skeptically, I have to admit) are stark naked.
"No one naked around here. No chaos at YearlyKos. No “sweet smell of marijuana,” as the straight papers used to refer to it. No demands for revolution. No denunciations of bourgeois democracy. The Democratic National Committee Chairman is listened to respectfully and cheered enthusiastically."
What explains the new bourgeois left? Hertzberg’s theory: Because Vietnam was, “as Bob Dole might say, a ‘Democrat war,’ ” there was only one way to protest it. “You had to go to the left of the Dems,” he writes, “and if you hadn’t happened to have already acquired a moral/political compass, you might keep going till you ended up at the feet of Chairman Mao. This war is an all-Republican affair...
Friday, August 3, 2007
The Opinionator - New York Times Blog: By Chris Suellentrop