Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Like the Sixties Never Happened


First of all, there was way too much going on in too short a time - the pace of life, at least for Americans plugged into the news and culture, was much faster than it is today. In the space of one month in 1967, say, one would have to absorb news of mulitple riots, an assassination or firebombing, a steaming pile of lies about Vietnam, protests of those lies, and the release of a half dozen or more songs many of which are as beloved now as they were then. And the next month brought more of the same.

This is something I've never understood about baby-boomer led educational technology rhetoric. It doesn't seem consistent with their own life experience or my understanding of recent history. For example, I did a paper for a linguistics class riffing on Tom Frank's Conquest of Cool, looking at the changes in ads in women's magazines during, I think, the summer of 1968. Almost instantly the entire presentation of advertisement changed from a static style that dated from the late 19th century to the generally hip, inventive design style that still dominates. And that's just one semi-random example.

Technology makes things churn faster, but I don't think the culture has changed as quickly or profoundly as it did in the late 60's.


Tim said...

Even with only three television networks and one printed newspaper, I think we actually got more real news in the late 60's than we get from however many TV and web channels we have now.

Certainly there was a lot going on in the world then (extend the timeline into 1969 and include man landing on the moon), but more us also paid attention to real current events than do today. I guess most people find celebrity news easier to digest than the complexities of the world.

Bill Kerr said...

> ... something I've never understood about baby-boomer led educational technology rhetoric ...

it was a movement that fractured into a thousand streams and those who could see the parallels b/w technological revolution and social revolution were just a small minority - for many "the military industrial complex" meant all industry / technology was bad - the threads are still there if you look hard enough but very much an undercurrent

best to look upon our current period as a prelude?