Monday, October 25, 2004

From Reform to Revolution (and the Backlash)

This is less a Schrift than a reading assignment (not that it's always easy to tell the difference). Do read Bruce Bawer's "The Other Sixties," from Wilson Quarterly courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily.

It's a long essay, but well worth it. Bawer does an admirable job at comprehensively surveying the political, religious, and cultural landscape of the early 1960s: the moment of Kennedy-inspired liberal optimism, before the left went counterculture (and Communist) and the right went plain nuts.

Particular highlights include the discussion of Vatican II and the move towards ecumenicalism in mainstream Protestant churches, the citation of the Nov. 1963 issue of the New Yorker that "when we think of (JFK), he is without a hat," and Bawer's readings of "The Twilight Zone" and Jack Paar's "The Tonight Show." Bawer paints a fine portait of the time he calls "classical liberalism’s last hurrah."

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