IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE STRENGTH to strangle the eagle, set fire to the nest. In '69, I had the kids acting up enough for the old farts to, for the first time since the civil one, bring the war home. Instead of merely sending them away at blooming 18 to get killed or bludgeoned with visions of blood, the grumps began beating them up and spilling viscera right on Main Street. Teargas in front of the hardware store! Billy clubs outside of the ice cream shop! Bayonets before the grocer's stand! Bullets on the way out of the matinee!
Oh boy! You betcha the lines were drawn. All the old folks, irritated by a whiff of gas while downing their butter brickle, had to find someone to blame . . . and by this time the invective officials had learned enough from late-night, ulcerous poring over Che Guevarra's guerilla manual with a glass of buttermilk on the side, commie-cleansing theater (brought to you by Brillo), and a collection of translated situationist poetry hastily but none-too-unadroitly put together by Nix and DeGaulle apres-ski on one of their secret Alpine sprees--by this time the bowels that bleed actually got a jump on the journalists for once and, manipulating death masks and puke green pallors to appear as party hats and the make-up of a pitiful, lovable clown in the reflection of their second honeymoon with television, they successfully purveyed an image of America the victim so that, by decade's end, 80% of average people placed the security of the stuffed shirts above the caprices of the T-shirted and shirtless.
I'm still stunned. I might have expected something to get started by '75, '90. . . . But in less than 10 years a docile father was rendered such a fearsome beast before misbehaving kids I almost shuddered myself every time he bared his teeth. Add heat to this solution to start the reaction. That and a potent catalyst troubling both reagents: artificial LSD.