Archive: April, 2012
Even for people who were alive in the 1960s -- as I barely was (although not in the same way I'm barely alive today) -- there can be a forgetfulness of how crazy things were, now America really was a nation on the brink. I think there's a disconnect -- today in 2012 we write so much about a nation that seems hopelessly divided, but then you remember -- well, this old thing, for one -- but also how much anger and violence, including riots and numerous political assassinations, took place in America less than a half-century ago. Sure, today there's Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party (actually, there's no Tea Party but let's not digress) and gridlock on Capitol Hill and an out-of-control media egging folks on, but really, how can you compare anything so far in the 21st Century to this:
As the Vietnam War raged overseas, aftershocks were felt down Oread Avenue. The town and University were in turmoil. The activists armed themselves with guns, firebombs and rage — temporarily turning Lawrence into a war zone. In 1970 alone, the Union was burned down in April, the Military Science building stoned in May and the Computation Lab bombed in December. The National Guard came in to help local law enforcement control the town-in-resist. Rick “Tiger” Dowdell, 19-year-old active member of the black-rights community, fled down an alley and was shot in the back of the head by Officer William Garret. In response, 18-year-old freshman Nick Rice was shot and killed. The ignored African-American community had an armed response in East Lawrence and student activists turned the University’s surrounding area into an armed camp. The Oread neighborhood became a true “Student Ghetto.” Students lined alleys with barbed wire and piano wire to keep the police out. From rooftops, student snipers shot the tires of police cars.
E.L. Doctorow goes all ragtime on the U.S. of A. I hope I can learn to write this well by the time I turn 81.
I've told you in the past about my strange teenage obsession...with Watergate. As obsessions go, I think it was pretty well placed. So much of what we talk about here at Attytood is rooted in the Nixon era, and the role that journalism played -- or didn't play -- in taking down an American president.
So those post is largely for the handful of you who share my geeky passion for the scandal to end all scandals. The new New York magazine has a piece -- "The Red Flag in the Flowerpot" -- from a former researcher who worked closely with both the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and with Woodward's legendary editor, Ben Bredlee. With the 40th anniversary of Watergate looming, Jeff Himmelman is here to ask:
Contrary to Bergen’s generous belief that progressives are deluding themselves about Obama’s militarism, many are fully aware of it and, because it’s a Democrat doing it, have become aggressively supportive of it. That, without a doubt, will be one of Obama’s most enduring legacies: transforming these policies of excessive militarism, rampant secrecy and civil liberties assaults from right-wing radicalism into robust bipartisan consensus (try though they might, not even progressives will be able to turn around and credibly pretend to object to such things the next time there is a GOP President).
You have three tasks this weekend. First, read this moving piece about life, death and Springsteen from my cyberfriend Joan Walsh. Second, listen to this amazing pre-historic version of "Thunder Road," live from Lancaster Ave. Third, discuss the important issues of our time in the space below. As a not-so-great man (either Biden or Romney, take your pick) said recently, I'm tired of being tired.
I never understood why Occupy Philadelphia protesters who voluntarily left their encampment on Dilworth Plaza and then were chased all over Center City and ended up on an empty sidewalk at 5 a.m. were arrested by the city cops.
I forgot to tell you -- I took yesterday off.