When E-Prophecy Fails

Fortunes and jobs are lost, but the allure of revolution remains

"There are a bunch of dirty cocksuckers down in Cambridge who are giving us a hard time about our goddamn paper," declared the Avatar's Mel Lyman in its November 10, 1967, lead editorial, practically daring authorities to initiate another round of obscenity arrests. "Well, fuck 'em."

On that issue's very next page was one of Seth Gordon's own dispatches. It eerily echoed not only the old versus new economic disconnect three decades later but also why a young man might feel inexorably drawn to pick his camp -- regardless of conventional wisdom, or perhaps precisely to stand against it.

Previously ambivalent about the antiwar movement's aims, Gordon visited a suburban pro-war rally and soon found an angry crowd pummeling a fellow whose sole crime was holding aloft a peace sign. He wrote: "It was at this point that I decided who must be right, by comparing the type of people on both sides. On one a vicious mob, on the other a lone young man pleading for peace.... “Fight for God, Family, and Country!' stated a sign in Wakefield, Sunday. I would fight for God if I believed in him, my family if it were in jeopardy, and my country if it was worth it. My America was inhabited by Lincolns, Washingtons, and Jeffersons. The America I saw Sunday was infested with wolves, vipers, and savages."

Gordon cringes a bit as Kulchur quotes back to him some of his own prose. "Nobody should have to re-read what they wrote at nineteen," he says good-naturedly. "There's an important difference, though. Thirty years ago, with my contemporaries, there was never a single moment when we felt we were wrong." But today's dot-com disciples, Gordon adds, "are willing to admit to themselves: 'Oh shit! I believed my own nonsense!'"

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Miami Concert Tickets