My inner hippie is sitting with mouth wide open in shock at the world and asking, "When did it become the 1960's again?" I have to admit, I did download Jimi Hendrix's "All Along The Watchtower" today just to be in the spirit of the changes going on in the world right now. Well, it was kind of a must because of the hip day I had in Global Media. We talked about the recent comments by the President that were a push to get more into technology, very similarly to what Kennedy did in the 60's regarding the space race. Between that and the riots over in the middle east, well, it was a day that just screamed the 60's.
I will admit, my friend Soosi has been on my mind today. The hippest of chicks, she is a very romanticized version of the 60's to me. I mean the woman told Jim Morrison to kiss her ass. Tell me that's not cool. While groupies galore were worshiping at the altar of the Lizard King, Soosi told him to pucker up. That's just hip in my opinion. That's a total fatty moment to me and I so wish I could have been there to see it. But alas, I was born in 1971, so I can definitely say I missed out on what I view as the most interesting decade of the 20th century. But, my first political memory is Gerry Ford tumbling down a set of stairs. But that's as far as it goes. I missed the 60's *pout*. Just think of advertising in the 60's...Bill and Helmut hadn't even thought of the grand Lemon yet. Oh just think about how well I would have done in advertising back then! *Whimper* *Cry*
But, outside of my 60's induced fantasies, I have been spending every day hooked into my normal news gathering trip around the country. First topic on everyone's mind right now is Egypt. I spent a solid hour this morning just reading different news stories on it trying to find a nugget to take to class with me for extra credit. During the discussion, after the Obama/Kennedy message contrast, it wasn't long before Jimi was playing his little tune in my head, making me think about where Soosi, my Mom and Dad were at the time. We dug in and got all sorts of into the Berlin Wall, what it was like behind it, and why it finally came down. By the end of class, "All Along The Watchtower" was the only song in my head with a note in my notebook to get some Hendrix downloaded as soon as possible.
I remember as a kid playing Space Invaders with my cousin Mark and when the red mothership would go over, I remember Uncle David hollering, "Get Khomeini!" as we tried desperately to shoot it down for the extra points. It didn't dawn on me exactly what he was saying until this morning while I was in front of the mirror getting ready. Sufficed to say, ever since I can remember, the middle east has always been a problem spot. I remember adults throwing around comments that the middle eastern folks have been killing each other for the last 4000 years, why should it be any different or change? I never really got into the whole middle east thing before because I don't really think it's my business outside of the price I pay for gas. But really, if you think about it, this all started with a guy in Tunisia setting himself on fire in protest. How 60's can you get?
So, here we are in 2011, and guess what, 50 years later, the riots and protests are back in a huge way. Instead of civil rights in America, we're watching riots and revolution in the middle east for similar goals. (I know that's simplifying it a lot, but when you boil it down, that's exactly what it is.) They want their freedom, they want to be able to vote and they want to be able to take part in global culture just like we do. If that's not a 60's mindset, I don't know what is. Maybe I need to be educated on it some more, but from where I'm sitting, it sure does feel like it.
Being on a university campus during this is a special rush for me. In my eyes, protests, civil unrest and all that stuff seemed to be a part of the youth counter-culture of the 60's that I dig so much. I've been to a protest since I started going to school, yeah, I went to the one against educational budget cuts. That was awesome, standing in the rain, soaking wet and letting the establishment know that we were pissed. It was so cool. So I did that, and now we've got the more violent stuff happening on the other side of the world. To be honest, I'm glad that the violence isn't happening here but I feel horrible for all the folks over in Egypt that are standing their ground so that the groceries they pick up for the week don't drain their entire bank accounts because of inflation. Those folks are missing out on staples like milk and bread because of what's going on right now and to me, that's not cool. People have to eat. I don't care if you're blue, green or aquamarine, you're human, everyone deserves to have a good meal. To have folks having to fight for staple foods is just ludicrous. I'd be pissed just over the fact I was hungry and couldn't get anything to eat, wouldn't you? I'd become especially angry if I had kids that were going without food.
We're in what? Day 8 of this mess? And we've got kings in the middle east deciding to sack their governments to try to make sure that what's happened in Tunisia and Egypt won't happen to them. It seems as all along the watchtowers stuff is happening that I don't think they ever anticipated. The common folks are standing up and saying "No more!" I mean if I were Mubarak I'd be grabbing the next flight out just to save my own life because if he makes them wait until September for elections, he'll be in some severe deep shit long before the ballots ever go out. If he doesn't move his butt, it's only going to get worse. And he wanted to put his kid on the throne. Dude, pack up those dreams because that ship has sailed.
It just seems to me that the 60's held itself in stasis because it's alive and well in the middle east right now and the journalists are getting a first hand look at it. Anderson Cooper already got his butt kicked in Cairo, to which I say, "AC! Get your ass out of there pal! Watch from a safe distance!" Did you learn nothing from all those journalists who got messed up in Vietnam?
Ok, so without the LSD and other psychedelics, we're getting a first hand look at the 60's...and as a hippie who missed her time, I'm begging y'all to jump on the peace train, chill out and call someone today to let them know that you're grateful for them.
Girls, put a daisy in your hair and burn your bras in effigy...
Most of all, be grateful it's not happening here in the States. We had our moment like that, now it's their turn.
And of course...here's your song of the day, Jimi Hendrix's recording of "All Along The Watchtower."
(and to avoid incurring Soosi's wrath, I'm making sure to mention that the song was written by Bob Dylan.)