Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Face of Global Warming/Face of a Generation

RE NPR commentary by Harvard's Daniel Gilbert

Letter to _________: I enjoyed the NPR essay on the "face" of terrorism & the "face" or lack of face of global warming as I'd just sent an essay to my journal (The Free Market News Network) about how the internet got its "face" & how this face was just last week identified as the face of the enemy by the NYTs neocon pundit David Brooks. Until last month the internet was an abstraction, like global warming - now it has a face - Markos Moulitsas; he of the Daily Kos - and Brooks sees this as the face of the enemy.

In fact, Markos's face is the face of a new generation which, until the Yearly Kos convention last month was only an abstraction.

When I write about politics I use generational dynamics to figure things out: Each post-war period has four generations and each generation has a singular face (Eisenhower, John Lennon/The Beatles, Ronald Reagan, _______?) we enter the fourth generation now with Markos. Each face halso has its oppositional component which also has a face (Reagan/Clintons) and the generaiton which is not representedin power takes shelter inthe oposing face (REagan/Clintons). Historians William Strauss & Neil Howe, authors of "The Fourth Turning" (they have a web site on this idea as well) have devised this scema, but the discarded historian Oswald Spenglar wrote in a similar vein with vastly more complexity.

Brooks was apopleptic when Markos materialied as the face fo 20 million monthly readers, mostly under 25. he should be; his generation's sad and shameful influence on the world is up - a new generation is at hand. I was happy because I'd been looking for faces in this generational turning for years.

There is a good account of generations and their faces in historian Dan Carter's biography of George Wallace. Carter writes that WAllace rose in opoposition to the hippies and the perceived decadence of the Sixties generation & universalized this opposition ("the Southernization of America") in his Presidential campaign.

Wallace, Falwell, & Robertson then spent their generational energy in oopposition to a generation which found its face with Lennoin/The Beatles. But what is interesting here is that the dynamic opposition is generation warfare ("Politics is war by other means" - Quigley) and when the generations in contention dissipates after 20 so years, the face sent into remission can then re-animate without opposiiton. Future generations will ask: What exactly was it that so opposed certain Fundamentalist to Jews and Catholics? Why exactly did Catholics hat Masons?

Why again did they burn Beatles records when the Wallace movement was first awakening?

Today we watch the submerged face of a generation reemerge as L.A. unveils a $100 million event caleld "Love" produced by George Martin & opening with a rash of Beatles kith and kin; a show scheduled to run for the next ten years (but as the fourth generation is last in the "saeculum" it will last longer & the "saeculum" will be recalled in it.). This face will rise now without opposition & become a more-or-less permanent influence with the culture. I am certain of it.

Historians of old talk of a "great man" theory of history. The generational theory is far more complex and far more subtle. The generation itself is the lkife force vying wiht other generations & the hero which emerges - Lord Nelson, Victoria, Newton, Lennon - marks a wuality which will characterize that generation.

But the generation contains many faces; all faces; masculine, feminine, light, dark - Tricksters, WArriors, Wise Women.

And when the turning comnes, it appears to com eform nowhere. We are at such a turning now.

I caught a TV clip flipping through the channels in a hotel a few years ago of Howard Cosell interviewing John Lennon at half time of a footbasll game. Lennon was well past the Beatles and well past the Sixties - it appeared to be not long before his death. Cosell said, "I've got to go now JOhn. I've got to interview The Gipper."

Lennon said, "Who's The Gipper?"

The generation which would submerge Lennon & Co. had not yet arrived. Now the culture is about to flip again. I think my kids will not associate the name The Gipper with a President who carried 49 states. Nor will they long remember the face of George W. Bush; the Face of a Gatekeeper, but one who'se fate it was to close the gate on Ronald Reagan's generation.

This season, on the TV show "House" one of thye doctors was chatting while performing surgery, "Do you listen to The Beatles?" he asked. His 12-year-old had re-introduced him to it, he said. LIkewise, when I came back to the beach house this summer vacation my kids were listening to The Beatles.

1 comment:

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