Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday Evening Post, September 23, 1967

Check out the hippie from central casting.

The subhead's great: "Why they act that way." Drunkablog
makes a guess: Could it be--Ell. Ess. Deeeeee?

An ad for The National Observer:

Marvelously patronizing. And do Cubans still think Fidel "is about the only bit of gaiety we have left?" (Trivia: Hunter Thompson wrote for NO.)

A letter to the editor about a piece the week before on (surely coincidentally) the dangers of LSD begins:

Although I am not privy to the "acid" experience, my mind was partially blown by your sensationalistic approach to LSD.
Partially blown.

Stewart Alsop begins a Speaking Out column titled "Why Juanita enjoyed the riot," about the recent unrest in Los Angeles and other cities (dubbed by the MSM of the time and known to this day as the "the long, hot summer"):

Reporter: What were you doing during the riot?

Juanita (a cheerful, rather charming 16-year-old Negro girl): That wasn't no riot. That was a rebellion.

OK, what were you doing during the rebellion?

Juanita (grinning with delight): I was out lootin'.
Alsop concludes:

In the years ahead many sins of omission and commission by the white majority must be expiated, and much money spent. For the immediate future, jobs are essential--this immensely rich country ought to be able to guarantee a job at a living wage to any adult who wants to work. . . . But for the short run there is only one way to make sure that next summer and the summer after that will not be repetitions of the ghastly summer now ending. Force must be used immediately and selectively, as soon as trouble starts. . . . Juanita and her contemporaries must be persuaded right at the beginning, before the "carnival atmosphere" has time to spread, that this riot will not be fun.
In other words, shoot Juanita.

An Ogden Nash poem begins, "I offer one small bit of advice that Billy Graham could write a whole column on/Never ignore any bit of advice offered by King Solomon." It was a bit of all over for Ogden by 1967.

The article on the Smothers Brothers is pre-censorship problems, but here's one of the jokes excised by evil CBS homonculi:

Dick: Tommy, today is Easter Sunday. Do you know what Easter is actually all about?

Tom: Sure. It's the day Jesus Christ rose from his tomb--

Dick: That's right. I'm proud of you. I honestly didn't think you knew.

Tom--and if he sees his shadow, he has to go back in again for six weeks.
The submarine rescue piece is by Peter Maas, and recounts the story of Swede Momsen, inventor of the "Momsen Lung" and the diving bell, the latter of which he used in 1939 to rescue 33 sailors from their crippled submarine off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Cynical, morose, whining--but what a writer!

Then I get to the actual article about the hippies, and it turns out to be Joan Didion's famous piece, "Slouching Toward Bethlehem." Of course, now I remember that most of the columns collected in the book of the same name were originally published in the Post. Typical passage:

We sit down and have some anise tea. "meditation turns us on," Sandy says. He has a shaved head and the kind of cherubic face usually seen in newpaper photographs of mass murderers. [One] middle-aged man, [George] . . . is making me uneasy because he is in a trance next to me and he stares at me without seeing me.

I feel that my mind is going--George is dead, or we all are--when the telephone suddenly rings.
I used to love Didion's depressive posturing; now it's kind of grating, though her new book, The year of magical thinking, about the death of her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, has gotten good reviews.

Finally, take Y.A. Tittle's advice:

First, put on a helmet to protect your tiny brain when you beat your head against the wall during withdrawal. Make sure it has the number 14 on it!

Fun fact: Y.A.'s full name was Yelberton Abraham Tittle.

Update: Yelberton. Abraham. Tittle.

No comments: