greil marcus on 68


From the sightlines in Berkeley, California, where I lived then and live now, I recall 1968 as a year of horror and bad faith… With the Vietnam War all but rolling back across the Pacific to poison the United States itself, it was as if people turned to spectacular lies and glamorous trivialities to hide from themselves the fact that their imaginations had turned to ice. Truly enormous events taking place elsewhere did not travel. Word of the Prague Spring arrived only in fragments, and no speaker stood up to put the pieces together. News of the massacre of scores – no, hundreds – of students in Mexico City was suppressed so profoundly, it would take 40 years for the facts to come out of the ground. But few if any looked; curiosity withered; people were swept up in their own vanity. The faces of those who said no were smug in their automatic righteousness.

more from The New Statesman here.