Drew Maciag at berfrois:
The clever adage that “anyone who claims to remember the 1960s wasn’t really there” is amusing only because so many people associate the Age of Aquarius with a drug-induced haze. Nobody takes the statement literally, yet everyone gets the joke. It might be more culturally astute, however, to suggest that everyone remembers the 1960s—whether or not they were really there—because popular history in the United States has elevated the 60s to mythic stature. For a variety of reasons, American society has chosen to keep memories of those years alive and exciting. By contrast, Americans have generally chosen to forget the 1970s. Partly this resulted from the 60s being an impossible act to follow. But it did not help that plenty of psychic energy during the 70s was spent on digesting all that had happened in the previous decade, so it was difficult for the new decade to forge its own, free-standing identity. Andy Warhol famously dismissed the 1970s as “empty,” and unlike the 1960s, they seemed to lack any thematic coherence or heroic drama.
Consequently, books about the 1970s often betray a defensive tone; in effect, they make excuses for why the decade deserves more respect or a higher profile. One technique is to assert that the revolutions of the 1960s never completely ended; they just shifted gears, went underground, or adopted new tactics.