Thursday, May 01, 2008

For Forty May Days

Andrew Blakemore had it:
So plain the barren silence rings
A toll of death to all.

Now Geoffrie Wheatcroft looks back:
Since 1968, the west has grown not only more prosperous but more sybaritic and self-absorbed, and even that cultural victory of the left hasn't turned out as intended, especially in terms of the sexual revolution that was arguably the true legacy of the age.

....Civil partnerships could be one inheritance of the 60s, and another might be the way that, as a parliamentary committee learned on Tuesday, jobcentres have been offering 17-year-old girls work as strippers and lap-dancers. The latest issue of Prospect magazine has a symposium on 1968 in which Josef Joffe says the real revolution was the pill, which has "changed the world more profoundly" than any invention since the steam engine. But the other side of that coin is what Jean Seaton, in the same colloquy, calls the damaging consequences of 1960s individualism today when "everything is sexualised".

At the time, 1968 seemed like fun. But maybe Orwell got it right again when he said gloomily:

"Plans for human betterment do normally come unstuck, and the pessimist has many more opportunities of saying 'I told you so' than the optimist."

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