Bliss It Was To Be Alive

 

When I started college in the early 1960s, there was, in the parlance of the times, something going down: Colleges were drifting left politically, a few beatniks (who morphed into hippies) were showing up on campus, and the urban folk music scene was getting started. I remember going to a coffee shop a block off the University of Oregon campus and sitting on a bale of hay to listen to some folkies sing about how society should be rearranged.

The old-time folkies were still around, most notably the lifelong Communists (or fellow travelers, if you wish), Woody Guthrie (mostly a figurehead by now) and Pete Seeger. But a new generation of left-wing folkies, including Joan Baez and her boyfriend for a time, a scruffy kid by the name of Bob Dylan, were singing protest songs in Greenwich Village. The times they were indeed a-changing.

It was a heady time to be part of the Zeitgeist.

When Wordsworth, now something of a conservative, wrote The Prelude, he looked back on his flirtation with radicalism in his youth, especially his infatuation for the French Revolution, and exclaimed, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven.”

When I read The Prelude for the first time, I knew exactly what Wordsworth meant by those words. Even now, as a longtime conservative, I look back with some measure of fondness for the folk and left-wing political scene of the sixties.

I wasn’t exactly a part all of this ferment. I was a mild leftie who loved folk music. I even took up the guitar and banjo and subscribed to “Sing Out!,” a small magazine which ran not only articles about folk music (Pete Seeger was a columnist), but also some left-wing stuff. To this day, acoustic folk music is still my thing. When Bob Dylan showed up with an electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, I wrote him out of the movement.

All this was heady stuff for a kid from a family of Okies who moved to Compton, California — and then, after a stint in the Army, moved up to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon. How could I not feel the pull of the folkie and left-wing atmosphere?

In 1964, I remember wondering how anyone could vote for Goldwater. (I’m reminded here of the apocryphal story of Pauline Kael, the film critic for the New Yorker, saying that she couldn’t believe Nixon won because she didn’t know anyone who voted for Nixon.)

So when it came time to pick a major, I chose English Literature, a specialty that seemed in some way associated in my mind with the left-wing and hippy movements— and about as far from my Okie roots and my dad’s work in the oil fields as one could imagine.

After declaring my major, one of the first classes I took was called “Folk Literature,” taught by a hip young professor who smoked in class (and sat his cigarette on end on his desk) and who would occasionally bring in his guitar and sing a folk song to illustrate some point or another. I wanted to make a living doing what that guy was doing, at least the non-singing part.

Over time, I became more and more conservative, until the riots outside the Democratic Convention in 1968 sealed the deal. I didn’t want to be on the side of those who spit in the faces of the cops.

But I still look back with fondness for those days when it “was bliss to be alive.” I’ve completely abandoned my infatuation with the political Left of those heady days, but I think there is still a touch of the hippie lingering within. I always liked the hippies better than I did the lefties.

And that’s where I am today: a little bit hippie and lot of conservative.

Postscript: I may have drifted into my English Lit major almost on a whim, but it somehow worked out well. What other job would have allowed me to sit in a corner office on the top floor of Faculty Hall and, for the most part, read and drink coffee? Then go down a few floors to the classroom and talk about what I enjoyed reading, sometimes for as few as nine hours a week. Even better, I mostly dealt with people who had every reason to be nice to me. That’s what I call sitting in the catbird seat.

Postscript on that last sentence within the Postscript: If that expression is beginning to get on your nerves, cut me some slack. I’ve been terribly fond of it ever since I met it in a James Thurber story, The Catbird Seat, about a man who is driven almost insane by his office mate, a woman who uses mysterious sayings throughout the day: “Are you tearing up the pea patch?,“ she asks him. “Are you hollering down the rain barrel?” she cryptically inquires. And especially, “Are you sitting in the catbird seat?” The man has no idea what any of those things mean, but they annoy him so much that he starts a plan to murder the woman who uses them. Thus far I’ve used the expression a number of times on Ricochet without reproof. Ricochet people are a forgiving lot.

Postscript number whatever: Some Ricocheters — you know who you are — feel shortchanged when I don’t post a pic of Bob. For those of you, here is my son Alan with the Bobster.

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There are 27 comments.

  1. The Reticulator Member

    I am a few years younger than you but I know what you mean about nostalgia for those days. Ran into my first proto-hippies in 1965. I was a Goldwater fan-boy (and still am) and by 1972 was on the McGovern side, after deciding that too many of the conservatives really were racist despite their denials. But I got over it in a few years. Once was enough for that mistake. I trust leftists to lie to me and don’t trust conservatives to tell me the truth, so am a kind of populist, liberal conservative. I mostly learn from others, such as the people at Ricochet and leftwing, academic historians (excluding Marxists, who are too boring, and making the proper allowances and adjustments, of course).

    I love hearing people’s life stories, such as the snippets you’ve given us. But I really was hoping for more poems about toads. Aren’t there any more where that last one came from? (It’s not too late for more people to “like” it.)

     

    • #1
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:46 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I am a few years younger than you but I know what you mean about nostalgia for those days. Ran into my first proto-hippies in 1965. I was a Goldwater fan-boy (and still am) and by 1972 was on the McGovern side, after deciding that too many of the conservatives really were racist despite their denials. But I got over it in a few years. Once was enough for that mistake. I trust leftists to lie to me and don’t trust conservatives to tell me the truth, so am a kind of populist, liberal conservative. I mostly learn from others, such as the people at Ricochet and leftwing, academic historians (excluding Marxists, who are too boring, and making the proper allowances and adjustments, of course).

    I love hearing people’s life stories, such as the snippets you’ve given us. But I really was hoping for more poems about toads. Aren’t there any more where that last one came from? (It’s not too late for more people to “like” it.)

     

    Retic, I think you were one of the few who read my toad poem in its entirety and then gave it a Like. So thanks. I’ll try to return the favor. 

    • #2
    • August 7, 2019, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. PHenry Member

    I was a longhair hippie type in the 70’s, basically due to my inherent belief in individuality, individual freedom, and an intense mistrust of big government and bureaucracy. It took me about 10 years to recognize that the leftist tendencies in the Abbie Hoffman types were in opposition to individuality. They preached “It’s cool to be different, man!” but in the end different was only cool if that meant ‘anti American, anti Capitalist, anti Religion’. 

    I still believe in the same stuff I did then, I’m just wise enough now to know that those who were self appointed leaders did not believe what I did. They just pretended to.

    • #3
    • August 7, 2019, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    I have read that opinion polls from the late 1960s suggest that the leftward tilt of the universities at that time has been somewhat (greatly?) exaggerated.

    For example, according to one poll a majority of university students supported the Vietnam War. The opposition to the war came mostly from older folk who had been through WWII and Korea, and could see that Vietnam was an entirely different animal.

    The leftward tilt of the universities really came later, as the radicals who made up a minority of the students in the 1960s started to become professors.

    Sadly, I don’t have any citations to back up these claims, so take them for what they’re worth. i.e. Vaguely remembered factoids from articles I read a long time ago.

    • #4
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    I was a longhair hippie type in the 70’s, basically due to my inherent belief in individuality, individual freedom, and an intense mistrust of big government and bureaucracy. It took me about 10 years to recognize that the leftist tendencies in the Abbie Hoffman types were in opposition to individuality. They preached “It’s cool to be different, man!” but in the end different was only cool if that meant ‘anti American, anti Capitalist, anti Religion’…

    …which of course led to the punk backlash, epitomized by songs like Holiday In Cambodia, California Uber Alles, I’m Against It, and Bodies.

    • #5
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    I have read that opinion polls from the late 1960s suggest that the leftward tilt of the universities at that time has been somewhat (greatly?) exaggerated.

    For example, according to one poll a majority of university students supported the Vietnam War. The opposition to the war came mostly from older folk who had been through WWII and Korea, and could see that Vietnam was an entirely different animal.

    The leftward tilt of the universities really came later, as the radicals who made up a minority of the students in the 1960s started to become professors.

    Sadly, I don’t have any citations to back up these claims, so take them for what they’re worth. i.e. Vaguely remembered factoids from articles I read a long time ago.

    I went to a small Lutheran college at the time and there was no great anti-war sentiment there, though there were plenty of male students who were there to avoid the draft to one extent or another. In some cases it was almost their primary reason for being there; for others it was not primary. The topic was much discussed among us. Administrators were dropping academic standards right and left to make it possible for students to maintain their standing as students. 

    I later worked at one of the largest public universities in the country and later had cause to learn some of the history of the Vietnam era at that institution. The WWII vet who became the public face of opposition to the war did so after the student opposition was already well established, and was motivated in part by concerns for his own children and students. But it’s a small sample that I know about.

    As to the Vietnam era, it’s possible that the majority of university students supported the war, but that opposition to the war by a sizable minority of students dominated all other concerns and colored everyone’s experience more than anything else. Those anti-war students were more vehement in their opposition than the supporters were in their support. Any males who were vocal in support would have been taunted for being in college rather than in the war (and there were some who dropped out of school to join the army, navy or other armed service). 

    As for the leftward influence of the 60s students who later became professors, I think that part is entirely correct.

    • #6
    • August 7, 2019, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Sandy Member

    I wouldn’t be able to stand listening to Pete Seeger now, I don’t think, but I loved the Weavers when I was a student, and I still love the genre. I can’t claim more than semi-bliss, though.

    I’d no idea in those days that old Pete was a Stalinist and coming from a working-class background, I was put off by the lefties who introduced that music to me, because they happened to be from wealthy, east-coast families who sent their children to seriously left-wing summer camps and shopped at Saks. When you come from a neighborhood of factory workers and cops and very-small-business owners, where almost every home had a grandmother who didn’t speak English, you may be in awe but you are a little suspicious, too, of the radical chic class, so I never quite got sucked in. I guess I was just lucky.

    I don’t know about the majority of students favoring the Vietnam war. A majority of male students were nervous about the draft, I’m pretty sure. I agree with @thereticulator that if you were a vocal supporter, you opened yourself to criticism that you had not enlisted yourself, and I agree, too, that the opposition was far more vehement in its opposition than the supporters were in their support. 

    In 1964 I wasn’t conservative enough to really like Goldwater, though I voted for him. What I cannot forget is how demonized his supporters were, and how little were liberals interested in arguing policy. That didn’t contribute to a feeling of bliss, either.

    • #7
    • August 7, 2019, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Sandy (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t be able to stand listening to Pete Seeger now, I don’t think, but I loved the Weavers when I was a student, and I still love the genre. I can’t claim more than semi-bliss, though.

    I’d no idea in those days that old Pete was a Stalinist and coming from a working-class background, I was put off by the lefties who introduced that music to me, because they happened to be from wealthy, east-coast families who sent their children to seriously left-wing summer camps and shopped at Saks. When you come from a neighborhood of factory workers and cops and very-small-business owners, where almost every home had a grandmother who didn’t speak English, you may be in awe but you are a little suspicious, too, of the radical chic class, so I never quite got sucked in. I guess I was just lucky.

    I don’t know about the majority of students favoring the Vietnam war. A majority of male students were nervous about the draft, I’m pretty sure. I agree with @thereticulator that if you were a vocal supporter, you opened yourself to criticism that you had not enlisted yourself, and I agree, too, that the opposition was far more vehement in its opposition than the supporters were in their support.

    In 1964 I wasn’t conservative enough to really like Goldwater, though I voted for him. What I cannot forget is how demonized his supporters were, and how little were liberals interested in arguing policy. That didn’t contribute to a feeling of bliss, either.

    Very perceptive comments, Sandy. You and are seem to be about the same age, though I might be a little older. I was drafted into the Army in 1958, so I missed out on the Vietnam draft. I always liked Seeger, though I never cared much for his music. He was good humored, at the least. However, I always thought that Woody Guthrie was despicable, in both his personal life (he had a habit of abandoning his wives) and in his hardcore Communist sympathies. He also came across to me as a pretentious phony.

    By the time the Vietnam War was in full force, I was a conservative. I wasn’t for the war, but I sure as hell wasn’t for the anti-war protestors either. I will never forgive Jane Fonda. In my mind, she will always be a traitor. 

     

    • #8
    • August 7, 2019, at 9:08 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Sandy Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Sandy (View Comment):

    I wouldn’t be able to stand listening to Pete Seeger now, I don’t think, but I loved the Weavers when I was a student, and I still love the genre. I can’t claim more than semi-bliss, though.

    I’d no idea in those days that old Pete was a Stalinist and coming from a working-class background, I was put off by the lefties who introduced that music to me, because they happened to be from wealthy, east-coast families who sent their children to seriously left-wing summer camps and shopped at Saks. When you come from a neighborhood of factory workers and cops and very-small-business owners, where almost every home had a grandmother who didn’t speak English, you may be in awe but you are a little suspicious, too, of the radical chic class, so I never quite got sucked in. I guess I was just lucky.

    I don’t know about the majority of students favoring the Vietnam war. A majority of male students were nervous about the draft, I’m pretty sure. I agree with @thereticulator that if you were a vocal supporter, you opened yourself to criticism that you had not enlisted yourself, and I agree, too, that the opposition was far more vehement in its opposition than the supporters were in their support.

    In 1964 I wasn’t conservative enough to really like Goldwater, though I voted for him. What I cannot forget is how demonized his supporters were, and how little were liberals interested in arguing policy. That didn’t contribute to a feeling of bliss, either.

    Very perceptive comments, Sandy. You and are seem to be about the same age, though I might be a little older. I was drafted into the Army in 1958, so I missed out on the Vietnam draft. I always liked Seeger, though I never cared much for his music. He was good humored, at the least. However, I always thought that Woody Guthrie was despicable, in both his personal life (he had a habit of abandoning his wives) and in his hardcore Communist sympathies. He also came across to me as a pretentious phony.

    By the time the Vietnam War was in full force, I was a conservative. I wasn’t for the war, but I sure as hell wasn’t for the anti-war protestors either. I will never forgive Jane Fonda. In my mind, she will always be a traitor.

     

    Thanks, Kent. I was a freshman in college in 1958. 

    Although my husband and I were strongly in favor of the Vietnam war, it was a very difficult war to whole-heartedly support since too often it was not whole-heartedly prosecuted, and the finale a terrible shame. If our press had covered WWII in the same way, we might have felt more ambivalent then, too. Korea was somewhere in between, I think.

    • #9
    • August 8, 2019, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Sandy (View Comment):

    Thanks, Kent. I was a freshman in college in 1958.

    Although my husband and I were strongly in favor of the Vietnam war, it was a very difficult war to whole-heartedly support since too often it was not whole-heartedly prosecuted, and the finale a terrible shame. If our press had covered WWII in the same way, we might have felt more ambivalent then, too. Korea was somewhere in between, I think.

    ____________________________

    Sandy, Kay of MT and I have a little thing going about who is the oldest Ricocheter. Kay is 81 but has me beat by a few months. That is, Kay is, as far as we can tell, the oldest Ricocheter.

    I’m just 81 (my birthday was August 5). If you were a freshman in college in 1958— and enrolled right out of high school — you must be about 80. Is that right?

    Kent Forrester

    • #10
    • August 8, 2019, at 10:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Sandy Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Sandy (View Comment):

    Thanks, Kent. I was a freshman in college in 1958.

    Although my husband and I were strongly in favor of the Vietnam war, it was a very difficult war to whole-heartedly support since too often it was not whole-heartedly prosecuted, and the finale a terrible shame. If our press had covered WWII in the same way, we might have felt more ambivalent then, too. Korea was somewhere in between, I think.

    ____________________________

    Sandy, Kay of MT and I have a little thing going about who is the oldest Ricocheter. Kay is 81 but has me beat by a few months. That is, Kay is, as far as we can tell, the oldest Ricocheter.

    I’m just 81 (my birthday was August 5). If you were a freshman in college in 1958— and enrolled right out of high school — you must be about 80. Is that right?

    Kent Forrester

    78. I skipped some grades early on. Kay still holds the title.

    • #11
    • August 8, 2019, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Ansonia Member

    Bob has written on his face that he’s a very loved dog. And he’s sitting in the catbird seat.

    • #12
    • August 11, 2019, at 5:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. OldDanRhody Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I was drafted into the Army in 1958,

    Let me guess: Fort Baxter Motor Pool?

    • #13
    • August 11, 2019, at 6:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    OldDanRhody (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I was drafted into the Army in 1958,

    Let me guess: Fort Baxter Motor Pool?

    Fort Ord in California. I think the base has been closed. 

    • #14
    • August 11, 2019, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Gary McVey Contributor

    OldDanRhody (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I was drafted into the Army in 1958,

    Let me guess: Fort Baxter Motor Pool?

    I’m 67. I think my PIT compatriot OldDanRhody here is roughly my age. Certainly we both watched Phil Silvers in Sergeant Bilko, aka You’ll Never Get Rich, the show’s original title that nobody remembers.)

    • #15
    • August 11, 2019, at 11:29 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    OldDanRhody (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I was drafted into the Army in 1958,

    Let me guess: Fort Baxter Motor Pool?

    I’m 67. I think my PIT compatriot OldDanRhody here is roughly my age. Certainly we both watched Phil Silvers in Sergeant Bilko, aka You’ll Never Get Rich, the show’s original title that nobody remembers.)

    Ah ha. Gary, your reference to the motor pool where Bilko and his squad worked went right past me. Man, you have a memory for old tv shows. I liked Silvers and the show, but I can’t remember anything very specific about it — outside of Bilko yelling at the privates in his squad. And he did that quite often. It was a great shtick.

    • #16
    • August 12, 2019, at 5:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Always end on a Bob pic, and you never leave them wanting.

    • #17
    • August 12, 2019, at 7:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Old Bathos Member

    I hated guys like you. While I was in organic chem lab waiting for some stupid mixture to reach some expected temperature so I could move from step 4 to step five of about a zillion steps, I would look out the window and watch you english and sociology majors on the quads cavorting with the babes, tossing frisbees, drinking wine and playing guitars badly. 

    Goldwater vs. LBJ was not all that interesting (I backed LBJ but assumed he was a bumpkin) when I was in high school and could find little reason to care about Nixon-Humphrey either. I supported extremists on the Vietnam War. Go big or go home. Either option worked for me. The limited war/halfway stuff we would up with was utterly nuts.

    I volunteered and spent three years in the Army, mostly in hospital laboratories. Chemicals, idiots and infected samples were the only serious enemies I faced. When I came back to finish undergraduate studies, I was disappointed at how serious and kinda grownup I had become. The 60’s were long gone and the golden age of pretty hippy chicks with astonishingly poor judgment was drawing to a close to be replaced with uglier forms of political BS. 

     

    • #18
    • August 12, 2019, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Gary McVey Contributor

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I hated guys like you. While I was in organic chem lab waiting for some stupid mixture to reach some expected temperature so I could move from step 4 to step five of about a zillion steps, I would look out the window and watch you english and sociology majors on the quads cavorting with the babes, tossing frisbees, drinking wine and playing guitars badly.

    Goldwater vs. LBJ was not all that interesting (I backed LBJ but assumed he was a bumpkin) when I was in high school and could find little reason to care about Nixon-Humphrey either. I supported extremists on the Vietnam War. Go big or go home. Either option worked for me. The limited war/halfway stuff we would up with was utterly nuts.

    I volunteered and spent three years in the Army, mostly in hospital laboratories. Chemicals, idiots and infected samples were the only serious enemies I faced. When I came back to finish undergraduate studies, I was disappointed at how serious and kinda grownup I had become. The 60’s were long gone and the golden age of pretty hippy chicks with astonishingly poor judgment was drawing to a close to be replaced with uglier forms of political BS.

     

    Bathos, you should give us arts guys a little more respect. Somebody had to sleep with the girls in the theater department, and it sure wasn’t going to be the boys in the theater department…

    • #19
    • August 12, 2019, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Fortunately, I joined Campus Republicans in college, and, although I wasn’t old enough to vote for him, I was an enthusiastic campaigner and supporter for Goldwater and was able to see through the Democrat rhetoric painting him as the warmonger he was not. His opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as an unconstitutional overreach of federal power that would eventually lead to civil unrest and unlawful quotas was spot on. He had, by the way, supported two earlier civil rights bills. He was not a racist and was responsible for desegregating the Arizona National Guard in 1946 and the US Senate cafeteria in 1953. Ronald Reagan was a Goldwater Republican and gave one of his greatest speeches, “A Time for Choosing,” supporting Goldwater’s candidacy.

    Thank you for the sweet picture of darling Bob, Ricochet’s emotional support dog.

    • #20
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Fortunately, I joined Campus Republicans in college, and, although I wasn’t old enough to vote for him, I was an enthusiastic campaigner and supporter for Goldwater and was able to see through the Democrat rhetoric painting him as the warmonger he was not. His opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as an unconstitutional overreach of federal power that would eventually lead to civil unrest and unlawful quotas was spot on. He had, by the way, supported two earlier civil rights bills. He was not a racist and was responsible for desegregating the Arizona National Guard in 1946 and the US Senate cafeteria in 1953. Ronald Reagan was a Goldwater Republican and gave one of his greatest speeches, “A Time for Choosing,” supporting Goldwater’s candidacy.

    Thank you for the sweet picture of darling Bob, Ricochet’s emotional support dog.

    Goldwaterwoman, you were far more politically sophisticated than I was at that age. You must have grown up in a politically aware family.

    I told my wife Marie what you said about Bob. She got a chuckle out of that.

    • #21
    • August 12, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Goldwaterwoman, you were far more politically sophisticated than I was at that age. You must have grown up in a politically aware family.

    My parents were both southern Democrats who voted for LBJ, and politics was a topic of interest in our house. I like Marie, a woman with a sense of humor.

    • #22
    • August 12, 2019, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Front Seat Cat Member

    I’m one of those people who feel shortchanged without a picture of the Bobster – that was a good one. I imagine it was fun to be in your classroom – you could of also been great as a comic strip cartoonist. Why do the 60’s and all that folk music seem so tame by today’s standards?

    • #23
    • August 14, 2019, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Front Seat Cat Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Goldwaterwoman, you were far more politically sophisticated than I was at that age. You must have grown up in a politically aware family.

    My parents were both southern Democrats who voted for LBJ, and politics was a topic of interest in our house. I like Marie, a woman with a sense of humor.

    I think she’s a hippie folkster too.

    • #24
    • August 14, 2019, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I’m one of those people who feel shortchanged without a picture of the Bobster – that was a good one. I imagine it was fun to be in your classroom – you could of also been great as a comic strip cartoonist.

    Funny you should say that, Ms. Cat. My dream job has always been political cartoonist or strip cartoonist. Like most things I do, I don’t have a lot of talent, but I do have a lot of persistence. Persistence will sometimes carry the day, but not always.

    I’ve been drawing all my life.

    • #25
    • August 14, 2019, at 8:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    PHenry (View Comment):

    I was a longhair hippie type in the 70’s, basically due to my inherent belief in individuality, individual freedom, and an intense mistrust of big government and bureaucracy. It took me about 10 years to recognize that the leftist tendencies in the Abbie Hoffman types were in opposition to individuality. They preached “It’s cool to be different, man!” but in the end different was only cool if that meant ‘anti American, anti Capitalist, anti Religion’.

    I still believe in the same stuff I did then, I’m just wise enough now to know that those who were self appointed leaders did not believe what I did. They just pretended to.

    Abbie Hoffman at least walked the talk he preached. During the height of my anti-pesticide activism, I knew a few people some decade or two older than I am who worked with Hoffman on many of his environmental projects. Since those people were folks I truly admired, the fact that they had admired Hoffman, some 20 years their junior, left me with the lasting impression that when he told others to get involved with the environment, he did so himself.

    His philosophy by the late 1970’s was to think globally but act locally. Unfortunately for the environmental movement, we don’t hear that refrain much any more. (Except for ridiculous matters like the plastic straw issue.) Since the moment Al Gore and his hockey stick schtick about global warming has hit, it is mostly about thinking globally. And rather than pitch in and do something about the environment, far too many on the Left put their energy into serious hatred for those of us whom they feel do not love the earth as much as they do. That hatred is based on how we have the sense to avoid working on “Global Catastrophic Climate Change.”

    • #26
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Sandy (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Sandy (View Comment):

    SNIP

    Although my husband and I were strongly in favor of the Vietnam war, it was a very difficult war to whole-heartedly support since too often it was not whole-heartedly prosecuted, and the finale a terrible shame. If our press had covered WWII in the same way, we might have felt more ambivalent then, too. Korea was somewhere in between, I think.

    ____________________________

    Sandy, Kay of MT and I have a little thing going about who is the oldest Ricocheter. Kay is 81 but has me beat by a few months. That is, Kay is, as far as we can tell, the oldest Ricocheter.

    I’m just 81 (my birthday was August 5). If you were a freshman in college in 1958— and enrolled right out of high school — you must be about 80. Is that right?

    Kent Forrester

    78. I skipped some grades early on. Kay still holds the title.

    The press could never ever have covered WWII in the same manner that they covered Vietnam.

    We entered the European theater of war on June 6th 1944, and we had finished smashing Hitler’s extensive war machinery by Early May 1945. The war ended with an American victory, something we have not attained in a single one of our newer wars, except for our assault on tiny nation-state of Grenada.

    In addition to Hitler’s Germany being armed to the teeth, it was a nation of 80 million people.

    If that same resolve & sense of strategy that was offered up by Ike, Churchill, Patton and others had existed at the time of the Vietnam War, we would have been done with it by mid-summer 1969.

    We dropped more bombs on the tiny nation of Vietnam, population 21 million, in one decade, than we had hit all of Hitler’s Europe with during WWII.

    Many of us thinking about the situation understand that the difference between the two wars was that in one, although profits were made, and some dishonestly, the people in charge made sure we had a winning strategy. They simultaneously extended that winning strategy into our war against Japan, which we won as well.

    By the Vietnam era, the strategy by everyone at the top was to extend the war out for as long as possible & to avoid a winning strategy. That way the Military Industrial complex that Ike had warned us about could maximize its profits.

    That Endless Wars for Maximum Profits strategy is still being employed by our military. The media is complicit as there has to be one or two people inside the Mainstream media who realize that while Obama extended two wars into seven during his reign in the WH, Trump came into office promising to get us out of these entanglements.

    Funny how the press barely noted Obama/Hillary Clinton’s war expansions, all of which occurred inside nations of brown skinned people, while slamming Trump daily for his racism.

    • #27
    • August 14, 2019, at 12:25 PM PDT
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