TIME - THE GENERATION GAP


    January 6, 1967

The young have already staked out their own mini society, a congruent culture that has both alarmed their elders and, stylistically at least, left an irresistible impression on them. No Western metropolis today lacks a discotheque or espresso joint, a Mod boutique or a Carnaby shop. No transistor is immune from rock 'n' roll, no highway spared the stutter of Hondas. There are few Main Streets in the world that do not echo to the clop of granny boots, and many are the "grannies" who now wear them. What started out as distinctively youthful sartorial revolt--drainpipe-trousered men, pants-suited or net-stockinged women, long hair on male and female alike--has been accepted by adults the world over.

The young seem curiously unappreciative of the society that supports them. "Don't trust anyone over 30," is one of their rallying cries. Another, "Tell it like it is," conveys an abiding mistrust of what they consider adult deviousness.

Sociologists and psychologists call them "alienated" or "uncommitted." In fact, the young today are deeply involved in a competitive struggle for high grades, the college of their choice, a good graduate school, a satisfactory job--or, if need be, for survival in Vietnam. Never have they been enmeshed so early or so earnestly in society. Yet they remain honestly curious and curiously honest.

Despite their tolerance of quixotic causes and idiosyncratic roles, the young reflect--more accurately than they might care to admit--many of the mainstream currents in society at large. In 1966, the young American became vociferously skeptical of the Great Society. Though he retains a strong emotional identification with the deprived and spurned citizens of his own and other societies, he recognizes that the civil rights revolution, in which he was an early hero at the barricades, has reached a stage at which his own involvement is no longer vital. And, as a letter to the President signed by 100 student leaders across the nation showed last week, he has become increasing perturbed by the war.

[Youthful Americans protested the rigidity and elitism of their universities, and through their actions they expressed the frustration, rage and alienation felt by many of the young about racial inequality, social injustice, the Vietnam War and the economic and political constraints of conventional life and work.]

(May 10, 1968)

At 2:30 a.m., said one combat-wise cop, "Harlem is asleep." At that propitious hour, 1,000 New York City police, armed with warrants signed by Columbia University trustees, marched on the Morningside Heights campus and dispossessed the student rebels who had occupied five buildings for nearly six days.

After successfully capturing the campus buildings, the demonstrators--led by the far-left Students for a Democratic Society and the all-Negro Student Afro-American Society--seemed far more interested in a bloody confrontation with the administration than in any meaningful negotiations. They demanded a complete surrender on all points at issue, including amnesty for all participants in the rebellion. Columbia President Grayson Kirk refused, on the ground that this would mean a complete abdication of all disciplinary authority.

A majority of the university's 17,000 students and 2,500 faculty members undoubtedly shared the initial goals of the strike. But many were also appalled by the hooligan tactics of the demonstrators, who had held university officials captive, broken into offices and overturned furniture.

Inside Hamilton Hall, 85 Negro students, who had been advised by such cool heads as Negro Psychologist Kenneth Clark, decided that their most effective tactic would be to file quietly into the vans. It was a model arrest operation--except that no one had brought a key for the main door and it had to be forced open.

Elsewhere, the police were less carefully supervised--and less considerate of the rebels. Professors and students who had linked arms to keep police and demonstrators apart were charged by wedges of plainclothes men. Uniformed officers plunged into the breach to smash open the doors, while others broke into through underground tunnels. Neat plans went awry as police kicked and clubbed their way through Fayerweather Hall. Although the action united hopelessly confused Columbia in anger over police brutality, it also moved the campus toward order--and touched off a much needed reexamination of the university's future.

(May 24, 1968)

A loosely formed amalgam of some 35,000 young people--barely 6,000 of whom pay national dues--the far-left S.D.S. (Students for a Democratic Society) boasts chapters on at least 250 campuses. Opposed to "imperialism" (whatever that means these days), racism and oppression, S.D.S. finds the American university guilty of all three.

S.D.S. concentrated at first on civil rights issues. It organized Northern ghetto dwellers in such projects as Chicago's Jobs Or Income--Now (JOIN) and fought to get Mississippi's "Freedom delegation" seated at the 1964 Democratic Convention. The Vietnam War, however, led to a change of tactics. By 1966, S.D.S. had broken with the L.I.D. (League for Industrial Democracy) and decided against working within the existing political framework. Since then, the group has been trying to be what National Secretary Michael Spiegel, 21, a one-time Harvard student, calls "an independent radical force."

What draws young people into S.D.S., says Berkeley Sophomore Peter Stone, 20, is a desire to translate their sense of alienation from society into "a political thing."

Products of comfortable, middle-class homes, S.D.S. members typically are disenchanted young liberals. Most feel that anti-Communism is an irrelevant stance. Probably no more than 2% of all S.D.S.ers belong to the Communist Party.

S.D.S. is animated not by an master plan for revolution but by a sense of moral outrage--to say nothing of a fascination with rhetoric a la Che. Says Columbia S.D.S. Chairman Mark Rudd: "It has energy, and that's why I'm in it."

(May 16, 1969)

The deluge of disorders made it harder and harder for most Americans to keep the events in perspective. Bewildered citizens understandably forget that most of the nation's 6,700,000 collegians are still quietly studying for final exams. The U.S. has 2,500 colleges and universities; this year, scarcely two dozen have been seriously disrupted. The fact that each incident has a particular context is also frequently overlooked. Because universities differ so greatly, condemnation of all "protest" is not very helpful without an analysis of specifics at each campus.

Nonetheless, an underlying pattern has emerged: the American university has suddenly become a political arena--the prime forum for a generation that has lost faith in the ability of regular political institutions to solve such national problems as war, race and poverty. As a result, the university is losing whatever neutrality it professes. In pushing it toward social action, students are helping to create a new U.S. institution: the political university. It is a dangerous role for universities.

The growing hooliganism of many protesters threatens to wreck universities in the process. This danger now worries even some New Leftists, not to mention the vast majority of moderate sympathizers, who are more and more weary of having their expensive education constantly disrupted. The fundamental solution, of course, lies far beyond the campus. As Yales' President Kingman Brewster Jr. put it at a press conference last week: "Campus violence will grow worse unless an intense effort is made to end the war in Vietnam, remove the inequities in the draft, solve problems of the cities and improve race relations."

[he hippie movement marked another response to the decade as the young experimented with music, clothes, drugs and a "counterculture" lifestyle.]

(July 7, 1967)

The hippies have emerged on the U.S. scene in about 18 months as a wholly new subculture, a bizarre permutation of the middle-class American ethos from which it evolved. Hippies preach altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence. They find an almost childish fascination in beads, blossoms and bells, blinding strobe lights and ear-shattering music, exotic clothing and erotic slogans. Their professed aim is nothing less than the subversion of Western society by "flower power" and force of example.

Although that sounds like a pipe-dream, it conveys the unreality that permeates hippiedom, a cult whose mystique derives essentially from the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. Unlike other accepted stimuli, from nicotine to liquor, the hallucinogens promise those who take the "trip" a magic-carpet escape from reality in which perceptions are heightened, senses distorted, and the imagination permanently bedazzled with visions of teleological verity.

The key ethical element in the hippie movement is love--indiscriminate and all-embracing, fluid and changeable, directed at friend and foe alike. SUPERZAP THEM ALL WITH THE LOVE! proclaims a sign in Los Angeles' Sans Souci Temple, a hippie commune.

Today, hippie enclaves are blooming in every major U.S. city from Boston to Seattle, from Detroit to New Orleans: there is a 50-member cabal in, of all places, Austin, Texas. There are outposts in Paris and London, New Delhi and Katmandu, where American hippies trek the "hashish trail" to get cheap but potent hallucinogens and lessons in Buddhist love.

They are predominantly white, middle-class, educated youths, ranging in an age from 17 to 25 (though some as old as 50 can be spotted). Overendowed with all the qualities that make their generation so engaging, perplexing and infuriating, they are dropouts from a way of life that to them seems wholly oriented toward work, status and power. They scorn money--they call it "bread"--and property, and have found, like countless other romantics from Rimbaud to George Orwell, that it is not easy to starve.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the hippie phenomenon is the way it has touched the imagination of the "straight" society that gave it birth. Hippie slang has already entered common usage and spiced American humor. Department stores and boutiques have blossomed out in "psychedelic" colors and designs that resemble animated art nouveau. The bangle shops in any hippie neighborhood cater mostly to tourists, who on summer weekends often outnumber the local flora and fauna.

San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district--a throbbing three-eights of a far-from-square-mile--is the vibrant epicenter of the hippie movement. Fog sweeps past the gingerbread houses of "The Hashbury," shrouding the shapes of hirsute, shoeless hippies huddled in doorways, smoking pot, "rapping" (achieving rapport with random talk), or banging beer cans in time to ubiquitous jukebox rhythms.

A major new development in the hippie world is the "rural commune," some 30 of which now exist from Canada through the U.S. to Mexico. There, nature-loving hippie tribesmen can escape the commercialization of the city and attempt to build a society outside of society.

TIME (April 5, 1968)

After a winter in which the hippie movement seemed so moribund that its own members staged mock burials in honor of its death, the Yippies have suddenly invested it with new life through their special kind of antic political protest. The term Yippie comes from Youth International Party, an amorphous amalgam of the alienated young that coalesced in Manhattan two months ago around a coterie of activist hippies, all in their late 20s and early 30s. "The YIP is a party--like the last word says--not a political movement," argues the East Village's Abbie Hoffman, who last fall tried to levitate the Pentagon. Says Yippie Leader Ed Sanders, 28, of the Fugs rock group: "It's the politics of ecstasy."

Ecstasy begins with a platform certain to make any hippie yell yippie: an end to war and pay toilets, legalization of psychedelic drugs, free food, and a heart transplant for L.B.J. "Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball!" goes the rallying cry, and it has brought to the Yippie standard such underground gurus and goblins as Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Realist Editor Paul Krassner and Jerry Rubin, a key organizer of the Pentagon March. Hard-core Yippies may number as few as 400 nationwide, but Fug Sanders reckons that the total following may now have reached 250,000.

[Not only the hippies, but many Americans experimented with illicit substances that turned them on, tuned them in and dropped them out.]

(September 26, 1969)

It used to be that "better living through chemistry" was just another advertising slogan: now it is a sly joke to the young and a grievous worry to their parents. In their quest for sensory experience, an alarming number of kids are swallowing its message whole. Marijuana ("pot," "grass," "mary jane," "weed") is their favorite preparation; in lesser numbers, they are smoking hashish ("hash"), taking mescaline, peyote, , LSD ("acid"), using barbiturates and sedatives ("goofers," "downers," "red devils"), swallowing or injecting amphetamine stimulants ("meth," "bennies," "speed"). The prices of their mind excursions fluctuate almost daily with the black market where kids must make their purchases.

These are the pop drugs--the drugs widely taken by middle-class young people, most of whom are white. Their use is growing; marijuana smoking, in particular, is increasing. (Heroin use, by contrast, remains comparatively static.) "For the first time," says California Psychopharmacologist Dr. Leo Hollister, "pot is entrenched in our society, with untold millions using the drug. We have passed the point of no return."

Its signature is everywhere. Rock musicians use drugs frequently and openly, and their compositions are riddled with references to drugs, from the Beatles' "I get high with a little help from my friends" to the Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit.

Growing numbers of adults are taking up the habit. Many veterans return from Vietnam with a taste for grass; some military and civilian observers estimate that marijuana is smoked by as many as half the men below the rank of captain.