Glory days.

The U of M played a big part in the student movements of the 1960s, and every so often, when I see a reference to the Port Huron Statement or some other landmark of that crazy time, I look around to see what remains in the same place, 40 years later.

The answer: Hard to say. Of course, I don’t always know what to look for.

But things pop up now and again. Like this week: SDS founder hopes for new revival on campus, quoth the Daily, over a story about a meeting to reorganize the venerable Students for a Democratic Society. In the marvelously clueless deadpan of college journalism, we learn: Despite scant attendence, participants discussed ways to solve problems ranging from fascism to the economy to business conglomerates.

Yeah, well, good luck.

And while I find it interesting that the founder still lives in Ann Arbor, if you were trying to form an “association of comradeship” for 20-year-olds, wouldn’t you try to find a better spokesperson for the power to effect change than this?

Posted at 12:05 am in Uncategorized |

6 responses to “Glory days.”

  1. Bob said on February 12, 2004 at 8:31 am

    The goals are commendable; I’d welcome a movement that proposes to raise social awareness and displace the self-absorbed superficiality that seems to permeate youth culture.

    That said, some people get stuck in time. Maybe it’s the pot.

    Thirty five years ago, I ran with a crowd that spent a lot of time passing a joint and saying stupid stuff that seemed profound when we were stoned.

    I remember the event that triggered my break with that group. One late winter Sunday evening I walked home across Swinney Park from an afternoon gathering at some nearby friends’ home. It was the beginning of the spring thaw and the air was damp and misty, and as I meandered I pondered the imponderable and scrutinized the inscrutable. By the time I arrived home, I understood the meaning of life, creation and the universe.

    I knew that such insights were always forgotten once the perception-enhancing effects of the cannabis wore off, so I took my cassette recorder and, ensconced in my cozy recliner in front of the fireplace, recorded my profound discoveries. Two weeks later, without the benefits of any enhancers, I listened to the tape. I never went to any of those parties or smoked any weed again.

    Twenty or so years later, one of my friends from that era was moving out of town and I went to a party in his honor. I smelled the pot as I walked up the sidewalk, and inside I found the same crowd with the same haircuts, passing a joint, saying stupid stuff while thinking they were being profound, and reminiscing about past parties and how good the weed was. Time travel can deliver quite a jolt to one’s psyche when one isn’t stoned. I left.

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  2. wade said on February 12, 2004 at 9:06 am

    Man, reading that last entry makes me wanna toke up…

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  3. alex said on February 12, 2004 at 10:56 am

    The SDS was still puffing along at IU when I was there in the mid-’80s. I remember this well because our chapter’s president was scandalized in the student paper after he was observed skiing in Vail over Christmas break.

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  4. Humble Reader said on February 12, 2004 at 12:01 pm

    Wonderful picture–Ann Arbor has its share of people in the late 60’s/early 70’s time warp. The best take on the era is Joe Queenan’s Balsamic Dreams.

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  5. basset said on February 13, 2004 at 12:06 am

    Joe Queenan is only interesting if you believe, as he does, that New York City is the sole civilized place in the entire USA and that everyone who lives somewhere else is to be pitied, ridiculed, or both.

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  6. Paul said on February 16, 2004 at 5:18 am

    Nancy–thanks for the excerpt from the college paper; I have sat in many a discussion group of, oh, six people where we have solved racism, homophobia and gender inequities. Had almost forgotten that life (er, from two months ago) whilst being in Shanghai….

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