Monday, June 02, 2008

40 Years Ago

(An occasional reminiscence on the events of 1968)

At the beginning of June, it was starting to feel as though the world was falling apart.

France was still in an uproar, with strikes, protests, riots, and de Gaulle had just disbanded Parliament and announced a new election.

Students were shutting down universities in Spain, England and Germany. Reaction to student protests in Poland had worsened anti-Semitism there and Jews were being asked to leave. There was civil war in Nigeria, where the Ibo nation of Biafra had declared its independence the previous year. A new Nigeria offensive this month led to a blockade and mass starvation.

In Washington, things were a mess at Resurrection City, with rains creating a mudfield; the papers were reporting that young bored residents, some of them urban gang members, were bringing in booze and partying all night. Park Police weren't allowed inside the perimeter and fears of crime and violence were increasing.

On June 3, Andy Warhol was shot in the lobby of his New York studio, The Factory, by Valerie Solanis. A panhandler and author of the anti-men 'SCUM Manifesto', Solanis was angry that he had not produced a play she had written. Warhol would be permanently injured, a friend was also shot, and Solanis, defended by feminists, would spend a few years in prison and mental institutions.

The next day was California's primary.
We hoped we'd soon know more about who would be running against Richard Nixon.

As diversion from the news, we were listening to the new album by the Small Faces, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, which had come out and shot to number one in England just a couple weeks before. (One song: Itchycoo Park.) We watched first episode of The Prisoner, the strange British spy/science fiction fantasy starring Patrick McGoohan, beginning a summer run in the U.S. We were also anticipating going to the movies to see the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, due to debut Jun 6 ( says this was in November) the Roman Polansky movie, Rosemary's Baby, which would come out on June 12.

But things were only going to get worse.



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