Get Your Own Damn Counterculture

by Michael Walsh

Just for laughs, and to sniff the fetid air of the sixties once more, over the weekend I drove downtown here in L.A. to check out the Occupy L.A. tribes currently infesting the City Hall precincts. I parked near the old St. Vibiana cathedral, now deconsecrated and in use for private functions and as an arts center (I used the cathedral in Shock Warning as one of the settings for Devlin’s latest adventure), and walked over.

Disappointing. A sea of nice tents that looked expensive. The usual collection of tired Marxist signs and slogans — doesn’t this stuff ever get old? A scraggly-bearded callow youth who looked all of 19 walking with his headscarved Muslim girlfriend near a sign that said “Stop the Police.”

I mean, come on, people. This is like a bad parody. It’s bad enough that kids today have no culture of their own — they’re still listening to the Beatles, the Stones, and a bunch of new groups from the seventies, for crying out loud. It would be as if we Boomers marched into battle against Daley’s pigs to the strains of Paul Robeson singing “Ol’ Man River” and Al Jolson’s “My Mammy,” both of which were huge in 1928. 

Really, it’s pathetic. At an age when they should be manufacturing their own pop music, their own movies (the sea of sequels and remakes continues unabated), their own fashions, their own outrage, what we get is a load of hand-me-down attitudes, tie-dyed and ready-to-wear. Because manufacturing anything would require, you know, work. It’s enough to make some idiot weep.

Marx was right. First time, tragedy, second time, farce. To paraphrase the first lady, for the first time in my adult life, I’m ashamed of my country.

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