The Day Before

Cheryl Morgan on the American Zeitgeist

I think there's something intensely revealing about our current state of affairs in this passage:

While I was away Kevin was practicing for becoming a Master Costumer by entering the Halloween contest at work. He won a nice bottle of bubbly, which I shall enjoy drinking at some point. But I was more interested in his report of one of his fellow contestants. In America Halloween is an excuse for any type of fancy dress, not just spooky stuff. So one of Kevin's co-workers came as a hippy. But her "Make Love, Not War" placard was written in Italian so as not to cause offence.

Two things occur to me here. Firstly, while it was perfectly OK to say "Make Love, Not War" in America back in the 60's, now it is regarded as offensive and liable to cost you your job. And second, it is assumed that if you write something in a foreign language (even if it is pretty damned obvious what it is likely to say), Bush supporters won't have a clue what it means.

Being only 42, I can't say what would and wouldn't endanger your job in the 1960s. I entered the first grade in 1968. But I think Cheryl captures the essence of this historical moment.