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Interview with Art Carey

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Contributor

Carey, Art ; McKiernan, Stephen

Description

Art Carey worked as a reporter, staff writer, editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 34 years. He has a Bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Carey has won several state- and national-level journalism awards for his newspaper and magazine articles.

Date

ND

Rights

In copyright

Date Modified

2017-03-14

Is Part Of

McKiernan Interviews

Extent

116:47

Transcription

McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Art Carey
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: REV
Date of interview: Not dated
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(Start of Interview)

AC (00:00:08):
Testing one, two.

SM (00:00:09):
That should be going.

AC (00:00:12):
Testing, testing, one, two, three. Are we recording?

SM (00:00:15):
Yes, you will see it right there if it is moving.

AC (00:00:17):
It is moving.

SM (00:00:17):
It is moving.

AC (00:00:18):
Mm-hmm.

SM (00:00:18):
We are okay now.

AC (00:00:18):
Okay. We are in.

SM (00:00:26):
Okay. Well, I am going to be reading some of these questions, and some of the questions may be repetitive.

AC (00:00:29):
Sure.

SM (00:00:30):
I am trying to get responses to each of our interviewees. First question is, the boomer generation in the (19)60s and early (19)70s is being attacked as one of the reasons for the breakdown of American society. Could you respond to this criticism and comment on the period and its impact on present day America?

AC (00:00:49):
Well, I am afraid I agree to some extent with that accusation. I feel that the boomer generation was very self-absorbed and self-centered, a very opportunistic generation in many ways. It had a knack or a penchant for self-mythologizing and for glorifying its baser hedonistic tendencies in the cloak of some kind of greater movement of progressiveness or enlightenment. And I do not think the baby boom generation deserves that. I think, for instance, all that counterculture stuff that happened in the (19)60s was basically just a huge generation-wide adolescent rebellion that was politicized and embellished with all these trappings of ideological transcendence, when, in fact, it was just a bunch of spoiled-brat kids acting out and rebelling against their parents.

SM (00:02:32):
This thought that a lot of the young people at that time had, the boomers, that we are a unique generation, we are going to change the world for the better, looking 25 years down the road and some of the way that the young people at that time prophesied those kinds of thoughts, is there any validity to that? Or is it too early to evaluate them?

AC (00:02:54):
Well, I agree with you that I think we had that conceit. We were arrogant. We were cocky. We did feel that we were a unique generation, and to some extent, certainly in terms of sheer numbers, we were. We were a demographic bulge. I guess there were people who enjoyed the illusion that we were going to change the world, that we were going to make the world a better place. But I do not think that we have. In fact, if anything, I think that the world is worse in many key respects because of the "contributions" of the baby boom generation. I think you could make a case that the breakdown of the family, the breakdown of morality, is attributable to some extent, to a lot of the libertine philosophies that were championed during that period. I think you could make a case that AIDS is a result of the sexual revolution that we championed; this whole idea of if it feels good, do it. The zipless fuck, copulation without responsibility, was an idea that my generation promoted under the guise of individual freedom and self-fulfillment and self-realization. And I think it has been disastrous. It is certainly contributed to the rise of divorce, which is a terribly destabilizing thing for the family. Not only divorce among our- ourselves, not only divorce among baby boom peers, but divorce in other generations. I think that a lot of our parents, people in our parents' generation, saw what we were doing and thought, "Well, if they can do it, why am I denying myself? Why am I missing out on the fun?" A lot of them were tempted, perhaps, to jettison marriages that otherwise they might have been inclined to stick with, just because of that whole spirit of self-indulgence and hedonism and sexual gratification at any cost. I think you could make that case. I think also that you could make the case that the crack epidemic and the drugs that have ripped apart our cities are a direct result of the glorification of drugs that occurred during the (19)60s. Again, another thing spearheaded by our generation, this idea that the drugs are not only harmless, but a way to enhance your appreciation of life, à la Timothy Leary, and a way to experience things more deeply and more profoundly. We, of course, the white, upper-middle class kids who were active in the SDS and who organized the student strikes, had this attitude that drugs are bad for certain people who cannot handle them. But we are intelligent. We are enlightened. We have the sophistication to handle drugs in a proper recreational manner. And for us, drugs will be an enhancement. For us, drugs are positive, and they are a badge of liberation and a badge of membership in the Age of Aquarius. Those are three things that I think have happened because of the generation that was going to save the world and instead ruined it.

SM (00:06:55):
You really believe that?

AC (00:06:57):
I do, in a lot of ways. I am very cynical about my generation.

SM (00:07:00):
Let us check, make sure that it is working.

AC (00:07:02):
Still turning.

SM (00:07:06):
Let me make sure of it. I double check on this, to make sure that this is right. We are okay.

AC (00:07:08):
Okay.

SM (00:07:08):
Let us work.

AC (00:07:08):
It is okay, bandit. It is all right, buddy.

SM (00:07:10):
It is okay. Bandit, it is all right.

AC (00:07:13):
He always gets nervous with a picture. I have always been very cynical about it and started when I was in college, because I was so aware of the hypocrisy and the phoniness, and the theater involved. I love that scene in Forrest Gump where he decks the SDS twit after he slaps around his girlfriend. To me, that really captured a lot of the duplicity and phoniness involved in the anti-war movement and all that radical politics. It was an affectation. It was so riddled with contradictions and spoiled-brat cynicism. But I remember at Princeton one time, the Black students took over an administration building called New South, and I was friendly with a lot of the students. The day of the demonstration, they were out there throwing Frisbees and cavorting in the sunshine and having a good time, and just acting like kids. As soon as the TV station showed up, they all put on their berets and their dashikis, linked arms and got real hard-looking in their faces. It was theater. It was just a game. Just a game.

SM (00:08:40):
How would you consider yourself when you were a college student? Were you a conservative or a liberal or moderate? Or you really did not have at that juncture-

AC (00:08:41):
I would say I was pretty much apolitical. I was very naive about politics. Even though I grew up on the Philadelphia Main Line and was influenced by a lot of conservative Republican type people, I was also aware of the shortcomings of conservatism and sufficiently alienated or repelled by the hypocrisy and phoniness of conservatives. Not to cast my lot with them. I went to college fairly uninformed about politics, uninformed about the Vietnam War, uninformed about social injustice and civil rights. And I learned a lot. I guess my philosophical sympathy tends to lean with Democrats and the left because I feel like the Democratic Party is the party of the disenfranchised and the disadvantaged. It is a party that tries to help the people at the bottom, whereas the Republicans try to preserve the power and money and privileges of the people at the top. I often say, I do not think you can be a true Christian and a Republican. They are innately a contradiction. I do not see how you can be both. I know that if Jesus Christ were to come back now, He would not be voting for Bob Dole. He would not be a Republican. He would be helping out other people, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, which has always been the implicit mission of Democrats. One reason I am very hard on the radicals and the social activists is that I, in some ways, hold them to a higher standard. I expect more of them. I was very disillusioned and disappointed when I saw them being phonies and being hypocritical. SDS guys, talking about sexual liberation, and meanwhile calling their girlfriends chicks and expecting them to run the mimeograph machines. Or talking about power to the people and helping the disenfranchised and the disadvantaged, and talking a good game when it comes to abstractions in the Bantu, in South Africa, but being incredibly inconsiderate and supercilious and disdainful toward the Italian janitors who had to clean up the beer can and vomits and pizza boxes after their weekend binges on campus.

SM (00:11:19):
I want to ask, again, a question dealing with 1996. What has been the impact of boomers on America? And of course, you have gone into some of the positives and negatives. If you were to look at the ideology, in fact, there is no question that the young people of the (19)60s were one of the main reasons why the Vietnam War ended, and people will say it. Some people will say via Senator McCarthy, there has not been any other generation in American history that had such an impact on foreign policy. He knows history. He said there were some terrors, but nothing to the magnitude with what happened in the Vietnam War. Looking at that, that they did stop the Vietnam War, that many boomers were involved in the civil rights movement and went on down South and many continue today in the universities' fight for issues like affirmative action, our foreign policy has really never been the same since. The whole concept of the women's movement and feminism really came out of that era. The environmental movement in 1970 with Senator Nelson at the helm, that movement has continued. Looking at a lot of the things that have ... Again, I am a boomer. I am supposed to be unbiased in my interviews with each individual, but isn't there some validity to the fact that the boomers have created some positives in this society via the showmanship that you talk about?

AC (00:12:44):
Sure, I think they have. Right. Right. I was answering that question to respond to the way you framed it, which is that they are attacked, and I think that some of those attacks are justified. In other words, I do not have an unalloyed, rosy view of my generation. I tend to be somewhat cynical about the generation and its accomplishments. But there have been accomplishments. There is no question that the Vietnam War was a bad war, it was a wrong war, and that my generation was instrumental in stopping it. There is no question that they spearheaded a number of liberation movements, beginning with civil rights, that they certainly promoted their progress. The sexual liberation and the women's movement, and I guess to some extent, the liberation of homosexuals, which is still continuing today. I guess they can justly take credit for that, breaking down a lot of racial and class barriers in American society. And also, holding the government accountable, making sure that the government lives up to its promise, tells the truth, lives up to its high ideals and its lofty image of rectitude and righteousness. To me, I guess the biggest accomplishment of the generation is that it showed that the government can lie, and it showed that the institutions of America are wonderful and awe-inspiring, and deserving of honor and respect. The people, the human beings who hold those offices and who represent those institutions, are often very fallible and capable of mendacity and deceit and treachery. I guess that was one of the great lessons, the Vietnam War, is that people in power make mistakes and it is the habit of the powerful to try to cover up those mistakes. And that led to as a lot of disillusionment and a long period of self-examination, self-flagellation, to some extent, I guess.

SM (00:16:02):
Certain people in positions of power and responsibility were President Johnson, certainly Robert [inaudible] at that time. Certainly, the Nixon Administration and what happened with Watergate and so forth, left most of the boomers, I would say most of them, with a lack of trust about who to go to, whether they be leaders, and even leaders on the pulpit. Ministers, leaders in the corporate boardroom. Leaders, period. This leads into my next question. Has that continued today, and can today's generation of youth learn from the boomers? What can the boomers teach today's college students? This question is based on the fact that many of today's students often look to (19)60s and early (19)70s as a period of activism, drugs, and single-minded issues. Though many of the same issues remain, there are new ones, and the lessons of the past are either not taught in schools or never discussed between the parents, which is today's boomer in today's generation. Please give your thoughts on the issues in boomers' lives and how they can have an impact on students' lives today. For particular emphasis, has this concept of lack of trust in leadership directly gone now to their kids, and that is why we are seeing very few kids voting, and very few kids continue to have trust in leadership, even though there is a tremendous rise in volunteerism? 85 percent of today's young people are bound to some sort of volunteer activity, but they're really not showing true citizenship. They are really not voting, and they do not care about politics. Is this is a direct relation to their parents, the boomers?

AC (00:17:44):
Right. That is an interesting question. When I did my book on incompetence, one of the people I interviewed was Digby Baltzell, the University of Pennsylvania Sociologist. He feels that one of the reasons there has been a breakdown in the family and a breakdown of morality is that there has been a huge decline in respect for authority. And he blames my generation for that. Again, it was double-edged. In some ways, it was good. The authority figures of that era did not deserve to be respected, did not deserve to be obeyed. It was an accomplishment, a victory for my generation, that those people were exposed and defied. But the downside of that is that it led to a much more widespread and pervasive cynicism that had the effect of undermining all authority, and a society cannot function without institutions of authority and figures of authority. I would attend to agree with the premise of the question that that disrespect, that derogation of authority has continued, and it has had a very corrosive effect on the fabric of our society. It is really broken down its cohesiveness. It is very hard for government and corporate figures to command respect. And I think that is one reason why so many corporations are being run by groups now, are being run by a committee, being run by committees and boards and are less hierarchical. There is much more emphasis on decision-making by consensus, and there are advantages and disadvantages to that. One of the advantages of having a paternalistic authority figure is that a person often has a very powerful vision and is able to implement that vision quickly and efficiently. A corporation that has a person like that at the helm often gets a huge head start and is able to capitalize on things much more quickly and dynamically. The downside, of course, is that those people are often ... What is the word? Just bear with me for a second. I will get it. Well, they are authoritarian, that goes without saying, but the word I am thinking about is despotic. They are despots and dictators often, and that management stock can backfire. When they are gone, oftentimes the company flounders, is left at loose ends because there is a power vacuum or a leadership vacuum. But we are getting a little bit off the track there. But to go back to your question, I do think that it continues, and I do think it is a problem. Often, without trying to, I think that the baby boomers impart that attitude to their progeny, without doing so explicitly. I think just their general attitude about politicians and government figures. It is like a...

SM (00:21:21):
What you are saying is that the kids oftentimes just pick it up, not by sitting down at the supper table and saying, "This is the way it is," but it's just the way they live their lives?

AC (00:21:36):
Yeah. It is so saturated in our culture now. Every public figure ends up getting lampooned and parodied. It is almost like we have this Saturday Night Live ethos where anybody who comes to the fore ends up in an SNL skit, being mercilessly lampooned, à la Ross Perot.

SM (00:22:04):
I think that in many respects, what young people today see as an impact from the boomers is that "I do not want to become a leader. Because if I do become a leader, I will be critiqued and criticized."

AC (00:22:08):
Ridiculed.

SM (00:22:08):
"Ridiculed. They will try to find the weaknesses in me, as opposed to my strengths."

AC (00:22:30):
Yeah. Yeah. I am not sure you can pin that only on the baby boomer. There are so many factors that are involved there. The media have certainly changed the way they report and cover people and what they consider to be fair game. You really almost have to be insane, I think, to run for public office today, because the scrutiny is so intense. And there are no holds barred. You basically give up all vestiges of privacy. Your life is totally exposed and as you said, you are subject to that kind of criticism, constant criticism and ridicule. I would think that a lot of young people are discouraged by the price of public service. I would call it the price of public service in the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate era. Again, that is more fallout, I think, from my generation. There was a book written a couple of years ago called Scandal, by the wife of Nixon's ... Suzanne Garment, G-A-R-M-E-N-T.

SM (00:23:40):
Yeah, I read it.

AC (00:23:40):
That was supremacy. The nature of the press and the nature of political coverage changed as a result of an influx of baby boomers, as a result of an influx of people who grew up during Vietnam and Watergate and had a very cynical attitude toward authority figures and towards power in general, and powerful people and specific. This had led to this scandal mongering, this almost pathological obsession with finding the skeletons and the smoking guns and the dirty secrets that every politician, ipso facto, harbors or hides. The premise of her book was that this is basically resolved in the paralysis of government. Anytime we have a new political figure, somebody starts digging up all this dirt. And then we have this endless round of hearings and congressional investigations, à la Whitewater, which prevents people from governing and moving the ball ahead, just tackling the real problems of America.

SM (00:24:56):
It is almost like whenever a new president comes in, his theme song [inaudible]. The beat goes on, this humming tune.

AC (00:25:03):
Yeah, exactly.

SM (00:25:03):
Continue.

AC (00:25:06):
But I look at the newscast and I see all these people, these mobs of people at these congressional hearings on Whitewater. All these reporters, all these intelligent people using their brains for this, all these Congressmen digging up all this crap, and all these special grand juries and all these lawyers and lobbyists, and I think, what a waste of manpower. What a waste of brain power. Let us take these people and fix the healthcare system, figure out how to provide decent housing to people. Let us tackle some of our environmental problems. Do not waste your time on all this junk.

SM (00:25:36):
Well, I feel like asking a question here, and if you can, give me some brief responses, just some adjectives to describe it.

AC (00:25:37):
Sure.

SM (00:25:43):
If you were to describe the youth of the (19)60s and early (19)70s, I think the early 70s, please describe the qualities you most admire. And please describe those adjectives, or the sentences, to describe five or six apiece, the good things, the bad things.

AC (00:26:02):
And the bad things.

SM (00:26:02):
Which I hate doing, by the way. Still running?

AC (00:26:02):
Still running.

SM (00:26:02):
Great.

AC (00:26:03):
Well, I guess the good things about the generation was that it was idealistic. It was energetic. It was passionate. It was committed. It was persevering. It was hopeful. It was positive in the sense of being able to envision. Visionary. Visionary and positive in the sense of being able to envision a better world, and entertaining the illusion that we could make a difference, that we could realize that better world, we could bring that better world into being. That is pretty much what I would say on the positive side.

SM (00:26:43):
How about the negative?

AC (00:26:43):
On the negative side, again, repeating what I said earlier, I think that it was hypocritical. It was phony. It was cynical. It was self-serving, self-absorbed, hedonistic, selfish, very short attention span, very little grasp of history, conceited, unrealistic, spoiled. Was that enough?

SM (00:27:20):
That is, it.

AC (00:27:23):
Okay. I could go on, but you get the picture.

SM (00:27:26):
Okay. I think you have already answered this. Could you comment on the importance of the boomers' perspective of the Vietnam War? Well, you discussed that.

AC (00:27:35):
I think so. Yeah. You see, I think a lot of the boomers really benefited from the fact that they had the material abundance and prosperity and affluence to afford to worry about self-fulfillment and self-realization and liberation. All these liberation movements can only take place in a society where people's basic needs are taken care of. It is really a symptom of abundance, a symptom of affluence and bountifulness. The baby boom generation is, I use the word spoiled because they really were spoiled. Many of them were the progeny of parents who worked their butts off during the depression and who were determined to give their children everything that they were denied and did not have. They really had the luxury. It was really a luxury to be able to worry about making a better world, and to protest efficiencies in American's design.

SM (00:28:38):
You make a good point, but there is a couple questions here that might challenge that. Number one is that in the civil rights movement, there were a lot of people that went down South. Freedom Summer of (19)64, they were predominant. Actually, most of them were actually Jewish that went down South to work with some of the young and upcoming African-Americans. Some of those young leaders like John Lewis, who is still a Congressman in Washington today, they came from different backgrounds. Many of the people involved in the civil rights movement especially were poor Blacks. Fannie Lou Hamer came out. She was not a young person. You say that there is no question that there was time for many people to be involved, like today's college students have no time because they got to work, they go to school. Whereas these students worked when I was in college. But you still had many poor people at that time getting involved in the civil rights movement.

AC (00:29:31):
Yeah. I think the civil rights movement is a little bit different from what I witnessed. I did not participate in the civil rights movement. It came a little bit before my time. I was only 12 or 13 years old in those years, so my perspective is skewed or warped, or whatever word you want to use by what I, in fact, witnessed, which was basically the anti-war movement on campus in the late (19)60s and early (19)70s.

SM (00:30:00):
Then you also had the fact that a lot of the people that went-

AC (00:30:03):
And I went to an Ivy League School.

AC (00:30:03):
... (19)70s.

SM (00:30:03):
Then you also have the fact that a lot of the people went to-

AC (00:30:03):
And I went to an Ivy League school, so I was dealing with upper middle-class kids. That is what I saw. Princeton and Columbia. So again, that skews my perspective. It was not... I did not see... I think it was a real class thing. It was not a working-class thing; it was an upper middle-class college educated thing. The working-class kids were getting sent over to Vietnam, they were the ones who were coming back in caskets. They did not have the luxury of protesting the Vietnam War. They did not have the wherewithal; they did not have political connections. They did not have the student deferments. They just went.

SM (00:30:41):
And they did not have the knowledge of how to get out.

AC (00:30:43):
No, they did not.

SM (00:30:43):
But many of the middle-class kids did.

AC (00:30:43):
Exactly.

SM (00:30:47):
And probably many of them would have taken advantage of that if they knew how.

AC (00:30:51):
If they knew how, sure they would have. But they did not have the connections. They were not privileged. They did not have the privileges, that is really the word.

SM (00:31:01):
Number seven here. Have you changed your opinion of the youth of the (19)60s over the last 25 years?

AC (00:31:12):
The question was- have I changed my opinion of the youth of the (19)60s in the last 25 years?

SM (00:31:16):
And when you were a college student, you have already revealed some of the things you felt then, and you have already been very open about how you feel today. But have you been pretty steady in your feelings? Or has there been something that has changed it, or mellowed?

AC (00:31:29):
I think basically my feelings about the generation are the same. I mean, as I said, one of the things...

(00:31:39):
I have always been this way, maybe that is why I ended up being a journalist, is that I have always been something of an outsider. And I have always had the ability to see the discrepancy between image and reality, or appearance and reality. I have always been sensitive to that, the way things appear, and the way things are. I went to a private school called Episcopal Academy and the motto is Esse Quam Videri. V-I-D-E-R-I. Essa, E-S-S-E. Quam, Q-U-A-M. Videri, V-I-D-E-R-I. And that means to be rather than to seem to be. And so, I have always been attuned to that. So back in the (19)60s, I was very aware, as I said earlier, of the phoniness, and the hypocrisy, and the double standards, and the moral and ethical contradictions of the student protest movement and the anti-war movement. And a lot of these drug and sexual liberationists. And I have basically retained that attitude. I have retained the feeling that the generation did do some good things, but the generation also had lots of flaws and shortcomings. And I do not think it deserves to be deified, or canonized, or sanctified, or mythologized the way it has been in some quarters. And I always make that point. And I think a continuation of that is what you saw at the Academy of Awards when Tom Hanks got up there and accepted the award for Philadelphia and talked about gays being angels in our streets. Give me a break. I mean, this glorification of the latest sort of liberation movement of homosexuals being somehow saints. Not only are they martyrs, the victims of AIDS, they are martyrs, they are saints. It is the same kind of conceit of our generation that we are special, and that anything that we embrace or do is somehow holy. It is not holy. I mean, it is great to tolerate homosexuals. It is great to... But it is not necessary to glorify them.

SM (00:34:04):
How would you define this? And this is getting off this question for a bit. Strictly, Ray, what you are saying right now. And that is, one of the terms that really turns young people off today is the term do-gooder. And so even when the students that I work with get involved with Habitat for Humanity, they feel a little sensitive. That they are feeling good about something, they're helping others. And then when they feel good about helping others, they say, "Should I feel this way?" And this gets right back to the people from the (19)60s, because I thought... Again, this is only me. I went to a state university, SUNY Binghamton. Which is also a very good school, most of the kids are from Syracuse and New York City. And a lot of them could have gone to an Ivy League school but did not have money, so they went to SUNY Binghamton. But they were also middle class, they had all the time to protest, all had time to get involved in these activities. But I always, from afar, thought that a lot of these young people were doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They cared about the issues, they truly cared. And I guess what I am getting at is the sincerity. You said here that you felt that a lot of the boomers were not sincere, and certainly there were many cases of that. But I feel that a lot of boomers today are still living their lives like they lived at that time, but it is not kosher to be the way they were back in the (19)60s today. And that is to care about the minority, to care about the environment. And the fact is today that all the time, whether it be the Christian Coalition with Ralph Reed who has come to prominence representing Pat Robertson, or the Republicans in Congress who you hear all the time, even some of the Democrats, even moderate Democrats, the old Democrats from the South now really vote like Republicans. Is that the problems with society today is all going back to that time, they are pointing fingers. It is always someone else's causing the problem, they never look at themselves. So, the question I am really getting to you about is, is it really fair to look at the boomers in a way that all the problems in society today are related to them?

AC (00:36:25):
No, I do not think you can do that, I do not think you can blame everything on the boomers by any means. I just think that it is very problematic, whether we improve things or made things worse. I mean, to me, that question is still not answered. And I think that people who say that my generation screwed things up have a case to some extent. And you were talking about do good-ism being somewhat out of fashion. Well, my feeling is that to some extent that fashion has always been determined by my generation, just because it is so sizable and influential. And one of the things I wanted to point out about my generation is I feel it has been very morally plastic. And that is what I was trying to hint at when I talked about being opportunistic, because it was a generation that rejected the materialism and the status seeking of its parents. Back in the (19)60s, there was this nostalgie de la boue, that French term, that it is a nostalgia for the mud. And so, the whole Woodstock idea of becoming a peasant again, and frolicking in the mud, and skinny-dipping, and free love, and free sex, and all that junk, and communes. And there was this whole idea that this generation had renounced that materialism. But during the (19)80s, who were the people who spearheaded the age of greed? Who were the people? Who were the Gordon Gecko type people? Who were the people flocking to make a killing as investment bankers? They were baby boomers. Suddenly that became the chic thing to do, get ahead. It was no longer chic to sort of drop acid and tune in and drop out, or whatever they were doing. It was chic to make your killing, to become an arbitrager, and to arrange those leverage buyouts. And I remember bumping into kids who were big SDS long-haired radicals on the [inaudible] local, in their pin striped suits and they are suddenly clean cut, toting the Wall Street Journal. And I was astonished by the flip-flop. I mean, I feel like I was more true to the (19)60s since that, well, I did not embrace it wholeheartedly. I went into journalism, which is sort of a do-gooder profession mean. I mean, it is a profession where you feel like you can have a chance to make a difference and help and to teach. And I did not do this complete flip-flop sellout like a lot of these people did. So, it is unfashionable, because all those erstwhile do-gooder hippie liberal types are now driving Volvos and living on the main line. And they have shifted their energy into other channels which are more meaningful for them. And they have become more conservative, which is a natural thing that happens to people as they get older, because they suddenly realize that a lot of the stuff that they thought was restrictive and stupid and non-liberated and non-progressive makes sense. It holds society together. It is a good thing for parents, for couples to stay married. Divorce is not a good thing for kids, it wrecks up families. And families are good things. Not only for the individual kids involved, but also for society. I mean, of the basic unit of society we need to stabilize the society, you need to stabilize the family. Witness the complete social chaos in the ghettos in the city, where you have no fathers involved and you have single mothers trying to raise five or six kids.

SM (00:40:01):
And yet when you talk about this too, there are many boomers... I do not say now the boomers control higher education, because they are the liberals that control what is going on in schools.

AC (00:40:15):
Well, you have all that insanity of political correctness and diversity training and all that. That is a bad thing.

SM (00:40:21):
But the thing is that anyone who is teaching, anyone in social work, many lawyers did go into law not to make money but to help others. So, with every attack, there are other stories of people really that still are living community [inaudible], from my perspective. Because teachers, to me, are very underpaid. And they went in hopefully not to money, but to teach.

AC (00:40:49):
Do you think they are still underpaid?

SM (00:40:50):
A lot of people in higher education... You do not make money as a professor or an administrator [inaudible].

AC (00:40:57):
Do you think teachers are underpaid? I mean, the Council Rock School District, they are making 70,000, 80,000 a year, which is more than I make for nine months of teaching. I do not know, it is hard for me to work up a lot of sympathy for teachers anymore.

SM (00:41:07):
Well, a lot of teachers in the US are getting paid $25,000.

AC (00:41:07):
Still?

SM (00:41:08):
Yeah. And then still [inaudible] a lot of the schools around here. But on average, I think they are probably about on average 35,000, I think. That is still good, I think, because a lot of them are underpaid. And then they reach a [inaudible] they cannot get paid any higher than that. And I know professors in the university are not paid much. 30,000 for assistant professors, and associate professors get around 45,000. And I am not quite sure what full professors get, but they reach a max and they cannot get any higher.

AC (00:41:48):
Is that right?

SM (00:41:48):
Because of tenure, and that is it.

AC (00:41:48):
Well, some of these fancy colleges, they are making big bucks, some of the professors. I mean, at Princeton, I mean, they are getting full professors make at least 90. But they are all doing outside consulting. And, I mean, some of those guys are hauling in 400,000 or 500,000 a year. And not doing any teaching, they have graduate teaching assistants. I mean, that is a scam, but that is a separate thing.

SM (00:42:10):
Yeah. Would you describe, and this is just yes or no answer, would you describe the boomers as the most unique generation in American history?

AC (00:42:20):
Well, I think I would have to defer to Senator McCarthy on that one, I do not think I have enough knowledge to say one way or the other. I think it was a unique generation, just because of its size and because of the social conditions at the time that it matured and came to the fore. I mean, again, some of the things I talked about, the affluence, the privilege of being able to worry about larger problems, not worrying about how they are going to feed themselves and house themselves. And the fact that so many of them were products of college. I mean, it was a huge one. Another thing that made it possible was that these kids had a lot of time on their hands. They were in college, and instead of drinking beer and I guess lighting bonfires and going to pep rallies, they were trying to shut down the Institute for Defense Analysis or whatever. But again, they had the privilege and luxury of time before they became adults.

SM (00:43:28):
As a boomer, if you were to list five events that had the greatest impact on you as a boomer?

AC (00:43:31):
As a boomer? Well, I think the assassination of President Kennedy certainly had a huge impact on my perspective. I guess the things that everybody says in terms of zeitgeist events, I guess Robert Kennedy, assassination of him, Martin Luther King, his assassination, only because they brought things into such sharp focus. And the lunar landing was an interesting thing. I mean, it had a kind of double-edged effect. In one way, it was both the beginning and the end of a sense of possibility. It showed us the miraculous and amazing things that we could accomplish by harnessing technology and by setting our will to something. But at the same time, it was sort of the symbolic end of the space program, to me. It was sort of like the end of that frontier. We had done about as much as we could feasibly do. I mean, that was such a single achievement and such a millennial kind of accomplishment. And I think there was a great sense of letdown after that, a kind of postpartum depression that we'd done it. And now what? And I really do not think the space programs recovered. The space shuttles just do not have the glamour. And sending probes to Mars, it is not the same as putting a man on the moon. So that was another thing, another event. And obviously the Vietnam War. Although I at the time, again, was not real passionate about that one way or the other. I mean, I was more curious and listening, trying to figure out who was right. And then Watergate, I think, was a very searing kind of experience, because it really cemented the idea that you cannot trust anyone over 30, or the idea that our parents are flawed. It was a very kind of edible sort of experience, that these people that you were brought up to respect and honor and believe can betray you, can tell lies. And it was also very influential in that, in a sense, we have pulled daddy off the pedestal. I mean when Nixon resigned, it was like the kids succeeded in punishing this great father figure, this parent figure, who had betrayed them or had deceived them.

SM (00:46:58):
Those are very good points. When I was a [inaudible] understand, one thing that struck me is we had Fred Thompson in our campus at Ohio University in 19... Did that thing click off? Is it still moving okay?

AC (00:47:15):
Yep, still moving.

SM (00:47:16):
We [inaudible] to our campus in (19)74 before the final decision was made on Watergate. And he was our Kennedy lecturer at Ohio University. And I had a chance to be with him for a solid day, stayed overnight, for a solid day. And we took him to Sherman's home in Lancaster, Ohio, this little branch campus of our university. But what I am getting at here is that I had very tremendous distrust of leaders. And he was on the committee and the minority council, the youngest member of the committee. And when I took him back to the airport, I was going to do my test with Fred Thompson. And I asked him, and I let him off at the airport, I said, "You send me a letterhead with all the signatures of the members of the Watergate Committee." And he said he would do it. Well, okay, this is my test, because I thought he would not do it. And [inaudible] and will not follow through. So, I waited a month, two months, got involved in orientation. It was very late summer as we were heading into the fall, I finally get this envelope in the mail. And when I saw and opened it, I flipped. And my attitude was, "I cannot believe it, here is a leader that followed through." With all the activities that he had. It was a signed letterhead and it was all the real signatures, with different color rings. And he said, "Please rest assured, Steve, that the workers of the government are always slow." And from that day forward I have always had tremendous respect for Fred Thompson. Now he is a senator from Tennessee.

AC (00:48:43):
What a great souvenir of that era.

SM (00:48:45):
Yeah. And I have it, it is in a safety deposit box. And I got a letter from him. And actually, I am going to interview him for this. He is up for reelection. And I am going to interview him next February, I think, after the election is over.

AC (00:48:58):
That is great.

SM (00:49:00):
Because he is a very important person. That is a story that there are good people there. And I am a democrat, but I have tremendous respect for Fred Thompson.

AC (00:49:05):
Is he a Republican?

SM (00:49:06):
He is a Republican. Watch out for him. People are talking about who is going to be the presidential candidate of the year 2000. My prediction is Fred Thompson will be the Republican at that time. He is only 53 now. He was only 33 when he was on the committee. So, he is 54, I think. And watch out for him. And he is very close to Senator Baker, he ran his campaign. He is a good guy.

AC (00:49:29):
Good.

SM (00:49:30):
It has often been quoted that only 15 percent of the boomers were truly activists or involved in some sort of activity linked to the civil rights, Vietnam War protest, women's movement, gay and lesbian movement, environmental movement, and active overall in politics and the issues of the day. Is this true? Or is this another way to lessen the impact this group has had on America since the (19)60s?

AC (00:49:53):
Well, I cannot say whether it is true, whether that number's exactly right. But I would tend to concur with the notion that the people who were really on the front lines were a rather small minority of the generation at large. And the rest were just sort of fellow travelers and what I used to call weekend radicals, who did it because it was sort of fun, and the mode, the thing to do, is fashionable. And you sort of had to do it if you wanted to score with chicks and be part of the scene, part of the action. You wore bell bottoms and... I mean, even I wore a running jersey. I was a big jock in college, but I wore a running jersey with a clenched student strike red fist on the back, just because it was kind of cool looking. And I went to one of the marches in Washington, not because of any great political fervor or resolve to change the world or stop the war, but because I knew that there was a pretty good chance that there would be some topless women there cavorting in the reflecting pool. And sure enough, there were. So that was the only reason I went. And I suspect there were a lot more like me.

SM (00:51:11):
Good analysis there. We took students over to High University back at the remembrance ceremonies at Kent State after the killings that [inaudible] there two years in a row. And it was basically to listen to some of the national leaders at that time, like Jane Fonda, Tom [inaudible], those remembrances. But it was very obvious that the majority of the people were just having a good time, were not really serious. There were some darn serious ones, well students I brought were dead serious. They would not have come with me if they were not. But you hit it right in the point, that I think that 50 percent is pretty accurate.

AC (00:51:46):
I think it is. I think it is. It is probably true of almost all movements. It was party time, that is all.

SM (00:51:54):
This is a very important one, because when you look at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, the reason why Jan Scruggs put that together is to create a non-political entity in remembrance of those who served and those who paid the ultimate price with their death. So, his goal was to try to heal the nation, and to try specifically with Vietnam veterans and their families. This question, do you feel that the boomers are a generation that is still having problems with the [inaudible]? The Vietnam Veterans Memorial did a great job with veterans, and in some respect the families of veterans. But do you feel that healing has really taken place in large numbers? And there is a follow-up to that, do you feel that some of the tremendous divisions, and the lack of dialogue between people, and the uncivil language that we see today is directly linked to that, the ability to heal?

AC (00:52:51):
Yeah, I think that is a factor to some extent. I mean, I think that there are certain things from which we have not recovered completely and that the scabs are still fresh. I guess Vietnam would be one of them, and Watergate might be another. In the sense that it led to this very cynical... Sense of cynical, pervasive sense of disillusionment. But I think another aspect of it too is that we not only mistrust others, we not only mistrust authority figures, we mistrust ourselves. Because a lot of us realize, again, how phony, and hypocritical and theatrical so much of it was. And there is a lot of class resentment involved too. And there is a sort of internal... And when you talk about the baby boomers, if you are talking about all the people born between 1946 and 1964, you are talking about a huge group of people. There is almost another generation in that span. And you are also talking about people of all different socioeconomic classes. And a lot of the things that are attributed to the baby boomers, again, are attributed to a very small group of privileged, white middle class kids who went to college. They are the kids who got all the ink, and got all the attention, and got mowed down at Kent State. You are not talking about the kids that went right from high school to factories, went to the [inaudible] works in Bucks County, or went to Vietnam and got maimed and then ended up in a veteran's hospital somewhere. And so, I think that there is still residual class antagonism. There is a disdain, a kind of supercilious disdain on the part of the middle-class kids who kind of conned the system, who got the student deferments, and got their graduate degrees, and did the yuppy thing in the (19)80s. And looked down on those other kids, their peers, the lumpen proletariat, the kids who went to Altamont not Woodstock. Looked down upon them as schmucks and suckers because they did not have the strings, they did not know how to pull. And then the kids at the bottom, the kids who actually came back in the body bags, who did not have the luxury, did not have the time to protest, and all that, I think resent the other ones, again, for their phoniness and hypocrisy and their moral plasticity. The fact that they were able to mold themselves to fit any kind of contingency and opportunity as the zeitgeist shifted. Does that sound cynical enough?

SM (00:55:22):
Yeah. And [inaudible] here all the time. I have been to several Vietnam [inaudible] on Memorial Day, and the dislike for Bill Clinton is real. The lack of forgiveness, they do not want to ever forgive him. And I find it ironic, and I have said this to everyone, that this law was supposed to heal. Yet we see veterans there who have not healed. And they will make commentary on Jane Fonda, "Bitch," still hate her. Bill Clinton, they will not forgive him. And certainly, even with Peter Arnett this past year, there is some of the media people they will not forgive, because they brought the stories home about Vietnam veterans, and maybe some of the bad things about Vietnam veterans in linkage with the good. So, there is something about the Halberstams, the Arnetts, the Sheehans, that there is dislike toward them. So, I am wondering about this for you.


AC (00:56:13):
Well, that is part of... Yeah, I do not think it is happening. And I think that in some ways... There is this expression that the Irish are good haters. And I think to some extent Americans are good haters. And in some ways the rancor continues to fester and to become more gangrenous as time goes on. It is not healing, it is getting worse. And it is becoming, in some ways, more irrational. I mean, blaming the David Halberstams and the Neil Sheehans for Vietnam, I think, is irrational. It's another case of blaming the messenger.

SM (00:56:50):
And I never thought of that until I heard these four veterans sitting in the front row who were thinking about [inaudible 00:56:58]. Well, Peter Arnett had done a favor, because I guess he was over in someplace in Europe, and he flew in just to give us less than five minutes speech for Jan Scruggs. And I said, "That is tremendous commitment to the Vietnam Memorial." "Now, who wants to listen to him? He is the guy that wrote about us."

AC (00:57:09):
Mm-hm.

SM (00:57:14):
And that was just a commentary from four veterans. But I just thought, "My god..." There is lack of healing in that, was very obvious." Only four, but I am wondering if that permeates throughout.

AC (00:57:24):
Well, you mentioned Bill Clinton being despised by these people. I think he is the perfect symbol of exactly what I was talking about. A guy who conned the system, who did what was necessary to save his own butt and to promote his own welfare and career. And who was in many ways a phony and a hypocrite. I mean, I will probably vote for him again, just because I think he is a lesser of two evils when posed against Bob Dole. But I think he is a sleaze ball, a total sleaze ball. And every time I see him, I think he is an actor. I mean, I think he is just a real consummate face man actor. And I think that a lot of people resent him for that. I mean, he really is a wonderful avatar or embodiment of what we have been talking about, the kind of schizophrenia of this generation. I mean, he is a very... Cosmically, ideologically, philosophically, he is very appealing. He stands for the right things; he fights for the right things. He has a heart, seemingly. But on an individual personal level, I think he is very cynical. I think he is very manipulative. I think he is very selfish. And I think he is very untrustworthy.

SM (00:58:38):
What are your thoughts on former left leaders who state that their past activities and those of their peers had more negative [inaudible], particularly to the people of the Horowitz and [inaudible], to the people that were pro the [inaudible]. But they are just the tip of the iceberg of former left leaders who now have [inaudible], and now are blasting their whole past. And what are your thoughts on them, both types of people?

AC (00:59:04):
Well, I guess my feelings are mixed on... I am not real familiar with what they say specifically. But just based on your report, I would probably be sympathetic to some of their critiques, some of their attacks in their broadsides, because it sounds like it would jibe with some of the stuff I have been saying. But I am always, I guess, amused and aggravated by people who renounce their past when it is convenient to do so. Fitzgerald said, "There are not any second acts in American life," but clearly there are people who feel... A lot of lefties. You know it is, again, another example of the moral plasticity of my generation, that they kind of reinvent themselves every decade, whatever seems to be fashionable. And when conservatism is [inaudible]-

AC (01:00:03):
... whatever seems to be fashionable, and when conservatism is fashionable, suddenly, they are conservative and they are repudiating their past and everything that they stood for, because this is a way to get it on now.

SM (01:00:14):
How do you feel about those boomers, though, that were on the front lines, who have lived their whole lives like they were on the front lines, and have not deferred?

AC (01:00:23):
Have not changed?

SM (01:00:27):
Have not changed. In other words, they were not [inaudible].

AC (01:00:30):
They have not compromised.

SM (01:00:30):
They have not compromised. They have lived their whole lives [inaudible].

AC (01:00:34):
To some extent, even though, I may not agree with what they are doing or I think they are excessive or extreme or myopic or monomaniacal, I have more respect for those people, for their consistency and for their philosophical and ideological fidelity than I do the ones who have flipped flopped every decade to [inaudible]. We are shaded by this tree, thankfully.

SM (01:01:02):
It is a great tree.

AC (01:01:03):
Yeah. It is a wonderful old sycamore. Unfortunately, it just drops stuff all the time, twigs, the bark, leaves, and it is not a good tree to have over a swimming pool.

SM (01:01:12):
This is a question where I ask ... I just mention a name and I just want you to [inaudible].

AC (01:01:20):
Okay. We are off the air here. Oh, no. It is still going.

SM (01:01:21):
It is still going.

AC (01:01:23):
Yeah.

SM (01:01:23):
Are you supposed to be on there?

AC (01:01:25):
I guess it must be.

SM (01:01:26):
Yeah. I got ... We have [inaudible].

AC (01:01:29):
Okay.

SM (01:01:29):
If you were to try to place the following names in the minds of [inaudible], what overall reaction would you foresee for the following names? You are a boomer, so when you respond to this, your initial gut-level response to this as an individual and what you feel today [inaudible]. Number one, Tom Hayden.

AC (01:01:48):
You want me to give my personal reaction or the reaction of the ... My presumed reaction of the...

SM (01:01:52):
Your personal reaction, plus how you feel today's boomers look to these people.

AC (01:02:03):
My personal reaction is I dislike the guy. I suspect that a lot of my peers in the baby boomers are suspicious of him, because he seems like, again, one of these...

SM (01:02:11):
[inaudible].

AC (01:02:11):
Yup.

SM (01:02:26):
Okay. We were talking about Tom Hayden.

AC (01:02:28):
Yeah. Tom Hayden, I think I finished up on him.

SM (01:02:31):
The next one is Lyndon Johnson.

AC (01:02:36):
Well, Lyndon Johnson is just a fascinating figure to me, because in some ways, he embodies so much of America, both its generosity and its good instincts and its tragic self-defeating flaws. Having read some of Robert Caro's work on Johnson, I just find him to be a fascinating American phenomenon. That is all I could say about him I think.

SM (01:03:09):
I want to mention that when I interviewed Senator McCarthy, he said that when you are in Washington, DC and you are going to the airport, there is a statue of Lyndon Johnson on the way to the airport and [inaudible] it is not done. It is an incomplete work.

AC (01:03:24):
Is that right?

SM (01:03:30):
He said ... That is what he said, Johnson was an incomplete work.

AC (01:03:31):
Right.

SM (01:03:31):
Because, in fact, he could have [inaudible] secretary. Bobby Kennedy.

AC (01:03:33):
Yeah. I think there was a lot of possibility for redemption there and, I mean, I think there was a man who was really growing and if he had had more time, I think he might have really ... He might have been great in the sense that he grew and overcame previous earlier limits and mistakes. Robert Kennedy? I guess I sort of regarded him as being inspiring and idealistic and scrappy, pugnacious. I think he would have been fun to watch. I am sorry that he got snuffed out so soon. I have very mixed feelings about the Kennedys, and I admired them, I almost worshiped them when I was younger. Now I have a much more realistic attitude toward them. But, again, I think that there was great possibility for growth with both of those guys, both John and Robert.

SM (01:04:37):
Yeah. I put John on there too, because he is on the list.

AC (01:04:39):
It would be interesting, and it is interesting to speculate how the course of American history would have differed if Kennedy had not been assassinated, if he had had a second term and, I mean, one of those people ... You ask me about seminal events or high impact events, baby boom generation, his assassination I think seared everybody and really ended that wonderful kind of buoyant American sense of hope and optimism.

SM (01:05:15):
The one question always comes up would the Vietnam War have ever happened if he had been president? [inaudible] you cannot judge what may have happened.

AC (01:05:24):
Right.

SM (01:05:24):
[inaudible].

AC (01:05:24):
Right.

SM (01:05:26):
We do not know. Huey Newton?

AC (01:05:29):
He is a phony. I went to a ... He spoke at Princeton and Pat [inaudible] Cage, which is our big gymnasium, back in 1970 or (19)71 and I went to listen to him, because I wanted to find out what is this guy all about. It was just a lot of gobbledygook. It was garbage. It did not make sense. People finally ... People had the guts to stand up and walk out. I stuck it out, because I wanted to give this guy as much of a chance as possible, but it was just ... He was just a lot of hyped-up propaganda.

SM (01:06:10):
[inaudible] Bobby Seale category? Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver, they were all in the Black Panthers.

AC (01:06:12):
Well, I do not know as much about Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver. The only reason I react so strongly to Huey Newton is that I actually saw him and listened to him, his harangue for two hours, and it was incoherent gibberish.

SM (01:06:29):
Brings up two more, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.

AC (01:06:34):
I think of them as, basically, as flamers. You know what a flamer is?

SM (01:06:42):
A flamer?

AC (01:06:44):
A flamer is...

SM (01:06:45):
Create problems or trouble?

AC (01:06:47):
No. A flamer is sort of a hot dog. Sort of a ... They were just self-aggrandizing, very theatrical ... How shall I say? [inaudible] sort of like the court jesters or radical chic.

SM (01:07:11):
Yeah. As they aged, Jerry Rubin went off to ... He was kind of a hypocrite to the cause.

AC (01:07:17):
Oh, yeah. He sold out completely.

SM (01:07:18):
He sold out and Abbie Hoffman ... It is almost like the theatrics of his early years destroyed the validity of it, the activism in his later years.

AC (01:07:26):
Yes.

SM (01:07:27):
To save the Hudson River.

AC (01:07:28):
Right.

SM (01:07:28):
He was dead-serious about that. One of the tragedies too was that Abbie Hoffman, when he died, I remember the year when he died over in Bucks County.

AC (01:07:35):
Bucks County.

SM (01:07:37):
$2000 in the bank and that is all he had.

AC (01:07:40):
Right.

SM (01:07:40):
They said he was fighting depression at that time and that no one was listening to him anymore.

AC (01:07:45):
Right. He had become a caricature of himself.

SM (01:07:49):
Is that the legacy of the boomers? That no one is listening to them anymore. Is he a symbol of all boomers as they age with respect to the upcoming generation, the future generation?

AC (01:08:01):
I think in some ways, he is. He is a symbol to the extent that he did not seem capable of coping with real life. He never grew up in some respects. He was not able to translate apparently that sort of youthful, in-your-face, confrontational activism into a more mature effective activism, where you actually achieve results, you actually get things done, you actually persuade people, you actually ... I mean, to me, that is effective activism and it is one thing to carry signs and co-opt the media and make a big name for yourself. It is another to actually solve the problem, and I think that there are lots of people who are very activist, who you have never heard of, who worked behind the scenes and do the research and gather the facts and have meetings at which they are civil and polite and they learned how to accomplish things through the system, and I do not think he made that transition. Evidently, he did not make that transition. The other guys, Eldridge Cleaver and his cookbook and...

SM (01:09:19):
Bobby Seale's [inaudible].

AC (01:09:19):
... cookbook and I do not know what Eldridge Cleaver is doing, but all those guys seem to have sold out and they did the flip flops that were necessary to survive or to keep the con going, and I think they are symbols of the generation, very valid symbols of the generation and, again, its small plasticity, to get back to that again, the fact that we are able to mold ourselves to whatever situation or set of circumstances would work in our best self-interest.

SM (01:09:51):
Timothy Leary, I think I know your answer.

AC (01:09:57):
I think he was an evil person. I think he was an evil person, because he gave the drug culture kind of intellectual respectability. I do not think ... It would be a waste of my breath and your time for me to talk about all the evils and tragedy that has flowed from the drug culture.

SM (01:10:23):
How about Dr. Spock?

AC (01:10:24):
I really do not feel like I know enough about him and have sort of a full sense of him to comment. I know a lot of people blame him for the permissiveness of the baby boom generation, and perhaps he should be held accountable for some of that, but I think that is very simplistic. I think there is more to him and more to his influence than that, and I do not know enough about him to say.

SM (01:10:46):
How about the Berrigan Brothers?

AC (01:10:47):
I think that those guys were very passionate and committed about stopping the war. There is a sense of mild development and growth there. I think that those guys were the real thing. Again, I have not followed their histories real closely but I think they are true people.

SM (01:11:20):
Yeah. A good point is Dr. King, when he used to ... That is the next person I am going to [inaudible] prophesied that some people would be upset when they had to go to jail. He says, if you are not willing to go out and march and be arrested, then do not go out and march, if you are not willing to go to jail for your beliefs or pay the price for your beliefs, and the Berrigans did, whether you liked what they did or not, they knew that they would be penalized for it. Dr. King?

AC (01:11:43):
I just think he is a great hero, a great hero of our time. I mean, I am familiar with all of his human foibles and all of the revisionist stuff that is come out about him, about how he did some plagiarizing apparently, and had a weakness for white women and was not exactly the most faithful husband but he was a human being. I mean, in terms of what he did for the social justice and civil rights and African Americans, giving them a place, their rightful place in American society, I think he was wonderful. I think his message still resonates. [inaudible]. Yeah.

SM (01:12:28):
Okay.

AC (01:12:29):
I think, again, he was the real thing in terms of his passion and commitment to his cause. I am astonished to think that he made that ... I did a little magazine piece during the last presidential election and I was astonished that Martin Luther King was only 34 years old when he delivered the I Have A Dream speech.

SM (01:12:52):
Isn't that amazing? It was all off his head. Daniel Ellsberg?

AC (01:13:02):
I guess he is a hero of sorts, in that he acted on his convictions, and was instrumental in exposing the folly and duplicity of the Vietnam War through the Pentagon Papers, so I guess he deserves credit for that. He seems like the real thing.

SM (01:13:22):
George Wallace?

AC (01:13:25):
Another figure like Lyndon Johnson, to me. Another man who is very American, very American, embodied a lot of American traits and qualities and history and evolution and I think that he would have been interesting to watch, if he had continued to be active on the political stage, because I think there was a man who had great capacity for change and growth and, in some ways, was an emblem of America. Being a fierce segregationist, to becoming a much more ... Almost a statesman-like figure at the end, a person who evoked sympathy, even among Blacks, who detested him as a symbol of racism at one point. You know, he reminds me of ... He is like Lyndon Johnson. He is very tragic and flawed but there was a sort of like ... Like grass sprouting up in the cracks of a sidewalk. You saw glimmers of the possibility of redemption and regeneration.

SM (01:14:45):
George McGovern?

AC (01:14:45):
I think he is a very good man, a good man, a good human being, a very decent human being. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, wrote, that the sense of a fundamental decency is parceled out unequally at birth, and I think of George McGovern as somebody who is very fundamentally decent, a decent human being. I also think he was very naïve and somewhat quixotic. That is about it for him.

SM (01:15:22):
Hubert Humphrey?

AC (01:15:35):
I think of him as sort of about as decent as a professional politician can be. I think of him as a professional politician, more so than McGovern. I do not think McGovern was as practiced and cunning a politician but I think Hubert Humphrey was but I also think that he was a decent man who had good instincts and wanted to do the right thing. It's too bad he talked like Bugs Bunny, he sounded like Bugs Bunny.

SM (01:16:01):
Another one of those figures you never know what may have happened if he had gone against the war.

AC (01:16:03):
Indeed.

SM (01:16:08):
Some people believe he probably would have [inaudible]. Jane Fonda?

AC (01:16:10):
Phony. Another symbol of our generation. I mean, there she is with Ted Turner, a great capitalist buccaneer. Then she went through her aerobics phase, her intensely narcissistic Jane Fonda get a great butt workout phase. She is a phony.

SM (01:16:33):
How about Robert McNamara?

AC (01:16:42):
A tragic, morally corrupt, parental figure. Another one of these people like Nixon.

SM (01:16:52):
I think it is the symbol of today that he [inaudible], veterans, a lot of them will not even read it. It is a little bit too late. A lot of people feel that he wrote the book, because to set the record straight before he died and [inaudible] and others will say that he never should have written the book, and thought it was great not revealing what he did reveal was that in (19)67, [inaudible] against the war at that juncture in (19)67. Of course, Johnson was (19)68. But he did not have the courage to tell him and then went off to Aspen, some people say he went off to Aspen [inaudible]. You have Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam veteran’s memorial would invite him to the Vietnam veteran’s memorial, if he would come, and [inaudible] I believe and I got to know him briefly, before he killed himself, [inaudible].

AC (01:17:51):
Right.

SM (01:17:55):
A firm believer that these are the type of [inaudible] he brought to the war to start the healing.

AC (01:18:03):
Yeah. It is an interesting question, an interesting debate. I guess I feel I am getting a little bit cynical and tired of people who made huge mistakes and committed gross breaches of decency and morality when they were in positions of power, and then suddenly, they have this kind of coup de foudre. You know, this road to Damascus, [Foreign language] later in life where they recognize their wrongdoing and write a confessional book and come to us begging for forgiveness. You know, the Charles Colson’s and the Robert McNamara’s and, in his case, his mistakes cost thousands of lives. I mean, I believe in forgiveness but some people are very hard to forgive and I think he's a person who is very hard to forgive. It is not that he made a ... It is one thing to make a mistake, because of a misjudgment. It is another thing, though, to cover up that misjudgment by repeatedly lying and refusing to admit it, and that is what I hold against him, not so much that he made a foolish decision or made an unwise decision but that he ... But refused to admit that he made a mistake initially and continued to pursue that course of action, and lied about it and covered it up, and was not forthcoming with the truth.

SM (01:20:01):
If he had revealed to President Johnson that he was against the war and resigned and left, certainly, many of the lives would not be lost but then Johnson still may have continued his policies but, at least, then they would look at McNamara as a person who [inaudible] conviction and gave up power and responsibility, knowing it would change.

AC (01:20:23):
Yes.

SM (01:20:24):
You know, that truly upsets me [inaudible].

AC (01:20:26):
That would have been an act of heroism. That would have been a very admirable, moral act.

SM (01:20:32):
[inaudible] in the book, if he had left but then he never revealed it for protection of the president but as he got older, he wanted to reveal this before he died. Then maybe the respect would be there. But he is another interesting figure. Richard Nixon?

AC (01:20:51):
Well, again, you have another figure who sort of fits in with George Wallace and Lyndon Johnson in my book, a guy who embodies many characteristics and traits that are uniquely American. I mean, his ambitiousness, his lust for power, his desire to be a national and global player, and his spunk and his almost preternatural capacity to reinvent himself, to come back from all these crises and all these crushing, in some case, crushing failures to come back, to get up off the mat again, and trust his way into the political scene. I mean, all those things are so uniquely American and, in some ways, admirable but he also ... You know, he was clearly a very tragic figure and, clearly, he made some awful mistakes but, again, at the end of his life, he had the sense that he was a guy who had some capacity to redeem himself and to regenerate himself and, in ways, he was extremely practical and ... What is the word I am looking for? Not expeditious but his normalizing relationships with China, his opening up that whole thing I think was brilliant and represented an example of his practicality and his...

SM (01:22:54):
Here was a man that obviously did not trust others.

AC (01:22:57):
No.

SM (01:22:57):
Of course, his enemies list came forward. Of course, that is probably why he was in the... Gerald Ford?

AC (01:23:15):
I think Gerald Ford is basically dumb, and pretty vain. I actually met him, had an encounter with him and it was very disillusioning, because, for a while, I just thought he was sort of a good guy, kind of a get-along good guy who was not really blessed with terrific instincts or shrewdness or smarts but when I met him, I realized that on top of that, to make matters worse, he was also very vain. We had to film an interview with him for a joke tape and he agreed to participate but when we met him, we met him in this little chamber in the Capitol Building and he shook our hands in a very insincere way and then went over to the mirror and was spending a whole bunch of time primping himself and combing his hair. I was just shocked. I was shocked. I did not think he was that kind of guy. I did not think ... I guess all those guys are that way but it was disillusioning.

SM (01:24:12):
Spiro Agnew? I got one more.

AC (01:24:15):
He was just a sleaze ball. Just a cynical, conniving, out for himself sleaze ball.

SM (01:24:28):
And he hated the boomers.

AC (01:24:28):
He hated the boomers.

SM (01:24:29):
He did.

AC (01:24:30):
Well, they brought him down. I can see why he would be furious at them.

SM (01:24:36):
John Dean?

AC (01:24:43):
I view him as sort of another morally plastic yuppie squirt. He was a yuppie before it became popular, before it became an acronym. All those guys, you know the John Deans and the ... Who is the other guy?

SM (01:25:01):
Ehrlichman and all those [inaudible] and all that?

AC (01:25:04):
Yeah. There was another guy that was more like John Dean, though, a guy who went to Williams [inaudible]? Yeah. Went to Williams College and...

SM (01:25:11):
Right.

AC (01:25:11):
Silver spoon kids.

SM (01:25:12):
He is a minister now.

AC (01:25:13):
Yeah.

SM (01:25:17):
Sam Ervin?

AC (01:25:21):
He was a lovable, folksy embodiment of American rectitude and perfect for the part, at the time.

SM (01:25:34):
I did not realize that ... I thought he was fantastic on the Watergate committee but [inaudible].

AC (01:25:47):
Is that right?

SM (01:25:47):
Yeah. He came south [inaudible].

AC (01:25:49):
Right.

SM (01:25:51):
John Mitchell?

AC (01:25:53):
John Mitchell? I thought he was a very sinister, corrupt establishment figure who sort of confirmed all of our worst suspicions about Republicans in power, and lawyers. He really seemed evil to me, Machiavellian, but I did not ... I almost could say I hated him. For an extremely conservative guy, he was appealing in that I thought he was very principled and I thought he really believed in his conservatism and I guess I have some respect for him. I think that ideologically I would disagree with just about everything he espoused but he did seem like a principled person to me.

SM (01:27:08):
Gloria Steinem?

AC (01:27:10):
Phony.

SM (01:27:13):
How would you put Bella Abzug and those ... These are the people [inaudible], Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and the women's movement.

AC (01:27:21):
I think Gloria Steinem is a phony. I think Bella Abzug seems more ... She seems more sincere and real to me, and especially Betty Friedan. I have more respect for Betty Friedan, mainly because I do not think she is as blindly ideological as Gloria Steinem. I object to feminists who are ... First of all, who lack a sense of humor and who hate men, but also feminists who are blindly ideological and put ideology above common sense and who seem to be dedicated to sexual or gender divisiveness above any kind of understanding of human and sexual relations.

SM (01:28:12):
How are we doing there on that...

AC (01:28:13):
Still running.

SM (01:28:18):
Okay. We are getting towards the end here. We have about three more, and then the last one regarding individuals, it is just the music people, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, the Bob Dylan, the people who did the music of the era.

AC (01:28:27):
I did not like the music of my era at all. I was turned off by it. I really have nothing to say except that I think Bob Dylan is immensely untalented. I just never have been able to understand this appeal, the hoopla about him. He is an annoying, irritating voice and I do not think his lyrics are particularly profound. I just do not get it. Janis Joplin, at least, had some kind of raw, animal vigor. I could see... I mean, she just wailed and I could see the appeal in that. Jimi Hendrix seemed to be a talented guitarist but, in general, I feel those people are all overrated, especially Bob Dylan. I mean, he had this aura of profundity, like some oracle, and I just never got it.

SM (01:29:15):
Number 15, do you feel that you have made an impact on American society? Again, let me follow this up by this question will be asked to all participants in the interview process and as a follow-up, do you feel you have made a positive impact on the lives of boomers and members of the current generation called generation X? As a boomer, do you feel that you have made an impact on American society?

AC (01:29:36):
Well, that is a pretty... That invites...

SM (01:29:39):
Do not talk about vanity.

AC (01:29:40):
It invites some immodesty and it is a pretty vaulting concept, to think that you, individually, have had an impact on society. I think that I guess I feel comfortable with myself in that I feel I have chosen a profession where there is a possibility to do good, and I feel that I have been true to the best of the...

AC (01:30:03):
Best of the spirit or the ideals of my generation and that I chose a profession where I knew I would not make a lot of money, but where I knew that I might have a chance to have an impact on the course of public affairs and it's a teaching. I regard journalism, especially what I do now, as-

SM (01:30:21):
Are you teaching full-time now?

AC (01:30:24):
No, I am not teaching formally in a classroom, but it is a teaching profession, I think. I mean, I regard myself as a teacher, an educator, except instead of having a class of 30, I have a class of potentially numbers in the tens of thousands. I mean, that is what I try to do. Horace said that great poetry should dulce et utile, which in Latin means to be sweet and to be useful, and I feel that that is what I try to do.
I try to teach and delight, to inform and to entertain, and I do that now through these comms I write about physical fitness. That is the satisfaction I get, is that I am helping people. It is not really about physical fitness, it is really about happiness. It is how to lead a successful, full life by respecting both your body and your mind. I have also written all sorts of other stories. I wrote that book on incompetence, and I have written magazine articles on lots of subjects. important issues like euthanasia. I wrote a letter to the president the last election asking whoever the president might be. It is an open letter to the president, asking that person to be true to the idea of faith, hope, and charity. I mean, those are the rubrics for the story. Have I had an impact on American society? I would not go that far, but I think I have had a small impact in my little sphere of influence, in my little realm. The people who read the Inquirer, the people who read my book, the people who perhaps read my comm. I think I have gotten them to think I have provoke them. I have tried to be true to certain principles that I feel are important. The idea of fundamental decency, the idea of being what you pretend to be, of what we were talking about earlier, the Episcopal motto. To be rather than to seem to be. That is what I try to do.

SM (01:32:16):
How about influence you made on the people in the generation following you?

AC (01:32:24):
Well, I think I have had an influence indirectly in that. I mean, I have really tried to be honest. I mean, I have been a real big opponent of political correctness and I have had the guts to speak out about it. It has not been a good thing for my career at the Inquirer, to object to diversity training, to object to a lot of that phoniness and hypocrisy. A lot of people think I am a racist because of some of the things I have done. There's been a lot of name calling, and so been a price to pay for that, but I feel that I have been set an example for others, and maybe even some generation Xers, of the importance of adhering to your principles and speaking up when you feel that something is phony or hypocritical or a violation or an abridgement of the spirit of liberalism. I believe that I am a true liberal and that I am for maximum freedom. I am for maximum freedom. What I was saying earlier is that I feel that I am a true liberal and that I feel that I am a believer in maximum freedom. That is what liberal to me means, means free. Maximum freedom. Maximum freedom of expression. I do not want anybody telling me how to think and what to say. I do not want anybody telling me the politically correct [inaudible]. I do not want any institution forcing me to get a diversity training where I am going to be told, I am going to be forced fed propaganda about how to think about certain groups in our society, how to treat people. I do not think that has any place in an academic institution or a newspaper. I am for maximum freedom of expression. I am for maximum diversity, political diversity in the true sense of that. Not this cosmetic Benetton ad diversity of skin color and sexual organs, but real diversity of ideas. I mean, I would love the Inquirer to have some more, and I think David Boldt is a [inaudible] conservative. We need some raving conservatives on that paper and we need some raving radical lefties. I want to see a free for all of ideas and not this phony diversity that we have now, of if you have a Hispanic surname, then you are diverse. Even if you buy into the left liberal orthodoxy and group think of the newspaper. That is where we need the diversity, in terms of ideas and political outlook. I have battled that stuff and I think that, I hope that that is been an inspiration or an example to other people.

SM (01:35:01):
I am coming down to the end.

AC (01:35:02):
Okay.

SM (01:35:02):
I got three more here and make sure that is working.

AC (01:35:06):
It is turning.

SM (01:35:07):
Could you comment on the generation gap in the (19)60s and early (19)70s and the generation gap you sense between boomers and Generation X?

AC (01:35:15):
Well, there was certainly a generation gap during the (19)60s, between us and them, and them I guess was anybody over 30. It was our parents' generation and people who we deemed insufficiently progressive and hopelessly benighted. As I said earlier, I think there was actually the baby boomers, if you used the definition that people like, went... Oh, what was his name? Brandon Jones uses in his book Great Expectations for people from between (19)46 and (19)64. I mean, that almost to me encompasses a couple generations. I feel like there is a big difference in outlook between people born in 1950 and people born in 1960. As far as generation X people go. I mean, there is clearly a difference in spirit and a difference in expectation and the difference in outlook. In some ways, the young kids, the generation Xers, are very cynical. Much more cynical than even baby boomers, like myself, who were skeptical about the generation from the get go. I guess they expressed their cynicism in a kind of apathy, in a slacker. Backward baseball cap. Unwillingness to participate or aspire to anything. I mean, Digby Baltzell talks about how this generation seems to be aspiring downward. The whole notion of white middle class kids embracing ghetto rap, and to me it is symptomatic of that. It is sort of like we are going to admire and emulate to the lower or lowest elements in society as a way of basically shooting a finger at the establishment.

SM (01:37:36):
What, in your opinion, is the lasting legacy of the boomer generation?

AC (01:37:47):
The lasting legacy.

SM (01:37:52):
Is it too early?

AC (01:37:54):
It may be too early. Maybe our lasting legacy is that we will not leave a legacy that lasts. It is just quite possible that we were so morally plastic, that we were so spread all over the landscape, and that we were so bent on our own self-gratification that we kind of nullified social good that we purported to do in our more youthful, idealistic stage. I guess that is my feeling, is that we sort of canceled it. We canceled it all out, and that a lot of the things that we thought were so nifty and great and liberating and beneficial, that were going to advance the human race, that were going to represent an evolutionary step forward, tended to have tragic and awful unforeseen consequences. As I said earlier, I think that AIDS could be viewed as a direct result of the sexual revolution. I think that the crack cocaine culture that has destroyed American cities can be traced to Timothy Leary and the glorification of drugs, I think that we are responsible. I think that the fact that the American economy to such an extent is a house of cards and that we do not make things, we make deals today. All that is a result of the greed of the (19)80s, which flowed out of the me decade of the (19)70s, the self-absorption of the (19)70s and all that la-la land stuff that happened then. Which again, which flowed out of the age of Aquarius. If it feels good, do it. You only go around once in life, so grab for all the gusty you can get. That stupid poem that used to be on everybody's poster, that kind of declaration of that creed.

SM (01:40:24):
Do your thing.

AC (01:40:25):
Yeah, I will do your-

SM (01:40:26):
If by chance we should come together, it will be beautiful. Peter Max.

AC (01:40:29):
Exactly, that creed, which you saw it every single black lit room in hippiedom which was-

SM (01:40:36):
Peter Max.

AC (01:40:37):
Yeah.

SM (01:40:41):
Put that piece in back. What role, if any, does activism in the boomer generation penetrate the lives of their children's generation? Do you think there is any of that going into the children at all?

AC (01:40:53):
I do not see it. I do not see it, but I guess I have not really been studying it.

SM (01:41:03):
We did this, but I just want to read it. Do you think it is possible to heal within a generation where differences in positions taken were so extreme? Is it important to try to assist in this healing process? Should we care? Is it feasible? For example, during my many trips to the wall, I have been at several ceremonies of veterans in the audience. They hate Bill Clinton. They hate Jane Fonda, hate those who protested the war and never gave veterans a royal welcome on the return to the mainland. The wall has helped in a magnificent way, but the hate remains for those on the other side. Should an effort be made to assist in this healing beyond the wall? Your thoughts? Are you optimistic? Other words, what I am truly trying to say is, what I am trying to do with this project is to, in some small way, interview people who I think have some important things to say from all sides without being prejudiced or biased toward anything. I may have my own personal views, but my ultimate goal in this project is to do something to maybe, in my own small way, heal the boomers and heal American society in some small way. Some will say, I have already had some people say, "You have got to heal the generation? Impossible." I still want to try, based on the meeting that I had with Senator Muskie, that we had with our students who I may have reviewed to you over the phone, and certainly my Lewis Puller sending me a note saying, "Go for it." Things like this. I want to do it. It is something that has been driving within me.

AC (01:42:30):
Well, that is good. I mean, you're an example of the best that you have that passion you think and you think you can make a difference. That belief that you can make a difference. Other people may say, "You're an impossible idealist. You are just a Don Quixote and you're not going to do that. You cannot heal a generation." I think one person can make a difference. In my incompetence book, I told people that, and that was my message, is you are not going to change everything, but you can change things. You can have an impact in your own sphere of influence and that stuff ripples out and you do not know how it is going to affect.

SM (01:43:06):
Two years ago, I never thought I would be doing this, so I am doing it.

AC (01:43:06):
That is great.

SM (01:43:12):
I even thought of possibly developing this into a trilogy. The first one being the reality, which is the voices of boomers and veterans and the boomers, the book being the young people, the next generation, which is Generation X. The third one being a symposium on nine university campuses in the next, somehow three years. I do not know how to get the funding, but possibly the first two efforts would help with the funding, and that is on nine university campuses starting with September, October, November, December, whatever, bringing different panels together to try to bring the healing. That means to bring a Jane Fonda, if she'd be willing to do it, even though how you might feel, to bring her on the same stage with Don Bailey, our former auditor general who when he came to Jefferson, would not even sit down with us, who put the memorial together because he thought it was a political entity in Philadelphia and he was our auditor general. I think he had won a Purple Heart. That was another one of those magic moments where the divisions, my God, he would not even talk with Harry Gafney and Dan Fraley and the people involved in the memorial in Philly because he felt that this is just a political move. I am going to just ask these final two questions. Do you think that we will ever have trust for elected leaders again after the debacle of Vietnam and Watergate? If boomers’ distrust, what effect is this having on the current generation of youth? I think I asked that earlier, so I do not know if you have anything else to say.

AC (01:44:37):
I do not know. I get discouraged because I think that the system as it is presently constituted is so inherently corrupt that it is impossible for an honest, truly honest, decent man to let us say become president. I think you almost have to be insane and also somewhat pathological to succeed. I mean, to some extent, I think the people who run for that office are probably, if you evaluated them clinically, are pathological narcissists and megalomaniacs. As long as you have politicians who are willing to do anything or say anything to please lobbyist, to get campaign contributions and to get votes, you are going to have cynicism and distrust of certainly a political authority. People are just resigned to it. They are just resigned to the fact that politicians are cheaters and liars. Unfortunately, the ones we have at the moment have done nothing to disabuse us of that notion. I mean, Clinton and Dole, I think are what we have come to expect. I do not see, I mean, I cannot see that changing unless, well, I think a key step would be political finance reform. If these guys, and what Paul Taylor's trying to do, and there is another example of a single individual having impact trying to change things. Paul Taylor, the former Washington Post reporter who is trying to get the TV networks to give free time to political candidates, he used to work at the Inquirer. I know him a little bit. There is a guy, I mean, I do not know what he did during the, he is a baby boomer. I do not know what he did during the war. He went to Yale. I do not know. He is like a year or two older than I am. I do not know what he did, whether he was active in the anti-war movement. I do not think he was. He was a jock, but there is a guy who's continuing to act on his, he is still an activist.

SM (01:46:46):
Station one?

AC (01:46:47):
Yeah, I think he is. He got together with Walter Cronkite. You have not read about that?

SM (01:46:53):
No.

AC (01:46:54):
He got a lot of press and he has been on TV, public television a lot. They got a couple of the networks to agree to it to some extent. Remember I talked about effective activism, mature activism. There is a guy who is an effective activist, who is getting things done, changing things. Not by using four letterer words and placards and stuff like that, but by working within the system. He was a chief political writer of the Washington Post, and he quit because he just felt the whole system was diseased. How did I get off on that tangent? Oh, well, that is a step to this finance reform, relieving politicians of the burden of having to raise all this money for media time, TV time. If you do that, then the chances of getting some truly honest people, people who are able to maintain some semblance of integrity and run for higher office, is enhanced. I think once that happens, once you get people in office who act on their convictions and say what they mean and take on popular stands and defend those stands and explain why they took them, then I think you are going to see a regeneration of trust for political authority.

SM (01:48:08):
I am almost done. Make sure that is still running.

AC (01:48:11):
Still running.

SM (01:48:13):
When the best history books are written on the growing up years for the boomers, say 25, 50 years from now, what will be the overall evaluation of boomers? [inaudible 01:48:23]. Then how did the youth of the (19)60s and early (19)70s change your life and attitudes toward that and future generations?

AC (01:48:36):
Well, again, I guess it is hard to say whether I brought this with me or whether it was inspired by the (19)60s, but I am very skeptical generally, and again, I am very attuned to this discrepancy between appearance and reality. I am very, I guess Hemingway once used the phrase in describing someone as having a built-in shit detector. I have a very good built in shit detector. Having seen the theater and the moral and ethical transparency of my generation firsthand, I am very loathe to canonize or deify or hero worship anybody, but particularly my peers. I guess the bottom line is that I regard them as human beings, and therefore I know that they are probably as bad as they are good or as good as they are bad. That you get both. Both come with the package when you are dealing with human beings. While I think the baby, boomers are special in terms of their numerical preponderance, I do not think that they have any special claim to moral superiority or enlightenment or social beneficence.

SM (01:50:28):
Last question. Here it is.

AC (01:50:29):
Okay.

SM (01:50:33):
You believe they could have impact on society and government policy in the (19)50s, (19)60s and (19)70s vis a vis Vietnam policy, the draft, civil rights legislation, non-violent protests, multiple movements. In other words, a sense of... How is society resisting this today and why, in your own words, do the sons and daughters of boomers feel less confident about their ability to have an impact on society and sometimes a less desire and seemingly less opportunity? Am I wrong in assuming this in the question? Let me just mention that I work with a lot of college students and I have been in higher education for 17 years at four different universities. I left for a while, but my love for higher education was such that I came back. One of the things that I see overall since that a lot of today's college students that I come in contact with are either wish they lived in that era so they could have meaning to their lives, or they look upon it as a nostalgic period. Oftentimes we will criticize boomers when they talk about civil rights and issues that were important in their day but are still important today. When we try to say that the impact on race relations in society is still we have a long way to go, they will say, "Oh, the civil rights, I mean, you are just bringing up something that was very important to you, but it is not as important to us." That concerns me. If we could get beyond this image of what the boomers were all supposedly about, what the media has portrayed them as, and look at some of the substance of the issues that were involved in that time, that some of that still carries over. I think we are failing to do that today with a lot of the young people. You ask a lot of young people, what is the most important thing? The most important thing is getting a job, making money. That was certainly a takeover from the (19)80s, but making money is very important for them and volunteer. A lot of want to volunteer in their community. We are not saying that students do not care about others, but I get a sense that they are looking out for number one. In the long run, number one is all that really counts, and that concerns me.

AC (01:52:45):
Well, I think you are right. I mean, I am not as close to the kids as you are clearly. I mean, you I am sure have a very educated sense of who they are and what they feel and what they stand for. That is my sense. That is my long-distance sense of the kids today. I think that they have a feeling that they missed out on the big battles and they missed out on the fun. When they look back at the (19)60s, they feel like they missed the boat, that sort of all the major challenges have already been addressed and to some extent conquered. That all that rebellious adolescent fun is over as well. We had the luxury of kicking up our heels and doing it with high moral dudgeon, having a blast while at the same time fostering the illusion that we were doing some good. Clearly the times have changed and the kids today do not have the luxury, I do not think, to do what we did. As I said earlier, we had the privilege and luxury of dealing with these big issues and these big problems. We did not have to worry about getting jobs right away. We were not living in an era of shrinking resources and diminished horizons as these kids are. I mean, we were living in a time when we expected to do better than our parents and to enjoy a better standard of living than our parents. We expected the American engine of plenty and affluence and cornucopia to continue and that this tide would continue to rise and that we would be buoyed with it. I do not think the kids feel that way today. They know that the American century is over, even before the century has closed. They know that they are likely not to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents, and to live in a much more Darwinian, dog eat dog kind of world, a global multinational kind of world, which is much more unpredictable and scary. These are the kids who come out of college with $100,000 worth of debt and have to go back home and live with mom and dad sometimes till they are 30 years old. It is not the same time. It is not the same time and not the same world. I can see why they feel resentment and a sense of wistfulness and nostalgia, and I can see why they are contemptuous of us as a bunch of spoiled brats who kind of got it all, who were hogging all the good jobs and who were irresponsible and want to prolong it. I mean, I can see why it maddens them to see us try to prolong our youth. These 45-year-olds cavorting around being obsessed with fitness and getting plastic surgery and acting like they're still in college.

SM (01:56:24):
I guess I am done, but do you have any final comments you wanted to say at all? Any general concluding remarks?

AC (01:56:30):
My only concluding remark is to carry on. You are doing the Lord's work. It is a good idea. Good luck with your endeavor.

SM (01:56:38):
Well, thank you very much for being involved. Thank you very much.

AC (01:56:43):
You are very welcome. It is my pleasure. Snap. You are very welcome.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview

ND

Interviewer

Stephen McKiernan

Interviewee

Art Carey

Biographical Text

Art Carey worked as a reporter, staff writer, editor and columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 34 years. He has a Bachelor's degree in English from Princeton University and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Carey has won several state- and national-level journalism awards for his newspaper and magazine articles.

Duration

116:47

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University Libraries

Digital Format

audio/mp4

Material Type

Sound

Interview Format

Audio

Subject LCSH

Journalists; Editors; Philadelphia Inquirer; Carey, Art--Interviews

Rights Statement

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Keywords

Radicals; Social activist; Students for a Democratic Society; Vietnam War; Liberation movements; Journalism; Tom Hanks; Voluntarism; Gordon Gekko; Assassination of John F. Kennedy; Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Lunar landing; Watergate; Bill Clinton; Robert F. Kennedy; John F. Kennedy; Activism

Files

Art Carey.jpg

Item Information

About this Collection

Collection Description

Stephen McKiernan's collection of interviews includes more than two hundred interviews with prominent figures of the 1960s, which were collected between the mid-1990s and 2010s. The collection provides narratives of people who were actively involved in or witnessed events in the 1960s, an era which spurred profound cultural and… More

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Citation

“Interview with Art Carey,” Digital Collections, accessed July 25, 2024, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/895.