Copyright 2007, Iris Fanning. Now that summer is over, I’m almost sure I reflect on the fact that the Summer of 2009 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of 1969 -and what a summer that was!
It was a doozie if you look at it from my point and the things I’m interested in.
Had I been older thence, I reckon I will have noticed -and appreciated -what that time meant socially and historically, mind you. Consequently I don’t remember much of it from an adult’s standpoint. I work with clients every now and then whose lives are saved, improved, and are thriving thanks to the helpful privileges of prescription medication. Just like, Judy Garland died of an accidental overdose of the barbiturate/sleep aid Seconal on June She was only 47 -2 years older than I am now -and yet made show business history in those short years in movies, radio, concerts, and television, and became arguably the greatest gay male icon of all time.
Judy’s legacy is an example of how these medications must always be treated with respect, even reverene, lest they take over our lives. Her death was a lesson in what substances can mean to us. Her life is an example is that you don’t actually ought to live very long to make a lasting impression on the world. Bless those drag queens throwing rocks! Her death is rumored to have fueled the anger of gay men in the Stonewall Riots, in June, 1969, that marks the ceremonial beginning of the modern gay rights movement. That’s interesting right? Sometimes, a great loss like Judy’s death, can be an inspiration. Gay men re down barriers during those nights of rioting in NYC and paved the way for a more just, dignified, legitimate, respected, and mainstream existence than ever before.
Perhaps the darkest events of an otherwise sunny summer were the murders over two nights perpetrated by the youn gang under the influence of the crazed Charles Manson.
The fact that one man, insane and evil as anyone has ever been, could influence others to literally commit murders on his behalf on innocent people, boggles the sane mind.
Everybody loves a hero. Besides, the Manson Murders were also an example of the concept of collective trauma. Known groupies have idolized powerful bad boy men for centuries. That they should kill for him shows that mind control is a very real, dangerous thing, and underscores why a healthy questioning of authority -whether it’s ward Charles Manson or George Bush -is always a healthy thing. That said, this event, chronicled in the book Helter Skelter, and others has not lost its macabre appeal in Basically the golden summers of Los Angeles should never be similar. Perhaps not until 9/11/01 will such as large group of Americans feel the collective grief caused by one small well meaning group’s evilly selfindulgent malacious acts with such shared trauma.
That said, this event showed us that while we might generally try to love our fellow Man, we always have to reserve just a little fight or flight in the back of our minds to guard and protect ourselves, that evil exists, and that strengthening the mind with the ability for objective, critical thinking is a powerful ol that may be a part of each young man’s or woman’s emotional/intellectual/social development, lest they be at the mercy of an influential madman.
Native Angelenos will often tell how nobody in LA was quite as trusting after those events.
They lost some innocence. With that said, people locked their doors. They viewed others with suspicion. Considering the above said. Even so, Know what, I knew that the liberation, expression, and meaning of that festival meant a challenge to the status quo -status quos like racism, homophobia, sexism, and the general conservatism with which I grew up that I have generally learned to eschew at almost any turn.
While seeing news coverage of that event has fueled my admittedly rabid attraction to guys with long hair, I think to this day.
The Summer of 1969 also brought us the landing on the moon in July.
Sure, drugs used to serious abuse is a real poser, and I treat clients for these kinds of problems each day in my practice. It was difficult to see the dark, poor resolution images, yet I knew being that my entire family was gathered around the TV set, including my grandparents who were visiting, that this was a momentous occasion. With lousy sound quality coming from the major networks’ connection to the lunar capsule, I remember watching many hours looking at our kind of dark TV screen. With the Cold War, I think when we see how awfully conservative things got in the 80′s, greed is good, conspicuous consumption, the return of racism and homophobia, AIDS/HIV, and the hard Right turn in the country under the leadership of the murderous Darth Vader, we should do well to remember the 60′s and 70′s, and the momentous summer of 1969, that meant a lot to so many.