Sonny & Cher, Godfrey Cambridge And Irv Kupcinet Talk About Youth In 1970 – Past Daily Reference Room

We met the enemy and they were us.

We met the enemy and they were us.

 

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Kup’s Show – May 20, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Two things to consider – the people in the photo above are mostly all in their early to late 60s right now – some older, some younger. The children sitting in the front of that photo are in their 40s. The other thing – the date of this interview is May 20, 1970, a few weeks since the deadly demonstrations and shootings by National Guard troops at Kent and Jackson State Universities.

By 1970 the generation gap was a bottomless chasm existing between two groups of people; the old and the young, and the resentments were palpable. In 1970 it was still an issue of hair, of clothes, of protesting, of not accepting the status quo. And rather than arrive at some understanding, the gap became more pronounced, wider and much-much deeper.

And it was the stuff of discussions – hours and hours of them. Searching for a solution to a problem, seeking some common ground and understanding between two sets of people who saw things differently and couldn’t understand why the other didn’t understand. That was it in a nutshell.

But it went further than that. Because the generation who were coming of age throughout the 60s and 70s comprised the greatest number of people (i.e. consumers) – the mainstream saw them, not as adversaries, but rather as money spending commodities to pitch products – the aspect of the Youth Culture was now catered to in a way it never had been before. Every facet of consumer-oriented products; from music to food and shoes, was geared to this younger generation – this generation of the Baby Boom.

And the older generation saw their grasp on society eroding in favor of these new, young and seemingly self-engrossed kids. And they couldn’t understand why traditions were now under question – social structure was coming apart at the seams. And the hatred for what was changing all around them was seething.

This discussion program, hosted by newspaper columnist and TV personality Irv Kupcinet, brought together a diverse group of people – Sonny & Cher, comedian Godfrey Cambridge, Werner Klemperer (Col. Klink of Hogan’s Heroes fame), authors Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby) and Felice Gordon (The Pleasure Principle), to discuss this generational upheaval from each of their perspectives.

It’s a fascinating look at just how fractured our society was in the 1960s and early 70s. How, in some ways very little has changed – ironic since the people they were so worried about are the people themselves doing the worrying in 2014. But also how much has changed in the way of technology and communication. Still, it’s eerie to think that Baby Boomers look at Generation X and Millennials as the lost ones, and how they are perceived to be shiftless and without direction. And the Millennials look at the Boomers as slow, bloated and stuck.

it just never changes.

Here is that episode of Kup’s Show, as it was broadcast on May 20, 1970

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