Night Call – Dropping Out Of The American Dream – Eastern Educational Radio Network – September 27, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
America in the 60s. Age of the Counterculture. It had been brewing for some time. Glimmers appeared as cracks as early as VJ Day. The cracks widened in the 1950s. By the late 1950s the groundwork had been set. The Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, our changing attitudes about sex, our search for something different. Questioning who we were as people – not just us, but throughout the world. But America was in the spotlight. America was the ideal for most people outside our borders – we had it all – we had prosperity as we never had before. The American Dream was a virtue. But Americans were wary and Americans started to question: was this the whole thing? Was this what we as people were supposed to aspire to? Was this the future?
And it began the question of values, and more, the widening gaps in how we lived our lives, how we felt about things and how we saw ourselves in he grand scheme of things. We were falling into the chasm of conformity; that all would be okay if we just did everything the same as everyone else. That we didn’t question. That we adhered to the rules, whatever those rules actually were, since the list kept changing.
It blossomed in the mid-60s, when the Civil Rights Movement and the War in Vietnam brought all the questions and the dissatisfactions home – put everything under the microscope and drew attention to the imbalance and the inequalities that were us as people.
It probably didn’t help that Youth Culture was braced to become the dominant force in American politics and social values. That those under 30, the ones born right after World War 2 were coming of age and becoming involved and demanding things change.
And with protests, proclamations and manifestos came much hand-winging; those people of earlier generations looking for some answers – usually to the question: “what do these kids want?”. It was the dominating topic on many talk and discussion shows both on radio and TV all across America at the time.
One of those programs, a nightly staple of the newly inaugurated Eastern Educational Radio Network (forerunner to NPR); was Night Call a national call-in program, touted as the first of its kind. It featured a wide variety of subjects and discussions, most about race, youth and War. The program was produced by a consortium of Church organizations, which stressed very little in the way of religious discussion and maintained neutrality. Focusing instead on what was going on with people in America during these chaotic times.
This episode entitled Dropping Out Of The American Dream featured Father Malcolm Boyd, himself a priest but part of the radical clergy who were actively against the Vietnam War.
This broadcast comes from September 27, 1968 – a year that saw considerable social upheaval but also saw the election of Richard Nixon to the Presidency.
Not the easiest of times in America – and some of the most uncertain. Kind of like now.
And while you’re here . . .you know we don’t run ads – stopped running them more than a few years ago. The ads were noisy and pretty awful and they were a huge distraction, having to wade through a lot of useless barking in order to get to the good stuff. But we still have to pay the bills, and there’s a ton of them and they don’t like to wait. And so we ask you consider becoming a subscriber and support all the stuff we do every day by kicking in what amounts to being an Americano Grande every month to be part of the solution and not the problem. In todays bizarre economy it ain’t much – but it means a ton to Past Daily. All you have to do (and we make this as simple and pain-free as possible) is head over to Patreon (that red box just below that says “Become A Patron” that you click on) and check us out. You can do 7 days free just to kick the tires and take a test drive. And if you like us, hit the subscribe button and become part of our rather haywire little family. Not bad, considering we just want you to like us.