Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Culture war casualty

I was in Arkansas last week, so couldn't write for a few days there. . . then I had a buddy from the home-town come in over the weekend, so I played tour-guide for a couple of days after I got back. So busy with work and company, the blogging's been scarce, but I'm pretty sure I'm back.

My folks were in town week before last, and stayed through the weekend as well. I love them dearly, and they are both pretty cool, albeit getting to the "old" point where they go to bed at 9:00 and wake up at like 5:00 a.m., which puts a little crimp on the "sleeping in" on the weekend.

My parents have always been pretty square, but I mean that in a very good way. My dad got drafted into the Army in 1965 and got out in '67. He had a good time of it, and he always spoke of his Army days fondly. When he was in, it was before Vietnam started getting too unpopular, and he did his patriotic duty with pride, so when he came out and enrolled in college in Northern California, I think it was a bit of a culture shock for him. He married my mom in 1969, and like him, she was from rural-America, and had pretty conservative values.

What's funny now, in cultural hindsight, is that the lefties won the culture war of the 60's. It's pretty hip to say "my parents were hippies," and tons of folks (like the ex's dad) claim to have been at Woodstock, etc. But that wasn't my experience at all. My folks disliked hippies, and were of the "better dead than red" mentality during the Cold War. A whole lot of Americans had to be like them, but apparently they didn't admit it. And my folks were total Democrats -- it's not even like they were hawks or anything. They just didn't suffer fools gladly.

I was reminded of all this when they were here last week, and my dad told me that he recalled being in the Army and Barry Sadler's "Ballad of the Green Berets" was the most popular song at the USO club. I chalked that up to it being a USO, but looked it up in Wikipedia, and the friggin' song was number one for five weeks in 1966, and the number twenty-one song of the 1960's, proving that there must have been a ton of "squares" out there besides my parents. The song hung around our household through the vinyl era, and I still get shivers down my spine when I hear it.


Unconscious said...

Yeah I totally got chills with that. I just know that my father was there too, and chooses not to talk about it, and rarely can handle watching a movie that accurately depicts the war.

Side bar: Do you think this singer is a true Green Beret, or just has the clothes due to him having the best look and voice for the part?

Jack Gordon said...

That is SSgt Barry Sadler, all right, and he was a Green Beret medic. We've come a long way -- as unpopular as our current war is, everybody still understands we should support our troops.