1966–1975 Peace & Protest

From the Summer of Love to Women's Lib, Gay Rights and Black Panthers

John had hoped for some good copy for the ads. But as it was, they had one thing that other films didn't. Alongside the large X is a box that says: "While designated X, preview audiences have also indicated that 'Female Trouble' includes scenes of extraordinary perversity and may be seen as morally and sexually offensive."

Now anyone who saw John Waters's previous film, "Pink Flamingos," knows just where this rejoinder is coming from. "They don't mean it's too dirty," says John. "They mean it's too ugly."


Don't tread on us: New York should secede from the Union
by Pete Hamill

June 23, 1975

Clearly this is the historical moment for the New Yorkers to revolt. We have spoken for years now about the need for statehood for New York [City], pointing out that it was absurd for say, South Dakota to have two senators for a population of less than a million, while New York essentially has none for a population of almost eight million (James Buckley being basically a national senator, representing fetuses and conservatives, while Jack Javits plays at statesmanship, supporting Republicans and Israel with more passion than he is capable of generating on behalf of New York). New York's money is taken by the Americans and plowed into defense contracts in Southern California, military aid programs for the likes of Franco and South Korea's General Park. It is used to maintain 250,000 armed men in Western Europe, at least six separate intelligence agencies, incredible bureaucracies in Washington and elsewhere. On the day that President Ford gave [New York mayor] Abe Beame the cold shoulder in Washington, the Americans were meeting in the Dominican Republic to guarantee $1.6 billion in loans to the Inter-American Bank, loans, by the way, that will be used to help build up the purses of Latin American millionaires at the expense of the people of Latin America. There is absolutely no way that a New Yorker now can have a say about the way his federal tax dollar is spent.

And there are reasons for this. Most of America hates New York. The citizens of America hate New Yorkers. They cannot stand our diversity, our great clanging mixed-up bowl of Jews and blacks and Puerto Ricans and Irishmen and Italians and Chinese and Poles and Cubans. They despise our energy, the great driving engine of our town that sends us into sweating, muling, ferocious contact with each other every day of our lives. In most of America, people leave their homes, get into the home on wheels they call cars, and drive to the larger homes called the office or the plant, where they work. In Los Angeles, you have to drive miles to see a black skin, unless the black skin belongs to the maid. The hicks and the boobs arrive in New York for their tours in the summertime, and they can't believe it: "Too much rushing around for my blood." Of course. Too much talent too. Too much energy. Too much intelligence.

So they have decided to kill us off. President Ford isn't going to help a Democratic mayor of this town. He is not going to bail out a Democratic governor who someday might run for president. Instead, it's easier to play the game of the Iron Noose. You make life intolerable in New York, and the middle class will move out. It will go to New Jersey and Long Island and Westchester, and will become Republican and fearful. There is nothing easier for a president to control than a fearful middle class. And once you have drawn the Iron Noose of middle-class whites around New York, it will choke to death.


CBGB'S Festival
A conservative impulse in the New Rock Underground
by James Wolcott

August 18, 1975

CBGB's Bowery and Bleecker location is not the garden spot of lower Manhattan, and the bar itself is an uneasy oasis. On the left, where the couples are, tables; on the right, where the stragglers, drinkers, and love-seekers are, a long bar; between the two, a high double-backed ladder, which, when the room is really crowded, offers the best view. If your bladder sends a distress signal, write home to mother, for you must make a perilous journey down the aisle between seating area and bar, not knock over any mike stands as you slide by the tiny stage, squeeze through the piles of amplifiers, duck the elbow thrust of a pool player leaning over to make a shot . . . and then you end up in an illustrated bathroom which looks like a page that didn't make "The Faith of Graffiti."

Now consider the assembly-line presentation of bands with resonant names like Movies, Tuff Darts, Blondie, Stagger Lee, the Heartbreakers, Mink de Ville, Dancer, the Shirts, Bananas, Talking Heads, Johnny's Dance Band, and Television; consider that some nights as many as six bands perform, and it isn't hard to comprehend someone declining to sit through a long evening. When the air gets thick with noise and smoke, even the most committed of us long to slake our thirst in front of a Johnny Carson monologue, the quintessential experience of bourgeois cool.

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