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On my recent vacation I was back in San Francisco, where I spent a dozen years as a street reporter, and a place that was always referred to as "the city" when I was growing up in the boonies of the Sacramento Valley.
There on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle was a big take-out on the 40th anniversary of the now-infamous Summer of Love. The Chronicle raided the photo archives and dragged out all the old pics from the love in's and smoke in's and be in's of Golden Gate Park and the Haight.
It made me shudder to think I could have ended up in one of those pictures, and thank god I didn't. The mutton chop sideburns — which everybody had — are probably the most embarrassing detail.
But it struck me that people in my generation are having a spasm of weirdness about reliving their past right now. Maybe it just happens as the six-decade bell rings, but I think it is wallowing in a mud hole that is best left alone.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Bronson noticed the same thing in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, and quotes an exchange in a fresh interview of Bob Dylan. The poet prophet of the 60s is being questioned by Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, and Dylan refuses to relive the old protest days.
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"Do you think it's gloomy on the horizon," Wenner asks Dylan. "In what sense do you mean?" Dylan replies. "Bob, come on," Wenner says. "No, you come on. In what sense do you mean that?" Dylan demanded.
Bronson writes, Wenner tries again: "We seem to be hell-bent on destruction. Do you worry about global warming?" "Where's the global warming?" Dylan asks. "It's freezing here."
Dylan may have disappointed Jann Wenner and all of the old hippies who now drive a Prius and still like to lecture the rest of us. But for me, with that one exchange, he proved himself an intellectual hero all over again.
Thanks to Bronson and The Philadelphia Inquirer for pointing it out.
That's My Word.
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