No need to drill in Alaska, folks. One of our great untapped natural resources remains the sheer red hot hatred that Gen Xers like me feel towards unrepentant hippies and radical boomers, the people who saddled us with drugs, divorce and fourteen minute guitar solos.
You catch a whiff of this contempt in the comments at a new Chronicles of Higher Education piece called “The Night They Burned Ranum’s Papers,” in which one of the mysteries of the Columbia student uprising is finally solved:
At about 2:30 a.m. on May 22, 1968, as New York City police entered Hamilton Hall, on Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus, to clear it of demonstrators, files belonging to Orest A. Ranum, an associate professor of history, were ransacked, and papers documenting more than 10 years of research were burned. (…)
Now a key participant in the Columbia rebellion has made a startling confession. Mark Rudd, who was chairman of the [Students for a Democratic Society] SDS chapter during the disturbances [and later joined the Weathermen], acknowledges that a fellow radical, John “J.J.” Jacobs, set the fire in Hamilton Hall, and that he, Rudd, went along with the plan. The confession, a depressing postscript to the 1960s, solves a four-decade-long mystery.
It offers a grim testament to just how mean things got at Columbia, and a sobering reminder that not all student radicals were starry-eyed idealists. In more than a couple of cases, they were power-hungry extremists jostling for control of the student-protest movement. And Ranum had the audacity to get in their way. (…)
The papers were irreplaceable. They dated back to Ranum’s time as a student at the University of Minnesota, where he got his Ph.D. in history. The notes were going to lay the basis for a textbook on early modern European history that he had been commissioned to write…
Groovy, baby! Cuz burning a book in the making isn’t, like, fascist or anything! No way — it’s more like aborting a baby, and everybody knows abortion is cool, too!
These guys were real geniuses:
Neither argument had any effect on the protesters, who believed that the people of Harlem were going to rise up and join the demonstration, turning a campus rebellion into a biracial revolt. To Ranum, that was fanciful thinking. The radicals, most of them upper-middle-class white kids, spoke a language most Harlem residents would find incomprehensible: the language of Marxism.
(Say, doesn’t that sound a lot like what Charles Manson was trying to do? That’s just a coincidence, though…)
Naturally, the Columbia radicals were cheered on by the liberal media elite and its readership:
The fire should have turned public opinion against the protesters, but some liberals were so awed by the radicals, and guilt-ridden about their own inaction, that they went into denial.
The literary critic Dwight Macdonald, writing in The New York Review of Books, said that while he found the arson “base and disgusting,” he doubted that SDS was responsible. He went on raising money for the organization, from which, within a year and a half, the violent Weathermen faction would emerge. On March 6, 1970, three members of that group, making bombs in a town house in Greenwich Village, accidentally blew themselves up.
PS: that bomb was being built to murder hundreds of servicemen and their dates at a Fort Dix dance. Funny how that part, and the culpability of Obama’s friend Bill Ayers, gets ignored in this article.
And as a matter of fact, stuff like this did turn the general non-elite public against the hippie radicals — but to date, nobody’s made an all-star, big budget, Oscar winning movie about, say, the Hard Hat Riots. Oddly enough!
Anyway, it’s not a movie, but a fellow Gen-Xer and I put together this “campaign ad” in 2008. Hey, did I mention how mad we are?