Those nostalgic for the 1960s recall a playful time of bright colors, long hair and an exciting clash of old and new. But there are plenty of others who view the '60s differently—as the beginning of the end of Western Civilization, when brutish modernism and serial rebellion led to over-consumption and cultural corner-cutting, digitization and the rise of mass technology in the form of personal computers, email, the Internet, cell phones and, now, diminishing natural resources and the real-time lashing out of aggrieved parties worldwide.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Back to the 1960s—except seen through a rather different lens, one that views the decade's arts and architecture as a decadent start of a breakdown in values and culture. The result today, some would argue, is a frighteningly disposable culture where everything is a joke and the news has become pornographic realism, featuring hyper-active, opinionated anchors breathlessly relating horrible doomsday events like narrators of a shock film that won't end.
If you believe this—or even if you're curious about the dark side of pop, flower power, the pill and free everything—here's a look at Why I Hate the '60s, a revisionist BBC documentary that smartly makes a different argument for the decade's qualities in the U.K. and the world...
A special thanks to Jimi Mentis.
And in the Wall Street Journal this week, my annual new holiday-album favorites, (go here) featuring the soulful Braxton Family Christmas, Elizabeth Chan's new soon-to-be standards on Red & Green, country crooner Rhonda Vincent's Christmas Time, the Complete Johnny Mathis Christmas Collection (all five albums in one place), the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra's Joyful Jazz, and Peter Dijkstra conducting the Bavarian Radio Chorus on J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
Also in the WSJ, my conversation with actor-comedian Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Goldberg's on how sweet life was as a kid until his family moved to Plantation, Fla., and why he had to learn to be funny in a hurry (go here).
And finally, my WSJ chat with New Yorker journalist and surfer William Finnegan on the Animals' We Gotta Get Out of This Place and why it's always with him when he's on the board catching a curl (go here).