The article was about a university professor who wanted his students to understand what the 1950s, '60s and '70s were all about. His class was called: "Talking About My Parent's Generation: Understanding Baby Boomers and How They've Shaped Us." Along with his lectures, class discussions and homework, he gave them a list of ten required books and a reading packet of 52 essays, articles and book excerpts, as well as 13 optional period films shown outside of class. The object of the course was to help close the generation gap, and to earn their credit, the kids had to learn about the boomers' world.
I found it interesting, because I wanted to know how many of his required books we have either in our own library or in the PINES Library System. Here's his list of books:
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Hippie by Barry Miles
- The Movement and the Sixties by Terry H. Anderson
- A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
- The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and The Legacy of Vietnam by Jerry Lembcke
- Boomsday by Christopher Buckley
- The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
- Younger Than That Now: A Shared Passage From the Sixties by Jeff Durstewitz & Ruth Williams
- The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy by Leonard Steinhorn
- Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female With the Mass Media by Susan Douglas
and this magazine
- Mad About the Sixties, Mad Magazine (recommended)
I found out I could check out everyone of those items through the PINES system! Now, that's what I call a winner!There were a few items from the reading packet I could get also, such as:
- Jack Newfield's "The Beat Generation and the Un-Generation" from A Prophetic Minority
- Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" from Why We Can't Wait
- Betty Friedan's "The Problem That Has No Name" from The Feminine Mystique and
- Abbie Hoffman's "Looking Back on Woodstock" from Soon to Be a Major Movie Picture.
As for the movies, ones like Rebel Without a Cause, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Big Chill, I'd seen those. The others I felt I could check out from some local video store. . .unless they were considered old, really old.
Why am I telling you this, you wonder. I guess because I see it as another way we can learn about each other and understand better what people have gone through to bring us to this point in our lives. My parents' world was so different from mine, and mine is so different from my children's. We need to understand the different generations, the choices they had to make, and how those choices affected not only their lives, but affect our lives today. Will that help explain the hole in the ozone layer and change in temperature, or the rise in gasoline prices, or why everyone is now wanting organic foods? Probably.
Maybe if more parents and children had conversations about the things, the events, the experiences that shaped who they are, it would create a deeper level of understanding. Afterall, we really are alike, whether we admit it or not. And everyday we are creating history. If you think about it very long, it stuns you.