Central Park be-ins

Central Park Zoo, New York City, 1967
“In the 1960s, several ‘be-ins’ were held in Central Park to protest against various issues such as US involvement in the Vietnam War and racism. This park was a place where all of the different types of people that New York contained could mingle. During the 1960s America was involved in the Vietnam War. This war was a controversial one because many people were against the United States’ involvement in South Vietnam. Adding to the tension of the Americans against the war was the emergence of a generation of people who were a part of the counter-culture and believed that they should do anything possible to go against the establishment. When Central Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, this counter-culture generation decided that the park would be the perfect host for their demonstrations. On New Year’s Eve 1967, a group of one thousand people accompanied by music and geese burned down a Christmas tree in Central Park. The Parks Commissioner, Thomas P.F. Hoving, was present at the event. About this demonstration, he stated, ‘We’re going to do this again… you know, It’s old hat to go to Times Square when we can have such a wonderful happening in Central Park’. The Easter 1967 be-in was organized by Jim Fouratt an actor, Paul Williams editor of Crawdaddy! magazine, Susan Hartnett head of the Experiments in Art and Technology organization and Chilean poet and playwright Claudio Badal. With a budget of $250 they printed 3,000 posters and 40,000 small notices designed by Peter Max and distributed them around the city. …”
Voice – The 1967 Central Park Be-In: A ‘Medieval Pageant’
YouTube: BE-IN – 1967 – Central Park, New York – The Lost Ektachrome Footage – Easter Sunday

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United States v. O’Brien (1968)

United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled that a criminal prohibition against burning a draft card did not violate the First Amendment‘s guarantee of free speech. Though the Court recognized that O’Brien’s conduct was expressive as a protest against the Vietnam War, it considered the law justified by a significant government interest unrelated to the suppression of speech and was tailored towards that end. O’Brien upheld the government’s power to prosecute what was becoming a pervasive method of anti-war protest. Its greater legacy, however, was its application of a new constitutional standard. The test articulated in O’Brien has been subsequently used by the Court to analyze whether laws that have the effect of regulating speech, though are ostensibly neutral towards the content of that speech, violate the First Amendment. Though the O’Brien test has rarely invalidated laws that the Court has found to be ‘content neutral‘, it has given those engaging in expressive conduct—from wearing of black armbands to burning of flags— an additional tool to invoke against prohibitions. …”

Posted in Draft board, Pacifist, Vietnam War | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You (1963)

“Biographies of Dusty Springfield invariably state that her 1964 debut solo smash, ‘I Only Want to Be With You,’ was the first major overseas hit scored by a British act following the rise of Beatlemania. A chronological coincidence, perhaps, but it nevertheless bears mentioning that like the Fab Four before her, Springfield conquered the U.S. charts with a sound inspired almost completely by American rock & roll and R&B — occupying the middle ground between the Wagnerian teen pop operas of producer Phil Spector and the string-sweetened sophistication of the Motown sound, ‘I Only Want to Be With You’ ranks among the great white soul records of all time, a swooning, dramatic pledge of devotion wrought with rare emotional depth. Sonic similarities aside, it’s the passion and conviction of Springfield’s performance which sets ‘I Only Want to Be With You’ apart from the Spector-helmed girl group hits of the Ronettes and the Crystals; though in many ways her most exuberantly hopeful vocal, it nevertheless hints at the vulnerability and desperation of later ballads like the magnificent ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and ‘All I See Is You,’ revealing an almost unsettling longing in its portrait of romantic euphoria. …”
YouTube: I Only Want To Be With You

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Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (1899)

“Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1899, then later as a novella in the 1902 collection Youth: A Narrative; and Two Other StoriesA complex and controversial ‘meditation on colonialism, evil, and the thin line between civilization and barbarity,’ Heart of Darkness gained literary stature during the 1950s and 1960s, before peaking in the late 1970s–precisely around when Francis Ford Coppola released Apocalypse Now, a film loosely based on Conrad’s tale. What halted the novella’s momentum was a stinging rebuke from Chinua Achebe, father of modern African literature, who criticized the way it ‘projects the image of Africa as ‘the other world,’ the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization…’ Despite the controversies surrounding the text, Heart of Darkness remains widely read in American high schools and universities. And, notes Harold Bloom, it has ‘had a striking influence on writers, artists, and thinkers from all over the globe.’ …”
Open Culture – Free Audio Book: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Read by British Actor Hayward Morse (Audio)
W – Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Guardian: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – a trip into inner space

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Attack on Camp Holloway

Pleiku area and Engineer Hill
“The attack on Camp Holloway occurred during the early hours of February 7, 1965, in the early stages of the Vietnam War. Camp Holloway was a helicopter facility constructed by the United States Army near Pleiku in 1962. It was built to support the operations of Free World Military Forces in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. In August 1964, the United States Navy reported they were attacked by torpedo boats of the North Vietnamese Navy in what became known as the Tonkin Gulf Incident. In response to the perceived aggression of Communist forces in Southeast Asia, the United States Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution which enabled U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to deploy conventional military forces in the region to prevent further attacks by the North Vietnamese. Immediately after the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed, Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnamese Navy bases in retaliation for the reported attacks on U.S. Navy warships between 2 and 4 August 1964. However, the Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam were not deterred by the threat of U.S. retaliation. Throughout 1964, the Viet Cong launched several attacks on U.S. military facilities in South Vietnam but Johnson did not start further retaliations against North Vietnam, as he tried to avoid upsetting U.S. public opinion during the 1964 United States Presidential Election. …”
W- Pleiku Air Base
W – Pleiku
YouTube: Showdown in Vietnam: Pleiku, 1965

Camp Holloway

Posted in General Westmoreland, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Lyndon Johnson, North Vietnamese, Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, Viet Cong, Vietnam War | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hard Hat Riot

“The Hard Hat Riot occurred on May 8, 1970, in New York City. It started around noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked some 1,000 college and high school students and others who were protesting the May 4 Kent State shootings, the Vietnam War, and the April 30 announcement by President Richard Nixon of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. The Hard Hat Riot, breaking out first near the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street in Lower Manhattan, soon spilled into New York City Hall, and lasted approximately two hours. More than 70 people, including four policemen, were injured on what became known as ‘Bloody Friday’. Six people were arrested. … At 11:45 am, about 200 construction workers converged on the student rally at Federal Hall from four directions. Nearly all the construction workers carried U.S. flags and signs that read ‘All the way, USA’ and ‘America, love it or leave it’. Their numbers may have been doubled by others who had joined them as they marched toward Federal Hall. A thin and inadequate line of police, who were largely sympathetic to the workers’ position, formed to separate the construction workers from the anti-war protesters. At first, the construction workers only pushed but did not break through the police line. After two minutes, however, they broke through the police line and began chasing students through the streets. The workers chose those with the longest hair and beat them with their hard hats and other weapons, including clubs and steel-toe boots. …”
New York Times , May 9, 1970
Reason: Forty Years after the Hard Hat Riot, A Different Response from Organized Labor to Wall Street Protests
Jacobin: The Myth of the Hardhat Hawk
YouTube: RICHARD NIXON TAPES: Welfare loafers, Hard hats, & Democrats (1). April 21, 1971, White House Telephone. “President Richard Nixon talks with aide Chuck Colson about the reaction of the ‘hard hats’ (construction union members) to his welfare stance. They also discuss a Vietnam War veterans protest (‘God, it’s an awful looking group’), an article about Edmund Muskie and Trotskyites, and the Supreme Court and busing. … He wants Colson to ‘have a little fun with them’ about this.”

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The Deer Hunter – Michael Cimino (1978)

The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers whose lives are changed forever after they fight in the Vietnam War. The three soldiers are played by Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and John Savage, with John Cazale (in his final role), Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza playing supporting roles. The story takes place in Clairton, Pennsylvania, a small working class town on the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, and in Vietnam. … In Clairton, a small working class town in western Pennsylvania, in late 1967, Russian-American steel workers Michael ‘Mike’ Vronsky (Robert De Niro), Steven Pushkov (John Savage), and Nikanor ‘Nick’ Chevotarevich (Christopher Walken), with the support of their friends and co-workers Stan (John Cazale) and Peter ‘Axel’ Axelrod (Chuck Aspegren) and local bar owner and friend John Welsh (George Dzundza), prepare for two rites of passage: marriage and military service. The opening scenes set the traits of the three main characters. … The next day, Mike, Nick, Stan, John, and Axel go deer hunting one last time. Mike is exasperated by his friends, especially Stan, who drinks and clowns, showing little respect for the ritual of hunting, which to Mike is a nearly sacred experience. Only Nick understands Mike’s attitude, but he is more indulgent toward his friends. Mike goes hunting afterwards and kills a deer with one clean shot. Act one finishes with the friends arriving back at Welsh’s bar, with Michael’s deer strapped to the hood of the car. …”
Vanity Fair: The Vietnam Oscars
Roger Ebert
YouTube: The Deer Hunter – Trailer, Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken – The Deer Hunter, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage – Fuck it scene, Bar scene – Frankie Valli, Nick (Christopher Walken) suffers a nervous breakdown

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