Bill Murchison

Everywhere, the bars were falling. No longer did an undergraduate say to the dean, "Good morning, Dean." He said, "Power to the people, you fascist pig!" Jerry Rubin urged that we kill our parents. Groups such as the Weathermen undertook to bomb the Establishment into submission. The Black Panthers exhorted their followers to "get whitey." At the Woodstock festival-happening, it was "Hi! Whatcha doing with your clothes on?"

An environment like this doesn't precisely entrench public regard for self-restraint or for the morality of the middle classes. Toss into this stew the agitation for erasure of male-female distinctions, and if you can find a rule -- a social prohibition, a cultural injunction -- still standing anywhere, your eyesight exceeds my own. Forgive me, I mean apart from the rule of "Put out that cigarette, you scumbag!" For every American, male or female, who is outraged (on political grounds, if no other) that a famous man might Take Advantage, another can doubtless be seen yawning: Advantage? Whaddaya mean by "advantage"?

In this latter category of Americans, you won't find many of the wing-collared set: those who see rudeness, vulgarity and brute force as deadly to any notion of civilization and social order.

These, of course, have another query to answer:

Social order? What social order?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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