Take just one well-known event: The Beatles' 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. This has been depicted with astonishing regularity as a pivotal cultural moment; in fact an entire movie -- I Wanna Hold Your Hand -- was built around it. And that Sullivan episode was indeed a major event in popular culture. But did you know that in 1961, 26 million people watched a CBS live broadcast of the first performance of a new symphony by classical composer Aaron Copland? Moreover, with all the attention that sixties rock groups receive, it may come as a surprise to learn that My Fair Lady was Columbia Records' biggest-selling album before the 1970s, beating out those of sixties icons Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and The Byrds.
I hate being so nostalgic about the Sixties.
That attitude toward women as objects may have worked for the late Sixties, but it doesn't do so now.
But the whole point of the Sixties was that you had to take people as they were. If you came in with us you left your class, and colour, and religion behind, that was what the Sixties was all about.
If you'll excuse a brief history lesson: most people didn't experience 'the sixties' until the seventies. Which meant, logically, that most people in the sixties were still experiencing the fifties--or, in my case, bits of both decades side by side. Which made things rather confusing.
You may say, But wasn't this the Sixties? Yes, but only for some people, only in certain parts of the country.
I worked for MI6 in the Sixties, during the great witch-hunts, when the shared paranoia of the Cold War gripped the services.
To continue what one had been doing -- which was Dante's idea of hell -- is, I came to see, and the vision frightened me, easy in one's sixties.
Like the Arthurian years at Camelot, the Sixties constituted a breakthrough, a fleeting moment of glory, a time when a significant little chunk of humanity briefly realised its moral potential and flirted with its neurological destiny, a collective spiritual awakening that flared brilliantly until the barbaric and mediocre impulses of the species drew tight once more the curtains of darkness.
If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.