PRINT December 1988


American Myths

BY NOW YOU'VE HAD plenty of time to reforget Patty Hearst, the 34-year-old granddaughter of Citizen Kane, a blip on the national radar screen who enjoyed one of her periodic resurfacings late summer with the release of Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst. It is Patty’s fate always to be the symbol of something—usually two things, often contradictory. Thus: Patty/Hearst, hippie/heiress, became a revolutionary/victim with her 1974 abduction by the terrorist Symbionese Liberation Army, and now—after the crucible of media notoriety, prison, and marriage—reemerges as her true self, a celeb/suburban matron.

As the bright mirage of Reagan fades, the counterculture that had been his original political opponent is reemerging in the realm of family entertainment. Still, the ’60s remain a mystifying interlude. Unlike the fondly mythologized ’50s, there’s no consensus as to what happened back then. The 1963–72

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