PRINT February 1989

Believe It or Not

American Myths

THE AMERICAN “1988” was a year in continuous comparison with sometime else. The crash of ’87 had everyone thinking “1929,” but the first half of ’88 was devoted to commemorations of “1968.” With the nominations of Michael Dukakis/Lloyd Bentsen and George Bush, the emphasis changed to “1960,” which, once the Duke proved himself anyone but JFK redux, elided the fabled Thousand Days with endless replays of November “1963.” (Bush, it should be noted, continued to run against “1968”—at one point creating a symbolic polarity between Easy Rider and Dirty Harry.1)

Before “1989” develops its own personality, let’s celebrate the 33rd anniversary of “1956,” arguably a time of unbridled revolutionary energy surpassing even the fetishized “1968” (if not the soon-to-be-commemorated “1789”). Talk about your global liberation: “1956” saw unprecedented black militancy and youth culture run wild at home,

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