Saturday, December 01, 2007

Children of the roaring 20s

Crooked Timber sent me to a 1957 article in the Atlantic monthly by Nora Johnson, who's book was later turned into an early Peter Sellers movie. A quick search didn't turn up a bio, but I assume she was born around 1935 -- a bit younger than my mother. She's 72 now, and likely living still.

I wonder what she makes of the old article.

The part that caught my eye was reflections on having parents who'd led wild and crazy lives. No, not in the 1960s. In the 1920s...
Sex and the College Girl

...Our parents kicked over so many traces that there are practically none left for us. That is not to say, of course, that all of our parents were behaving like the Fitzgeralds. Undoubtedly most of them weren't. But the twenties have come down to us as the Jazz Age, the era described by Time as having "one abiding faith—that something would happen in the next twenty minutes that would utterly change one's life," and this is what will go on the record. The people living more quietly didn't make themselves so eloquent. And this gay irresponsibility is our heritage. There is very little that is positive beneath it, and there is one clearly negative result—so many of our parents are divorced. This is something many of us have felt and want to avoid ourselves (though we have not been very successful). But if we blame our parents for their way of life, I suspect we envy them even more. They seemed so free of our worries, our self-doubts, and our search for what is usually called security—a dreary goal. I think that we bewilder our parents with our sensible ideas, which look, on the surface, like maturity...
Reads like Young Republicans of the Reagan eara.

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