The chroniclers of the 1960's and 70's--Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson--ultimately took a dim view of the protest movements and spiritual fervor of the times. The great gathering of Woodstock, the march on the Pentagon, and the debacle of Chicago were media sensations but fell short of expectations. The idealism felt wasted, despite Nixon's resignation and the brutal winding down of the Vietnam War. The decade of Reagan seems like the vindication of this cynical narrative, when any vestige of the Beats and the hippies was ground to dust by the relentless narcissism and greed of
the urban elite. And lo, what have we now?