Feb 18, 2008
By Will Pfeifer
If there's one thing I'm sick of hearing about, it's the 1960s.
I was born in the so-called Summer of Love (that's 1967 for you
whippersnappers out there), so I don't actually remember the decade.
But that hardly matters, because for my entire life I've been
subjected to endless Beatles tunes, hazy Woodstock memories and
passionate Baby Boomer diatribes about how great the '60s were, but
you really had to be there, maaaan ...
So it was with some trepidation that I slipped "1968 with Tom Brokaw"
into my DVD player. Could the man who put "The Greatest Generation"
in the spotlight make me look at the swingin' '60s in a whole new way?
No, not really. But his DVD isn't a bad way to kill an hour and a
half and pick up a few interesting history lessons.
Essentially, "1968 with Tom Brokaw" is a clip show taking us through
the 12 turbulent months of that year and there was no lack of
newsworthy events: U.S. forces took a big hit during the Tet
Offensive in Vietnam. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Democratic National
Convention in Chicago erupted in violence when police clashed with
protesters. The Beatles released the (wildly overrated, but that's
just my opinion) "White Album." Two U.S. Olympic sprinters gave the
Black Power salute during the medal ceremony, sparking global
controversy. Richard Nixon was elected president. A lot of hippies
took a lot of drugs. A lot of people complained about a lot of
hippies taking a lot of drugs.
Some year, huh? I'm sure it was hell to live through, but I have to
admit, it makes for spellbinding TV. Brokaw and company end things on
a positive note with the astronauts of Apollo 8 seeing the Earth for
the first time from space. It's a powerful, uplifting moment, but
frankly, anything would be uplifting after those 12 months of murder,
violence and chaos.
Besides the video clips, which are fascinating, Brokaw talks with
such '60s survivors as Arlo Guthrie, Michelle Phillips, Tommy
Smothers and Bruce Springsteen (who was 18 in 1968). He also talks
with "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who was just a kid in the '60s
but presumably brings some Gen-X appeal to this boomer-centric cavalcade.
Thanks, Tom. I appreciate the effort. And I fully expect to see a
much older Stewart hosting his own Blu-Ray DVD devoted to 2008.
Because so far it's been a pretty newsworthy year, too.
Will Pfeifer writes about new DVDs on Tuesdays and older ones on
Sundays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1244.