Back in the early 1970s, I fell in with four other young leftists, mostly fellow students at Washington University in St. Louis. They wanted to publish an underground radical rag, and “Notes on Everyday Life” was their suggested title. This came readily upon the discovery that the personal was political as well as vice versa, and that both were connected to the technology and social relations of production and distribution, something so all pervasive that it permeated all human culture. We were curious about how all this worked, but under it all we were unhappy about the inequities that resulted and the violence that the system depended upon. In 1972, for instance, the US was still engaged in the longest and most dishonest war in the history of the republic, while the US president was engaged in the most cynical and callous acts to date to undermine democracy. We didn’t figure we could do much about this, but by poking at the frayed edges of what seemed like a system, we felt we could raise a bit of consciousness, the more questions people would ask about what’s worth doing and what isn’t.
Little did we know then that forty-some years later the period of time we were so unsettled by would come to resemble a lost golden era, the point in US history when incomes and outcomes were closer to being equitable than before or since, a period of great reforms and transformations, a period of relative reason, one where the courts sided with an expansion of freedom, and after Vietnam one of relative peace and prosperity. But to be fair to ourselves, it now appears as though the tide had already turned — I now make the “peak oil” year of 1969 to have been pivotal, but the 1970s saw the emergence of an ever more aggressive financial class and the always corruptible American political system soon succumbed.
After a couple years, we moved on: one toward a sociology Ph.D., one wound up teaching remedial high school, one emerged as a slumlord in St. Louis. I became an amateur rock critic and a professional software engineer, only to find post-2001 events push me back into writing more about politics again. Sensing that my website had become torn between those interested in music and those preoccupied with politics, I thought it would be a good idea to sort my interests out into two relatively specialized websites, and I named each for an early effort at publishing: Terminal Zone for music, Notes on Everyday Life for more political interests — admittedly, a division we wouldn’t have embraced in the early 1970s, when Notes had much to say about music. Still, those sites floundered, with earlier iterations wiped out by a server failure. The first drafts of both were mostly cloned from my blog. I don’t really have a plan at the moment: just two domain names, a dedicated server, and some software to learn.
Certainly one way I might like this to develop would be if some young nerdy types were to pick up on the original ideas we were tuned into and apply them anew. Given how far America has backslid, much of what we thought all but too obvious forty years ago needs to be relearned today.