Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Know It's 40 Years Too Late, But I Really Hate Jerry Rubin

A few weeks ago the wife and I were out book hunting and I came across a beat up paperback copy of "Do It!", a loud and boisterous call to revolution by Yippie leader and Chicago 7 defendant, Jerry Rubin.

Do It! (Simon & Schuster 1970)

Do It! is loud, brassy, filled with the energy and enthusiasm of youth with a purpose, and has half convinced me that the hardhats were right all along and that beating these guys over the head with clubs at the '68 Democratic Convention was the best option all along.

Look, the Vietnam War was wrong, America's Civil Rights record was abhorrent and people had every reason to rebel against the conformist lifestyle promoted by 1950's American culture, no argument there. And most people who were protesting against any of these things on the whole were decent enough young people whose hearts were in the right place. My problem though is that as I became more familiar with the so called "leaders" of the 60's youth movement, I've been consistently disgusted by what self-centered, egotistical creeps so many of them turned out to be.

And Jerry Rubin comes across in his own book, as more or less King Nozzle of Douche Mountain.

Here are a few choice quotes accompanied by pictures from the book....

A free society

"This generation gap is the widest in history. The pre-1950's generation has nothing to teach the post- 1950's, and that's why the school system is falling apart.
The pre-1950's Generation grows more desperate. We dreamers disturb straight Amerika's dreamless sleep.
They were alive when Germany created concentration camps for Jews and other troublemakers.
Will they send us, their own children to concentration camps?"

Flags of the Viet Kong, that beautiful yellow star...

"All we want from those meetings are demands that the Establishment can never satisfy. What a defeat if they satisfy our demands!" 

I did like this Freak Brothers page

"Go into a bank, business or office and demand to use the toilet. You'll be told, "No public bathroom here." Stand on one leg and whine loudly, "I gotta doo-doo."
Tell them if they continue to refuse , you'll shit on the floor.
Shit on the floor!"

Jerry knows bigboy words

"I thought to myself: "Kennedy - the jewel of Amirika: one bullet and the beauty, money, fame, power, a family dynasty all gone." Far out!"

Looks like Ron is going to be Far Out too.

Look, I know most of this stuff is the kind of crap lots of people spout off when they were young, energetic and very, very high, but the thing about Rubin that really gets me is that while reading the book it is quite clear that as far as Rubin is concerned he actually is a "Leader" of youth and because of that is owed a certain amount of deference and respect from the Establishment while making clear his absolute contempt for any view but his own.

Plus it really galls me to read Rubin describe the tactics of the "revolution" and realizing that their tactics were almost identical to what the "pigs" in the Republican Party were using.

Rubin writes with pride about infiltrating opposing groups, including fellow liberals and rigging speeches, events and debates, as well as fairly giggling about sending out false flyers that put what he saw as his fellow liberal competition in a bad light.

Reading Rubins self- indulgent tract it isn't hard to see why in the mid-70's Rubin gave it all up, coined the term "Yuppie" and went to work on Wall Street. What I see under the cover of his political theater is a man who is in his own way as interested in gaining power as any of the politicians he rails about.

Despite my feelings about Rubin, I do have to say that Do It! is an energetic read and does have a enthusiasm that is hard not to enjoy. I can't support it's call to revolution, but in the end I can still recommend the book itself to anyone looking for a slice of true counter culture ideology and a fascinatingly weird primary source historical document.

1 comment:

    I wanted to say to you that Mr. Rubin may have had his tongue so far up his cheek that he lost it. I wanted to say that, perhaps you confuse the messenger for the message.

    I wanted to say how sick I was of reading once-supposed idealists settling into jaded conservativeness. (Or worse, contemporary radical rightwingism.)

    I wanted to say other things along these lines to you.

    Then I read this line of yours: "Plus it really galls me to read Rubin describe the tactics of the revolution and realizing that their tactics were almost identical to what the pigs in the Republican Party were using."

    And then I remembered what Mr. Rubin became—and perhaps that's what he always was and your response is the accurate one.

    To know that, I’d have to reread the book again but I got stack of titles in front of me and ANOTHER ROADSIDE ATTRACTION and MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME) get priority.

    That said, I will be quoting your piece in one of mine. Hoping you don’t mind.

    Peace! Namaste,