George Harrison, World-Music Catalyst and Great-Souled Man;
Success is important in America. So is fame, or if one cannot manage that, notoriety will do.
George Harrison, who died in December 2001, and his compeers, John, Paul and Ringo, might more readily be associated with the 60s, but Harrison’s obituaries concentrated on his use of his talents in the quieter life he led after the hysterical adulation of the Beatles’ early work together. To me Harrison represents what many of us did in the 70s. We put a life together. It was hard work, not very glamorous, brought few accolades, but a decade of consolidation laid a lot of groundwork for the future and preserved much that had been won in the past.
It was a decade of the Dr. Doolittle pushmipullu. Nixon opened the door to China and nearly brought down his own government. He violated the sovereignty of Cambodia, but ended the Viet Nam war. Ford and Carter were rather ordinary citizen presidents in an office which had become Imperial. We had not had a simple person in office since Harry Truman. We experienced a gasoline shortage and set the stage for both conservation and future exaggerated consumption.
For me personally, it was a time of kicking an addiction. Many countrymen joined me in a quiet revolution. At the time it was gently characterized as the fitness craze or California living. It truth, the habits of tobacco and alcohol consumption, eating patterns and attitudes toward exercise changed drastically in the 70s.
We are still dying of heart disease and lung cancer, obesity is now thought of as a disease, but many of us have recouped years of better living through a lack of chemicals. The simple energy and freedom from the bondage of addiction to any substance has allowed many of us to achieve minor but satisfying personal goals. As a nation we are collectively better off for our cleaner air and safer roads.
It seems to me that the “er” comparative is instructive. The goal is improvement, not a perfection we cannot attain. And I am reminded once more of those human cycles. How long will the preoccupation with fitness last?
©2001, Janet Taliaferro