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1975, the year the founders of this site were born, represents the lowest birthrate for over twenty five years in either direction an enormous trough between the baby boom and the cocaine-fueled orgy which has spawned Gen Y. What accounts for the reluctance of Americans to breed during this period? Vietnam? The Cold War? The miserable economy? Cultural bankruptcy?
This last point is debatable, as we think the mid-70s was a sort of fulcrum of many cultural and artistic events, a time balanced between hope and cynicism. It was an interesting period in pop music history, at the tail end of the second flowering of the 60s generation (Planet Waves, Still Crazy After All These Years, Diamonds and Rust, etc.), and at the cusp of the punk explosion. It was the decade that saw the civil rights progress of the 60s start to expand into gay rights and feminism, with further exploration of Soul and Native American rights (Buffy Sainte-Marie on Sesame Street). It was a time when environmentalism began to be embraced by large segments of the U.S. population, exemplified by the rise of vegetarianism (Diet for a Small Planet was published in 1972) and dreams of solar power and back-to-the-earth. It was a brief gasp of liberation, moving away from the McCarthyite repression that extended from the 50s well into the 60s, but before the right-wing backlash of 1980, which brought the absurd and ill-conceived war on drugs and a 15-year backslide in civil rights. The mid-70s saw a burgeoning interest in technology and innovation, manifested in an appetite for funky European products like Birkenstocks, Legos, Swedish cars, and mind-bendingly-good Hi Fis. This was the embryonic period for the personal computer, one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 20th Century. It was, in short, a great time to be living in San Francisco.
It was also the middle of a sometimes frightening decade. The fascist Franco regime fell, but it was also the peak of the oil crisis. Growing awareness of the horrific effects of wide-scale use of pesticides and nuclear power necessitated a new environmental consciousness. Americans, particularly, were starting to become bitterly cynical about politics and government accountability, in the aftermath of the first of many widely covered Republican presidential scandals, which culminated in Nixon's registration. This came on the heels of a years-long useless and inexplicable war on the other side of the planet, waged by the power elite, with accountability to no one. Fascism and lawlessness were alive and well domestically, too, as evidenced by the internationally-condemned conviction of Leonard Peltier, which followed militaristic U.S. government strikes in 1973 against Indian protests of treaty violations. The U.S. government's actions demonstrated a preference for uranium mining rights over limpid concepts such as law, constitutionality, and national sovereignty.
It was a grim and uncertain time to bring a child into the world, but was also painted by optimism and the ideals of the 60s Left, as well as the increasing penetration of television and advertising into the cultural mainstream. The result is another lost generation a tiny segment of the population that is stuck between Gen X and Gen Y, sharing traits of both but belonging to neither.
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