“I think movements create leaders, leaders don’t create movements.” – Mark Rudd
Every time I think I know as much as I can about the sixties, there’s always something introduced that surprises or astounds me, and believe it or not, while “1968” does tell some stories and accounts some events that we’ve seen over and over again, Tom Brokaw brings to the table the perspective of a journalist who happened to be around during some of the most historic moments of American history, and gives an objective view of the sixties. In the two hour special, aptly premiering a day after the twenty seventh anniversary of John Lennon’s death, Brokaw interviews ex-hippies, activists still fighting for freedom in our country, and right wing politicians all of whom have a different view of the sixties than the host does. Brokaw gladly doesn’t depict himself as important, only an observer who was there, and feels the need to show how astonishingly similar 1968 is to the social and political climate of 2007, and these aren’t simply coincidental, either. In one scene, Lyndon Johnson declares how we must go to war in Vietnam and fight over there before the communists come here.
It’s a common scare tactic used by the Bush administration and only solidified my interest in the documentary. Brokaw and the History channel simply don’t disappoint with an excellent account of the sixties and the entire movement for civil rights, feminism and free love, while also showing the hardships of the movements. The sixties were a time where the draft was taking people of any color to war, and protests raged while some of the best leaders fell to the gun. Not a single stone is unturned as we are given interviews with folks like Mark Rudd, and Jon Stewart and take a look into the awfully subversive legacy that was the Smothers Brothers, and their battles with network censors over their anti-war movement and the satirizing. “1968” is a very informative look at a historical decade and a wonderful exploration at the year that signaled change for better or for worse.
Premiering on the History Channel December 9th.