|The CBS network lineup: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1968|
Diversity. All we hear about these days is "diversity."
What is "diversity"? We certainly don't have ideological diversity among those most committed to the D-word today in the United States.
Racial and ethnic diversity seems more about building either an ideological monolith of rainbow hues or, alternatively, segregated racial and ethnic enclaves uneasily inhabiting common organizations, institutions or physical spaces.
Me, I think we ought to strive for variety, then go from there. If you're under 45, you probably have little memory of variety, which is what more or less -- sometimes more, sometimes less -- took place when shared common spaces were the norm and opportunities for, say, media self-segregation weren't. Of course, we all had our opportunities and mechanisms for self-segregation (and forced segregation) but we likewise had more spaces where interaction and cross-pollination was unavoidable. Like television.
THE BABY BOOM is the last generation to be forced in its youth, through prehistoric technology that had become just pervasive enough, to open itself a little bit to a lot of things.
We may not have had "diversity" (again, whatever the hell that might be) but we did on occasion achieve variety. That's not nothing, and in today's blasted moonscape of a political and cultural battlefield where warring monocultures try to cleanse America of the diverse Other, that long-ago variety begins to look like a lot.
And I really would have liked to hear the backstage conversation between Jefferson Airplane and Kate Smith.