1968

For months we had been bombarded on television with horrendous, uncensored images of the war in Vietnam. In March, American soldiers massacred 347 at My Lai. Two weeks later, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the target of anti-war rage, said he would not seek re-election. In April, Martin Luther King had been assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis Hotel, and the inner cities exploded. Just days later SDS students at Columbia barricaded themselves in the president’s office while black students occupied a separate building. In May, Parisian students went on strike, tearing up the cobblestones of Paris. A few weeks later, moments after victory in the California primary, Bobby Kennedy was murdered in the kitchen of a Los Angeles Hotel. A few days before, a marginal member of Andy Warhol’s circle, Valerie Solanas, also founder of SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men, shot him in the stomach. Prior to the shooting, she had written a manifesto calling for “systematically fucking up the system, selectively destroying property, and murder.”