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  • or two.

  • Uh, the fifties were time in America when we think there's a lot of repression kids were trying to break out.

  • That was rock and roll.

  • But it's a kid growing up.

  • Remember what the American dream was?

  • Remember what your parents told you the American dream was.

  • How does that square with what you?

  • My dad told me?

  • Ah, I would be.

  • I should be very happy to be earning $100 a week, $125 a week and I have a house one day in Long Island and maybe a job at the bank.

  • He was half kidding, but he was also serious that he was concerned about security by security.

  • I used to say, Nobody gets out of here alive, which was later paraphrase by Jim Morrison.

  • He said to say life is no bowl of Cherries.

  • When he got out of college in 1931 his most vivid and dramatic memory was with the Yale.

  • Education was turning out as a floor walker.

  • Begging for a job is a floor walker, the department store.

  • So he took him a long while to get his feet after college, and I think that profoundly affected him.

  • And he used to tell me that America did not come out of that depression until the Second World War and that he, being a Roosevelt hater, used to say that Roosevelt got all the credit for getting America the Depression, when in fact the war did.

  • So, uh, I grew up in a environment of strict conformity where I used to wear a tie and a shirt and ah, jacket every day I lived in New York City.

  • I did not go out on the street with without a tie on.

  • You felt naked on the street without a tie in the neighborhoods where I waas.

  • Uh, on the other hand, life had a very defined stability to it.

  • Everything was done at a certain hour.

  • My father would sit the bathtub at a certain hour, and I could always go and see him at that hour and talk to him.

  • Uh, was there a sense at that time that that was repressive was claustrophobic.

  • There was an essence to being normal that was driving kids crazy driving you crazy.

  • I did not realize that I I realized that in hindsight, when people tell me about it because the beatnik movement obviously stressed that Kerouac and people like that we're breaking out.

  • But as a kid, at that point in time, no, I had no sense of where that there was a problem with the environment.

  • I felt suddenly was wrong in the 19 sixties, in the early sixties, but in the 19 fifties it was fear and conformity and getting good grades in school and, ah, trying to grow up without getting into too much trouble.

  • You know, I think smoking cigarettes and maybe getting being a J D juvenile delinquent was about the level of nonconformity that you could go to.

  • You'd always be terrified of the kids that got kicked out of school, you know, because that always beat those kids two or three.

  • Your friends ago.

  • God, what's gonna happen to him?

  • You know what's good?

  • What's gonna happen to his life now that he's gone?

  • You know, um, when do you think the 19 sixties kicked in for you?

  • This this This time, that does not necessarily find itself by 19 sixties and 1970.

  • But this more kind of impressionistic called something was certainly well for mine.

  • My life paralleled.

  • The year is in in a certain way because I was born in 1946 at the dawn of the cold era Cold War era.

  • It's ironic because I grew up during all that.

  • You know, you're being scared of the Russians.

  • My father really scared me a lot about they're gonna take over the world because we're letting them and we are.

  • There's his conspiracy abroad from the Russian, the Communist conspiracy theory.

  • And I thought it was pretty frightening to a 989 year old, you know, and I believed it through the fifties and then And I suppose, when Kennedy came along, Kennedy, if you remember, did sell the Cold War idea at the beginning of his he changed, I think later and his can a presidency.

  • But it all started to come apart about that for me and for the United States, to my parents kind of divorce, ironically, and 60 to 63 which was a major shock.

  • Todo is 14 years old, and it was about the time that Kennedy was killed.

  • And then when Kennedy was killed, Mr Johnson committed us to Vietnam, and I think you saw this whole sort of questioning going on in America subconsciously was happening to me after a divorce situation was a bit like catching a ride on, if you know the book.

  • But Holden Caulfield was my was a bit of my anti hero at the time I ran away from school, I did a number of things that were similar, and I went to college at Yale University, and I really literally had a nervous breakdown without having than any of the physical symptoms of one in that it was suddenly stopped.

  • Nothing was working for me.

  • I couldn't get good grades anymore.

  • I couldn't work.

  • I couldn't study, couldn't concentrate.

  • I knew something was wrong with my system mentally that it was not getting enough out of America, not getting enough out of myself.

  • Unhappy.

  • And I said, Well, I'm gonna take myself out to the Far East because I've got I've got to find another way I've got to find another way of living.

  • I remember being particularly influenced by shows of Conrad's book at that point.

  • Lord Jim on about sailing the Southeast Asian sees and having that sense of freedom in another life, a second life so speaker.

  • That's what happened to me.

  • I went out.

  • There is a second life in 1965 to teach school.

  • It's a Chinese students high school students in in Saigon and Charlotte, Vietnam.

  • Was there a disillusionment at those times in the early sixties for you as a work with somebody in the baby boomer generation that America wasn't providing what it said it was gonna provide That wasn't being the country that professed itself to be?

  • Not yet.

  • No, I think, uh uh, I don't know what I was rebelling against.

  • All I knew is what something was wrong.

  • And I had to go find another system, find another, see what the rest of the world was like.

  • I was too young to make value judgments.

  • I was just But I was old enough to know that something was wrong.

  • And then I had to look, I just had to keep my eyes open and to go out to the Far East and to talk to meet new people and senior, the things seem to be the solution.

  • Ah, the disillusionment possibly, uh, starts with with a sense of, you know, I was one of the first kids to leave college.

  • That didn't start till 68.

  • But I think it starts with that sense of the lonely crowd.

  • David Reisman book A sense of conformity A my growing to Yale University in order to to turn into another time a suit on Wall Street TB a banker to be another member of Skull and Bones or the CIA.

  • You know, I'm not gonna be part of that assembly line of America and leaders and lawyers and white collar people.

  • I and I looked at them.

  • I saw the result through my father.

  • I used to go to Washington in New York and see those the results of the system.

  • And I think I was questioning it.

  • I wasn't sure what I could replace it with, but, uh, there was certainly a questioning or not.

  • What did you see in those people?

  • What were those values that you saw?

  • Um, I think you could sort of sum it up with what George Bush is today.

  • In 1990 I mean, types like George Bush guys who never read a book who never see a movie.

  • There's a bone home bonhomie.

  • Oh, there's a good friendship sort of macho friendship quality you slap on the back.

  • Everything is all right.

  • Uh, the world is in is be, you know, there's a seven.

  • I sense of order there, too.

  • There's no question that gives you sort of, sort of, ah sense of law and order, which are Mr Bush's.

  • He emanates those feelings.

  • Did you see when we when we talk about the Vietnam experience can you talk about it in terms of when you went, what you believed you were doing and when things Oh, boy, that's next 10 years.

  • Or like you know, you're talking about a roller coaster ride through adolescent hell.

  • Uh, I think that you see a lot of those feelings reflected in Born the Fourth of July and in platoon.

  • If you look closely and in fact, you know, I think if you look at my movie Wall Street, you'll see a kid that if I had every state at college and gone to Wall Street, I might have, you know, had some of those problems that Charlie did.

  • Xin er I think you know, I went to Nam is a soldier.

  • Eventually, in 67 8 and I saw things that just shocked me open my eyes.

  • I never be the same again.

  • I combat is a is a Syrian experience and devastating to know what your sense of life is worth Your sense of self, Uh, you have no illusions about yourself or what life comes down to.

  • It comes to a very basic thing survival.

  • And you see a lot of ugliness in your fellow man and young people.

  • I mean, it's a very genetic kind of thing.

  • It just is.

  • Bree did.

  • It's It's an inbred thing.

  • I try to deal with that in platoon at the lowest level.

  • You see, a certain type of man is gonna go a certain kind of way in a pressure situation, and other types of men are gonna do better things I think morally better.

  • So, uh, e I got a hand on an eyeful of that.

  • About 19 20 I came back and I guess I was like the Tom Cruise character and born in that I was not ready to condemn the war effort, But I certainly things were not working and sink.

  • My head and my heart were telling me two different things.

  • My head was saying yes, support the government support the troops be pay, you know, support your flag and my heart.

  • My body language is time.

  • He said it was wrong over there.

  • I don't believe what I saw.

  • I don't think we were doing the right thing.

  • I think we were hurting people.

  • And I think that we were hurting ourselves a lot.

  • And, uh So I came back to a very conflicted interstate, and I went through years of questioning and alienation and doubts and personal problems.

  • I went to jail at one point in America, 10 days after I got back from the Vietnam War for marijuana, which was another eye opener, because here in the jails, I saw another underclass of kids that I just left in Vietnam that were in jail without any really hopes of freedom.

  • Um, I was lucky enough to end will and and got the g I.

  • Bill on made short film dance took some of the pressure off of me that, you know, get non veterans have been screwed up is you know, you know, they say I don't know the numbers, but, you know, maybe more than 60,000.

  • All right.

  • Since the war.

  • In addition, to 60,000 dead over there.

  • We're talking about sides.

  • We're talking about alcohol related car accidents and but accidents.

  • We're talking about despair.

  • Since symptoms of syndromes.

  • In our effort to make sense of the 60 Siri's is titled making.

  • Could you make sense of what you came back to?

  • I mean, Erica, to you at that point, you said you came back.

  • He still wanted to believe in these things.

  • You couldn't mean Where were you then?

  • Where were you in Terms was going on in the streets of America?

  • Well, I think the America I came back in a sense had changed enormously.

  • I think that Johnson split the country in half by sending only the poor.

  • I, uh, the draft was not just if you could get a college deferment, you got one.

  • So that means that why did the war if you could ghost?

  • If you had the money to pay a psychiatrist, you could get theatric discharge.

  • I mean, anybody could get out if they really wanted to.

  • You cannot fight a war that way because it splits a generation.

  • You're sending half the kids effort continuing on into a commercial life here.

  • Back to a situation where my generation, I knew were all prospering because Johnson, period, the inflation took took this country like a steam roller and just the value of the dollar.

  • I mean, what a dollar could buy.

  • And 65 it was tremendously different.

  • And inflation was right making money.

  • My friends were doing well.

  • Um, I came back to a situation where, uh, encountering hostility to mind involvement.

  • Over there.

  • I was encountering a complete indifference.

  • It was like, Oh, you were over there for you Dropped out for a year to go over there time.

  • It's too bad.

  • Welcome back.

  • Let's get on with your life.

  • But you just come back and get back into that beat.

  • You know, you're off a beat.

  • When you come back from war, you're off of it.

  • And you you just don't look at people the same way.