On Park Avenue in 1966, a businessman could have lunch at the Four Seasons, a restaurant designed by Philip Johnson (who dug both Weimar and its successor culture…) in a building designed by Mies van der Rohe, he could then walk over to the Pan Am building, designed by Walter Gropius, to catch a helicopter to JFK Airport, and on the way, read about Werner Von Braun’s latest efforts to land a man on the moon. If he was worried that von Braun’s missiles could be used to deliver payloads designed by Albert Einstein and Edward Teller – well, his Freudian analyst would soon set him at ease. At least until he saw the April 8th 1966 cover of Time magazine, which echoed the words of Friedrich Nietzsche nearly a century earlier. And all the while, likely never thinking of where these additions to American life originated. The following decade, our businessman would struggle with Weimar-style risqué sexual mores, hyperinflation, and what the then-president’s administration ultimately termed a malaise and a crisis of confidence amongst his fellow liberal elites.
But to respond to the query by Thomas Friedman last year in the New York Times, ‘Can Greeks Become Germans?’
Well, 50 years ago, we did, didn’t we?
For Silicon Graffiti, I’m Ed Driscoll.