As James Lileks writes, “Don’t know what to call it, but there’s something about ‘1960’ that snares the eye and the imagination”:
It’s a half-century gone. It’s pre-JFK-in-Dallas, the fulcrum on which the post-war era balanced. It’s modern — “1960” sums up jets and rockets and whirring IBM computers and thin lapels, a time of crisp sharp technocrats. I imagine people who enjoyed the 50s, identified with the times, felt a certain trepidation when 1960 rolled around. A new decade clears the decks. I identified with the 80s, and hence the year 1990 felt like the lip of a cliff. You pass thirty, the decade changes, and you know it won’t belong to you the way the old one did. The 90s worked out just fine for me; we got a new medium, and that put a spring in my step. But if I’d been a man of the 50s the 60s would have been a time of ever-growing alienation. Each year put five years between the Now and the Then. You’d find yourself in 1970 wearing a polyester suit with wide collars and a tie whose knot was the size of a baby’s head, looking at a wood-grained plastic dashboard in an ugly car, the radio playing Mungo Jerry, wondering how the hell this happened.
He never said it so many words, but based on his tastes in music (his enormous record collection stopped right around the time that Liverpool became the new capitol for, well, Capitol), cars, clothes, food, and the like, I imagine my father spent a fair amount of the 1970s wondering just that.