April 21, 2018

2 men and 2 women encounter the 1964-1966 display at the LBJ Library.

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I took these 2 photos on April 13th, when we were in Austin, Texas.

This is not a café post/open thread. I want to discuss the aspects of the 1960s on display here, the aura of creepy entombment, etc.

44 comments:

surfed said...

The view the curator imposes on the patrons tells much. Bending over, dark and Bewitched. I'm guessing the curator isn't someone who existed in the 1960's much less lived through them. But through the glass darkly
- as that decade is curated - is for the young.

surfed said...

Addendum: Lurid as opposed to the bright colors that I remember.

Tommy Duncan said...

It does have a Civil War display feel to it.

tcrosse said...

It looks like they concentrated on artifacts of that era that seem cool to us now.

Birches said...

It seems too dark. I could understand if 1968 were dark but not necessarily 1964-1968. Is the rest of the museum dark like that? How does that section compare with its surroundings?

rhhardin said...

It misses the great things about the 60s. Coding cool tactical computers in assembler, your own airplane, play-for-pay job.

Birches said...

1964-1966 I mean.

Bay Area Guy said...

This is not a café post/open thread. I want to discuss the aspects of the 1960s....

LBJ in a nutshell:
1. Civil rights - good
2. Welfare state - atrocious
3. Vietnam War - politicized and atrocious (for different reasons)

Bruce Hayden said...

Ah, the infamous LBJ library. Brother and sister-in-law were almost willing to drag me out of there by force when I asked, somewhat loudly, about the ballot stuffing that got him started in politics. I may have also mentioned, in what my partner considers a loud voice, about the conspiracy theory that he had had a hand in eliminating his predecessor in office. After all, it happened in Texas...

I saw more of his wife's work when I lived there in Austin. We worked at One Texas Center, just across the river on Congress, and there was a Lady Bird park west of us along the south shore that had a lot of beautiful flowers. Maybe trying to compensate for the evil her husband did, ranging from his ill fated War on Poverty, through his wasting of so many American lives by so mismanaging the war in Vietnam.

Ray said...

Dark, like a museum keeping artifacts safe from damaging light.

Not very 60’s.

Oso Negro said...

It was in the LBJ Library in 1985 that I had my awakening as a conservative. I carefully examined the exhibits on The Great Society, presented in their best light by LBJ sycophants, and realized what devastation and waste those programs caused.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Bay Area Guy - agree 100%. One of the things that we did freshman year in college in 1968 was to read the Monihan Report, which noted that roughly 1/4 of black children were born out of wedlock. That was considered worrisome. Since then, thanks primarily, I think, by rather welfare state, that essentially subsidizes fatherless child rearing, that percentage has, essentially, tripled in many inner city black communities. And, as a natural consequence of that, many of the males are never fully civilized and assimilated into society, instead committing half the violent crimes in this country, as they terrorize their community until they are either killed or incarcerated, fathering as many bastards with as many women as possible in the meantime. And somehow, Blacks continue to vote for the party that owned their ancestors as slaves, and continues to oppress them through these natural consequences of LBJ's welfare state.

tcrosse said...

The 1968 display would not be a pretty sight.

Phil 3:14 said...

We’re you required to speak in hushed tones as you walked through the exhibit?

The exhibit style seems very “un-LBJ like”.

Phil 3:14 said...

Did the Library have a info desk with a guy sitting on the toilet taking a shit and telling you what to see?

Now that’s my concept of an LBJ library.

gspencer said...

"the aura of creepy entombment"

Wherever Johnson was, there was an aura of just plain creepy. And just plain disgusting. And just plain selfishness.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Did the Library have a info desk with a guy sitting on the toilet taking a shit and telling you what to see?"

An automaton of LBJ lifting a beagle by the ears would be great.

James Pawlak said...

Did the museum display a collection of the beer bottles LBJ emptied and threw out the windows of his auto while he drove at very high speeds?

Michael K said...

I carefully examined the exhibits on The Great Society, presented in their best light by LBJ sycophants, and realized what devastation and waste those programs caused.

I highly recommend the audio version of Caro's biography of Johnson. It is interesting for several reasons.

He obviously wanted to like Johnson as he is a Liberal but he is also a truth teller. The book is so long (and unfinished after 30 years) because he goes so deeply into things. My wife and I have listened to it twice.

The best volume is "Means of Ascent" where he has a whole biography of Coke Stevenson, who Johnson defrauded out of the 1948 Senate election with the help of Hugo Black and Abe Fortas. Coke Stevenson has been slimed by Johnson supporters ever since the election and is almost unknown when he should be a Texas hero.

Caro, in his 80s, is still working on he fifth volume about the Vietnam War. I hope he is able to finish it.

Darkisland said...

Bruce

I would have loved to visit the museum with you. Between us, our commentary would likely have resulted in a swat team.

Seriously, Ann or anyone, is there anything about the 1948 primary? Ballot box 13 would make a great display.

Maybe an animatron of George Parr?

John NOT an LBJ fan Henry

Big Mike said...

That display rack of magazines — did it include a copy of Playboy in a plain brown wrapper? (Yes, I know you’d have to tear a corner of the wrapper to see whether it was actually a Playboy.)

Darkisland said...

10-12 years back I was in San Antonio and had a free day.

I drove up to Fredericksburg to see the Nimitz museum of the pacific war. Well worth the trip.

I also drove over to the Lbj ranch. All I saw was the dog trot cottage where he wad raised. Not worth the trip but driving around the Texas Hill Country certainly was.

All in all very nice break from working.

John Henry

Darkisland said...

Michael k

Agree fully about Caro and suggest his Robert Moses bio as well.

At the risk of being pedantic, lbj did not steal the senate election.

He stole the senate nomination. The famous election was the Democrat primary.

This was tantamount to stealing the senate election given the weakness of the Texas repos.

But he won the senate election fair and square. More or less, anyway

John Henry

Earnest Prole said...

The Whole Earth Catalogue imprisoned behind glass!

Inside the museum, infinity goes up on trial.

Michael K said...

"At the risk of being pedantic, lbj did not steal the senate election. "

Agreed. Those were the days when Texas was solid D.

The other interesting part if the story, which Caro tells well, is that Hugo Black and Abe Fortas stopped any chance of a recount, which could have exposed the vote fraud.

In 1960, the Johnson ally who had committed the vote fraud in 1948 was out of prison and helped the Kennedy Johnson ticket win Texas. That, plus Daley's fraud in Chicago, let them win that election. Rogers told Nixon he had enough evidence of fraud to overturn that election but Nixon did not think the country could handle the scandal.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The Vietnam War was a direct result and the country may not survive the long term trauma of that war.

I honestly don't know if Trump can win this lonely war against the Administrative State. It all began with the 1948 vote fraud.

Michael K said...

Ballot box 13 would make a great display.

Maybe an animatron of George Parr?


You have obviously read the biography, too.

Johnson's career would be a good class on political corruption for a poly sci major.

Not as an instruction manual, though.

Ann Althouse said...

"The best volume is "Means of Ascent" where he has a whole biography of Coke Stevenson, who Johnson defrauded out of the 1948 Senate election with the help of Hugo Black and Abe Fortas. Coke Stevenson has been slimed by Johnson supporters ever since the election and is almost unknown when he should be a Texas hero."

That's the volume I think most people think isn't important, but I love it. What a story. I'd love to see a multi-episode TV drama based on that, with all the detail.

I love the way Caro ends the Coke Stevenson story, in the second-to-last chapter:

"Observing Stevenson’s joy in the ranch, in the boyhood dream that he had turned into reality, witnessing the enthusiasm with which he still planned and built each new improvement, seeing the serenity of the quiet evenings by the river he loved, the affection between him and his wife, the love and respect in which he was held by wife, daughter, friends— by everyone around him— [newspaper columnist] Tolbert wrote: “After spending some time with Coke Robert Stevenson … here by the green, rushing river, I’m wondering if he wasn’t lucky to lose that Senate race by 87 votes.” Those who knew Coke Stevenson didn’t wonder... And a reporter who came to do a profile on the former Governor in 1969, when Stevenson was eighty-one years old, didn’t wonder. Watching Teeney come to meet him, the reporter wrote, “You sense … a protective motherly manner as she approaches her gray bear of a husband”— not that her husband seemed to need protection; he worked, the reporter wrote, “like a ditchdigger.” Teeney insisted that Coke show the reporter the historic marker that had been erected by the Texas State Historical Commission on the lawn of the Kimble County Courthouse. The marker had been placed in honor of a Texas institution. “Coke R. Stevenson,” it began. “Strong, Resourceful, Conservative Governor …” The reporter realized he was talking to “the only man in Texas who can look out his office window and see his own monument.” He realized how proud Coke was of the marker— at least partly because it bore the key word. “A conservative— he’s one who holds things together,” he told the reporter. “He shouldn’t fight all progressive movements, but he should be the balance wheel to hold the movement to where it won’t get out of hand.” He had been a conservative Governor, he said. “When I left office I left a thirty-five million dollar surplus.” He mentioned the old-age pensions he had tripled and the public welfare payments he had increased and the prison reforms and the more humane treatment in state institutions for the insane, and the reporter realized how very proud Coke Stevenson was of his whole life. Then Teeney and Coke drove the reporter out to the ranch, and he saw the house, and the love with which it was filled. Finally, they went down to the river. A rowboat was there, and Coke explained that “Jane rows upstream, me downstream,” and Teeney broke in to say with a smile: “Then they both get tired, and I have to row.” A recent flash flood had changed the contours of the banks, and as the boat moved along, Coke Stevenson, eighty-one years old, suddenly jumped up in the boat and shouted, pointing excitedly at an Indian burial mound that the flood had uncovered. And there were springs, new springs. “There’s another one,” he said. “And look! There’s another!” “He takes in the whole scene, waterfalls and deer and turkey and gentle flow of river,” the whole panorama of the beautiful canyon, the reporter wrote. And then, still standing up in the boat, Coke Stevenson threw his arms wide, in a gesture of triumph and joy."

Caro, Robert A.. Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson II (Kindle Locations 9259-9272). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Darkisland said...

Sheesh, ann.

Now i have to read it again. It was so long ago that I listened on audio cassette. Late 80s maybe.

Just bought the Kindle version, downloading now.

Of course via the portal.

John Henry

John said...

I found the view of the massive volumes of material on display but not accessible on floors between the ground floor and the 10th (I think it was the 10th) where the replica of the Oval Office and Lady Birds office sit to be interesting in the sense of power it attempted to convey.

tcrosse said...

At the naval base where I was stationed in 1968, a great cheer when up when LBJ announced that he would not run.

rcocean said...

To me the 60s are just TV shows.

Bewitched, Leave in to Beaver, Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith, I dream of Jeannie, Gilligans Island.

Lots of escapist humor. Guess Real life was too grim.

rcocean said...

LBJ was worst combination of:

Liar,social Liberal, incompetent warmonger, spendthrift, and supporter of big business.

Its funny how the Left hated him so much, since he passed so much liberal legislation.

Earnest Prole said...

Now that I think of it, the Last Whole Earth Catalogue was published in 1971, which was 100 years after 1964–66 (thanks in part to LBJ).

Leland said...

Well, the rolled up blue jeans are a bit more 1950s, but the paisley shorts with sandals is definitely the 60's look.

Unknown said...

To me the 60s are just TV shows.

Bewitched, Leave in to Beaver, Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith, I dream of Jeannie, Gilligans Island.

Lots of escapist humor. Guess Real life was too grim.


Bewitched (which I see is playing in the photo) was very much a Civil Rights show about a mixed marriage. It played between the lines (and was funny to boot).

Michael K said...

Coke Stevenson threw his arms wide, in a gesture of triumph and joy."

I liked the account of Stevenson and his friend the Texas Ranger who had been the origin of the story "One riot, one Ranger" walking the streets of San Antonio looking for evidence of the fraud they knew was there.

I would also like to see a TV miniseries of Stevenson's life.

John said...

In addition to the Caro bios of LBJ, Robert Dallek wrote a pretty good 2 volume bio. I was reading McMaster's excellent book on VN "Dereliction of Duty" and wanted to know a bit more about LBJ during that period. SInce I didn't want to wait for Caro to finish, I read volume 2 of Dallek.

He is something of an LBJ fan and it shows through but not too much.

It is worth a read.

John Henry

loudogblog said...

I wouldn't have put the TV on the wall. I would have put it in a wooden cabinet on the floor and try to make it look like an old Maganvox from the era. Most TV was watched at ground level in the 1960s. I also would have rounded the corners of the screen to mimic a picture tube. Maybe that's why people don't really watch TV with headphones today. Back then, the TV was the center of social activity in the home in the evening. Families would gather around the TV the way they used to gather around the radio or the fireplace. Perhaps, there is still some cultural memory of needing something that makes noise and is interesting to listen to in the living room.

Michael K said...

"Robert Dallek wrote a pretty good 2 volume bio."

I'm on World War I right now but will keep it in mind.

Clyde said...

There's something similar at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, showing American culture decade by decade. It gets weird when you get to the decades that you actually lived through and see among the cultural flotsam and jetsam some things that you actually owned, lo those many years ago.

John said...

What on ww1, Michael? Any recommendations?

John Henry

Unknown said...

Churchill's The World Crisis is very interesting.

RigelDog said...

You're right, it is a creepy place. Like a set from an old Star Trek show where the crew explores a new planet and all they find is a building with rooms housing these exhibits and inexplicable videos running on an endless loop...

tcrosse said...

How does the exhibit deal with 1967 and 1968, when everything went to hell, thanks to old Uncle Cornpone ?