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 Post subject: F&LILV Question #22 - The Wave
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:13 am 
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"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime , or at least a Main Era --- the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of.
Maybe it meant something. Maybe not in the long run ... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time --- and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket…booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change)…but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that…..

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning . . .

And that, I think, was the handle -- that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point of fighting--on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark --- that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."


Image

What is the significance of the word “wave”? Do you see any other metaphors in the speech? Is he using a secret code that only those who have “the right eyes” can see?


Last edited by Liz on Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:25 am 
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I got into work late today (blast that mass transit!) and so this will have to wait till later for me. And it's my favourite passage in the entire book. And I have stuff to say about La Honda and my buddy Bear. So, later.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:30 am 
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QueenofKings wrote:
I got into work late today (blast that mass transit!) and so this will have to wait till later for me. And it's my favourite passage in the entire book. And I have stuff to say about La Honda and my buddy Bear. So, later.


Enquiring minds want to know about La Honda. :bounce: SYL QoK.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:05 am 
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Oh goodness, I only have a couple minutes before work... I'll write more later, but I wanted to comment about the difference between the book version and the movie version.

I'll start by telling you about my history with this book and my long love of Hunter S Thompson.

I first read FALILV as a very young teen in the early 70's. I didn't have a clue to what he was talking about... but I sensed there was something afoot. I kept an eye out for his writing throughout my formative years (as well as others like Abbie Hoffman... yes I stole that book!) His commentary on the Nixon era, no doubt, shaped my thinking about government and life in general.

My next encounter with this speech was in the movie. I was shocked and amazed that they were actually bringing the book to screen. I was thrilled it was Johnny (I was a bit of a fan back then) playing Raoul and it was my first encounter with Benicio.

Many years later JDOCD set in and I re-read the book and (of course) had watched my DVD copy a zillion times. That's when I noticed the huge difference between the movie version of The Wave and the book version.

My personal preference is the movie version. It's more idealistic and iconic.

I’ll write more tonight… I have to go to work.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:26 am 
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JD101 wrote:
Oh goodness, I only have a couple minutes before work... I'll write more later, but I wanted to comment about the difference between the book version and the movie version.

I'll start by telling you about my history with this book and my long love of Hunter S Thompson.

I first read FALILV as a very young teen in the early 70's. I didn't have a clue to what he was talking about... but I sensed there was something afoot. I kept an eye out for his writing throughout my formative years (as well as others like Abbie Hoffman... yes I stole that book!) His commentary on the Nixon era, no doubt, shaped my thinking about government and life in general.

My next encounter with this speech was in the movie. I was shocked and amazed that they were actually bringing the book to screen. I was thrilled it was Johnny (I was a bit of a fan back then) playing Raoul and it was my first encounter with Benicio.

Many years later JDOCD set in and I re-read the book and (of course) had watched my DVD copy a zillion times. That's when I noticed the huge difference between the movie version of The Wave and the book version.

My personal preference is the movie version. It's more idealistic and iconic.

I’ll write more tonight… I have to go to work.


Gotta go make lunches and take kiddies to school. When I return I will post the movie version.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 10:51 am 
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When I read that the wave means to me the sixties, the acid wave, the people that lived in those times and were fighting for the same cause no matter what that cause was. the wave was freedom and fighting to keep it.:capnjack:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:02 am 
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This is probably going to sound very simplistic, but I think the wave is a metaphor for the 60's giving way to the 70's. The 60's were so full of life and energy and chaos. People were busy fighting for what they believed in. The 70's are kind of the tail end of all that energy, a pulling back and a realization that maybe believing passionately in something isn't necessarily enough. That reality could be something completely different.

I don't know about a secret code, but I do feel that he was writing this specifically for the people who had lived it. That they would understand it in a way that maybe others wouldn't. I think even if you didn't experience it though, you can still understand and appreciate what he was trying to say.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:16 am 
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Quote:
I think even if you didn't experience it though, you can still understand and appreciate what he was trying to say.


I agree luvdepp, I think there are still people this day & age in the younger generation as well as the people that lived in those times that still carry that passion to try to change and make a difference, fighting for what they believe in. People change, times change, Life is too fast for most people to take time to take notice of much more than whats going on in their life. unfortunately it takes something so horrible as hurricanes, tsnamis (sp? :dunce: ) or terrorists for people to take notice and care about all of us as "One". I know that I am guilty of that. Hurricane Katrina and Rita has made me look at my life & ask myself am I doing everything I should be or want to be doing. I decided that I am going to make those changes now.

rambling on here, :blush:



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:57 am 
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luvdepp wrote:
This is probably going to sound very simplistic, but I think the wave is a metaphor for the 60's giving way to the 70's. The 60's were so full of life and energy and chaos. People were busy fighting for what they believed in. The 70's are kind of the tail end of all that energy, a pulling back and a realization that maybe believing passionately in something isn't necessarily enough. That reality could be something completely different.

I don't know about a secret code, but I do feel that he was writing this specifically for the people who had lived it. That they would understand it in a way that maybe others wouldn't. I think even if you didn't experience it though, you can still understand and appreciate what he was trying to say.


I don't think what you're saying sounds simplistic at all. I think that the wave is exactly that -- a metaphor for the 60's giving way to the 70's -- during the 60's where people were searching and experimenting and expanding and rising on that wave, to where it crested in the late 60's and then where the wave broke (a lot of people think at Altamont, or I should say the general public thought that, but people in the Bay area had thought things had disintegrated way before that, like as early as 1966-67, when a lot of people headed for the hills), and then into the 70's where people still had some sense of idealistic endeavors, but were eventually feeling that it was a losing battle.

This may sound naive, but I can remember when I was very young being in grade school and feeling like we were winning on some levels in areas like civil rights, women's rights, our music being accepted, having the public school dress codes lifted, the war in Vietnam finally looking like it was ending, a sense that people could be happy and not have to conform to that house in the suburbs, 2 kids, a dog and a white picket fence (which I was convinced I never wanted to have in my life. (chuckles to myself.)
Then I can remember a few years later in Jr. High school that it was all over and any strides that had been made forward were continually reversing backward and hitting us in the face. Then the late 70's was a time for a generation of people self-medicating over lost hope that things maybe were never going to change ("Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...").

Other stuff where I address some stuff directly from the wave speech, and not quite from personal experience in a bit.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:17 pm 
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So, Q of K, you're saying that the wave was a sense of hope broken, a false dawn of some sort? That things were supposed to get so much better, and then we found out that the downside of more sex was unwanted pregnancy, the downside of drugs was paranoia, the downside of equality was the glass ceiling? Personally, I think the wave speech is certainly a metaphor along those lines, and a good one, giving us the idea of something powerful and uncontrolled, but soon over, whose energy is more dissipated than focussed on anything real achieved.

But another question to thiink about, certainly the key to the book to my mind.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:16 pm 
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Here is the Wave Speech from the movie. Certain sentences are left out here and there--I think because they were superfluous, really, in terms of the point of the speech. "Has it been" was the only thing added to it.

Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Has it been five years? Six? It seems like a lifetime --- the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant . . .

NOTE: 2 paragraphs omitted here.

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning . . .

And that, I think, was the handle -- that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark --- that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:26 pm 
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The usual rule here is to try to avoid overtly political statements, but I think it's impossible here.

I was at the peace march in Washington DC last Saturday, and certainly being in the crowd, I felt some of the "sense that whatever we were doing was right." There wasn't a sense of inevitable victory (because there were so many despairing people), or that we felt we would prevail, but there was certainly a sense of momentum. I think that our collective knowledge that the wave broke in the 70's--the feeling that we're fighting the same battles over again--will we ever learn?--made us sorrowful even as we hoped for change.

The crowd at the march was numerically overwhelming: there were times that my friends and I were literally swept along as though by waves. (Incidentally, one of the friends I was with was in San Francisco in the 60's. She's got some stories to tell.)

The wave speech always makes me think of Jim Morrison: "They've got the guns, but we've got the numbers . . ."


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:27 pm 
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Yeah, Endora. I think that a lot of people look back at that time and feel historically that a concensus was being made about how a generation wanted things to be. In hindsight I look back at it and see that everyone was just as fragmented and splintered as ever. That a lot of people were just being in fashion or trying to be cool or manipulating to get what they wanted for their own benefit. And therein lies the sense of hope being broken. I think a lot of people realized it.

But while it was happening HST says, "No matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was..." and that he could go, "...down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda..."

What that's about is there were a lot of familial-type groups of people spread all around the entire area into doing a lot of the same exploration and mind expansion, experimental music, developing new drugs, living in alternative life-styles, whathaveyou. Kesey had his people at a place called La Honda. It was up in the woods. The Hell's Angels would come and party sometimes. Sometimes they had Acid Tests there (and everywhere somebody had a good place for that pretty much), and Bear financed and built the Grateful Dead a sound system so their electrified music could be wired up to multiple speakers and could be heard all over the woods.

Or, he could zip across the Bay Bridge up to Stinson or Larkspur and find the same sort of people doing the same kind of things, having the same parties, taking the same drugs, a concensus of that sort. And this was because at some point in '66-'67 things in the city (SF) got too heavy and loaded with kids streaming in from all over Middle America and the people who had been there first didn't want to deal with bad trips, getting ripped off and priced out of their low-rent neighborhoods. So it got spread out and diffused all over the area. It was more fun to trip in the woods or on a beach than in the city anyway.

Now I wasn't there. I was still a kid. But I was told a lot of this by people who were there in personal conversations and interviews in the 1990s.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:29 pm 
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I agree with what everyone has said so far. I think we are all saying the same thing basically--what Luvdepp said that it is a metaphor for the 60's giving way to the 70's. The word "Wave" to me specifically represents the movement to affect change—freedom of speech and peace. The movement peaked in the 60's and slowly rolled back to complacency. We have our peaks, like V said--when something disastrous happens we wake up and take notice. Hunter/Raoul feels disheartened over the receding wave—like the rest of that generation that medicated itself in the 70’s that QoK mentioned.



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:35 pm 
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QueenofKings wrote:
Yeah, Endora. I think that a lot of people look back at that time and feel historically that a concensus was being made about how a generation wanted things to be. In hindsight I look back at it and see that everyone was just as fragmented and splintered as ever. That a lot of people were just being in fashion or trying to be cool or manipulating to get what they wanted for their own benefit. And therein lies the sense of hope being broken. I think a lot of people realized it.

But while it was happening HST says, "No matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was..." and that he could go, "...down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda..."

What that's about is there were a lot of familial-type groups of people spread all around the entire area into doing a lot of the same exploration and mind expansion, experimental music, developing new drugs, living in alternative life-styles, whathaveyou. Kesey had his people at a place called La Honda. It was up in the woods. The Hell's Angels would come and party sometimes. Sometimes they had Acid Tests there (and everywhere somebody had a good place for that pretty much), and Bear financed and built the Grateful Dead a sound system so their electrified music could be wired up to multiple speakers and could be heard all over the woods.

Or, he could zip across the Bay Bridge up to Stinson or Larkspur and find the same sort of people doing the same kind of things, having the same parties, taking the same drugs, a concensus of that sort. And this was because at some point in '66-'67 things in the city (SF) got too heavy and loaded with kids streaming in from all over Middle America and the people who had been there first didn't want to deal with bad trips, getting ripped off and priced out of their low-rent neighborhoods. So it got spread out and diffused all over the area. It was more fun to trip in the woods or on a beach than in the city anyway.

Now I wasn't there. I was still a kid. But I was told a lot of this by people who were there in personal conversations and interviews in the 1990s.


Interesting perspective on why they left SF, QoK. Where did Bear live?



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