Zero Worship

This morning, we stumbled upon two editorials that address issues of praise and merit.

First, Salon writer Gary Kamiya reviews Gerard DeGroot's The Sixties Unplugged, a book that attempts to debunk the much-mythologized impact of the hippie generation. DeGroot calls attention to the self-delusion of an indulgent counterculture, writing that "the most profound revolution that occurred [in the 1960s] was the emergence of a consumer society." As Kamiya puts it, "The would-be world changers ended up co-opted and marketed to." Kamiya, however, doesn't totally dismiss the hippie impact-but he does appreciate the examination of who we revere and why.

Second, Slate writer Troy Patterson takes a swing at the current state of political comedy. You might have noticed that a lot of people are touting Saturday Night Live's recent return to glory (and relevance). Patterson keeps that in check, essentially asserting that the political jokes never develop past their premises-and thereby offer confirmation of viewer assumptions rather than any sort of pointed or thought-provoking commentary. The show may be a bit funnier than it was a few years ago, but that's not much of a benchmark, is it?