In the Days of My Youth — This past weekend I saw Hal Ashby’s 1975 comedy, Shampoo, which is one of the films featured in the Charlotte Mecklenburg’s film series titled “Hal Ashby in the Seventies.” Sam Shapiro, one of our part-time faculty members, organized this film series. There are three more films that will be screened as part of this series: Bound for Glory, which will be screened on September 8; Coming Home, which will be screened on October 6; and Being There, which will be screened on November 10. For more information about this film series, please click on the following link: https://www.cmlibrary.org/blog/summer-film-series-showcases-hal-ashbys-seventies-classics
Seeing Shampoo brought back memories of my days at Franconia College, an experimental college that operated in northern New Hampshire from 1963 to 1978. I graduated from Franconia College in 1975, the same year that Shampoo came out. I remember seeing Shampoo in a movie theater in Littleton, New Hampshire, which was the only theater that showed first-run movies in that part of New Hampshire. Just for curiosity’s sake, I Googled this theater, and to my amazement, I discovered that it still exists.
Shampoo perfectly captures the more hedonistic aspects of the counter-culture movement associated with the late 1960s and early ’70s. However, this period was also associated with the controversies surrounding Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. Even though Shampoo takes place against the backdrop of the 1968 presidential election, it does not address the political questioning that was such an important part of the lives of many young people at the time. The central characters in Shampoo are much more interested in engaging in sexual relations than they are in engaging in political debates.
I recommend pairing Shampoo with the 1976 film All the President’s Men. Released just one year after the debut of Shampoo, this film celebrates the determination and idealism of two young journalists who take it upon themselves to expose the corruption and crimes of a president who thinks he is above the law. Taken together, these films show two different sides of American culture and society during these tumultuous years. Shampoo deals with the breakdown of traditional mores while All the President’s Men deals with the rising skepticism toward authority figures. Like many of my contemporaries, I experienced both sides in the days of my youth. Although these films were made more than forty years ago, they still speak to issues and concerns that relate to life in America in 2018.
Alan received degrees in Creative Writing and English Education from the University of Tennessee and lives in Asheville, NC. He has written more than 14 books for young readers, including the latest, Ban This Book, which is set in NC. I hope you will join us for his talk. For more information visit www.alangratz.com
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of the English Department. Here is the latest news:
Boyd Davis is the co-author of a paper titled “Seniors’ Media Preference for Receiving Internet Security Information: A Pilot Study” that is featured as part of an international workshop on Mobile Privacy and Security for an Ageing Population in Barcelona, Spain.
Ron Lunsford and his son, Christopher Lunsford, recently learned that their paper titled “The Letter of Medical Necessity as Genre: Who Creates It and Who Controls It” will be published in the proceedings of the IEEE ProComm Conference. The conference took place in Toronto in July.
Upcoming Events and Meetings — Here is a list of upcoming events and meetings:
Library Social and Award Ceremony for Prof. Consuelo Salas. Thursday, September 6, 4 p.m., Halton Reading Room (Atkins Library)
English Department Mtg Friday, September 7, 11:00am-12:30pm in Fretwell 280C (English Department Conference Room)
Quirky Quiz Question — All the President’s Men features two characters who are based on the real-life journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Do you know the names of the actors who played these roles?
Last week’s answer: Beth Caruso