Robert Hilburn's observation that rock music has begun to regain its political sensitivities ("Rockers Rally 'Round the Flag," June 30) is a welcome reminder that there is more to this phenomenon than often meets the ear.

His tendency, however, is to suggest that this is something new and to contrast it with the seemingly mean-spirited and shallow "anti-Americanism" of the '60s. This amounts to a gross misreading of the period.

There were, of course, participants in the "Movement" about whom we'd all prefer to disavow any knowledge. But they were by far in the minority. The overwhelming majority were every bit as "patriotic," politically sophisticated and tenacious as the new breed of socially aware denizens of rock culture.

It shouldn't be too hard to recall that the "anti-ness" of the '60s concerned racism, the war, corruption, repression and (later) sexism-- not America and its ideals.

Genuine patriotism doesn't demand that we dissociate ourselves from morality ("My country, right or wrong"). On the contrary, it demands that one's nation conform to the proper ideals and reject the others. And on this point, contemporary rockers and the rockers of the '60s are playing the same tune.



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