Gerome Ragni Peter Schjeldahl - Essay

Peter Schjeldahl

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[I dearly wish that I had seen "Hair"] earlier—say, during the lamented 1967 "Summer of Love" that gave birth to it. For, astonishingly enough, the three years of history that have changed me along with everyone else have also left a perceptible patina of age on "Hair," a patina which no amount of newly minted anti-Nixon-and-Agnew jokes can dissipate—inspiring some glum thoughts….

The unexpected trouble with it is, so to speak, at its roots.

What was surely devastating about "Hair" in its infancy was the raw topicality of its depredations—anti-Vietnam War, anti-racist, anti-"normality"—combined with the earnest sincerity of its affirmations—peace, love, sexual liberty....

(The entire section is 640 words.)