Title of post and above line are by Alan Ginsberg (in the poem "Howl", of course).
Van der Leun profers his own version which begins thusly:
I SAW the second-best minds of my not-so-Great Generation destroyed by Bush Derangement Syndrome, pasty, paunchy, tenured, unelectable, and not looking too sharp naked,
bullsh------ themselves through the African-American streets at cocktail hour looking for a Prozac refill,
aging hair-plugged hipsters burning for their ancient political connection to the White House through the machinations of moonbats,
who warred on poverty and Halliburton's Wal-Mart and bulbous-eyed and still high from some bad acid in 1968 set up no-smoking zones on tobacco farms in the unnatural darkness of Darwinistic delusions floating a few more half-baked secular notions like "Let's all worship zero!",
who bared their withered breasts and, he or she, bleated their v-----s' mawkish monologues to John Kennedy's ghost under the capitol dome and french-kissed Mohammedan agents in the gore-drenched redrum rooms of Guantanamo,
who passed gas and on into universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating President Al Gore and Vice-President Noam Chomsky envisioning world peace among the masters of war and stayed on and stayed on and stayed on sucking off the great teat of academe in upaid student loans and over-paid professorial positions the better to molest the minds of children for decades with every third year off for bad behavior,
For some reason, after reading Van der Leun's version I got to thinking. I'm sure I've read this somewhere or other, but it seems to me that the Vietnam generation wants us badly to lose this war because they've staked their self-respect on the principle "War Is Never The Answer". Now, did they originally embrace this principle for noble, or for ignoble reasons? Was embracing this principle and rallying to cause American defeat in Vietnam simply a coverup for cowardice? How awful it would be for the consciences of these aging hippies if it turned out that sometimes, "War Is The Answer". If this were the case, then their general principle and creed crumbles into dust. With the facade gone, the question is out in the open, under a blinding light: were their motives 40 years ago base, self-seeking, and dishonorable? Is there anything different now in their hearts, than there was 40 years ago? Best to rally and maneuver for American defeat now, so the question needn't be faced at all.
For they are the best minds,
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East...