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But the counterculture ran counter to all conventional wisdom. The supposedly inert, troglodyte young people saw only too clearly the flaws in such hallowed phrases as "unquestioning patriotism," "trustworthy government," and "infallible military." A psychedelic-image-besotted, back-talking, tie-dyed, pot-smoking cadre of hirsute dancing fools forced the older alphabet generation to reassess their own cherished beliefs. The right-brained word fun, never before used to characterize a print-dominated era, epitomized the age. Beatlemania swept up the young in an ecstatic frenzy that Western culture had not witnessed since religious flagellants whipped themselves raw in the streets of medieval cities.

Demographic bulges, the Vietnam War, and affluence have all been cited as contributing causes for the outrageous phenomenon that was the sixties. However, the never-blinking, ubiquitous cyclopean television eye was the most overarching influence behind that generation's passionate involvement in Civil Rights marches, the anti-war movement, psychedelic experimentation, the Native American rights movement, the Peace Corps, ecology awareness, the back-to-the-earth movement, reinvigoration of the democratic process, communal living, the human potential movement, and women's equality. Despite fake wrestling matches, boring test patterns, inane sitcoms, and mindlessly violent Saturday cartoons, the first rugrats-turned-couch-potatoes sallied forth and brought about a societal change bearing all the hallmarks of a true Renaissance. Entirely new forms of art, music, dress, morals, and attitudes toward war, love, and sexuality bubbled up effervescently. No one confronted with the business end of a rifle had ever thought to respond by placing a flower in its barrel. The victory of television images over printed words was so sudden that society had little time to adjust. The bulwarks of written-word-based authority were repudiated. The black-and-white literalness of the Bible, the gray work ethic of corporate capitalism, and the bloodless white lab coat dispassion of science were all scrutinized and criticized as never before. The right brain, suppressed for so long, burst forth with an exuberance not seen since Dionysus cavorted with his retinue in the forests. The hippie god would have applauded the credo "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll."

But radical change does not occur without social upheaval. While previous populations had endured wars between tribes, empires, religions, classes, and nations, there had never been a war between generations. "Don't trust anyone over thirty" was the rallying cry of the image-tribe in its battle with the print-nation.

There were other indicators that something dramatic was afoot. Suddenly, Johnny couldn't read and a previously unrecognized affliction called dyslexia (nonexistent in ideographic China) broke out at alarming rates in classrooms all across Eurocentric TV-land. Dyslexic children, predominantly male (9:1), have difficulty deciphering the alphabet. One credible theory proposes that it is due to a failure of hemispheric dominance. Ninety percent of the language centers traditionally reside in the left hemisphere of right-handed people.* In the right-handed dyslexic, the distribution of language centers may be more on the order of 80/20 or 70/30. Although we cannot be sure that dyslexia was not always among us, it seems to have erupted at the very moment that an entire generation was devaluing the left hemispheric mode of knowing. Perhaps television is the agent equilibrating the human brain's two differing modes of perception.

The very concept of "brain dominance" is presently under scrutiny, as many dyslexics are talented artists, architects, musicians, composers, dancers, and surgeons. The idea that logical, linear thinking is better than intuition and holistic perception was a script written by left-brainers in the first place. Our culture has classified dyslexia as a disability. But as culture becomes more comfortable with its reliance on images, it may turn out that dyslexia will be reassessed as another of the many harbingers that announced the arrival of the Iconic Revolution.
     
     
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