Once upon a time, in the mythical 1960s, Jerry Rubin looked into the media mirror and learned that he was the Yippiest of them all. In those wonderful yesteryears, when someone asked what he did for a living, he answered, "I'm famous. That's my job."
Well Lord knows, this vocation had kept the lad busy.
Jerry Rubin has proved himself to be the Daddy Kravitz of the Sixties Kids. He has hustled himself with more consistent skill than a Harvard MBA.
First, he made a living off the Movement, no mean feat in itself. He wrote books and made speeches about how kids should drop out and turn on and "Do It!" He penned everybody's pet paranoid phrase, "Kill your parents."
Then he turned 30 and the 1960s turned into the 1970s. After a panicky moment or two of being passe, he moved right along into the Self-Searching-Seventies. He was rolfed, est-ed and massaged until he got in contact with his inner feelings. He also got in contact with a publisher who paid him to write about it all in "Growing (Up)."
But then the Self Biz hit the skids (life is not a bed of roses for The Human Trend) and the Seventies dropped like a stone into the Eighties. If the challenge of 1976 was to get in touch with your feelings, the feeling of 1980 is that you'd like to get in touch with some money.
Enter stage left (but moving right), Jerry Rubin of Wall Street, New York.
Rubin once again used The New York Times the way his more crass classmates use the alumni notes. He announced on its op-ed page: "I accepted a position on Wall Street this week."
In what was inadvertently a hilarious piece of journalism, he went on to say: "I know that I can be more effective today wearing a suit and tie and working on Wall Street than I can be dancing outside the walls of power. . .Politics and rebellion distinguished the '60s. The search for self characterized the spirit of the '70s. Money and financial interest will capture the passion of the '80s.
And J.R. will be there.
Here is Rubin at his best, announcing every turn of his life as a sign of the times, mixing the outrageous and the naive, doing social work in self-indulgence.
He is now a marketing analyst. But not your everyday marketing analyst. He is a consciousness-raised marketing analyst and self-certified good person ready to reach out and affect the system on his own terms.
To put it another way, he is now available to accept customers with a social conscience who are looking to invest their money in firms with a social conscience (not to mention a good profit picture) at John Muir and Co.
"Welcome, Wall Street, here I come! Let's make millions of dollars together supporting the little companies engaged in social environmental positivity. Let's rescue American captialism from overemphasis on the huge organization. Let's make captialism work for everyone."
Well, it is nice to know the man has retained his chutzpah inasmuch as he has lost his sense of humor. He job announcement is almost charming in its outlandish, childish sincerity.
Reading this, it is hard to believe that he was ever very "bad." It is easy, however, to believe that he was never very bright.
It took Rubin until he was 67 to come up with blazing banalities like: hate is a very strong bond.
It took him until he was 41 to discover "Money is Power."
Now he has also "discovered" that "the challenge for American capitalism in the '80s is to bring back the entrepreneurial spirit back to America."
This, at last, and at least, is a task that suits his talents. Through all the years of tripping the trends fanatastic, Rubin has maintained a stunning consistency. He is now and always was the 100 percent pure American Archtype: The Happy Capitalist.
After all, he is the man who read Dale Carnegie for hints about how to perform on the radical-left platform and had $20,000 in the stock market when he was manning the barricades.
The lad has finally come home. Rubin's the name; Money and Fame's the game, Yippee!