HISTORY OF BOTH SIDES NOW
Both Sides Now has roots going back to the '60s. In those heady times, a series of movements emerged to challenge the status quo of what was referred to as the Establishment. The movements included the civil rights movement, the peace movement opposing a war of atrocity in Southeast Asia and the nuclear arms race, the women's liberation movement, the gay liberation movement, the environmental movement, and the American Indian Movement, the New Left, and the youth counterculture (the hippies)--to name the more prominent ones. The sum of these movements was referred to simply as The Movement.
Since the Movement opposed just about everything the Establishment stood for—its violence and discrimination—it didn't have much chance of fair treatment in the Establishment press, the mass media. In response to that, "underground" papers sprung up like mushrooms—not just in this country, but in many parts of the world and even the U.S. military. They usually took the form of tabloids, though some were mimeographed.
It was in this turbulent climate that Both Sides Now was born as the underground paper of Jacksonville, Florida, late in 1969. In a very conservative environment, it was a small voice for peace and justice. As the Indochina War wound down, the major issue that had held the loose Movement coalition together was gone, and the Movement disintegrated. The underground press had started calling itself the alternative press to sound more respectable, but most of the papers soon disappeared. Entering the '70s, the BSN staff started dwindling away till only one person was left. Feeling that there was still a need for alternative views to be heard, he kept BSN going, even if there were only one or two issues a year. During the '70s many felt that although a number of prominent religious figures were involved in the Movement, there was a general lack of spirituality to sustain their efforts. Many became involved in what was known as the New Age movement—an entity at least as diverse and loosely-knit as the Movement of a few years earlier. The pages of BSN began to reflect this shift in priorities, calling itself a journal of transformations.
This went on into 1980. By that time the veteran publisher and his wife decided that they wanted to move to a healthier rural setting, and a series of strange circumstances led then to land near Tyler, Texas. The urge to publish was still there, but the tabloid format demands a large printing, and that was not practical. By 1991 President Bush's Gulf War showed that there was very much of a need for alternative voices for peace and spiritual renewal. A photocopier was available, and BSN was scaled down to newsletter format.
Again BSN appeared on an irregular schedule, with each issue reflecting a major concern of the time it was published. It is interesting to look back over these issues and reflect on events of the past decade: the Gulf War, the Satanic Panic, the Waco tragedy, the Death of Princess Di. In each case BSN had thought-provoking commentaries which are still worth reading. (The O.J. Simpson case is notably missing.) By the end of 1999 a new Movement was clearly apparent, this time to oppose a gargantuan global corporate structure which is a threat to the freedom of people everywhere and to the environment. At the same time—judging from the best-seller lists and Oprah Winfrey's talk show—people are seeking for greater spiritual content in all aspects of life. More signs of a new age are becoming evident, such as crop circles, the emergence of Indigo Children, and prophecies concerning the years 2011-2012. It is the synthesis of social and spiritual concerns BSN has sought all these years. For this reason we believe BSN gives readers a unique perspective on what is going on at this dramatic and critical time in history. Redoubling our effort to come out more frequently we published three issues in 2004—a new record—and in 2005 we reached the desired goal of quarterly frequency, which we intend to maintain. It is hoped that readers will avail themselves of this opportunity to tune in to the rhythm of these times.
[The early history of BSN appeared in an anthology of stories of underground papers called Voices from the Underground. That essay was extracted and published by us as Special No. 1. Now the essay has been updated to the present (the end of 2007) for a new edition of the anthology and is offered as Special Issue No. 2.]