Young people who would like to know the temper of the times back in the 1960s should catch HBO's "Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8," airing tonight at 10.
As opposed to the decorum of the current Iranscam hearings--what theater! Here's Abbie Hoffman (Michael Lembeck) blowing kisses to the court. Here's Jerry Rubin (Barry Miller) jumping on a table. Here's Bobby Seale (Carl Lumbly) literally bound and gagged--and still making himself heard.
Above all, here's Judge Julius Hoffman (David Opatoshu) struggling to keep his cool with these crazies, but very quickly losing control of himself and the judicial process. He won the battle, but he lost the war.
Or did he? "Conspiracy"--based on the Odyssey Theatre's 1979 "Chicago Conspiracy Trial"--presents Rubin and company as sincere, delightfully irreverent young Americans who managed to outfox Judge Hoffman and his stone-faced prudes by turning the trial into a shambles.