Today is the 38th anniversary of the ending of The Woodstock Music and Art Fair at Bethel, NY.
For all us Boomers who became what Hunter called “The Generation of Swine” and who’ve elected the likes of Thrill Bill and The Decider as OUR POTUSes, time for a little assessment and reflection on what Woodstock nation has contributed to our culture:
Item 1) The romanticizing of drug use – Woodstock made getting high, despite the warnings about the brown acid, an inherent characteristic of being one of the Boomers. Even the frigging Republicans are users. The only beneficiaries are Big Pharma for the legal stuff (Prozac, anyone?) and various criminal organizations for all the rest. Quick – think about all the people you know (or know about) who’ve died or had their lives ruined by drug use. Right. It’s that many…. That feeling that just ran over you? That’s a shiver, man….
Item 2) Tie Dyed Clothing – John Sebastian (pictured above) brought this godawful idea to national attention at Woodstock. And now you, I, and everyone we know has to endure some guy with a big gut in a tie dyed t-shirt padding around at the farmer’s market in $200 Birkenstocks talking about eating organic or doing yoga or some other crap that he’s obviously not doing based on that Big Mac paunch he’s carrying….
Item 3) The confusion of attending rock concerts with political activism – South Park skewered this pretty well, but S&R’s own Gavin Chait skewers it even better. I’d only remind everyone that Pete Townshend bonked Abbie Hoffman in the head with a guitar for trying to commandeer the stage at Woodstock for political reasons. Was it a case of mistaken identity as is sometimes argued? I can’t say. I only report – you decide…..
Item 4) Rockumentaries – Monterrey Pop, then Woodstock, then Gimme Shelter, then The Song Remains the Same – these films chart a clear evolution/devolution of the goals of rock from exposing the world to great music (Monterrey) to making a statement about a generation’s (supposed) “peace and music” ethos (Woodstock) to the miscalculation and calamity of mixing outlaw aggression with drug addled celebration (Altamont) to unbridled self-indulgent excess (Led Zeppelin at MSG). No wonder This is Spinal Tap effectively killed the rockumentary and left us with crap like Behind the Music and Pop-Up Video….
Item 5) The music business – the generation who “invented rock and roll” as the commercial tells us moved the music industry in the direction of – Dick %$#$# Clark? Look at the current music landscape. Dominated for the past ten years by “musicians” like Justin Timberlake, “singers” like Britney Spears and a dedication to manufactured music – and musicians – the music industry is in worse shape than it was in autumn 1963 when an obscure British rock band from Liverpool wrenched the industry away from the Fabians and Annettes…. And who are the people who’ve created this appalling musical landscape -why, it’s us – the Woodstock nation….
So Happy Anniversary, Woodstock Nation. All that music and we made…mud…. We really are swine….