The more I troll the interwebs on my daily rounds, the more I’m finding people that share my opinion about the overblown social significance associated with the Woodstock music festival. Today, I found this great piece by Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here are a few nuggets of his wisdom that are oh so true.
Enough about how Woodstock was supposedly the apogee of flower power, the moment when young people showed how they would change the world and transform human consciousness. Enough with the documentary footage of the festival organizers clutching their flowers and gushing about cosmic, utopian oneness.
The truth, omitted from the 1970 documentary, is that hundreds of kids ingested bad acid and required medical treatment in the “freakout tent,” that the Grateful Dead were almost electrocuted onstage during a downpour, that stoned musicians traveling in helicopters vomited on the crowd, that two festival organizers wound up suing the other two (there were 80 lawsuits in all), and that many of the people in attendance remain confused about what they actually witnessed versus what they saw in the documentary.
And Polman reminds us that these supposed free-loving, throw-caution-to-the-wind hippies are now a generation of overprotective, pussified parents that have kids that can’t spend more than three hours on their own without melting down.
And enough about the purported bliss of camping incommunicado for three days and nights in mud and rain. If kids today told their boomer parents that they intended to follow the Woodstock template, they’d never get out the door – not unless they agreed to pack the GPS-equipped family SUV with SPF 50 (to guard against sunburn), 100 percent Deet bug spray (to fight Lyme disease), electrolyte-enhanced bottled water (for extra hydration), condoms (duh), a North Face tent (to ensure privacy), an EMS parka (to guard against raindrops), and a nonnegotiable directive to check in via text message at the top of every hour.
Boomers are risk-averse as parents because they realize they haven’t changed the world. If anything, the world is more dangerous now than it was in 1969, when Woodstock’s public-address announcer was intoning that “the man next to you is your brother.” We’ve spent much of the past decade wondering whether the man next to us is a bomber.
You hear that, hippies? You and your shitty music festivals, your free love, your psychodelic drugs and your offensive body odor have done nothing to change the world for the better. If anything, you’ve made the world worse. Much, much worse.