Woodstock: Generation Idiot

Sickeningly, an effluvium of nostalgia over the debacle concert near the town of Woodstock, New York in August of 1969 is everywhere. It’s the big 4-0. We should take this anniversary to remember that the catch phrase of the Woodstock generation eventually became “don’t trust anyone over 30.” In the case of the white wash of what really happened with the concert in Max Yasgur’s field, the warning is fitting because the truth seems to be forgotten for the fluffy propaganda of how wonderful the concert was. The concert is also emblematic of some of the vapid 60’s generation — by no means all of them, but the worst of them, to be sure.

In this single event we see some of the worst aspects of Bill Clinton’s generation of twits, thieves, anti-Americans, fools, and ignoramuses all wrapped up with the arrogance that we’ve come to associate with the extreme left in America today. Just think of how this messy event went down.

Originally Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, and Artie Kornfeld imagined that they were creating a for-profit venture in the initial planning stages of the concert. Of course, we all know that the concert became “free” the moment too many people showed up and arrogantly crashed the poorly secured facilities the promoters created on the Yasgur’s farmland. Sadly, the freeloaders that came without tickets didn’t care that other people were losing money, they didn’t care that they were destroying someone’s property, and they paid no mind to what was right. They wanted something for free and arrogantly stole it outright. That attitude pretty much exemplifies the Clinton generation.

But that wasn’t the only ill-planned aspect of this concert. The mess started from day one.

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The team that created the concert were not well acquainted with each other and disagreements on the goals for the event came from the beginning as each seemed to have his own vision of what this whole thing was supposed to be. The money men, Roberts and Rosenman, didn’t realize that their partners didn’t much care about the money aspect of planning and were quite free with the finance men’s cash. This, of course, is typical of the Clinton generation that finds it quite easy to spend other people’s money , isn’t it?

The initial site the concert was to be held on was withdrawn by the city of Middletown when it became clear to the city council that the planners really didn’t have any idea what they were doing. There weren’t enough portable toilet facilities rented by the promoters nor food vendors arranged and the area was too small for the large number of concert goers expected. Yasgur’s farmland was settled on after several other plans fell through.

Not only was the vaunted “free concert” supposed to be a capitalist venture, but according to Country Joe McDonald there was also a bit of extortion involved early in the concert’s planning. It just so happened that Abbie Hoffman, well known criminal and the agitator of Chicago 7 fame, found out about the thing and had contacted the promoters demanding $10,000 as protection money to keep his “yippies” from crashing the event and perpetrating violence there. Like many of the Clinton generation, extortion, coercion and criminality is always in the mix.

Of course, we all know what happened during the concert. Rain made the land a gooey mess, food was practically non-existent, toilet facilities were utterly inadequate, Yasgur’s land was ruined with tons of garbage left behind the uncaring hippies in attendance, and several died. It was all an utter debacle.

In the end all the worst of the 60’s hippie generation were in evidence in the Woodstock concert. Bad central planning, over spending of the budget by people not responsible for actually raising the money, criminality and extortion, a disregard for private property and an complete breakdown in order and common sense. This sort of foolishness typifies the Clinton generation.

But, it should be remembered that there was another part of the 60’s generation. There were those that protested against the yippies and hippies, those that proudly went off to war, those that worked, went to school and tried to become useful members of society. It is unfortunate that those great Americans have been forever tainted by the debacle that was Woodstock, forever associated with all the worst the 60s had to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, much of the music was great. I love to hear Janice Joplin belt out her version of the blues as much as the next guy. But all the wrong lessons were learned by Woodstock. And so Woodstock went on 40 years ago this weekend, but may it soon be mercifully forgotten.

(Cross posted at PubliusForum.com.)

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