|August 14, 2009|
|WSJ Rocks; Reprints Editorial on Woodstock|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|The Wall Street Journal paid tribute to the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, reprinting today its Aug. 28, 1969 editorial about the festival. What a hoot! |
The WSJ acknowledged Woodstock was "a phenomenon of considerable size and significance" because it attracted 400,000 "young people, most apparently from middle-class homes."
The editorialist, "Squalor Possessed," took umbrage over the infatuation with "squalor, slovenly clothes and dirt." SP wrote: "They were literally wallowing in mud. How anybody of any age can want that passes our understanding."
The writer prayed that young people would snap out of it. He/she was encouraged that "anti-radicals" were gaining strength on campuses and "it may well be that these more conservative youngsters will be the people who will be moving America in the future."
The editorialist was hanging out at the wrong schools.
The great fear: the unwashed, more or less permanently stoned on pot or LSD, could wind up running things, which would result in a "culturally poorer America and maybe a politically degenerated America." Methinks, the fear was overblown.
There are plenty of people at the WSJ who were wallowing in the mud at Woodstock. They turned out okay.
As for the music: Don't ask. "Today the young's addiction to rock is at the same time a rejection of classical and the more subdued types of popular music and considering the way rock is presented it must be considered a step down on culture’s ladder," grumbled the editorialist.
While the Journal's editorial page remains in the Stone Age, the rest of the paper certainly has changed for the better. On the same page of the reprint, the Journal presents five great concert movies. Only one ("Jazz on a Summer’s Day") represents the more subdued music favored by the editorialist who ripped the lifestyles of band members at Woodstock as "“disgusting or pitiful, or both but certainly hoggish."
As for the other picks, WSJ’s John Jurgensen could not have done better. Selections are "The Last Waltz" (featuring the Band and Bob Dylan), "Stop Making Sense" (Talking Heads and David Byrne's "big suit"), "Paul Simon, Graceland: The African Concert" (showcase for Ladysmith Black Mambazo) and "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" (the rocker at 60 saluting songs that he wrote during his 20s).
Any one of these gems would change the editorialist’s view of rock.
Thanks for the reprint.
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