That was then, this is now

Poughkeepsie Journal: “Woodstock 50 festival has been canceled. Set for Aug. 16-18, Woodstock 50 was to memorialize the iconic event many consider to be the top achievement of the 60s counterculture. But there was a failure to secure permits or a venue.”

That is from John Fund on Twitter.


If you ask permission from people, you do nothing.

Better to ask for forgiveness later ...

Is John Fund disappointed? Did he have tickets? What's his favorite 1960s band? Did he attend the first Woodstock? Does voter fraud have anything to do with the cancellation? Does he smoke weed? Was he smoking weed when he wrote those books about the prevalence of voter fraud in America? Curious readers of NR online want to know.

Given how the original turned out, hardly shocking.

It would have been wasted on millennials. The surviving hippies are too old to camp in the mud.

I'm not disappointed.

I know the Adirondacks guide that managed the Woodstock II (in August 1999) campground set-up, he gave me a tee shirt.

I didn't attend. Many friends did.

Peace, love, good-music, mud, rain, and LSD/weed.

My favorite 1960's band - The Doors.

I don't smoke weed. I get high on life: two-a-days.

You need to "up" your voter fraud game. You guys screwed-up the fix in the 2106 election.

Facts don't matter.

Kids don't like that style of music anymore. They listen to the hip hop crap!

"It would have been wasted on millennials. The surviving hippies are too old to camp in the mud."

Millenials are two old to go to this kind of festivals, I think.

The original festival was also refused permits. That was why they held it at Yazgur's farm, which was served by minimal infrastructure.

Such is life in Trump's America. Brazil easily organizes big rock shows such as the Rock in Rio.

That's the one where they gave a free T-shirt to anyone who didn't get mugged.

It is not true at all.

Good. Suppress morally and aesthetically bankrupt Boomer culture.

I don't know if it is morally bankrupt, but it is striking that it appears the 2020 election is going to be again two aging white male boomers. I have a feeling the 2040 election will be the same.....

And nothing of value was lost. The end.

I know the point here is about modern complacency. However, with the benefit of 50 years of historical perspective, it's interesting to note that the presumed "iconic event...of the 60s counterculture" was really just a consumption and entertainment event. Meanwhile, the "squares" of the time were busy sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. In terms of "sticking it to The Man", today's libertarians owe much more to the legacy of ultra-square Barry Goldwater ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.") and his progeny like George Will ("[Conservatives] seek to conserve the American Founding") than they do to any collectivist hippie.

Yeah, I've never understood why Woodstock was considered iconic. I mean, I like some of the bands, and love music in general, but at the end of the day, it was a concert. Even then it wasn't as impressive as, say, stealing the Vatican's theme song or Bach being put under house arrest.

If we must consider Woodstock iconic, we should consider it iconic for its failures--the lack of supplies, the need to fly in doctors, the destruction of property, the complete breakdown of order (as seen by the breakdown in the ticket process). Woodstock is iconic, but has always struck me as an iconic low point, a demonstration of just how bad things could get.

Why? Naked girls. Drugs. Loud music.

There is something similar that happens every year in my area. It attracts 12000 people and is characterized by naked women, loud dance music and a kiosk where you can test your drugs for fentanyl. 12000 people camping in a pasture with security plucking out the rapists and out of control drug overdoses.

Was Bach put under house arrest for stealing the Vatican's theme song?

Mozart stole the Vatican's theme song. They would let people listen to it, but not write it or share written copies. Mozart listened to it, memorized it, wrote it when he got home, and distributed copies of it. (A super-condensed version, of course; the devil's in the details.)

Bach's situation was more complex, involving politics as well as aesthetic differences, but he was placed under house arrest.

Thanks. I knew about Bach's house arrest, not about Mozart exploits.

Maybe Mozart stole the song and framed Bach for his crime. I thinl a watch a movie about it.

For that stuff, I'll take Pensic over Woodstock.

Nice reference to Apollo and Dionysus by Ayn Rand.

I thought the point was that back then, when permits were refused, people figured out other means of solving their problems, whereas now they just give up. I guess that could be a complacency story, but it also might just be a compare-and-contrast between a somewhat revolutionary counterculture and the modern corporate behemoths that attempt to cash in on their legacy.

Goldwater cut a wide swath for a dumb guy, but he couldn't have carried George F. Will's natural smarminess in a wheelbarrow.

A fine thing that Woodstock 50 has died the death, since rock 'n' roll itself has been dead for most of the past fifty years.

Nevertheless: the "rock idiom" of American pop music ("culture" of callow youth, celebrations of teen frivolity and excess, the modeling of rank immaturity across the spectra of pop culture, et cetera) persists: what greater stagnation for the US than for its millions of idiot children to wallow in a pop culture matrix that's OVER fifty years old?

So... rock died in the 1970s, eh? Sure thing, Spanky.

It's true. Frank Zappa says as much in the film Baby Snakes, which was recorded in 1979.

Yes, it died of old age: rock 'n' roll had no business living to age thirty if it "really" had any authenticity to boast: and since it was born in the early- to mid-Fifties, it should have been allowed to die in the late 70s--just as it did, with the death of Punk.

For his part Paul McCartney alone helped kill rock 'n' roll by further accentuating saccharine content with generically bland pop music. The rock idiom persists, but rock 'n' roll has been toothless since punk died the death. (If only Sid Vicious had hated The Beatles as intensely as he hated Pink Floyd . . . .)

Maybe rock 'n' roll is toothless, but metal certainly has teeth.

I think that's more the issue here: Rock 'n' roll has branched off into multiple directions--punk, metal, pop, etc. The original is gone, not so much because it died out, but because it spawned multiple new varieties of music, many of which are vibrant end current today.

Nyet: ALL popular music today regardless of idiom has been CO-OPTED. All this soulless saccharine pop melodic crap is being used to SELL SELL SELL PRODUCTS SERVICES CRAP.

If rock 'n' roll did not die with Punk, it should have, since even its most celebrated accomplishments have been turned to economic utility in the decades since. (The first commercial use of Sixties rock tunes I recall was a Beach Boys hit tune used for selling some orange soda concoction. Oliver Stone reminded us barely fifteen years later that The Doors were selling Ford automobiles even before Morrison died.)

Can't wait to hear Rolling Stones tracks being used to sell denture adhesives.

1) If you think they weren't selling back then, you're delusional. Reports from the original Woodstock show that the "artists" were in it for the money.

2) You continue to refer to pop music. Ergo, I can safely assume you've missed my point, which is: Rock has diversified. Pop music is just one branch that it broke off into; there are others. Your ignorance does not constitute data (though it does explain the tone of your posts).

3) I see no reason to assume that mere use of some song to sell something inherently makes that song less. Art has been used to sell things since the concept of trade came into existence, and how a song is used after it's made has no bearing on the initial intent of the song. Abuse does not negate use; that's been known for nearly 3,000 years, and holds true in aesthetics as much as (if not more than) any other field.

Rock never diversified too broadly: industry-sponsored pop music killed rock 'n' roll in the 1970s while keeping "alive" the pretense of its continued existence.

No one "saved" rock 'n' roll, but unfortunately its fragrant corpse was never buried or cremated.

Again you insist on only discussing pop, for no better reason than "Because I say so".

Rock isn't dead. It's grown beyond you. It's not wallowing in stagnation; YOU are.

I insist because the music industry plainly co-opted rock institutionally: but what else could the industry do--the ideology of youth culture was fatuous enough the first go-round, and as teens became twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and forty-somethings, the ideology had to become further attenuated.

Temporal reality killed rock 'n' roll, that is. I myself have somehow managed to outlive rock 'n' roll, and I do not wallow in its continuing putrefaction.

It turns out abstraction creates a perverse inequality. Arbitrariness is the quality Jesus used to deceive the devil. No amount of tolerance will buy you censorship. He controlled the devil. But material wealth requires ceaseless dogma. A monetarist is indifferent about happiness and sadness, their audience is not the people, it is the expressive-ness itself. A type of elasticity of ego. A monetarist speaks metaphorically about the decaying metaphor.

Acceptance wears a gown and the communication tactic Krishna used wasn't actually immortality. It was inconsistency. And Haydn's farewell symphony is the first time anyone's felt a change in Krishna's emotions....Mathematical intelligence is like a muscadine vine, perhaps thats what Pliny the Elder used to paint the average. Because Edward, anagocical intuition defies hope. Togetherness requires no belief. So, if this is parable, is it semi-autobiographical?

Because parables invite other parables, this one from E. M. Cioran (R. Howard, tr.):

"Everything seems debased and futile once the music stops. You understand that music can be hated, and one is tempted to identify its absolute status with fraudulence. This is because we must react at any cost against it WHEN WE LOVE IT TOO MUCH (orig. ital.). No one has realized this danger better than Tolstoy, for he knew that music could do with him as it liked. Hence he began execrating it out of fear of becoming its plaything."

(I am no Tolstoyan, but Tolstoy seems to've gotten at least a couple of things right. Few Americans today evince skepticism of pop music's advertising and marketing utility.)

+1 on all of these comments, Burke.

Grazie, and I concur with you that Zappa's musical and entrepreneurial approaches remain commendable and far preferable to most else of the era. Zappa's music continues to transcend rock and pop both.

Not one of your claims is supported by the data.

The pop culture matrix may have died, but the music lives on to wallow in, man.

I for one cannot be so sure: in 1969 how many Americans were avidly listening to tunes and hits from c. 1919? (Ragtime nostalgia didn't hit until after The Sting [1974]--set in 1936 Chicago--popularized Joplin tunes.)

Any persistence of a fifty-year-old pop culture matrix surely qualifies as another case of arrested development or, if not "stagnation", cultural putrefaction: nothing to wallow in comfortably.

You sound like a guy who probably never learned how to wallow effectively.

Rock 'n' roll, its fatuous cult of youth, and the drug culture it sponsored never came close to exhausting my native restlessness, which led me to abandon them in my late teens.

That's the problem right there. Rock 'n' Roll, its fatuous cult of youth, and the drug culture it sponsored were never designed to exhaust your native restlessness. Your native restlessness had to wait for the opportunity to exhaust itself commenting on the last of the unmoderated blogs.

Hardly, on either count.

R 'n' r, its fatuous cult of youth, and the drug culture it sponsored live to this very day: they must be persisting in order to exhaust someone.

I'm going through Feyerabend's Against Method these days, stimulating material to consider in this era of Technogenic Climate Change.

I'm reading one about when the wheel was invented as evidenced by the evolution of the proto-Indo-European vocabularly and later by stuff dug up in peat bogs. If this thing sponsors something and persists it will exhaust me bad.

Judging from the comments here, Tyler should have added the tag


We're going to have to treat the effects of Boomer culture like we do asbestos.

Paint over it?

It just seems like bad management (opps we forget to get the permit). There are massive music festivals pulled off every year but there's failure in the industry as well (Fyre anyone?)

aren't you the same boonton that was defending
those antifa fuckwits a couple weeks ago
right before a mob of them beat the shit out that
130 lb asianamerican kid?

I have to say that festivals like Burning Man and Electric Forest make the original Woodstock look awfully dull in comparison. Do image searches for each one, and it's pretty obvious which one comes up short.

Comparative carbon footprints, anyone? --Woodstock traffic jams and electricity consumption vs. annual Burning Man bonfires and transportation to and from remote desert locales?

What might begin to explain the enduring commitment of pop culture in all of its electric/electronic avatars to the spread and continued intensification of Technogenic Climate Change?

Righteous weed?

I don't know that cannabis alone can disrupt or displace critical thought so brilliantly: market forces eager to co-opt pop culture idioms over entire decades likely deserve far more credit, as might America's cocaine pandemic of the 1980s, which helped make Boomers the attentive parents they never became.

So it's cocaine that displaces critical thought so brilliantly! I knew it had to be one of those things. Eager market forces are of course in the mix somewhere. Hard to pin down exactly where they fit in, but they could well deserve far more credit, as claimed. Some day someone will figure all this stuff out, and we won't have to flex our brain muscles so hard.

Burning biofuels such as wood is generally considered carbon-neutral; you're transferring from the biosphere to the atmosphere, which has a high transfer rate/low residence times anyway. The sticking point is when you transfer from the lithosphere to the atmosphere, as the transition from the atmosphere to the lithosphere is incredibly slow and residence time in the lithosphere is incredibly long.

Lots of lithosphere getting burned up in those generators the rich guys bring to recharge the vaping batteries.

The Boomers were right. Don't trust anyone over 30.

- Generation X

"Hope I die before I get old" was transmuted decades ago into "hope I can pretend I'm a geriatric teenager until I'm ninety or a hundred", with the resulting illusion made possible by huge advances in hair dye application and cosmetic surgeries.

Well, the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply.

From a contemporary (2019) practitioner:

"pop music till yer brains bulge blue!"

pop music till yer brains bulge blue!

rhythm melody synthetic beats
tempos for affective response timed
to coincide with thoughts of exchanging cash.

music to buy by music to sell to
(music, that is, to salivate to)

high production values on display
(separate horns for engineered sounds)
to accompany all economic deeds.

music to buy with music to sell with
(degraded music, that is, just noise)

every color of sound turned to green
human beasts' treadmill tastes must be trained:
we may yet starve to death, but we'll die de-brained!

music to buy for music to sell for
(invisible music hardly sounds)

alien enthusiasms lit
victims symptoms of a slipping age
(why, it's chronometer calibration time!):

pop music till yer brains bulge blue!

On the plus side, at least people won't be telling lies about being at Woodstock 50 fifty years from now.

Altamont was pretty iconic too. Stones and Angels, America at its best. The idea of having a Woodstock 50 is pure America too, the land of hustling (as historian Walter A. McDougall summarized it. (The bands were what made Woodstock something; replacing them with 2019 rappers and whatever passes for rock music these days, well, somehow it's just don't seem the same, to quote Bob Dylan).

Sounds like we don’t deserve another Woodstock.

If I'm not mistaken, the line was not from Bob Dylan, but from Nick Gravenites (The song Born in Chicago sung by Paul Butterfield, who was also at Woodstock by the way).

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