Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#OWS: Woodstock to Altamont in 2 Months

A good read at Powerline today about how the OWS protests have descended from Woodstock to Altamont in near record time.
Numerous observers have pointed out how the media and liberals (sorry for the redundancy) lavished sympathy on Occupy Wall Street until it became untenable to continue, after which they began to airbrush their previous encomia. They seem to forget that what begins as Woodstock somehow always ends up as Altamont. It was inevitable that the “spirit of Woodstock” would make an appearance as the cycle of OWS unfolded. (I used to joke that although 400,000 people attended Woodstock in 1969, 5 million baby boomers would later claim to have attended.)
Everybody knows about Woodstock.  A few days of music in a farm field in New York, lots of drugs, sex, rock and roll, and the feeling that all was right in the world (except for the brown acid, dude).  A few months after Woodstock, the music world tried to recreate the magic in California, at a place called Altamont.
A few months later the attempted sequel to Woodstock at California’s Altamont Pass ended violently when the Hells Angels hired as stage security proved they were not yet ready to be part of the Age of Aquarius. The Hells Angels beat a concertgoer to death just a few feet in front of Mick Jagger, who was in the middle of singing “Sympathy for the Devil.” In contrast to the encomiums to Woodstock, there was little media commentary suggesting that Altamont showed a dark side of the counterculture.
A personal note; although I won't claim to have gone to Woodstock, I almost went to Altamont.  A college friend nearly talked me into driving down from college in Arcata to Altamont for the concert.  I don't really recall quite why we decided not to go; perhaps a rare moment of sanity in that crazy year.

A video of the mayhem at Altamont, from Legal Insurrection:

The Grateful Dead wrote the song "New Speedway Boogie" about the Altamont concert, at which they were headliners, but dropped out at the last minute after the violence broke out.  The concert venue was Altamont Motor Speedway.

No comments:

Post a Comment