Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why My Favorite Woodstock Was Created By A Guy Named Shultz

The 40th anniversary of Woodstock just passed and you're probably wondering why I didn't write anything on it. To tell you the truth, I wasn't there, so obviously, how why would I appreciate it as much as people who were there do? I like a few of the groups that went there, but surprisingly, most of the artists that I know and love did not go. The Beatles weren't there. The Beach Boys, despite being at an artistic high, were so un-hip, they probably weren't even invited. Bob Dylan was in his "I want to be a family man" phase, recording Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait.

Lots of important events happened in 1969 that have already experienced their 40th or will experience it. Abbey Road and Yellow Submarine will reach 40. (The anniversary of Abbey Road's cover shot just passed.) Friends reaches 40. Nashville Skyline hits 40. Countless other great albums turn 40, too.
But, beyond music there's a lot of other, vastly more interesting things hit 40.
We sat through hours of moon landing coverage that bored us to death.
How about Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid turning 40? What a great film that is!
Monty Python's Flying Circus first aired in 1969 on the BBC. Now, where would we be without that show?
It's the birth of Wal-Mart! Ugh...
SALT I negotiations begin.
Sesame Street first aired. Rubber duckie, you're the one...
...and of course, Nixon became president.

So, I guess it's a hip thing to say that Woodstock didn't do anything. It's also hip to say that the Beatles really aren't any good (that's not true), that Citizen Kane really isn't that great a movie (maybe not the best ever, but it is a great movie) or that Disney has deteriorated to the point of making money off of rich brats (well, that is true). Still, the truth is that Woodstock was just an event. It was a very important event, mainly to those who were there. What political and/or world-changing events resulted from Woodstock? Not much. It was just a music festival where a large bunch of people experienced peace, love, drugs, mud and music. The fact that it was a singular event where some iconic musicians performed has to be one of the main reasons it gets attention....either that or the fact that so many of those who went are still alive.

Plus one other thing: I'm a journalism major and it really pains me to see all the news media swamped with covering these anniversaries. I think it's OK to say "Oh, today's the anniversary of Woodstock!", but to dwell on it like they did was more than just annoying. The moon landing was significantly more important and it got just as much coverage. Still, the fact remains, anniversaries are not news. They did not happen now. What I want to hear on the local news is what happened around the corner, the traffic and weather. What I want to hear on the national news and read in The New York Times is what's going on with the two wars we have, the recession, the problems in Iran, the problems in Africa, health care and whatever other important problems we have.

Now, I'm going to get off my mountain and go back to my music.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Nice bit of perspective there, Dan.
Woodstock is overrated. It's not that it wasn't an amazing event with seminal performances. It's fair enough to remember that. I just wish people wouldn't kid themselves that it changed the world.
Attempting to overstate the achievements only ends up diminishing them.