New Woodstock Documentary Should Make Boomers Question Their Accomplishments

If a chaotic concert that nearly failed "defined a generation," what does that actually mean?


Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation. PBS. Tuesday, August 6, 9 p.m.

It's perfectly reasonable to wonder why anybody feels the need for another documentary about Woodstock. We've already got the film of the same name that was released in 1970, a staggering 224 minutes of dope, drizzle, and dishabille, which won an Oscar and is part of the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

But there are a few reasons you might want to take a peek at PBS's new effort, Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation. For instance, its revelation of the novel funding idea of Artie Kornfeld, one of 1969 rock festival's principal organizers.

Told that construction crews hadn't been able to get fences built in time and Woodstock would have to be declared a free concert, Kornfeld asked: "Can't we get a whole bunch of girls and put them in diaphanous gowns and give them collection baskets and send them out into the audience?"

Then there's the video of that bumper sticker posted on one of the food stands that dotted the perimeter of the concert ground: "DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY," a full 19 years before Bobby McFerrin's record drove a nation to homicidal madness.

Oh, and a reminder that rodents were rocking their own Age of Aquarius: A glimpse of the log kept at the medical tents remembered mostly for taking care of the consumers of Woodstock's infamous brown acid reveals they also had 11 patients suffering from rat bites. I blame Nixon.

To be fair, this Woodstock is very different than the film, which lacked interviews or narration and was more immersion than explication. Director Barak Goodman (Oklahoma City) conducted interviews with several of Woodstock's organizers that he uses to trace the festival's evolution from its conception as a recording studio for Bob Dylan to an outdoor concert for 5,000 people to (at least for a weekend) a city that was the 10th-biggest and most-stoned in America.

(Actually, I assume that Goodman's crew did the interviews, but that may not be true. Several of the interviewees, including Joe Cocker and Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner, have been dead for years, and the film's credits don't reveal where their comments came from.)

The result is a story in equal parts amusing and appalling. The organizers spent weeks lurking around the bathrooms in Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden and timing the occupants to determine how many Porta Potties would be needed at Woodstock. Answer: "Tens of thousands … just impossible numbers." They went ahead anyway.

Pretty much the same degree of planning went into food, security, shelter and everything else about Woodstock. Even the power lines into the festival site—literally the life blood for all the guitars, amps, speakers and soundboards necessary for the show—were installed chaotically. During the apocalyptic rainstorm that struck on the second day, a 50,000-volt cable was unearthed, which—as one of the organizers admits—could easily have resulted in a mass electrocution. "Fortunately," he observes breezily, "that didn't happen."

It's narrow misses like that one that make the documentary's subtitle—"three days that defined a generation"—so arrogantly infuriating. Woodstock, it's true, did not live up to the famous New York Times headline, "Nightmare in the Catskills."

But that was mostly due to the eternal saviors of teenagers, Mommy and Daddy. The National Guard helicopters ferried in food (nearly all of it donated by the middle-aged townsfolk of nearby Bethel, N.Y., who were home watching Lawrence Welk instead of Jimi Hendrix) and carried out medical casualties. Without their help, and a generous amount of blind luck like the power line not zapping everyone, Woodstock might have more literally resembled what the crew that stayed behind two weeks after the festival to clean up compared it to: a Civil War battlefield.

The most notable thing about the PBS Woodstock is the contortionist specter of a generation blowing smoke up its own ass. The last 15 minutes or so are mostly devoted to people who attended Woodstock declaring it a utopically transformative event that changed everything. Really? Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin would be dead of drug overdoses within a year. The Vietnam War continued for another three. The next president elected was not George McGovern but Richard Nixon, and when Baby Boomers finally did start electing presidents, the result was Afghanistan and Iraq. And raise your hand if you think race relations are any better today than they were in 1969.

You could as easily make the argument that what defined a generation was not Woodstock but Altamont or the Manson Family. Baby Boomers didn't change the world at Woodstock, or create a New Man. Their only accomplishment was to stand up in public, half a million strong, and chant the word "Fuck!"without getting spanked. It's sad that, 50 years later, they still can't tell the difference.

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  1. Woodstock was the Frye festival only it happened in upstate New York instead of the Bahamas and in a time when musicians were much more naive. The fact that it happened in upstate New York meant that the National Guard and local residents were there to keep it from becoming a humanitarian disaster and no matter how bad it was the show went on. Musicians being naive meant they got them to play without paying them first. That doesn’t happen today as the Frye organizers found out.

    It was only the stupidity of the musicians who were willing to play for free basically and the charity of the people of upstate New York that kept it from being just as big of a joke and disaster as the Frye Festival.

    1. The rose-colored glasses needed to sanitize Woodstock is laughable. One of the most ineptly run events in history is held up as a good thing. Fyre was not nearly as poorly organized and that was a total shitshow.

      Woodstock could’ve been one of the biggest tragedies in history. And, in many ways, it DID define the Boomers. Grandiose ideas that they needed other, more competent folks to actually make happen.

      1. In 1973 actual professionals ran the famous “Summer Jam” at Watkins Glenn Raceway and it remains the most attended concert in history. It created none of the problems Woodstock did.

        1. It’s amazing how that one never gets discussed. Altamont is always described as the last big festival, but it wasn’t. It was just the last one to managed on the fly.

          1. There were a ton of them in the 1970s. There was also the Atlanta Pop Festival. It was known as the Woodstock of the South. That was the summer of 1970. Bill Graham used to these “Day on the Green” concerts at the Oakland Coliseum.

            Then in the 1980s, there was the US Festival. It was bigger than Woodstock. No disasters there.

            1. Planning. Imagine that.

            2. Then they tried redoing Woodstock. That last time in 1999…things didn’t go well.

              1. Fred Durst ruined everything.

                1. Isn’t that a fairly universal sentiment on everything in the world?

                  “Climate change? Man, fuck that Fred Durst!”

            3. >>>Atlanta Pop Festival

              Hendrix’ set @APF was ridiculous … beautiful.

            4. Bill Graham actually had a clue as to what the hell he was doing.

        2. I’ve never heard of that one. A little before I was born. But competence is rarely memorable, I guess.

          1. It was before my time too. But, I just know a lot of random stuff.

      2. The problem these days is plenty of weed, not enough acid.

    2. I just watched a documentary on the Fyre festival-basically it was supposed to be a Woodstock for well-heeled NYC millennials who could afford the price tag. At least the original Woodstock was not a huge scam, like the following ones in 94, 99, and the canceled Woodstock 50 turned out to be (though not the huge scam that Fyre was)

    3. What does this curmudgeonliness accomplish?

      Okay, I won’t set up a half-assed music festival, even if it might be the most famous music festival in history.

      1. Constantly remind Socialists that their lives are lies.

      2. Okay, I won’t launch a half-assed “unsinkable” ocean liner, even if it might be the most famous ocean liner in history.

        When success and total disaster are separated only by raw luck, you can’t morally take the credit.

    4. Woodstock actually happened. Frye did not

  2. If you have never watched Gimme Shelter, the Altamont documentary, watch it. It does to the 60s what the second half of Goodfelles does for the Mafia.

    1. Seconded. Chilling movie.

      1. A couple of small things always stood to me about that movie. There is this naked chick who you see early in the day feaked out on drugs and naked. Then like 8 hours later you see her again trying to climb on the stage when the Stones are playing. And she is still naked. What the hell, did she just wander around naked all day? Then there is another seen where this middle aged woman who looks like Joan Clever is collecting money for the Black Panthers. It is so surreal.

        1. Yeah – and IIRC the naked chick just looks completely out of her mind, like psychotic-break territory, and everyone just ignores her.

          I’ll also never forget the shot of the Hell’s Angel on stage fuming right after all the bikes get knocked over, barely containing his rage as he scans the crowd for the guy that did it, and the leap into the crowd once he sees the guy.

          What really makes the movie chilling, though, is just how clueless everyone involved was and how stunned they were that it all went to shit (it was Jerry Garcia’s idea to use the Hell’s Angels as security, because fuck the Man and all that).

          1. The Rolling Stones say the problem was they had only known European Hell’s Angels. In Europe, Hell’s Angels were just goofy guys who rode Harleys and dressed the part. They were about as dangerous as Civil War reenactors. In San Francisco, they had real Hell’s Angels. It was just a recipe for disaster.

            In fairness, they had done a huge free concert in Hyde Park that summer and it had come off without a hitch. They just didn’t understand that San Francisco and especially Oakland and the East Bay is not London. The whole scene in Northern California was out of control.

            I remember watching that movie in college and noticing this smoking hot brunette smoking a cigarette sitting one of the amps right on the stage when the Stones play. She is someone’s grandmother by now if she is even still alive, but damn she was hot back then.

            1. They just didn’t understand that San Francisco and especially Oakland and the East Bay is not London.

              True, that. IIRC, they also originally planned to have it in Golden Gate Park so that it would be a similar sort of urban-stop-in-for-a-minute-and-wander-back-home sort of thing, but the City of SF said “nuh-uh – we’re having enough trouble with these people without inviting them to gather” and they had to relocate.

              I seem to remember the movie making much of the fact that it went from something that would have been casual and convenient and became something you had to drive 2-3 hours out to the sticks to get to, and people were essentially trapped there once they got there.

              They should have just cancelled once they failed to get Golden Gate Park.

              1. Yes they should have. I have been to Altemont. Even today with as much growth as the Bay Area has experienced in the last 50 years, it is still out in the middle of nowhere. It is out east of Livermore. Today it is about ten miles outside of the leading edge of the bay area metroplex. Back then it must have been 20 miles to anything. There is no town there. The speedway sits about a half mile off the highway and that is it.

              2. There were no libertarian candidates for SF city council. The party against the initiation of force was 2 years in the future, and the Buffalo party Convention wasn’t until next summer:
                The Kleptocracy immediately began passing “woodstock laws” to ban concerts and crush libertarian parties.

          2. A couple of recent books about the calamity have returned the blame onto the Grateful Dead. They famously fled the scene without playing, and as one author says, began the process of writing themselves out of the history of that event.

            I love the Dead, but they own much of the responsibility for what was the absolute worst one of the many bad decisions that resulted in that mess. It’s good to see that fact being dug back out.

            1. Yeah, they really screwed the Stones.

            2. They famously fled the scene without playing

              One of the few funny scenes in the movie is the one where some people are explaining to the Dead what happened to Jefferson Airplane – one of the most tense scenes of the movie is Jefferson Airplane trying to hold back the crowd from rushing the stage while they play, and ultimately failing, resulting in Marty Balin getting decked in the scuffle.

              The Dead are just blown away and barely understanding what’s being said to them. Lot’s of “wow, bummer, man!” while Jerry just stares into space, completely oblivious to anything going on around him.

              1. >>>while Jerry just stares into space

                probably working on Dark Star.

                1. Under My Thumb.

          3. Jerry Garcia and the rest of the Grateful Dead knew the San Francisco area Hell’s Angels well, as they had been partying with them since the “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests” at Ken Kesey’s house.

  3. I’d put Glenn Garvin’s birthday somewhere between 1965 and 1985.

    1. No shit. Totally clueless youngster.
      You try to get 500,000 of today’s young people in a muddy field for a weekend, see how it pans out..

      1. I’d bet it’d turn a lot like Woodstock.

    2. He looks like he’s probably in his mid to late 60s.

    3. Yeah I’m not sure what to make of this generational animosity. I wasn’t at Woodstock but I was at a lot of similar events in the 70s and 80s. It was about the music. “defined the generation” is marketing boilerplate. Woodstock had no impact on me or anybody I know.
      My 30 year old son tried to beat me up about SS the other day because his generation will get stuck with the bill. I pointed out that the system was in place long before I was born and I’ve been paying that same bill for 40 years. And with Medicare for all, the Green new Deal, and a full blown socialist police state on the horizon it looks like his generation is on track to fuck up whatever the Boomers and the Greatest Generation didn’t manage to fuck up.

      1. “raise your hand if you think race relations are any better today than they were in 1969”. I proudly raise my hand. We have far to go, but we have come a long way…

  4. “The result is a story in equal parts amusing and appalling. The organizers spent weeks lurking around the bathrooms in Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden and timing the occupants to determine how many Porta Potties would be needed at Woodstock. Answer: “Tens of thousands … just impossible numbers.” They went ahead anyway.”

    Fast-forward into one possible future:
    “The result is a story in equal parts amusing and appalling. The organizers spent weeks lurking around the bathrooms in hospitals and doctor offices to determine how many dollars would be needed for universal free healthcare. Answer: “Tens of trillions … just impossible numbers.” They went ahead anyway.”

  5. :And raise your hand if you think race relations are any better today than they were in 1969.”

    I agree with a lot of the points that the author makes, but I’ll raise my hand. Race relations are massively better today than they were in 1969. It’s not perfect now (and never will be, people being imperfect and all), but in 1969 there was an infinite supply of actual racist actions. Today there are still plenty, but we’ve go to manufacture hoaxes and get outraged over white girls wearing their hair in cornrows or frat boys wearing sombreros and stuff like that in order to have enough to maintain outrage.

    1. I missed that little gem. That is an abusrd contention. In 1969, the country was only a year removed from some of the worst race riots in its history. Nearly every large city in America suffered from riots and many like Detroit never recovered.

      In 1969, interracial couples were still verboten in nearly all of the country. In sports people openly said that blacks were too dumb to play quarterback or endurance sports.

      What universe is the author living in?

      1. America is less racist today than it has been at any point in its history.

        It’s a lot less racist today than it was in 1969. It was less racist in 1969 than it was in 1919. It was less racist in 1919 than it was in 1869. It was less racist in 1869 than it was in 1819. Notice a trend?

        1. America is less racist today than it has been at any point in its history.

          I agree. And yet somehow race relations have grown worse than they were before Obama.

          1. I’m not sure that’s true. ‘Bad race relations’ get a lot of buzz because the Democrats only know that one tune, and people are getting tired of it, but I don’t see any evidence outside the media that there’s any real problem with race relations.

            1. Virtue signaling is certainly worse. But that mainly has white people annoyed with each other.

              1. Some of my favorite Fifth Column debates are when the three white guys try to convince Kmele that something is racist. It happens almost every week.

              2. Great comment!

        2. White America is less racist today than it has been at any point in its history or at least they’re quiet about it.
          Non White America and any color millennials are more racist today against whites. I’m surprised to hear some of the attitudes of Asians.

          1. Asians are and always have been the most racist people on earth. Every nationality of Asian is convinced they are the superior race to all others. They are the most xenophobic and insecure people on earth.

            1. It’s because of their tiny penises.

      2. One indicator of racism, then vs. now: In 1968, George Wallace ran for the President as a third party, on a platform of pure racism. He won several states. He might have done better in 1972, but an assassination attempt put him in the hospital. IIRC, this was only the second time a third party won any state since the messy 4-way election of 1860; the other time was 1948, when the Dixiecrats (more southern racists) split the Democratic party, but not by enough to stop Truman from winning reelection.

        Now, the two leading parties are Libertarian and Green, and neither one is racist, or cares about any color that isn’t in a watermelon.

        1. You know who else competed with Nixon and was mysteriously shot?

    2. Yeah, that jumped out at me too. While the rhetoric you often hear would make one think otherwise, race relations on the ground are definitely much better now.

    3. Yeah, that was beyond ridiculous. In 1969, committed segregationists still ran big cities up north and states down south

    4. This part bothered me as well. Despite the sensationalism, I would say race relations are better. Of course, politicians seem to be devolving into tribalism.

  6. Wow Glenn, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed today? You make libertarianism seem akin to Puritanism. Well, it’s your life.

    Reason has also recommended Thaddeus Russell’s “A Renegade History of The United States” that does a good job of putting scolds like this in their place.

    As the President so sagely advises on Twitter: “Sad!”

    1. In Libertopia, you are free to be a fan of Misfits…

      …so long as you behave like a fan of The Osmonds.

      1. Donny’s cover of Last Caress rocks.

  7. My father-in-law was at Woodstock. According to his descriptions, it sucked balls. Not just the rain – he said at no point could you tell who was even on stage the sound system was so bad.

    So yeah – I think it’s fair to say that an overhyped hipster event that actually sucked and was only prevented from total disaster by the very parental figures the attendees were screaming at being played up as a utopian success story showing how awesome Boomers are and how things just seem to magically work out for them because Greatest Generation Ever characterizes them pretty well, IMHO.

    1. Sound systems were pretty privimative back then. I can’t imagine the sound not being horrible. The other thing too is that most of the bands sounded like shit. If you watch the Woodstock movie, the Band and CCR are the only acts that don’t sound like shit. A lot of people talk about the CSN performance but they left their guitars out in the air and the temperature dropped when the sun went down putting them all out of tune. If you listen to it, Stephen Stills Guitar sounds horrible. He kept fiddling with it but he never really got it in tune.

      1. I always wondered if my opinion that the music sounded like shit was just me not liking most of the artists. Good to know my opinion wasn’t alone.

        1. The bar was also way lower then. There was a great documentary on Prog rock produced by the BBC some years back where Mike Rutherford makes the point that in the ’60s as long you could play your instrument reasonably competently, you drew an audience.

          My father-in-law backed up that point – he played guitar in the ’60s and made it onto a couple of records. He was able to make a living as a musician when he was a teenager. I’m a much, much better guitarist than him, but by the time I came a long, you had to pay if you wanted to play in a band.

          1. Outside of the Beatles and the Stones, very few pop bands in the 1960s played on their records. The 60s was the golden age of the session musician. The music was great. The bands’ ability to reproduce it on stage not so much.

            1. everyone wanted to be Steve Winwood he could play everything.

            2. They just could not produce it in the studio. It was all analog straight recording.

              Took me years to learn that my top favorite drummers were mostly Hal Blaine.

            3. Um Pink Floyd, Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers, Cream, Rush, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Frank fucking Zappa, and a few thousand other bands were around in the sixties that could definitely play their instruments on stage.

              1. He’s perhaps being a bit hyperbolic, but allow me to opine that with the possible exception of Jimi Hendrix, the guitarist of every single one of those bands (even all three Yardbirds) is way overrated. Even Zappa.

                1. Or put another way, an unheard-of ’80s guy like Roddy Frame could play circles around them.

              2. Yeah, John isn’t old enough to have actually heard any live acts back then. Jethro Tull was awesome live.

                A college friend of mine lived near Woodstock. He said it was a real shitshow.

            4. Check out the great documentary “The Wrecking Crew” about session musicians to see the actual great talents of the 60’s.

            5. The 60s was the golden age of the session musician.

              In the US, yes. In Britain, it was still necessary to be a competent player in order to get a recording contract. That was one reason for the success of the British Invasion—the UK acts could actually play, and even teenage rock fans in the US noticed.

    2. I was less than 2 years old at the time, but we were traveling cross-state and were stuck in Woodstock traffic for a while.

  8. How does one half of one percent of a generation get anywhere near defining it? BTW- the last of the boomers were 5 years old in 1969.

    1. Yeah, what about the tens of millions of people who got jobs and lived normal lives and were never hippies? They somehow never get mentioned.

    2. How does one half of one percent of a generation get anywhere near defining it?

      Because while they represent a particularly clear example, it’s not news that pathological narcissism afflicted the Boomers in much higher percentages than other generations. This was noted back in the ’70, when they were proudly referring to themselves as “the Me Generation” and every single thing was all about self-expression, self-actualization, self-esteem, and just Self generally.

      Generation X, my generation, has it’s own characteristic issues related to disaffected pessimism, cynicism and social detachment. You might say Kurt Cobain represented Gen X in a similar way to Woodstock for Boomers even though only a very small percentage of the generation ever liked Nirvana (I never did, but that doesn’t stop me from being cynical, sarcastic and anti-social).

      1. “when they were proudly referring to themselves as “the Me Generation” and every single thing was all about self-expression, self-actualization, self-esteem, and just Self generally.”

        I’m a boomer and didn’t do any of those things. I don’t know anybody who did, although I have no doubt that sort of thing has happened to some extent throughout the history of mankind.

        IMO, labeling 70,000,000 people based on what a tiny fraction of them did over a period of three days is intellectually lazy.

        1. I may be biased by having grown up in Southern California in the 1970s-80s.

          1. “Me Generation” is common knowledge.

            >>>You might say Kurt Cobain represented Gen X

            maybe he’d be on the Rushmore … but down at the end

            1. maybe he’d be on the Rushmore … but down at the end

              I picked him pretty randomly, since putting too much effort into the analogy just wouldn’t be very Gen X.

              Actually if I had to pick one cultural artifact it would probably be the movie The River’s Edge.

              1. My favorite scene in that movie is the hippie teacher doing his “Have I ever told you kids about the 60s?” routine.

              2. ha. word.

        2. Nobody I know referred to themselves as the Me Generation proudly or otherwise. That designation came from the Greatest because we didn’t save the world from Tojo and we wouldn’t stay off their grass.
          Nam didn’t count because ya know we lost that one.

          1. we didn’t save the world from Tojo and we wouldn’t stay off their grass.

            Love is all around you, everywhere.

      2. “Because while they represent a particularly clear example, it’s not news that pathological narcissism afflicted the Boomers in much higher percentages than other generations.”

        Cite needed.

        Square = Circle = Idiot

      3. You might say Kurt Cobain represented Gen X

        I thought Billy Idol was their front man.. huh..

    3. It’s almost as if it’s stupid to even think that anything can define or accurately describe something as vaguely defined and silly as insisting that people born in a 20 year time period are all part of one “generation”.
      Yeah, social attitudes and mores change with time. But not in 20 year blocks and not for everyone all at once.

    4. How does one half of one percent of a generation get anywhere near defining it?

      Woodstock is a short drive from NYC. Nuff said.

  9. Woodstock – the 60’s version of the Gathering of the Juggolo’s.

    1. The Juggalos are less filthy than the Woodstock hippies. Sure, the music is arguably worse…

      1. Yeah but Faygo is known for creating uncontrollable flatulence. Brown acid does not have that effect.

      2. “The Juggalos are less filthy than the Woodstock hippies.”

        Being from Colorado, I’m somewhat of an expert on hippies and have enough experience with Juggalos to verify this statement.

  10. The great majority of boomers were not at Woodstock and a good number of them shouldn’t be defined by it.

    1. As insulting as saying “Woodstock 99 defined Gen X”.

      1. A cynically manufactured imitation of an idealistic fantasy from 30 years before that turned out to be shitty and not at all live up to the hype?

        Yeah – that calcs.

  11. Boomers get a worse rap than millennials. My mom wanted to be a hippie but was too young. Her older brothers hated hippies for how rude they were to returning vets like them

    1. “Boomers get a worse rap than millennials.”

      A lot of the ill will seems to result from them making use of social services which were instituted by The Greatest Generation.

      1. Exactly. My father got far more out of both Social Security and Medicare than he ever paid in. The increase in SS contributions only hit him in his last six working years, and he only paid into Medicare for about 10 years.
        That said, recalculation COL for SS would go a long way toward making it solvent. No hope for Medicare, though.

        1. Social Security needs an adjustment, for sure. When it began, life expectancy was around 63, today it’s 78.

          1. Yep. Us old guys are living longer just to piss you off and raid your taxes.
            Deal with it.

            (or just wait until the democrats get elected; 5 year of socialized medicine, and we will all be dead)

          2. It’s already had many adjustments. Compared to what it started out as taxes are six times higher, the retirement age is two years later, the wage base is a lot higher, and the annuities are taxed for a lot of people. Plus more women contribute towards their own annuity instead of taking one based on their husband’s earnings. But there’s only so much you can do to fix a Ponzi scheme that depends on perpetually high levels of population growth.

      2. In fairness, a lot of it is simply because they’re the old-people-in-charge right now. The ’80s was all about how the Boomer’s parents had fucked everything up so the Boomers needed to fix it now.

        When yer 22, the world seems like it was invented by those over 40, and it all seems so unjust.

        1. Yep. And then, you grow up and get on with your life. One would hope.

        2. The 20-somethings will get their turn to be in charge when they get older. And their kids will think they suck at it just as much they think their parents do.

          1. And the cycle of life continues . . .

            1. One of my all time favorite get-off-my-lawn screeds is from Peter the Venerable complaining in the early 1100s about how the Modern Youth aren’t learning their Latin but are instead travelling to Toledo to learn Arabic, wear turbans and rub elbows with the heathens.

              Kids these days! No respect.

              1. Peter the Venerable is my new hero.

                Hesiod got it right nearly 3000 years ago: things just get worse. The law of entropy applied to human society.

      3. A lot of the ill will seems to result from them making use of social services which were instituted by The Greatest Generation.

        SS started before most GGers could vote. It was their parents WW1 generation.

        1. Yes, that’s correct. SS started quite a while before Medicare and The Great Society. Sorry for the oversight.

  12. Joe Cocker’s set still stands as historic.

    1. Everything that guy did was historic.

  13. “Can’t we get a whole bunch of girls and put them in diaphanous gowns and give them collection baskets and send them out into the audience?”

    Diaphanous gowns… somewhere a Buzzfeed News reporter is googling that.

  14. The organizers spent weeks lurking around the bathrooms in Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden and timing the occupants to determine how many Porta Potties would be needed at Woodstock. Answer: “Tens of thousands … just impossible numbers.”

    Damn, that’s pretty fuckin’ clever.

    1. They’d get arrested now.

      I imagine a few got punched.

  15. I wasn’t at Woodstock – I was only 8 years old at the time – and none of my older brothers or sisters was at Woodstock, but I did have an older brother and an older sister’s boyfriend (now my brother-in-law) in Vietnam. I also had an older brother and sister in college who, one strange day, showed up at the house when they should have been in class and there was a lot of talk about the college being shut down because there had been a shooting at one of the state colleges, Kent State.

    Now there’s a defining moment – realize that the National Guardsmen on the one side were pretty much the same age as the hippies on the other. The ’60’s weren’t just all about the peace and love and smoking dope, there were a shitload of that generation who kept their hair short and their nose clean and loved God and flag and Mom and apple pie. They weren’t all of them out there protesting our involvement in Vietnam, some of them were our involvement in Vietnam. And some of them, having the opportunity to shoot some goddamn long-hair hippy-type pinko fags, well, they took it.

    1. The ’60’s weren’t just all about the peace and love and smoking dope, there were a shitload of that generation who kept their hair short and their nose clean and loved God and flag and Mom and apple pie. They weren’t all of them out there protesting our involvement in Vietnam, some of them were our involvement in Vietnam.

      We don’t care about them.

    2. Well I’ll admit I was a long haired, dope smoking hippie, although never a pinko or fag. But I had a lot of friends that went to Vietnam and some of them came back. They were always welcome in my social circle. Nobody was judging them. And there were pretty good reasons to protest the war and the draft. It was a total clusterfuck. I can’t join you in celebrating National Guardsmen shooting college kids. A lot of them joined the guard so they wouldn’t end up in Nam.

      1. I lived a few miles from Kent and was in high school. Many people cheered the Guard because mobs had rioted, looted, and burned the town for a couple of days before, and this was shown excessively on local TV. The Guard were poorly trained, intimidated, and scared. Their officers deserve most of the blame, and Gov Rhodes.

    3. People went too far blaming soldiers for the disaster that caused so many of their deaths.

      Then we went way too far worshipping soldiers for participating in the next disaster, no matter how many ragheads they grenaded for sport. Then they come back and vote for people who send them right back into idiotic wars.

      Perhaps there’s middle ground.

      1. Or perhaps you’re a worthless turd.

    4. You miss the history of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution?

      A vet.

  16. For what it’s worth.

  17. And raise your hand if you think race relations are any better today than they were in 1969.

    *raises hand*

    1. That was one of many stupid statements.

      1. just like air and water pollution and crime

  18. Where’s the rev to tell us all how he and all of our “betters” made history at that clusterfuck?

    Haha. Hippies suuuuuuuccccckkk.

  19. 22.5 trillion in debt defines the boomers.

    1. until the millennials say “hold by double IPA”

  20. We millennials introduced universal shaved pubes. I for one am sorry about that.

    1. Historically, body hair begins to disappear as an empire nears collapse.

      1. The images this gave me about the British royal family were not pleasant.

    2. You don’t need to be sorry about that. I just want to find the fuckers who thought ‘incest porn’ was a good idea. Fucking Millennials.

    3. Every other generation as well as your own is sorry you exist to pollute the earth with your malignant idiocy.

  21. Is there nothing the millennials can’t fuck up? Introducing Woke Playboy, adless, gender confused. D.O.A.
    I hope when future PBS does a retrospective of this generation it will be because they died in a massive plague.

    1. They have to do something to stay relevant. So its either move to hardcore pornography (like Penthouse) or . . . this. Because trying to out-Maxim Maxim didn’t work.

      The problem is, I think, outlined in the article – no one over the age of 35 on staff. And, frankly, Millenials in media production just kind of suck in general. They’re the ones most likely to have drank the SJW kool-aid, submit to groupthink, and virtue-signal, etc.

      They probably *really think* that we read Playboy for the articles.

    2. Fascinating article. Where are the screams about “cultural appropriation?” Right, I forgot, white males don’t count.

  22. I only take exception with one comment about current Race Relations.

    Only an IDIOT would have made that comment. Everywhere in the US there is Multi-Racial Dating and Marriage. True Americans tend to date within their CLASS but rich, middle class, and poor. I live in Raleigh and you cannot help but see the young couples out. OR go to an Military Post or Base where young soldiers, airman and sailors, ALL High School Graduates, who have a job, and work together every day date.

  23. As a boomer, I was pleased that ‘the pill’ was invented by those born earlier; much easier to get laid.
    Anyone claiming the boomers ‘changed the world’ saw something I never did.

    1. The end of the peace-time draft (and the low-skilled cannon-fodder Army it produced) was a welcome change in the world for Americans. But I think the votes of the previous generations had something to do with it – I was born midway in the Baby Boom, and IIRC, Nixon was already implementing this by the first time I could vote (1972). He didn’t do that for Boomer votes.

      1. The draft was already becoming obsolete due to the increasing intellectual demands of modern warfare. “Low-skilled cannon-fodder” was becoming increasingly useless as higher-tech warfare began to require technician-soldiers. The casualty rate of low-IQ soldiers in Vietnam was appalling—do a search for “McNamara’s Morons”.

      2. Nixon signed the anti-Libertarian law financing looter party candidates within 24 hours of the LP forming. Presstitutes got the message and made sure nobody knew the LP even existed for the next 8 years or so. The GOP meanwhile absorbed the George Wallace Dixiecrats.

    2. Inventing contraception was one thing; but I do have to credit the boomer generation for stridently nagging all those Greatest Generation legislatures to repeal their laws that kept lots of types of contraception illegal.

  24. Insert here.

    1. We can’t pull out.

      The Communists would win.

  25. The problem these days is not enough acid.

    Where is the flood of Peace-Pills?

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  27. I was there with a couple of friends. We camped with the Merry Pranksters.

    To me, it was a fun weekend with some great music, good weed and — coming from a little rural town — it was nice to see that we weren’t alone in thinking differently. I never have understood why everyone makes such a big deal of it.

    One good thing: Last week at trivia, the question was, “Which 10 performers were paid the most at Woodstock?”

    Got ’em all.

  28. I’m not a math whiz, but I thought the Vietnam War ended six years later, not three (1975-1969).

    1. By the end of 1972, the South Vietnamese army had replaced US troops for most of the ground combat, and the draft had effectively ended in the USA. The peace treaty signed in Jan 1973 (3 1/2 years after Woodstock) was the official end of the war, and the end of US military involvement…

      Except that the Communists never intended to conform to that treaty.

  29. New Woodstock Documentary Should Make Boomers Question Their Accomplishments

    Its a sad commentary on today’s society that I had to look up the age of the author – as people under the age of 35 today think ‘Boomer’ means anyone over it.

  30. About 100,000 people attended Woodstock. The number of people who now claim they were at Woodstock probably tops five million.

    1. Most estimates said about 500,000 attended. If was at least close to that number.

  31. Booooring. GenX peeps and i turned to Punk rock and grunge as soon as we could.

    1. it’s a holiday in Cambodia.

  32. “A glimpse of the log kept at the medical tents remembered mostly for taking care of the consumers of Woodstock’s infamous brown acid reveals they also had 11 patients suffering from rat bites.”

    Woodstock was held in Baltimore?

  33. Fact check:

    Indian mystic Meher Baba was born in 1894. He famously taught his devotees, “Don’t Worry; be Happy! Remember Me; I will help you.” Spiritual types in the 60s would have known this. Only much later did Bobby McFerrin write a song influenced by Meher Baba’s catch-phrase.

    1. Melanie [Safka] refers to Meher Baba in a song she wrote about the Woodstock Festival. I never understood why.

  34. Easy to see how a Republican whose job is to drool at Public Brainwashing System documendacities then quip about it, feels threatened by concerts. The pro-choice, anti-prohibition Buffalo Party arose from a festival, and like its Human Rights Party successor, was crushed by kleptocracy machinations. The disturbing puzzle is why Reason, handmaiden of the third-time’s-a-charm LP, and reputed to know the value of a dollar, pays for this screed.

    1. I suspect this is not the view of the magazine as such, and we may even see an article or two taking the opposite position in the run-up to the festival’s 50th anniversary. But I do wonder why people still feel the need to attack Woodstock. Of course just being there didn’t “change the world”. But living through what you know others saw as a disaster, and not only surviving but loving it, is likely to give you the confidence to go out and do some things that do. And of course, there was the music. Tons of it, almost all of it excellent. Maybe because everyone involved was more concerned about the music than the money.

  35. Yup. Gilmour freely admits that the reason the guitar solo in Money is in 4/4 time while the rest of the song is in 7/8 is that he wasn’t confident that he could solo in 7/8 live

  36. It didn’t define a generation, it was only a concert. It may have affected those who attended, but that was just a fraction of a percent of the total population of New York State, let alone the entire country.

    I huge event, sure, but not at all generation defining.

  37. So much ignorant, biased commentary on an ignorant and biased article from people who weren’t there and don’t have a clue. F**K OFF!

  38. This might give you clueless idiots a hint of what that life and time were all about. You had to be there to get it.

    “Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .

    History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.

    My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder’s jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .

    There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

    And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

    So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

    ― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    1. What a pretentious asshole.

  39. I was in Vietnam at the time of the “concert.” I really doubt this author has any clue about what happened during that time, particularly when he accounts the whole Boomer generation being based on a bunch of hippy, drug infested losers with marginal music talents.

  40. Regardless of the aesthetic value of the documentary, the attempt to use it as a bat to reprimand the Boomers was akin to using a wiffle bat on an elephant.

    Hue White

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