Saturday, September 12, 2009

One That Got Away

Around the time of the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, an op-ed piece appeared in the Boston Globe extolling progress America has made in civil rights and social freedoms as a result of the spirit of love and peace that arose from the sixties as epitomized by Woodstock.

Not surprisingly, I'm prone to looking at the world around me and wondering: "Where did all those hippies go?". I look at the miles of strip malls, the big-box stores, the ubiquitous Chinese crap, the suburban subdivisions grinding up forest and farmland, the religious right, wall street greed. Human nature being what it is, I'm not really surprised. People want to take the easy way out and do what feels good now without considering long-term impacts or affects on others. So what if shopping at Walmart puts Americans out of work and despoils China? I can save ten dollars on that plastic Santa to put on my brown lawn this year! So what if they pour tons of fungicide on the soil and pump fossil water from hundreds of feet underground? I want to supersize my fries at the drive-through!

I wrote this letter, but it didn't make the paper. I'm not surprised. Online comments show there were many responses to the article. When I told my wife that I wrote yet another letter to the paper, her basic response was: "Get a life. Nobody cares what you think." How can I argue with that?

August 29, 2009

Rene’e Loth goes a little too easy on the Woodstock Generation (“Woodstock pays dividends,” Op-Ed, Aug. 28). If body piercings, flip-flops in the White House and corporate branding of things like Woodstock itself represent progress, then those great leaps forward must be balanced against the accomplishments of the culture that also brought us SUVs, McMansions, lawn care service, high fructose corn syrup, an obesity epidemic, reality TV, NASCAR, cage fighting, liar loans, credit default swaps and the Iraq war. For every boomer that paddles a kayak or pedals a bike to work, there are thousands who drive alone in a car. For every hipster who lives in an integrated urban neighborhood or on a commune, there are scores who lust after gated communities.

We boomers like to pat ourselves on the back, but we had our chance and blew it. We talked about peace, love and harmony, but what we really wanted was just the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Let’s hope a new generation rises up to foment true revolution.

Photo: "One Minute to Midnight" San Francisco, February 2010

1 comment:

Paul said...

As I age more and more I ponder human nature. We are slowly lured and pulled in with the masses even when we try to resist. It seems our need to fit, to belong, to join is overwhelming regardless of the direction taken by the masses or the consequences of their actions.