“What a strange strange trip it’s been.” "Truckin’," by The Grateful Dead, came out less than a year after our “world-changing” peace and love rock festival ended. Reality crashed the party. Our fantasy Owsley acid dropping, organic granola commune groovin’, hairy-arm-pitted rancid-patchouli oiled, bare-assed mud sliding free lovin’ peace festival, Woodstock, was over.
Our Woodstock summer of love was more like your summer of lovin’ Obama than you even know. Obamapalooza: Lollapalooza 2008 in hand with a summer of free music for Obama. Dudes, this was your summer of hope and ecstasy. But, the morning after, when the great anonymous hook up is over, the E has worn off, your jaw is sore, the Kush is gone, and everyone has showered, the world is a very different place.
So let me be the first to say it: Rise and shine, dudes, its morning! Putin is smiling, jobs are vanishing, oil is rising, Afghanistan is igniting, Iran is going nuclear, the draft is coming, the poor will not be getting richer, nor will the rich be sharing power, Barack will not pay your mortgage nor pay your salary, and last night when you were getting wasted, playing beer pong, the plans for the military bases in Iraq were all drawn up. We’re headed for a “hot, flat and crowded” future, and there is not a groovy hopeful thing Obamapalooza or the Pumas or the McCainiacs or even Governor Fertility herself could have done to stop it. Sweet Mary Jane is just old Mexican hemp now.
What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?"
Woodstock ran from August 15-17 1969. I turned 15 on the first day and hitch-hiked there. We too all fell in love with our new revolutionary, world. We too were raging against the “machine.” Stoned, optimistic and sexually excited we were chillin’ while the angry music wailed. Pot smoke and incense filled our hearts, minds and souls. We honestly believed reefer, love and pissed off rock and roll (Janice and Jimi hadn’t yet drowned in their own vomit) would bring love to the whole world. It would just take constant intense revolutionary music, committed demonstrations, lots and lots of chanting, free love, good drugs and daisies, COOL.
“One two three four what are we waiting for, don’t ask me I don’t give a damn, next stop is Vietnam.” Only the stupid rednecks went to Nam. “Hell No we won’t go!” We were too smart to be conned by the Man. So did the summers of love and hope and chanting college stoners win?
Not quite. Because when all is said and done, Baudrillard is right in a way he hadn’t wanted: Reality really IS a bitch. And relativist academics and media confusion cannot post-modernize real reality away. So you go girls and boys. RATM away. Go Rage against your mommies. Believe your little clutch of tattooed wimpy white boys with their big amps and big mouths. “Here is something you can’t understand, how I could just kill a man!” Yes dear. Now read Call of the Wild. Study your algebra. Clean your rooms, and, not like I’m telling you what to do or anything, but maybe spend just a little less time with the internet porn. You’ll feel better. “They rally around the family with a pocket full of shells.” That’s very nice honey bunny. Are those jingle or periwinkle shells?
The Dead saw it all a year later. Woodstock had been a fraud, a false promise, a momentary respite in facing reality. The Cambodian invasion, the Kent State Massacre, the Mi Lai Massacre, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and Jonestown Kool-Aid all still came. Our Woodstock, like your Obamapalooza, was a false salvation from an imagined enemy. Just like your Bush has the power of weather, hurricanes, tsunamis and the sun itself, our Nixon had the power of hate, love, war and evil itself. So yes, with that sort of power, God must be a Republican. Or certainly, after a bit, a Republican president just becomes God.