In light of my article on Max Yasgur, the man upon whose farm the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair took place 40 years ago, I am well aware that I'm in a minority amongst conservatives who think Woodstock was a good thing. Mark Krikorian, who is a regular contributor at National Review Online's The Corner, blasted the aquarian exposition as "four days of drug-addled idiocy."
Krikorian also notes 109 American servicemen died in Vietnam during the proceedings on Max Yasgur's farm and asks, "Can anyone seriously doubt that America would be better off having been governed by those 109 unsung young men than by any 109 attendees of the festival, who, together with the other members of their "Woodstock Generation," have marched through our institutions and left them a shambles?"
This question, of course, assumes that all 500,000 attendees think in precisely the same way. I remember when NBC did a retrospective of Woodstock on its 15th anniversary in 1984 and interviewed several attendees. As I recall nearly all of the attendees said they had voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and were planning to vote for him again in that fall's Presidential election.
Former Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman was in attendance. His family had a summer home near Yasgur's farm. Coleman had also worked as a roadie for Alvin Lee's band Ten Years After who played a set at Woodstock. As it happened, Woodstock coincided with Coleman's 20th birthday (which means he turns 60 this weekend) and decided to attend with a friend.
Although Coleman did vote against the $1 million in federal funding for the Bethel Woods Museum that now stands on Yasgur's farm he did speak about his attendance at Woodstock a couple of years ago. He spoke of his experience in positive terms. "It was a great gathering of folks — no violence, no strife. But 38 years later, you see it through a somewhat different lens. It was the last of the joyful protests, before the anger set in.” Can you say the Altamont Speedway? The Isle of Wight?
So does Krikorian think Coleman left the Senate in a shambles?