Leave it to Glenn Beck to fire the first shot in what has to be the most inane battle of the culture wars. Something in his unique mind has led him to declare that America must now make a choice; but not about religion, politics, or even climate change. We are being asked to choose sides in the coming battle between the "good Americans" who associate the summer of 1969 with the Apollo 11 moon landing, or, those filthy hippies whose only memory of that summer involves rolling around in the mud at Woodstock.
Where to begin? First, the entire premise is absurd; most Americans were either not born in 1969 or have no memory of that time beyond the premier of Sesame Street that fall on PBS. This "battle" is limited to aging baby boomers, and while I'm a part of that demographic, I realize that we have more pressing, more immediate problems to deal with. (But as a boomer, I need to point out to Mr. Beck that the "Summer of Love" was 1967, not 1969 as he stated in his rant against the "sex and drugs and rock'n'roll' generation. Does Fox not employ researchers, or do they just not care about any details that don't fit their propaganda?) Note to Mr. Beck and his producers, this might have been a better story last year, on the 40thst anniversary, the time when "America must make a choice?" Why is the 41st?
The next argument against this big controversy concerns the false choice Mr. Beck is demanding that Americans make. As a "late boomer" born in the late 1950s, I was too young to attend Woodstock, but it was a huge influence on my youth; from the soundtrack and the movie to the decades I've spent playing in bands since then. Woodstock had a lasting impact on a generation, not just the 400 or 500 thousand folks who were there. But I'm also an engineer, with a degree and 25 years experience planning infrastructure and transportation projects all around the globe. I followed the Apollo program as closely as any kid, and I'm sure there were hundreds (if not thousands) of kids at Woodstock who later went on to successful careers as engineers, scientists, technicians or other careers, due in no small part to their fascination with the space program. But that simple truth destroys Mr. Beck's demand that we choose between Woodstock and the Moon.
Then there are the nasty generalizations Mr. Beck made of the attendees of Woodstock; sex crazed, drug-addled "mud-people" Let's put aside the painfully negative connotations forever tied to the term "mud-people' as Beck had his own unique meaning for the words. In his mind, "mud-people" are the dirty hippies who fornicated in the mud with partners they met only minutes earlier trying to escape an over-long drum solo. I can assume that Mr. Beck would have preferred that these kids instead spent that summer killing "commie-gooks" in Vietnam. Anything would have been better than 3 days of peace, love and music.
Finally, I wish Mr. Beck the best of luck as he does battle in the Culture Wars. If this is the best thing he can think to do with his highly rated show, those on the opposing side can afford to rest easy and wish their adversaries well. But some unsolicited advice for anti-hippies-don't be surprised to learn that your banker / dentist / accountant / priest / farmer or district attorney was either at Woodstock or wished they had been. And know that recordings of Jimi Hendrix have accompanied countless astronauts into space in the 41 years since that fateful summer. You lost this battle long ago, but have at it; the bullion dealers don't care how silly your show gets.