NPR did a short piece on the Woodstock Museum this morning. The 1969 event has taken on mythic proportions, both positive and negative.
Here's what you need to know: It was an outdoor concert. A lot of people went to it. That's it.
Because the crowd kept growing, from an expected .25% of the population from 15-30 to a full .5%, the people there decided that they had participated in an earth-changing event. They were aided in this idea by several irrelevant factors:
1. They were young and had not finished myelinating, and were still narcissistic enough to believe that whatever happened to them and their friends was more important than other things happening in the world. Anything that felt so powerful to them must be significant, right? It's the same thing that happens at the end of co-ed adolescent summer camp every week of the summer.
2. They were taking drugs, in particular marijuana, which is noted for its ability to convince you that random events have cosmic importance.
3. The performers had never played before crowds this big and all concluded that they must be hotter stuff than they had thought before.
4. The attendees were still a minuscule minority, which allowed them to think they were an elite of coolness. Coolness, you may recall from reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, is what everyone is supposedly looking for.
5. The movie and record people saw dollar signs if they could bring out stuff to sell that reinforced the above notions. My generation has always been easily manipulated by people selling us stuff on the basis of telling us that we are more important than other people.
6. A lot of guys reportedly got laid, which made the males who hadn't gone feel they had missed an important opportunity.
Just so we're clear on the concept, these are the true descendants of Woodstock: The Flight of the Conchords.
(H/T Neco Dracones)