Scoot: Have Baby Boomers forgotten how wild they were?
by Scoot,posted Mar 27 2014 6:33PM
Baby Boomers are now the Establishment, achieving a status never envisioned by the generation that was known as “anti-Establishment!” And looking back on how wild and rebellious our generation was – we should feel fortunate that so many of us made it to this point!
As a self-described “hostile witness to the Baby Boomer generation,” I often write about the hypocrisy and selective memory that is so prevalent today. When I talk about issues involving today’s young generation like the content of their music, the challenging fashion trends, and behavior that is deemed "anti-social," I am quickly reminded about what I witnessed with my generation.
If young people, today, were part of a rock music festival where widespread drug use and total nudity were flaunted and I talked about it on “The Scoot Show” on WWL, I would hear from callers denouncing the young people who were part of a music festival that blatantly included such debauchery. And yet, many of those who would be complaining would be part of the anti-Establishment generation that exhibited the exact behavior they would be condemning.
The anti-social behavior of the young generation at Woodstock in 1969 is well-documented, and included drugs, drinking, nudity and even sex in public view. But the wild behavior of that young generation, which is now the Establishment, was close to home during the “Celebration of Life” music festival on the banks of the Atchafalaya River in Pointe Coupee Parish in 1971.
The scheduled 8-day music festival was shut down after 4 days. With temperatures in the 90's, a shortage of basic survival necessities, and behavior considered by law enforcement to be dangerous, the festival came to an early end. But it was actually shut down following a $700,000 Internal Revenue Service tax lien placed against the festival promoters, which prevented the festival from doing any business, including purchasing water for the hot, parched concert-goers.
To survive the scorching heat, many teenagers took off all of their clothes and frolicked in the Atchafalaya River and in the mud along the river’s banks. The heat may have been only one reason for the “freedom from clothes,” because this was a young generation that promoted freedom in every way possible. Young people naked in the river and covering themselves with mud became a public spectacle, with locals cruising the river in their boats to get a close up look at the nudity. A few seaplanes landed on the river, and there is a photo of an airline flying very low over the river, giving anyone on board a clear view of what this young generation naked in the river! Flight regulations for the airlines were a lot looser in 1971!
The governor of Louisiana, Governor John McKeithen, a Democrat, promised the citizens of Pointe Coupee Parish that he would personally throw out any “long-haired, dope-group anarchists” who attempted to put on a festival. Governor McKeithen represented the attitude of the Establishment about a young generation than many believed was completely “out-of-control.”
Contempt for a young generation that was part of the “Celebration of Life” festival, Woodstock or any of the events that attracted a young crowd in the late-60s and early-70s is no different from the contempt that young generation – now the Establishment – has for today’s young generation and the music, fashion, drug use, drinking and behavior that challenges what is considered socially acceptable now.
Beyond the hypocrisy and selective memory of the Baby Boomer generation, there should be the honest acknowledgement what we were really like as the original anti-Establishment generation.
The Baby Boomer generation proudly invented the phrase “sex, drugs and rock n roll!” and boldly lived accordingly. But this is the same generation that as the new Establishment has condemned today’s young generation for its sexuality, drug use and rebellious music.
It is acceptable and expected for the Establishment in any era to set positive examples and teach younger generations from their mistakes, but the Baby Boomer Establishment’s condemnation of younger generations lacks any real admission of wrongdoing – and that is hypocritical.
The music that represented the young Baby Boomers was rebellions and filled with controversial lyrics, both sexually and politically. Fashion trends challenged the norms of “good taste” and sometimes even the law. And drug use and drinking were no different from what goes on at concerts today. It was reported by a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine that there were areas at the “Celebration of Life” named Cocaine Row and Smack Street where 30 different mind-altering drugs were available for sale – only two of which could be smoked. Plastic syringes were sold at $1 each.
One of the obvious differences today, is that guns are a problem, and that was never a concern in large crowds in the past. But other than guns, Baby Boomers forget how much they challenged society - and the law.
If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation, challenge yourself to be honest about the wild, anti-social behavior from your youth, and don’t condemn today’s young generation as if they are the first to rebel against the Establishment!
Many of those who were part of the drinking, drugs and nudity of the “Celebration of Life” are responsible businessmen and women. The lesson all this is that we think we became a responsible generation – and so will they!
Were you at the “Celebration of Life” or some other music festival where young people exhibited wild behavior?
What do you admit about your younger years? Give us your comments!
Scoot: Have Baby Boomers forgotten how wild they were?
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I was at Woodstock and although a lot of it was a blur a lot of it I remember and I did a lot of free drugs and free sex,and I got to see a lot of music like Hendrix,Who,CCR,Ten Years After and CSN,Sly Stone and Joe Cocker and Richie Havens and on and onand on and it was great
PS I still have my tickets 24 dollars for 3 days at Woodstock FYI
-all the years on grass can't remember
I just read a good post by Michael Murphy about Woodstock on the site Retirement And Good Living. There are many other interesting guest posts on that site. It gives you a perspective of what boomers are doing as they approach retirement.
I was at the celebration of life, the stage was damaged in a storm the night before music was to start. They had insane fireworks shows every night till the stage was repaired and the music started. It was very hot and the river and mud holes were the only relief. It seemed like the dirt took forever to come off when I got home and took a much needed shower. My favorite memory was when beautiful day played White bird as the sun was coming up. Wow
Thanks Scoot. I would like to applaud you for your reminder. I frequently comment to those around me about how quickly my generation seems to forget. I didn't do drugs, but I'm an ugly duckling and got picked up by girls for sex as soon as you met. The micro-mini skirt was very prevalent, and I attended a weekend Joe Cocker concert in GY "anything goes" was the rule.
the era of "free love"
How free really was it?
Alice Cooper concert
I can remember riding home from one of AC's concerts with
my high school friends after she caught the head of a rubber
baby doll thrown into the audience. The rubber head
was a nice fixture on the antennae of the car.
At least we did not act like Miley Cyrus
Scooter still behaves like a clown ... struggling to hang onto his deviant youth.