Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1969 Kids vs. 2009 Kids

Not everyone reads The Atlantic Monthly (although I don't know why not) so I wanted to share some observations from the article "Long Time Gone," (about the 40th anniversary of Woodstock) in the current issue. Writer James Parker addresses both the actual event and the filming of the seminal documentary, Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music. It's a fascinating piece for many reasons, including Parker's astute observations about the cultural shifts that have produced a generation of young people today who couldn't be more different from the kids of 1969.

The kids of Woodstock were either the first generation to taste true liberty or the last generation able to police itself-- we're still working that out.

Parker's assessment undoubtedly stems from the debacle of the the Woodstock 30th anniversary event in 1999, but there may be an underlying truth to it nonetheless. But it was the following observation which rang so true I had to reread it just to make certain I wasn't just interpreting it as I wanted to.

In an instant, the scope of the dietary disaster that has since overtaken us is revealed. No high-fructose corn syrup in 1969, baby: the men are as lean as jaguars, the women firm-fleshed and passionate-looking. And no protein shakes, either--none of the congested muscularity of your 21st-century gym jockey.

That observation is one I've made every time I see a documentary shot more than 15 years ago. When I first saw the classic Koyaanisqatsi, the slow-motion scenes of endless people exiting the subway in NYC, I remember being struck by the absence of fat people. Everyone looked so normally-sized; oh, sure, there was an occasional overweight person, but they were the exception, not the rule. Shoot that exact same scene today and the ratio of fat to normal would be completely reversed, without a doubt.

Parker's Woodstock piece is full of gems like the above, so whether you remember Woodstock or not, do yourself a favor and check it out at www.theatlantic.com/woodstock

No comments:

Post a Comment