Flavin's Corner
8-6-99
Warning! Partial nudity below!

Shame On Us

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen
und freudenvollere!
O friends, no more these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
more full of joy!
"Ode To Joy," Friedrich Von Schiller, used by Ludwig at the end of his Ninth.

     Puberty began for me about ten months after Woodstock.  My father was
stationed in Panama, it was the summer before I entered seventh grade, and the
warm climate seemed to beckon the early release of hormones.  I recall a large
golf-course not far from where we lived and how one night I stripped naked
and ran around for several minutes under the stars.  I felt no shame in an act I
now regard as a private celebration of youth and freedom.  I suspect those that
went naked at the recent Woodstock '99, as well as previous years, didn't feel
any shame either, nor should they have.  The violence, however, that occurred
at the end of this year's festival -- the rapes, vandalism, and the fires -- was
shameful.  It was wrong...

Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlishe, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

     I've heard the rapes occurred in the mosh-pit with many aware of the crime
taking place before them.  Rape is always evil and those who watched and did
nothing are as guilty as the scumbag rapists themselves.  It's crowd-mentality,
of course, that seized the sheep and turned them into wolves.  Crap!  Civil
disobedience may be an art-form practiced by many, but ...watching rape and
doing nothing is just plain sick.  And I think we're all to blame...

Wem der große Wurf gelungen
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mishe seined Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund.
Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

     It's the genetic task of every generation to define itself by its misbehavior.
We're programmed for evolution and revolution.  All youth believe they walk
where none before have traveled.  In 1977 and 1978, when punk clubs began
to open up in Chicago, I thought that shopping for old clothes at the Salvation
Army and listening to the Sex Pistols was extreme.  It wasn't, of course, but
hindsight is a wonderful thing.  It's over twenty years later and I see kids
shopping for old clothes at the Salvation Army and listening to the Sex Pistols.
Well, I see some older kids, adults if you will, believing their behavior is
equally extreme.  Whatever...  It's just popular fashion and music.  Every
generation runs from the past into the future and, thus, defines their present.

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur,
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott!
All creatures drink of joy
At nature's breast
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!

     Look, I don't claim to understand the current body-art fascination.  I don't
have a tattoo.  As a struggling artist I regard pictures as belonging on canvas
or cold-pressed illustration board and not injected into my skin.  But, to each
their own.  Hey, many years ago I drank a bunch of vodka and put a safety-pin
through my left ear-lobe.  A couple of days later, a gal-pal convinced me to
have it redone professionally, which only lasted two weeks, as I began a new
job which prohibited the wearing of earrings, and the taking it out, the hole
closing up, the puncturing anew every night and all of that, contributed to my
canceling the whole statement.  However, oddly enough, some still see the tiny
bump-scar on my left ear-lobe, realize I had an earring at one time, and regard
it ...as semi-cool.  I've always considered "cool" as something within and not
...a matter of appearances.  To each their own, but not when it's wrong.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fkiegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

     The "generation-gap" is a misnomer.  Nothing's missing.  There's a perfect
continuity between all ages -- some years back when I saw the graffiti "Fourth
Graders Rule!" I knew 'reason' would henceforth be just another equal
combination of vowels and consonants -- what unites all generations is an
essential commonality we refer to as ...REALITY.  You know, "that which
doesn't go away when you close your eyes" and all of that.  I'm pissed that the
1960's Woodstock "generation" fizzled and sold-out.  My late 1970's crowd
yelled a bit and, likewise, left the streets for the malls.  The 1980's folk seem to
be beyond reach -- Reagan/Bush hurt them worse than Freddy or Jason.  The
1990's kids ...have O.J. and Monica as shared memories; ouch!  We've
failed because of our arrogance toward others who're of a different age,
whether younger or older, and such is a denial of reality.  We're here together...
Those who watched the rapes at Woodstock '99 forgot about reality.  We need
to reach out to them.

Seid umschungen, Millionen,
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder! Über'm Sternenzelt
Muß ein Lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.
You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your Creator?
Seek Him in the heavens!
Above the stars must he dwell.

     Country Joe McDonald and The Fish, at the original Woodstock festival in
1969, asked "What are we fighting for?"  Then, among other things, it was the
Vietnam war which concerned many.  Today many still fight, but the faces of
the "enemy" morphs like actor Gary Oldman playing Sid Viscous of the Sex
Pistols in Sid and Nancy, then Ludwig in Immortal Beloved, and recently to
the crazed Doctor Smith in Lost In Space.  I suspect we are the enemy.

     My father and his brother both smoked pot in the 1950's, preferred the buzz
of booze over smoke, but that didn't deter them from dumping baggage-values
on me and my brother for our usage.  Timeless silliness!  I'm proud of my
Dad's rebellion, my own, and the personal statements by the body-pierced,
tattooed, crowd-surfing, mosh-pit head and body banging, kids of today.  I
believe my Dad would have said, upon hearing of the problems at the recent
Woodstock, something like, "That's what they get for wanting to be different!"
No, I would have disagreed, that's what's called "a breakdown in security."

     Freedom, with apologies to Richie Havens, inevitably means many things to
many people.  At Woodstock it might mean listening to music, yelling, getting
naked, drunk, stoned, running around and acting wild and primitive, and
...feeling like those around you share in your expressions of freedom.  The
young women who were raped at Woodstock '99 trusted those around them.  I
want to take the testicles of the financial backers and promoters of Woodstock
'99 and shave them with a dull pocket-knife.  Those who watched the rapes
and did nothing need shaving with a sharper blade.   Those who committed the
violative acts ... deserve shaving with a shovel.

 
Sunday morning's Woodstock '99 group-nude.  Pic courtesy of BADMONKEY.

     We need freedom.  Shame on us for not ...being there and acting on behalf
of freedom.  Our joy is now diminished.  Well, let's hope we can turn things
around.   Hope is, after all, what it's all about.

peace and cheddar-cheeseburgers,
Rick

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