WWW--Well, it gave Carlos Santana, Richie Havens, and Mungo Jerry (I jest), a great career, and CSN is now charging $100-a-ticket (and up), so it must have accomplished something. Beyond that, I couldn't say what. Captain Beefheart actually had a chance to play at both the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, but declined. Perhaps he was wiser for it, and hey, Squeaky Fromme's been released, it's a good vibe week in general.
It doesn't bother me to say that Jimi Hendix was probably the only reason I would have been there, but that many people in one place always bothered me. Did I say I was one at the time?
No, the real question is this: of all the people who lied about being there since August 1969, how many got laid? Hey, at least they say the acid at Altamont was good--OK, maybe a little too good. And sure, lots of people got their asses kicked at Altamont, but at least the Stones were properly amplified, they had monitors, and only one person died at each event, granted that it was murder at Altamont.
All I can say is thank God for John Waters & the Dreamlanders; thank God for the MC5 and the Stooges, bringing us punk rock; thank God for the Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention for calling a spade a spade; and thank God for Burroughs' healthy dose of skepticism as a strong coffee-antidote to Ginsberg's hopeless utopianism.
Underneath every Guilded Age is the real era, the rot, the effluvium. And when you look at many of the psychedelic posters of that bygone era, you'll see that strange fixation on the Edwardian, that moment right after the Victorian era that the 60s counterculture was also obsessed with, that moment before the fall. It's that sad and irrational American Utopian notion that America can be the redeemer of the world--partly true, but for other reasons--when it's quite the opposite. Myths won't deliver Americans and the rest of the world from American-style theocratic capitalism, that's the work of actual adults.
But more importantly: how many people got laid when they lied and said that they were at the Colombian Exposition of 1893 when they were not? Hmmm? There were no golden ages of human history. Sentimentalism is one of the single greatest threats to human survival, besides America's two party system and their shared values of Manifest Destiny. Who cares about a stupid rock festival?
Postscript, 08.15.2009: It seems to me the best thing to celebrate would be some kind of arboreal, tranquil moment in one's life. But that's just me it seems. ;0)