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Reflections on Woodstock's 50

You just need the opportunity.

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YASGUR'S FARM (Rixstep) — Ideally everyone would be a fanboy. No decisions from on high would ever be called into question. There'd be no insidious Oliver Twists to politely ask 'more sir'.

Anyone speaking out would be pummeled by fellow prisoners.

This is how it works in the world of Apple today. Would that it worked like that everywhere. Apple is Silicon Valley's reincarnation of Jonestown. You never question official policy. You just don't. You let the bullshit wash over you. And you smile in appreciation. Long live Apple.

Long live Silicon Valley. Long live Sweden.

Sharyl Attkisson says she's been told by an insider that nothing is left to chance online. The forces behind this manipulation may seem in conflict with one another, but you're just not paying attention in such case. There is no left, no right, no up, no down. That's the game. Oh the conservatives are so good, they always have been. Yeah right.

Famous regime critic Johan Westerholm proclaims that he's 'always in opposition'. Westerholm may come from a traditional social democratic clan, but he's still in opposition. The day you stop putting labels on people, you start learning. They just love it when you put those labels on people: then they know you're stupid.

Swedish state media began transmitting a PBS documentary on Woodstock. Woodstock is 50 years old today. Less than a month ago, we celebrated the 50-year anniversary of Neil Armstrong. The summer of 69...

There's not much that people of today understand about what happened 50 years ago at Woodstock. Grasping the portent of a moon landing is much easier. To understand what happened in and around that festival, you have to watch closely and read between the lines.

It all started as a business proposal to build a new recording studio. That segued into an attempt to organise a concert to promote the studio. The studio idea itself was abandoned.

What's amazing and memorable about this documentary is that they get so many attendees to speak out about what they'd experienced. Finding them all must have been a great project. Little old ladies talking about going skinny-dipping fifty years ago. Wizened gits talking about all the female breasts they saw. The mud-sliding contest. The appearance by Bill Graham who warned the organisers that the shit was about to hit the fan if they didn't fix things properly. The incredible solidarity of the townspeople who donated oats and raisins and hundreds of thousands of hard-boiled eggs. And Max Yasgur himself supplying the milk and yoghurt.

And, through it all, two red threads.

  1. People were tired of the bullshit. The bullshit emanating from places both high and low. The firm realisation that they'd been lied to, systematically and over and over again, perhaps for their entire lives.

  2. The brilliant idea by the organisers to encourage people to 'play nice', to behave. The final words heard in the documentary sum it all up brilliantly.

At Woodstock, we tried to let the audience know, in every way that we could, that we believed in them. That inside them was a loving nature, a decency, and a fineness of spirit. You can forget it sometimes, but very few of us want to be other than that.

You just need the opportunity.

And it worked. It was total chaos but chaos under control. It worked because people pulled together, and because being nice to each other is what everyone would rather be doing.

There are important lessons in Woodstock that can be taken to our day.

  1. The bullshit is still flying. It might be coming from a different direction politically, but that's only the illusion they want you to buy.

  2. Being nice to each other is still the way to go. The Swedish group at Gab is a perfect example of this. Everyone is nice! Everyone is polite. And considerate. And they always have been. They've been raised to think and act in that way. An honourable people. Nice works. An intimate little gathering of a few thousand at a social media site. A place where grownups can talk. Nice works. And the Swedish group at Gab? Something to be really proud of.

'Woodstock - The Three Days...' is available at Sweden's SVT Play site, will be shown this coming weekend on BBC4, and should be easy to find almost anywhere online.

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

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