Lehigh University, Class of 2003
May 2000

[1]     “Don’t take the brown acid, the brown acid is bad.”  When someone says this to you what is the first thing that comes into your mind?  In my case, I either think of Woodstock or a corny movie that tried to portray it, which happens to be Wayne’s World 2.  I am sure many people out there, especially college students, would feel the same.  Right off the bat, you see in your mind a field full of spaced-out hippies with marijuana smoke covering the audience.  It doesn’t help that movies tend to elaborate on little sayings like that to amuse the audience, which, in turn, tends to stick in your head more.  Not being there does take away from my take on the whole event, but that just fits in to what I was taught.  When you hear about Woodstock you hear about the “big three,” namely, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  However, it was much more than that.  Watching the video gave me a whole new perspective.  People didn’t go to Woodstock just to get high, have sex, and listen to music.  The amazement of the whole spectacle was in the minds of many of those that attended the concert.  The whole “high on life” phenomenon comes into play.  People also say drugs are bad, but are they always?  Excessive use of drugs is “bad,” but sometimes people use them to have a good time, and nothing bad comes of it.  Those who didn’t use drugs and those who did all came together for the same reason, to have a good time.  I started to get strong feelings against all the propaganda I had learned in the past about the excessive drug use; there is so much more to it.  To know that you are part of a historical event is enough to make a person feel on top of the world.

 [2]    According to Jim’s scene log, the scene that emphasizes my point the most is in the “Jefferson Airplane” section.  In between the songs “Won’t You Try” and “Uncle Sam’s Blues,” there is an interesting interview that caught my attention.  In this situation, the reporter questions an average female that attended the concert.  One question he asks of the girl had to do with the duration of time she had been up and walking around the field.  The answer he received was, "about 30 hours.”  Without thinking, his follow-up question to this was, “Are you on speed?”

[3]    This is the epitome of stereotyping.  People just assumed that everyone had to be on some kind of drug to be the “kind of person” that would be at Woodstock.  When you assume you make an a** out of you and me.  He continues by saying, “so you are just on blind faith?”  After saying that he laughs as if he feels that he knows everything that is going on.  Granted, she did then go into detail about people she had encountered that were on all types of drugs, but she, herself, was not on any of them.  She was a genuine girl that was there to have a good time and didn’t need drugs to enhance her time.  She was high on the excitement and that thought that she was there for something that could go down in history.

[4]    The closed-minded thinking of people around, not in, the actual spectacle itself took away from the actual event.  They were too hung up on the thought that people might be doing some kind of drug and, as the law states, drugs are bad.  Yes, there was a presence of marijuana and acid, as well as many others, that did float around throughout the audience, but that doesn’t mean that everyone tried it.  In fact, in an earlier part of the movie, they show people getting a natural high of Yoga exercises.  You do what you have to do, and you don’t always have to use artificial substances to make you feel that unique high.  These people had the thrill of the entertainment as well as the numerous people that were just like them in the audience to share in the experience.  People spend too much time talking about the “cracked out” hippies rather than thinking about the regular hippies, or whatever they like to be called, who were there just to have fun.  However, what those people don’t see is the interaction between the “cracked out” hippies and those who are just high on the experience.

 [5]    I am in no way saying that drugs are good, but apparently many people did try them and had a good time at that.  Those who did use them were harmless.  The stories that the girl in the scene talks about are intense.  People seemed to get such a high sense of emotion and creativity when on these drugs.  She talks about a “cat” asking her the colors of jealousy.  Who would think of things like that when they are not on some kind of drug?  It seems like the drugs passed around at the concert enhanced emotion and allowed people to come together.  She also talks about someone who asked her about his “wild eyes.”  Once again, a certain drug --  speed  -- was involved.  It seems to me that these drugs add to the sense of community.  Those who are on drugs are able to interact with those who aren’t in harmony.  People didn’t go running to the police; they took it as it was and that was that.  When it comes down to it, were drugs really the issue, or is it just something people need to say that Woodstock was “wrong?”

 [6]    When people think of drugs, they almost always think of bad things.  For example, when you hear a story about drugs around campus you listen to see if anything bad happened to that person.  However, at Woodstock people took drugs to enhance their experience and, contrary to popular belief, some people passed them up.  People got high one way or another, and it enhanced their experience.  Unfortunately, with the thinking about drugs today, people view any use of drugs, ever, as if they were doing something wrong.  Like the title says, Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace and Music, people were free to do as they pleased, and it only reaped good rewards.  If people just take it like that, they don’t need to factor in the drugs.  These people were going to have a good time, drugs or not.  Some chose to use them and some didn’t, but it was an experience never to forget nonetheless.  No matter if the person was naturally or artificially “high,” they had a good time, and no one can take that away from them now.  Only those who were there had the privilege of living through the craziness that will live on in our culture for years to come.  “Peace, love and happiness.”