However, it would be also reasonable to imagine that along with the positive perception of the American public over the relative success of the event was the concern over what was revealed the prevailing culture of drugs among the youth. With the reports of the event showcasing how drugs adversely affects the health of the youth and even lead to death and how the youth blatantly welcome such practices and even treats it as a culture, there is little argument that the rest of America who are not part of the said generation and culture is worried over the possible results of such a phenomenon in the long run.
Thus, basing from Collier’s article, it could be said that America’s perception of the event could have been a mixture of both positive and negative things. Positive in terms of respect over the triumph of the American youth in staging such a peaceful display of unity, and negative in terms of their concern over the impending effect of the youth’s blatant drug practices. However, the respect for the youth and their generation’s culture that has been planted by the event in the hearts and minds of the American people is something that could not be erased for generations to come.
What the Event Symbolized and What it Meant to America In Collier’s article, what was portrayed as the symbolism of Woodstock for those who participated in it was “an incredible unification” of people. Woodstock, for the youth who attended it, was the fulfillment of their thrilling expectation of being able to meet strangers who shared their practices, beliefs, and culture. The event was also a fulfillment of the youth’s eagerness to experiment with drugs along with all the other people of their generation. This is based form a paragraph in Colliers article .
As for the rest of America who were not there at Woodstock and who were not part of the culture that Woodstock fostered, the event could still have symbolized a positive thing. For them, Woodstock could have been a symbol that though the youth of America have been practicing a culture entirely different from that of the previous generations, that does not mean that the generation was of no good. Woodstock could have well been a symbol that the youth of that day deserved to be respected for being the beautiful people that they are and for the beautiful things that they are able to do, beyond the prejudice that they have been faced with.
For America, Woodstock could have meant that where their youth puts their heart into, there would also be peace, harmony, and beauty. Basically, what the writer of Providence Journal’s editorial made about the event is a commending write-up about the turn of events in Woodstock from a budding catastrophe , to an “incredible agglomeration of nearly half a million souls [that] was peaceful, cute, above all safe” (Providence Journal, 1969).
In the first paragraphs of the article, the writer artfully narrated how initially, the event was perceived to be a negative thing on the rise by both the common people and those who had media power, especially by newspaper editors who were determined to show the world a catastrophe out of the event. Such negativism was reinforced by the mess that the rains made out of the concert site in the form of overcrowded people in puddles of mud and all the inhumane conditions that came out of it.
However, the paragraphs that followed talked about the surprising turn of events “as cooler heads and objective reporting began to emerge” (Providence Journal, 1969). Things ended up better, and the hippies were back. The writer was notably quick to the note that the “hippies” being pertained to were not the bad ones, but were instead those whom “everybody used to know and love” (Providence Journal, 1969).
Given these, the writer made an appeal to the minds of the readers of his generation, composed of the parents of the Woodstock youths, to view the event as something good. He acknowledged the fact that more than the incredulous prevalence of drugs and nudity in the event, was the fact that the youths have been successful in staging their amazing togetherness peacefully. In the last two paragraphs of the article, the writer calls attention to the fact that “there is a moral to be gleaned” from Woodstock.
The moral is that such a feat created by half a million youths was achieved as a “function of benevolent happenstance,” which is something that they, the parents of the hundred thousands youths, could look up to, if they would only “think about it” (Providence Journal, 1969). Such was the explicit message of the Providence Journal editor with regards to Woodstock, a positive appraisal of the youths conduct, as well as a call to the elders of the nation to perceive the event with the same commending attitude.