Tuesday, August 11, 2009


"At my local bookstore on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, 1960s nostalgia is in high gear. A display table is stacked high with pricey coffee table books, each with its own variation on psychedelic rainbow lettering, each claiming to reveal the untold story of the 'peace and music' festival. I understand the lucrative business of selling those hazy memories — the Woodstock museum, Cherry Garcia ice cream, even the new movie 'Taking Woodstock.' I just can't buy into it.

It's not because, as a Gen-Xer, I feel slighted that I missed out on all the fun. It's because for me and many other children of the flower children, our rose-colored glasses are not just slightly tinted, but darkly tainted.

Along with the iconic music and fashion came myriad new religions and a foolish rush to embrace peddlers of spiritual snake oil. A flood of swamis, yogis and self-proclaimed enlightened beings preyed on hippies who were disillusioned by mainstream religion and in search of an alternative path.

By the time the mud had dried at Woodstock, Swami Prabhupada had created the Hare Krishnas and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon had founded the Unification Church — the Moonies. Communes and ashrams sprouted across America. In the 1960s, the decade now mythic for its anti-conformity, flocks of people conformed to the dictates of self-proclaimed prophets.

In 1968, the Beatles sat at the feet of the Maharishi. Consciousness-raising went mainstream. Reciting Sanskrit chants, wearing japa beads and finding a guru became chic. Everyone who was anyone read 'I Am That' and 'Autobiography of a Yogi.' Many free spirits obediently changed their names, dropped out of college and abandoned their families. Ironically, their wild-child rebellion landed them in rigidly structured cults that controlled their lives — and those of their children."
-- Jayanti Tamm, author of "Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult", saying what the rest of you can't admit - you are the indoctrinated children of cultish madmen - as part of her Daily Tidings.

1 comment:

  1. Huh, so Tamm thinks Rev. Moon started his whole shtick at Woodstock? Or even anywhere around that time?