Generational & Cultural Gaps 40 Years After Woodstock

3821245572_2eb1546f14_oThe Woodstock festival, and the late 1960’s in general, marked a time where generational fractures & cultural clashes were prevalent in American society.

This new comprehensive report from the Pew Research Center indicates that there are still substantial differences between younger and older adults in their values, use of technology, work ethics and respect and tolerance for others. However, today’s generation gap is a lot gentler than the culture war raging in 1969.

Beside the political aspects of Woodstock such as the protest against the Vietnam war associated with the “peace & love” movement; the main cultural element of generational conflict was Rock & Roll. Forty years ago, Rock & Roll represented protest, rebellion & counterculture, it has since then completely moved to mainstream culture.

More than 2/3 of respondents to the survey said they listen to Rock & Roll often ( 35 percent) or sometimes ( 30 percent); placing it ahead of other music genres such as Country, R & B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Jazz & Salsa. In contrast, back in 1966 a survey found that Rock & Roll was by far the most unpopular music in America; with 44 percent of adult saying they disliked the music, and only 4 percent saying it was their favorite music.

Beside Rock & Roll, another key finding of the survey concerns conflicts between social groups. The survey finds that only 26 percent of the public sees strong conflicts between young people and older people. By contrast, 55 percent of the public sees strong conflicts between immigrants & native born; 47 percent between rich & poor and 39 percent between Blacks & Whites.

Seven in ten respondents of the survey were able to correctly identify what Woodstock was, but among respondents ages 16 to 24 only about half could.

The colorful descriptions of Woodstock by survey respondents is an illustration of the passions & polarization of 1969. Some called it “a hippie drug fest’, “a total moral mess”, “wild kids having sex”. The other side saw it as “a love-in”, “a celebration of freedom & new ideas”, “a peace festival bringing unity & togetherness.”

For the complete report from the Pew Research Center click here.


One Response to Generational & Cultural Gaps 40 Years After Woodstock

  1. RFWoodstock August 16, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Whoa…where did those 40 years go! It really does seem like yesterday. The energy of that time was…so positive and loving. It was everywhere I went in 1969. We were happy all the time whether we were high or not.

    What do we do now…just sit back and “Retire” or do we finish what we started in the 60’s? I say we get on with it.

    We want an end to greed and selfishness and especially the attitude of profit over people..where did THAT idea come from?

    We want peace not just the absence of war but a perpetual state of cooperation among people for the mutual benefit of all. Violence is never allowed to be a solution for ANY situation.

    We are smart enough to develop renewable energy sources using the sun, wind, water and geothermal, feed everyone of the planet and provide health care for all. It’s time to provided these basic human needs.

    In 2009 Woodstock is the perfect concept to germinate those ideals from 60’s in the soil of the 21st century and digital age and fertilize them with the ideas of the progressive-thinking youth of today.

    And of course there will be a lot of great music! Spread the word.

    Peace, love, music, one world,

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