Summer of Love, 40 years on: Will we do it again?
My thoughts on this are not completely formed, but I am throwing this out there to see what comments I get.
In today’s Sunday New York Times Arts section was a huge story on the Summer of Love– 1967 (login required). The article outlined how reenactments and celebrations will largely be of the top-down variety, in opposition to how we think of that summer.
Let’s forget for a second that the eclipsing event of 1967 was the release of the astonishing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,”a release by one of the most experimental pop bands of our time, The Beatles– but still, a pop band on a major label. I think of the Summer of Love not only as free-wheeling Hippie culture, but of underground art bubbling to the surface of mass popular culture. This perhaps is epitomized by the Monterey Pop festival of 1967, organized by a combinations of San Francisco artists, like the members of the Mamas and the Papas, and more established Los Angeles-based music industry veterans.
Getting away from the nostalgia and events that will undoubtedly be force-fed to us by major media interests, how can the spirit of 1967 be revived? The seeds of something can be seen in the social media movement. There are several factors that can make this a possibility:
- Media produced by the people, akin to underground artists and culture-mongers, gaining enough juice to sway some attention
- Independent musicians and other artists, championed by many social media content producers. Think podsafe music, officially labeled so or otherwise.
- A touch of big-media organization, — think Podshow, maybe. Is there established-media integration that would play into a social media eruption.
Throw in the parallel of an unpopular war if you want. The above are some ingredients to make an Internet-age Summer of Love. It does not have to be all about Peace and Love. It doesn’t even have to be in the summer, or in 2007. These are really some scattered thoughts that came out of reading one article in an MSM newspaper. I would be curious what people think of the parallels.