In working through some e-mail that had piled up in my Inbox during the last few days, I came across yesterday’s “Best of the Web” feature from the Wall Street Journal. In it, James Taranto does his usual thorough and snarky job of poking some deserving sould in the eye — in this case, the school system (actually, its board and leaders) of San Francisco.
Read it yourself, here: “News from Nancy Pelosi’s District”.
In that section, Taranto contrasts the district’s choice to allow the JROTC to evaporate due to the usual complaints (the standard “anti-armed forces” sentiment and dislike of the military’s “discrimination” against homosexuals) with their choice to make Jimi Hendrix the new symbol of their school transformational plan, placing his picture not only on the cover, but also on every page of their 51-page manual, and on an included poster, and on the program tote bag.
Taranto’s summary of the situation?
“So in San Francisco, if you’re willing to risk your life for your country, you must be brainwashed. If you choke to death on your own vomit, you’re a role model.”
(In a follow up the next day, James Taranto points out that the anti-JROTC/pro-Hendrix combo is actually ironic, since Mr. Hendrix was, himself, supportive of military involvement in Vietnam at the time, disagreeing with the cause célèbre of many of those now condeming programs such as the JROTC.)
Now, while I can read about things like this and scratch my head at the obliviousness of some people, the fact is that a “counterculture” mentality has become, in a real sense, the norm. People like Jimi Hendrix are celebrated. Generally, no one (publically) agrees with his abuse of drugs and alcohol and his self-destruction before the age of 28. Yet, at the same time, many approve of the direction in which he and his contemporaries took our culture — the path that they established and on which we continue.
Is there anyone out there who thinks that a path forged by a drug addled mind might not be the best one to walk, or that the “freedom” he symbolized might–in actuality–not be freedom, at all? Or is such an idea impossible to see through all the purple haze?