Coulter, Contention, & Deadheads
The last year or so has been a contentious time in the online Deadhead world. Lots of death, finger pointing, name calling, plus the whole Archive debacle.
Some folks are just negative and seem to be unable to exercise restraint when posting comments.
Take the National Anthem I posted on YouTube as an example. Yesterday someone posted the comment “Dirty hippies have no right to sing my beloved country's song.” Now that’s about the silliest thing I’ve ever read. First of all, the Grateful Dead 1) were an integral part of a very important period in modern American History, 2) celebrated Americana with their wide variety of classic covers, and 3) loved this country and were on record saying that “only in America” could they have done what they did. I would say that gives them the right to sing the National Anthem except that I recognize that everyone has the right to sing the National Anthem. That’s the whole point of Freedom in America!
And last week Ann Coulter did what she does best: stir up trouble and contention.
For a long time, Coulter has been tossing around her “Deadhead credentials” but the recent Jambands.com interview really got a lot of people going. I understand why Deadheads would get angry. Coulter has been a hateful mouthpiece for a movement that wants to limit freedoms and create divisions in America. Coulter’s columns and the people she supports have opinions similar to the poster on YouTube. Based on what they write and say, they value their rights over those of others. To promote these “values” and then to politicize The Dead as their own seems hypocritical at best and heretical at worst.
But just because some people don’t value the rights of others doesn’t mean we should let them draw us into their culture war. I won’t delete the nasty comment on YouTube. And if Coulter wants the Dead’s version of “Good Lovin” on her iPod, good for her. Maybe she can get together with Tucker Carlson and have a Republican Dead party.
To make it worse, Coulter’s interview about the Dead has inspired some Coulter haters to transfer their hate to the Dead. Look what was written in the Philadelphia Weekly:
Coulter—in an effort to seem even more hopelessly out of touch with all things decent—has now admitted something so offensive, so terrifying, so mind-warpingly distasteful that even her angry, joyless conservative shit-flingers might abandon her batshit-crazy boat. You're thinking she's a dude. Good guess, but you're wrong (maybe). It's worse. Ann Coulter—Connecticut Screech, puppy killer (made up) and (potential) dude—is a Deadhead.
The endless guitar noodling, the dopey (literally) lyrics, the ambient lay-in-the-cut white-boy jamming—any one of these could ruin a band. Combined, well, it makes jabbing white-hot knitting needles into your ears seem positively appealing.
And that's before even getting to the fans—their tie-dyes, their homemade turquoise jewelry, their twirling of fire-lit batons, their patchouli oil or Cherry
Garcia, the worst Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor this side of Phish Food.
But people forget that words hurt. Reading the comments of Vince’s widow broke my heart.
Where is the Love? A Message from Lorie Welnick
It is with shock and sorrow that I have read the many falsehoods that
have appeared and continue to appear regarding my beloved deceased
husband. Many who knew him have called me with outrage and astonishment at the mischaracterization of a life that was dedicated to music and the vision of world with more love. At this time I can only say I hope the questionable motives of those spreading these falsehoods comes to light and the truth becomes known.Vince does not deserve any of these untruthes to be spoken about him...Where is the Love? He was such a great man.
The world is full of negativity, division and even evil. The Net (and the “Viritual Lot”) is no different. But I think it is important for consciencious Deadheads to be positive. And this means not letting it get to you either.
I remember having to go to work the evening of the day Jerry died. Obviously, I was really upset and some guy I worked with (whom I didn’t know well) asked me what was wrong. “Jerry Garcia died today” I replied. “I’m glad he’s dead; the Grateful Dead suck!” was his reply. Now, in my moment of emotional intensity, I almost hit him. But I clenched my fists, closed my mouth, and walked away.
That’s what some of us need to do when we encounter the bad vibes. Most of us enjoy some discussion and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like pointing out that Coulter seems more like a tailgater than a twirler. A little debate is good; but not when feelings get hurt.
Let’s take a collective deep breath and listen to the music one more time.