John McCain’s attack on Hillary Clinton’s support for a “hippie museum” honoring Woodstock may give his campaign a boost, but it’s not winning him friends in Bethel, New York where the museum is to be located. According to this report, the unamused residents of the area make two points. First, they argue that the museum will boost the local economy which was hammered by the closing of once-popular Borscht Belt tourist resorts years ago. Second, they maintain that the museum won’t just be about Woodstock and hippies, but also about the broader historical context of Woodstock — the baby boom, the Cold War, the roots of rock-and-roll, the civil rights movement, and the assassinations and riots of the 1960s. As Chuck Schumer puts it, “It was a tumultuous decade, and it is a good idea to study it. Museums and libraries are a very important part of our history and education, as well as a job magnet.”
I’m all for studying history. But it occurs to me that no phase of our history is less in need of further study than the baby boom, the roots of rock-and-roll, and the 60s as a whole.
However, the Borscht Belt is another matter. Thus, I suggest that the good folks of Bethel convert the Woodstock museum into a Borscht Belt museum. The exhibits could pay tribute not only to the great comedians — Henny Youngman, Milton Berle, Morey Amsterdam, Alan King, and lots of guys named Jackie — but also the less well-remembered, more novel entertainers who graced “Jewish Alps” resorts like Grossingers, such as Esther Williams. The museum could also feature food exhibits consisting not only of borscht, including the Polish and Lithuanian variations, but also blintzes and kippers.
Such a museum would probably garner more support in Congress than its hippie counterpart. Not only would supporters avoid fall-out from the cultural war, they might obtain crucial support from the all-powerful Jewish lobby.
JOHN is AWESTRUCK: This is definitely a contender for best post title of all time.
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