Friday, January 09, 2004

I can't even believe The SF Chronicle published this miserable thing on their open forum today!

You may need to skip if incendiary anti Dead articles make your blood pressure shoot up!
Here is the url:

Now, Below is what BlairJackson put up on Deadnet in response. I sure hope it gets published :

"Have no idea if the Chronicle will run my letter, but here was the response I fired off this morning in the heat of passion:

A letter…

What, pray tell, was the Chronicle’s point in running Chris Plunkett’s slam on hometown heroes the Grateful Dead on the Jan. 9 “Opinion” page? Besides the fact that it read like the hysterical ravings of some anti-drug government propaganda film from the late ’60s (or a John Ashcroft missive from ’00s), it was filled with inaccuracies: Garcia’s coma years before his death was not “drug-induced”; it was mostly a result of adult onset diabetes. The Dead’s “dancing bears” logo may have, in fact, at some point been printed on LSD, but so have images of Mikail Gorbachev, Opus the Penguin and dozens of other real and fictional characters. The dancing bears are just that: dancing bears having a good time! Leave ’em alone, you buzz crusher! True, the segment of music known as “space” may be more interesting to some if they are psychedelicized, but the bottom line is it’s just great freeform improvisational music, a chance for the musicians to stretch in interesting directions without the imposition of song form.

As for the rest of the article…well, it is not exactly news that the Dead and Deadheads were perched on the libertine edge when it comes to consciousness altering agents. And the Dead HAVE been bashed through the years about drug use--check the record! Yes, there have been folks, band members even, who carried their drug use too far and died as a result. But the overwhelming majority of people who have followed the Dead through the years have benefited immeasurably from joining on the “long, strange trip,” and from being part of a cultural atmosphere that encourages tolerance, brotherhood, ecstatic communion, spiritual, musical and psychic exploration, and fun with a capital F.

Blair Jackson
Oakland, CA

And I want to share Steve Silberman's great response, too, while we're at it:

Dear Editor:

Thank you for publishing Chris Plunkett's courageous op-ed piece on the Grateful Dead and their immersion in the drug culture. You will probably get hundreds of enraged letters from wild-eyed Dead fans decrying the lack of fact checking or timely relevance in Plunkett's piece, but I say, compared to the threat of reefer madness taking hold among America's youth, who cares about such elitist matters of journalistic "integrity"?
It's high time -- oh, sorry -- for the silent majority to speak out. Surely Plunkett could write similarly timely pieces on how Elvis' gyrating pelvis planted the seeds of the STD epidemic, and how the Beatles' suspiciously girlish "mop-tops" -- to say nothing of acid-addled lyrics like "I Am the Walrus" -- led several generations astray. The jazz "music" of known addicts like Charlie Parker, Billie Holliday, and John Coltrane, and the booze-fueled hallucinations of the Abstract Expressionist painters, are also worthy of Plunkett's wrath. I say it's never too late to save our children.

Steve Silberman
Cole Valley, San Francisco "