Editor's Note: Danny Goldberg is the modern version of the Renaissance man. He has a long and colorful history as an activist, author and influential music executive. Goldberg came of age at the height of the hippie era in 1967, experiencing the powerful and haunting mix of excitement, hope, experimentation and despair. He captures it all in vibrant detail and political nuance in his newest book, In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea (Akashic Books). AlterNet's executive editor Don Hazen interviewed Goldberg in his offices at Gold Village Entertainment on July 12.
Notwithstanding the addictive daily drama of leaks, tweets, and resistance, there are major issues that exist separate and apart from the 24-hour news cycle. These long-term problems are as salient in the digital moment as they were in the analog ’60s.
The following is an excerpt from the new book In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea by Danny Goldberg (on sale June 6, 2017). Reprinted with permission from Akashic Books:
Schumer’s Warmongering: A Personal Reflection on the NY Senator's Opposition to Obama's Nuclear Deal
My father, Victor Goldberg, was in the 195th Field Artillery Battalion during World War II, landing on Utah Beach nine days after D-Day. Like other members of his unit he was given battle stars for being in five bloody battles against the Nazis in Normandy. Later he was among the American troops that liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.
I’ve always respected the importance of elections, but the receipt of hundreds of fundraising emails has driven me to the brink of political despair. Seemingly all written and designed by the same consultant, they have as much sincerity as the phony pitches about millions of dollars waiting for me in a Nigerian bank account, or the diet plans from a friend’s hacked computer.
In The Democracy Project: A History, A Crisis, A Movement (Spiegel & Grau, 2013), David Graeber’s engaging new book on Occupy Wall Street, the author writes of the dismal culture in Washington during the summer of 2011, a few months before the occupation of Zucotti Park:
As a long-time defender of the rights of artists -- including controversial ones -- I find it intellectually dishonest for champions of Zero Dark Thirty to pretend that serious criticism of the film amounts to an assault on free expression.
I suspect that I was not the only teenager in the late 1960s engaging in sex, drugs, rock and roll, and Vietnam War protests to whom Woody’s body of work had an antique feeling. A perfunctory one-time listening to the Alan Lomaxtapes of the man said to be one of Bob Dylan’s heroes was enough, I thought, to punch my hipness card. Arguments about unions and the venality of millionaires and the New Deal seemed like passÃ© accounts of battles my parents’ generation had fought and won. Yet through the mysterious alchemy that the greatest works of art possess, and the bizarre devolution of American politics, many of Guthrie’s songs are paradoxically more relevant today that at the time of his passing in 1967.
Ideas don’t happen on their own. Throughout history ideas need patrons.” —Matt Kibbe, president of Freedom-Works, a tea party advocacy group, quoted in Jane Mayer’s piece on the Koch brothers in The New Yorker.
Recently, Air America Radio came under attack from the same cast of right-wing media characters who have attacked the network for ideological reasons from day one.
A recent piece in the New York Post by John Mainelli states that, "Air America is in ... bad financial shape." On Sept. 20, Bill O'Reilly on Fox News which, like the New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation said that Air America "could be on its last legs."
This is untrue. Air America is in strong financial shape. Last week we started broadcasting from our new multi-million dollar studios.
Several weeks earlier the Board of Directors of Air America's parent company accelerated re-payment of a loan from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club of $875,000 two years in advance of a previously agreed upon repayment plan. In the last several months, Air America has expanded its executive team to augment our efforts on the internet and in affiliate relations.
The pretext for the latest smears is an initiative I launched last week called Air America Associates, in which I asked our listeners to support our programming financially and at various levels offer bumper stickers, tote bags, etc. as a way of thanking them. (We received thousands of responses, far beyond what we projected for the first few days).
Many of our listeners also listen to NPR stations and Pacifica and are used to supporting radio programming they like. I got the idea from the Nation Magazine's program, "The Nation Associates," which helps them fund investigative journalism. Like Air America Radio, The Nation is a for-profit company.
But the conservative propagandists have tried to make it seem like there is something unseemly because Air America Radio is both commercial-and a radio network, as O'Reilly said last night, "I have never seen a commercial enterprise ask their listeners for money-ever." This is also false. The modern model of the broadcasting business involves numerous revenue streams. If anything, Air America has been late in fully building such an infrastructure which the "Associates" is a part of.
For example, Rush Limbaugh's website offers his fans the "Limbaugh Letter" for $34.95 a year and a totally separate service called Rush 24/7 which includes access to archived programs at the cost of $49.95 a year. The Limbaugh site also features the "EIB Store" which sells such items as $19.95 polo shirt which amusingly says, "My Mullah went to G'itmo and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
The Sean Hannity Web-site features a "subscription" to something called, "The Hannity Insider" for $5.95 a month.
But no one tops the self proclaimed non-spinner Bill O'Reilly. Bill O'Reilly.com offers a "premium membership" for either $4.95 a month or $49.95 a year. He also offers a "Gift certificate" for $14.95. Products for sale on the Web site include: