Honor & Altamont

The Rolling Stone verdict is going to punish the magazine badly, but this analysis is off the mark. Not about the importance of honor: that is true. It's just wrong on the facts.
To understand the importance of honor in journalism, it helps to go back to one of the best examples of honest journalism in history. It comes from the former pages of Rolling Stone itself. In 1970 Rolling Stone covered Altamont, a free 1969 Rolling Stones concert in California that ended in violence and death. At the time, Rolling Stone was the bible of the counter-culture; its founder Jann Wenner had created the magazine so he could meet rock stars. Yet here was the biggest rock and roll band in the world, mounting an ill-advised, dangerous (the Hells Angels were the bouncers), and disorganized event that resulted in four deaths and multiple injuries.

The editors and writers of Rolling Stone were absolutely unsparing and brilliant in their coverage of the event.
We've discussed this matter before -- Gringo actually attended Altamont. You can review the video. The Hells Angels were the only ones who did what was asked of them, and did it well. "The young man in question had been thrown out of the concert for trying to climb onto the stage. He went somewhere and obtained a revolver, returned, drew the gun, and charged the stage again. The Angel who saved the Rolling Stones did it without shooting into the crowd, without hurting anyone else, and by charging a gun with a blade."

They were also motivated by honor, in their way. Indeed, in the day, they saw themselves as an honor culture -- a warrior society, if you take their documentary seriously.

We may all be wanting to join a motorcycle club this time tomorrow. That aside, honor is exactly what is lacking in America right now. Not everywhere, of course. But in too much of society, honor is just what is lacking. In politics, in journalism, and in so much of our urban society: the word means nothing to so many, or else it is a joke.

1 comment:

Ymar Sakar said...

Joining a HEMA club might be more useful to fighting internal insurgents and terrorists.

But it is not the honor or warrior culture of the biker clubs I question, but their collaboration with state and federal agencies, which pay them to be loyal hounds. That is not going to set them free.

Besides, what are they afraid of, another Waco? As if that matters.