Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dead Heads in the Ritz-Carlton?

A New York Times article headline says it all: "Grateful Dead Fans Replace VW Vans With Jets and the Ritz-Carlton." The big idea is that once-broke Dead Heads are now doing quite well, thank you.

I don't have a problem with the story as written, but the only thing that makes it news is a hoary media stereotype: namely, that all Dead Heads were vagabond hippies indulging in their peculiar form of hedonistic poverty.

Yes, many Dead Heads fit this description, but as sociologist Rebecca Adams has shown, the Dead Head community was always more diverse than this stereotype suggested. Very early on, the Dead's record label found that about 70 percent of their audience went to college, and the band received rave reviews in elite campus newspapers. Is it any surprise that many Dead Heads had successful careers? Or that a fraction of them are willing to spring for the VIP treatment when the core four play together for the last time this summer?

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2 Comments:

At 6:30 PM , Blogger lfytvelo said...

Those aren't Deadheads at the Ritz flying in on their jets. Those are the nouveau hip, the ones who didn't listen to anything more complicated than The Thompson Twins and now look to buy cachet.

Two weeks ago they were in Vegas for the big fight. Now they are looking to be in the VIP section for the big show.

 
At 6:43 PM , Blogger David Gans said...

That's an awful lot of presuming you're doing there, Ifytvelo...

 

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