This is really a generational difference.
The Dead were a literate bunch of guys ... they were well grounded in all aspects of art, literature, history. They were all articulate during interviews, even guys on the crew, like Big Steve. It was part of the era ... you read Kesey and Kerouac, maybe even Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky. You expanded your mind with books and art, not just drugs and music. And you listened not just to the Dead, but to Coltrane and Tchaikovsky. Phil, Weir and Garcia, in particular, would have lengthy discussions on philosophy, religion, existentialism, science, physics, you name it. That was part of the deal ... you were smart, educated and you dropped out of conventional society and tried to build a better world. They were all well read guys, ready and willing to rave about any subject all night long. Expanding your mind was about knowledge, too. McNally touches on a lot of this in his writings about the Dead.
They had big vocabularies, Garcia in particular; they played in Toronto in 67 and the review headline in the paper was "Grateful Dead: Hirsute simian horrors." Someone said, "What's that mean?" And Garcia said, "It means we have a lot of hair and walk on our hind legs." How many here would know what hirsute means without Googling it?
To quote Scully, "it's not like the Allman Brothers bus, where everyone is reading comic books."
A lot of old-school Deadheads came from similar backgrounds ... going to Dead shows in the 70s and early 80s was a lot different from the grungy tour rat scenes you see today. You met people with master's degrees and PhDs.
Garcia remarked that he thought one of the reasons Brent got lost in alcohol, drugs and violent episodes was because despite his prodigious musical talent, he had grown up in the 'burbs of East Oakland and had never been exposed to literature, art, ideas ... he said Brent was like a guy in a box, a totally gray world. He couldn't think beyond his daily existence, and alcohol numbed the boredom that his mind could not overcome.
Things in culture today are significantly dumbed down in comparison ... and the decline of language and the written word is a sign of it. No offense intended to anyone in particular, I'm talking about millions of people hanging on Justin Beiber's tweets and Miley Cyrus' clothes and the latest stupid reality show celebrity meltdown. This is what popular culture has degraded to ... LOL, why u mad tho?
It's not necessarily wrong, it's just different.
So when you see someone calling someone else out over a comma, a preposition or a tortured simile, try to take it in the same spirt as you might call someone out over playing a completely wrong chord in the middle of Crazy Fingers. For people who read a lot, or write or edit for a living, it's just as jarring.
Last edited by playingdead
on Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.