Why Woodstock was funny

I ran across an old article today in which someone put down the introduction of the name Woodstock as an unfunny gag, that simply giving the little bird a name from hippie culture does not make it funny. However, that commentary was written in 2007, more than a third of a century after that gag was laid down, by someone who missed the context.

Remember, the character Woodstock was hanging around the strip for years before we learned his name. (In fact, it may be argued that the fact the Snoopy’s bird friend lacked a name leaves open the possibility that there was actually more than one friend.) It was established in 1967, years before the Woodstock music festival occurred, that the bird friend was a “bird hippie”.

Then the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival happened, which is cemented in our minds as the ultimate hippie moment (although it may be ultimate in more than one sense; both as the most extreme and possibly as the end of the road, as coming in the later half of 1969, that seems to me as the hippie movement was on the decline, at least as separate from the general flowing culture.) And what was the poster for that Festival? This:

87px-Woodstock_poster

There’s the gag – not that Woodstock was just a hippie thing, but that it was a hippie bird thing, that maybe Woodstock was that bird on the poster, that perhaps even the festival was named for him… or that maybe he’s just playing off of that to take credit (much as Schulz would later have Royanne Hobbs, a character who tried to impress with her invented relationship to Roy Hobbs, a fictional baseball player from the 1952 novel The Natural and its 1984 film adaptation.)

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  As these two ads, from 1954 and 1961 respectively, show, Patty and Violet had a rather consistent relationship… living on slightly different planes, and not introducing themselves, but giving a name to each other. 40 SHARES Share Tweet this thing Follow the AAUGH Blog

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