Sen. Coburn picks on Grateful Dead

Updated
Full disclosure: beyond Terrapin Station and Box of Rain, I don’t see much use in the Grateful Dead. Fuller disclosure: This puts me in the same box of rain with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), who has decided to make a point about public funding for a Grateful Dead archive. Sen. Coburn picks the University of California at Santa Cruz’s Grateful Dead collection, and the $615,000 he says is going to help complete it, for his Wastebook 2010. “[E]stimates place the net worth of two prominent band members, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, at roughly $40 and $35 million, respectively.” I think his point is that if the Grateful Dead want to make their music and associated stuff free and available to the public, they can pay for that themselves. More directly, Sen. Coburn has picked a classic culture war target. The Grateful Dead and their buckets of hallucinogens, etc., can be counted on to divide opinion, should anyone actually notice Mr. Coburn’s Wastebook. And the $615,000 wouldn’t amount to single ray of very groovy light from even one note of Jerry Garcia’s best ever version of Dark Star. It’s purely symbolism. Change the channel.

(Image: The Grateful Slug, from the UC Santra Cruz Grateful Dead blog)

Culture Wars and Tom Coburn

Sen. Coburn picks on Grateful Dead

Updated