Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (53)

Not being either a red diaper baby who was part of the late 1950's and early 1960's red diaper youth subculture or heavily into listening to folk music until 1965, I only first became aware of Joan Baez's existence in the late Fall of 1964; when I read in some mainstream magazine that a "Mexican-American" folk singer named Joan Baez-- who also refused to pay all of her income taxes to the U.S. government because she was a "pacifist"--had been involved in the 1965 Berkeley Free Speech Student Revolt in some way at the University of California.

I was still just a liberal anti-communist and non-pacifist at that time. But I was intrigued by the fact that in the early 1960's this Joan Baez seemed to be the only celebrity entertainer/celebrity singer mentioned by the mass media who was so openly a pacifist; and, although I was not then a pacifist, myself, or an advocate of a pacifist U.S. foreign policy of unilateral disarmament, I was impressed by the fact that Baez was so committed to her pacifist principles that she was willing to back up her pacifist views by refusing to pay that portion of her federal income taxes which went for U.S. government Pentagon war preparations and the U.S. military budget.

I was also impressed when I heard that Baez was, in the 1960's, refusing to charge more than $2 per ticket at her concerts, in order to allow folk music fans, who might not be able to afford a concert ticket if tickets were priced higher, an equal chance to hear her perform and attend her concerts; and because she seemed to feel that making money and being commercially successful were not her main philosophical priorities in the 1960's.