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slant

Czechered History

It’s been a long time since the Rolling Stones have mattered enough to rock the body politic. Once, through music and otherwise, they seemed to be saying something serious, even in their habits of consumption—as in the 1967 marijuana and uppers bust that made Jagger and Richards symbolic foci of a new generation’s new life and of the establishment’s reaction to it. Attacking the heavy sentence (later overturned), a London Times editorialist was moved to ask, “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?,” adding his brick to a romantic construction inside which everything the band did had weight. But then came the long grind of the Stones’ career as grown-ups. Subsequent drug charges—Richards’ 1977 arrest in Canada, say, this time for heroin—were just another predictable drag.

And now this startling photo-graph, distributed internationally by Agence France-Presse in August. On the 18th of that month,

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