Down With Hippies

7
Posted August 13, 2009 by Jimmy Fowler in Blotch

Since we’re now drowning in coverage of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, complete with international commemorative concerts by frail survivors, let me take the time to confess: Hippies have always annoyed me. Specifically, the much-photographed, Woodstock variety of hippie.

On the surface, my flower-child-o-phobia doesn’t make sense. I’m a political liberal. I dig the music of Baez, Hendrix, CCR, Sly and the Family Stone, and (most of all) Joplin. I can say “dig” without flinching. I’m a hedonist who enjoys his self-indulgences. But I also strongly dislike mud, poor personal hygiene, large public groups, generational generalizations, and any desire to romanticize the aforementioned self-indulgences into some kind of mass spiritual awakening.

By all means, remember Woodstock as a great opportunity to get high, (perhaps) get laid, and just generally be young and silly while legendary musicians performed with a shitty sound system. I’m down with that. But insist that Woodstock somehow changed the world, and I’ll reply that most of its participants were commodifying the social justice movement and turning it into a cheap, consumable “lifestyle.”

Wanna read about one of the real heroes of the ‘60s youth rebellion? Check out the life’s work of the late, charismatic Mario Savio, the great student orator and Berkeley free speech activist who was willing to do the grunt work – envelope-stuffing, phone-calling, speech-writing – to see his goals of a more perfect union met. Want to read a dark, fascinating account of hippies, hippie-wannabes, and their group-think allure at its most tragic? Check out this amazing first-person piece about the 40th anniversary of the Manson family’s Tate/La Bianca murders by filmmaker, courtroom spectator, and Leslie Van Houten confidante John Waters.


7 Comments


  1.  
    Eric G

    Far out, man




  2.  

    Maybe you’re confusing Hippies with longhairs. There is a difference. Manson is a case in point. I wasn’t at Woodstock but I did make Texas Pop a few months later. Same as Woodstock but with intense heat and dust instead of mud. Possibly more drugs. Miserable experience. I’ve never seen so many longhaired rednecks in one place. Real hippies on the other hand, including the flower child version, were less likely to indulge in poor hygiene and more likely to contribute to society. In other words, the word “Hippie” has been misapplied. People tend put all longhairs into one basket. That’s like putting all Gays or Beatniks in one basket. It’s just hair. I think Woodstock did change the world but more indirectly. It inspired young kids across the country who weren’t even there, to think and act beyond their own immediate needs and desires. You could see that in the ways they helped each other. Note that despite the large crowds there was no violent chaos like you typically see in large gatherings. For me, as a very green 18 year old, it demonstrated for the first time the limitless possibilities beyond the city limits of Fort Worth. I was definitely inspired. Now if I could only get the hell outta here.




  3.  
    Professor Buddy

    The stupidity of the above post forces me to chime in…

    “It’s just hair.”

    Shining, gleaming, Streaming, flaxen, wax… May I suggest going to a barber [content removed]?

    “I think Woodstock did change the world but more indirectly. It inspired young kids across the country who weren’t even there, to think and act beyond their own immediate needs and desires. You could see that in the ways they helped each other. ”

    What a load of communist scheisse.

    “Note that despite the large crowds there was no violent chaos like you typically see in large gatherings. ”

    Does Pete Townshend’s guitar smashing Abbie Hoffman’s face count?

    “For me, as a very green 18 year old, it demonstrated for the first time the limitless possibilities beyond the city limits of Fort Worth. I was definitely inspired. Now if I could only get the hell outta here.”

    Southwest Airlines has some good specials right now.




  4.  
    anthony.mariani

    Professor Buddy. We appreciate your comments, but please refrain from calling people names (i.e., “content removed”). All it does is excite a potential flame war and detract readers from the conversation at hand. Thank you.




  5.  
    Professor Buddy

    Anthony,

    Touché. Point taken. Thank you for the gentle admonishment. But since you’re working so hard to ward off flame wars in the comments section, may I ask what you were thinking when you hperbolically wrote on Aug, 5th:

    “Professor Buddy. How ’bout I pay a transient to slash your tires? Has nothing to do with my being a good citizen or socially responsible or anything. I’m paying for the service after all.”

    Please clarify.




  6.  
    anthony.mariani

    Hmm. I didn’t call you any names, though, or insult you personally. I was just making a point: that freedom isn’t a license to be inconsiderate. I guess the sarcasm didn’t come through — I thought it would be patently obvious, however, that I do not condone vandalism.




  7.  
    Peter Gorman

    Right on, Don Young! We hippies–if I can count myself in that group–waded in segregated waters with Martin Luther King. We marched for women’s rights and gay rights and personal freedom and an end to a senseless war that was killing tens of thousands of good men just to guarantee the right of the US to put cheap-labor factories in Southeast Asia. We pushed for the right for everyone to do as they pleased so long as what they pleased didn’t infringe on other people’s rights.
    Woodstock didn’t do that; 10 years of work did that. But for many Woodstock is the commemorative day to celebrate that work. It wasn’t the greatest concert ever, the rain did make things sloppy, and the US government didn’t serve “Breakfast in bed for 400,000!” as Wavy Gravy asked them to, but it still caught a moment that was worth catching.





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