I’ve hinted time and again of my opinions on hippies and their antiquated counter-culture ways. Most times I’m just kidding. I’ve known some hippies in my day, some who have been good friends. Needless to say, I’ve always had conflicted feelings about that whole period in history.
Again, like I said, I’ve known plenty of hippies and have no problem with them personally. I’m speaking abstractly about a movement, not specifically about a person or people. Like most cases like that, it’s easy to take this as a series of personal attacks. But I really am speaking in the detached abstract here and not trying to offend anyone.
It’s just a topic I’ve given a lot of thought.
We’ve seen hippies romanticized in everything from The Wonder Years to every Oliver Stone movie ever made. He still has yet to correct Born on the Fourth of July to highlight that it was the 1968 Democratic Convention where all that nastiness went down. Way to rewrite history, you tripped-out coke fiend. Thanks for Midnight Express, though. That movie is awesome. Even though you did fabricate some things in that too.
I guess I’m more of a Beatnik guy to begin with. Those in that movement were active, moving from place to place and searching for something profound within a working class framework. They embellished stories, to be sure, and not everything they produced was worthwhile. But they were a legitimate artistic movement and one that I enjoy to this day.
Unfortunately, in the sociological sense, you always have a “next step” for artistic movements. That next step in this case was the Hippies.
The Hippies were Beatniks without the working class sensibilities. They were all about taking ridiculous amounts of drugs and booze, sleeping around (thanks for the explosion in VD, guys, that’s been great) and figuring out how to suckle at society’s teat while contributing pretty much nothing.
I mean, really. What have the Hippies done besides attend Woodstock? They didn’t end the war in Vietnam no matter how much they like to think they did. The war in Vietnam was ended by Richard Milhouse Nixon after it had been so badly mismanaged by LBJ that the most powerful military in the history of earth was defeated by a few of Jane Fonda’s dear friends. We were bleeding money and life and Nixon called an end to it. The chants of “No Blood For Oil!” were resurrected from their protest usage in WWI, WWII and The Korean War to sit on a shelf until the first Gulf War in 1991, but they did nothing except provide some interesting TV moments and allow an entire generation of college kids to keep smoking pot.
The Hippie culture that grew from Haight-Ashbury was also a fertile breeding ground for people like Charles Manson. You think he was the only nut-job to come out of there? No, his gang was the only one who killed a Hollywood actress. That’s why you remember him and forget the others.
Even Jim Morrison felt the same way. He didn’t like the Hippies, no matter how much they entertained him. He immortalized his feelings in the song Five to One: “You walk across the floor/with a flower in your hands/tryin’ to tell me/no one understands/Trade in your hours/for a handful of dimes.”
Translation: it’s not a workable society if everyone’s just drifting around getting high and selling flowers. Someone has to work to provide for your lifestyle. As for communes, that’s a great idea. How many of those were successful, by the way? How many are still around? Oh, they’re gone.
The irony being, of course, that he used the college loophole to dodge the draft too. But how you feel about war isn’t necessarily the mark of a Hippie. Otherwise, the Quakers are Hippies. Last time I checked, that hadn’t happened. But the Quakers are at least about non-violence and not just fearful of getting hurt. They don’t want to hurt others, versus being non-violent out of a fear of being hurt. Big difference.
And that leads to the biggest problem I have with the Hippies. They are all sell-outs and hypocrites. They took their time off and acted like “counter-culturists” and then went off and made money in the Capitalist system they proclaimed to despise. People like Bill Ayers bombed buildings and then went on to be wildly rich. Believe what you want to, but if you don’t have the courage to stick to your beliefs then obviously, they’re not worth the breath you’re wasting when you try to get me to subscribe to them. Either that, or you have some angle that’s leading to worse circumstances than you’re claiming you’ll solve.
Hippies. The world in which we live is their fault.
Thanks for the music, though. It was pretty solid. I’ll give you that.