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Author Topic: "Hippies": Hedonistic, or not so much?
remind
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posted 25 March 2008 09:29 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There has been a good deal of rhetoric arising in this last decade, about the Hippies being worthless hedonistic selfish parasites of society, that did absolutely no good things.

My question would be:

1. Were they/we any more so than any other privileged white cultural sub set?

2. Did the hippies actually do nothing good for society?

3. What good things came about as a result of the "hippie ers"?

4. Where are the "hippies" today and what are they doing?


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 25 March 2008 10:14 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Weren't "hippies" just another creation of business marketing types? Look at all the stuff that started selling once the myth of the hippie took off: bell bottom and flare jeans; psychedelia including coloured lights, pipes, rolling papers, record albums and tapes; and who knows what else. In Ottawa, geez, there must have been close to a hundred shops that opened to cater to hippie wannabees.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 25 March 2008 10:21 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Then there were the happy hippies:

From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
martin dufresne
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posted 25 March 2008 10:29 AM      Profile for martin dufresne   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" is a good depiction of some of the original 'hippies', Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, that did great community stuff in California around 1965-66 (along with a lot of acid... been there, dropped that).
From: "Words Matter" (Mackinnon) | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
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posted 25 March 2008 10:33 AM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Where are the "hippies" today and what are they doing?

At least one of us is moderating babble.

I think we were more than just a creation of marketing types, although "hippiedom" co-existed with a real maturity in sophisticated marketing, and the marketing weasles were pretty cogniscent of the impressive disposable income of that generation. I don't think that got really bad 'til the early '70's though, when hippidom became a parody of itself. It sort of coincided with the hip capitalists taking over Yorkville (very Toronto-centric reference,...sorry.)

We were self indulgent in the extreem and smugger'n hell, but I think there was a lasting effect for the good.

Just reminds me, a couple of Saturdays ago I stayed up late by myself, drank too much beer and watched Woodstock. I no longer smoke the herb. It was fun in a melancholy sort of a way. Somewhere in my basement is a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic book I bought at the office of The Georgia Straight, when I thumbed across Canada. I stayed at the Gastown Inn when it was still a dive.

Rock on!

[ 25 March 2008: Message edited by: oldgoat ]


From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sineed
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posted 25 March 2008 10:41 AM      Profile for Sineed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There has been a good deal of rhetoric arising in this last decade, about the Hippies being worthless hedonistic selfish parasites of society, that did absolutely no good things.

Sounds like the neo-conservative revisionists at work, the same folks who say the massacre at My Lai didn't happen, or Joe McCarthy was right about communist spies infiltrating the highest levels of N. American society.

From: # 668 - neighbour of the beast | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 25 March 2008 10:48 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by oldgoat:
We were self indulgent in the extreem and smugger'n hell, but I think there was a lasting effect for the good.

I too believe there was/is a significant lasting effect for the good, and also agree to the smugness. But I do not necessarily agree with self-indulgent in the extreme, I think it was just self-indulgence in a differing, and perhaps "improved" way.

From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 25 March 2008 10:51 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thomas Frank elaborates over here on the "conquest of cool" and deals, to some extent, with the effect of the Hippies. Thomas Frank is very good at uncovering the re-writing of history by conservatives, a re-write in which the "sixties-as-catastrophe" figures prominently.

quote:
The questions that surround the counterculture are enormous ones, and loaded as they are with such mythical importance to both countercultural participants and their foes, they are often difficult to consider dispassionately. Furthermore, the critique of mass society embraced by the counterculture still holds a profound appeal: young people during the 1960s were confronting the same problems that each of us continues to confront every day, and they did so with a language and style that still rings true for many. This study (Frank's book - N.Beltov) is, in some ways, as much a product of countercultural suspicion of consumerism as are the ads and fashions it evaluates. The story of the counterculture—and of insurgent youth culture generally—now resides somewhere near the center of our national self-understanding, both as the focus of endless new generations of collective youth-liberation fantasies and as the sort of cultural treason imagined by various reactionaries. And even though countercultural sympathizers are willing to recognize that co-optation is an essential aspect of youth culture, they remain reluctant to systematically evaluate business thinking on the subject, to ask how this most anticommercial youth movement of them all became the symbol for the accelerated capitalism of the sixties and the nineties, or to hold the beloved counterculture to the harsh light of historical and economic scrutiny. It is an intellectual task whose time has come.

In my Toronto boyhood, visiting Yorkville was punishable by death. My dad made it very clear that he would be carrying out the execution immediately, were he to find out about a visit there by yours truly.


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oldgoat
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posted 25 March 2008 10:56 AM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But I do not necessarily agree with self-indulgent in the extreme,

Come to think of it, that might have been just me.


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lagatta
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posted 25 March 2008 11:03 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So how long did it take you to sneak there?

Tariq Ali's article on 1968 isn't really about hippies - it is far more political and worldwide in nature - but it does touch upon the cultural aspects, refusing the crushing conformity of life in the postwar years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/mar/22/vietnamwar/print

I'd have gone mad if not. No, I was never really in to drugs (at most smoking the odd joint to fit in, but it was never an important facet - I was a trippy artist without much of anything stronger than jasmine tea, espresso, or a glass of wine or two. What "girls" were destined to be was a living death.

Sure, there were a lot of creeps and there was a lot of macho posturing about "free love" (= free chicks), but still, there was a feeling of freedom that went far beyond "privileged white people". The feeling of freedom and refusal of conformism certainly had an impact on other groups as well, as Tariq's article reminds us.

And reminds us that it was a matter of rage as much as of love.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 25 March 2008 11:28 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bring the '60s out of the closet.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 25 March 2008 11:32 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by oldgoat:
Come to think of it, that might have been just me.

I don't know, for me, extreme self-indulgence is exemplified by: people trying to have a cookie cutter existence, painting rocks to tidy the place up a bit, with perfect lawns and white picket fences all geared to pretend as if all in the world is perfect, and with religious patriarchial status quo continuing because of; "the devil you know, is better than the devil you don't know" which really embodies fear and laziness.

Plus, the self-indulgent denial of personal responsibility to society and the world at large as represented by mainstream society, prior to the advent of the hippie era. They had either the "State" or their "religion" telling them how to be and what to do.


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Boom Boom
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posted 25 March 2008 11:36 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heh. I had forgotten about that thread, M. Spector. Here's what I wrote early on in that thread:

A lot of the people I grew up with in the '60's are working in co-operatives, alternative (organic) farming, etc... there's a lot of good people out there from the '60's, but many of us are middle aged now, and want to keep to ourselves - we're tired, man. Well, not everyone is, but a lot of the folks I know are. A lot of us are just tryin' to survive. But a lot of '60's folk raised some really great kids, and they're radical compared to what we were like growing up. I keep hoping kids today are going to change the world for the better, but they're going through stages just like we did - gotta get it out of their systems. I think, overall, the '60's generation did a lot of good and it's continuing, but the good is just simply being overwhelmed by the consumer mentality, fundamentalist religious hookum, Amerikan fascism, and plain greed. I'm thankful I live in a part of Quebec where folks are pretty cool and nice to one another.

I'm still tired, man.


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Stargazer
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posted 25 March 2008 11:40 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Plus, the self-indulgent denial of personal responsibility to society and the world at large as represented by mainstream society, prior to the advent of the hippie era. They had either the "State" or their "religion" telling them how to be and what to do.

Thus, we have a huge chunk of US society, and most people in Alberta.


From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sharon
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posted 25 March 2008 11:42 AM      Profile for Sharon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
At least one of us is moderating babble.

And another of us is former editor of rabble.

I think of the hippie era of my life as being very productive and rich and significant. In the city phase, we were working on feminist and environmentalist politics and projects: consciousness raising, setting up and running women's centres, shelters, food co-ops, organizing demos and handing out leaflets in support of our causes.

In our back-to-the-land phase, we lived as self-sufficiently as possible -- grew much of our own food, cut our own wood (with the permission of the wood-lot owner), baked bread, pickled and preserved etc. (And made beer -- lots of beer. I became a master brewer.)

During this time, we read and wrote -- but that was important too as it led us on to future careers.

I look back on it as a very valuable time -- personally and collectively.


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Sineed
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posted 25 March 2008 11:46 AM      Profile for Sineed     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Plus, the self-indulgent denial of personal responsibility to society and the world at large as represented by mainstream society, prior to the advent of the hippie era. They had either the "State" or their "religion" telling them how to be and what to do.
That's a bit sweeping, really; there have been various hedonistic eras throughout history.

I think, though, people diss hippies because they are (a) jealous because they weren't cool enough to participate or (b) jealous because they were too young to have been there.

Me? I'm green with envy. When I was of age, it was Ronald Rayguns and his wife "Just say no to drugs!," and polyester sweaters with shoulder pads and all those prissy white boy haircut bands. Ugh!

Edited to add: of the former hippies I know, the ones who really were progressive and not just in it as a fashion statement still are progressive. The so-called "sell-outs" never believed in anything in the first place, IMO.

I mean, was Dubya a hippie?? (Besides the drug use part.)

[ 25 March 2008: Message edited by: Sineed ]


From: # 668 - neighbour of the beast | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 25 March 2008 11:52 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by oldgoat:
Somewhere in my basement is a Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic book I bought at the office of The Georgia Straight, when I thumbed across Canada.

Oh, God. I had all of those, and Mr. Natural:

[ 25 March 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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remind
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posted 25 March 2008 12:03 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the link mspector, I found that Skadl and lagatta, posted some true, strong and salient facts, that I would not have wanted to miss. Must have been away suring that time frame, as I most certainly never saw it on babble until now.
From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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posted 30 March 2008 09:01 PM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One testimony to there being something durable to what us hippies did is that going back 20 years I've seen neat teen agers adopting a lot of the hippie sensibilities- not just the fashion statements.

The ones that are doing it now- including my daughter and a number of her friends- come across it on their own... even as in some cases such as ours, where the parent(s) are old enough to be participants, but the kids don't figure out directly from the lives they have lived with us that 'my parents must have been doing that'.

'Across the Universe' is a really enjoyable movie. A lot of kids just plain like it, but quite a few of them really hit on it. And in this internet age and the way they mash popular culture across time, they can do a lot of going to the source.

I think by the way that Across the Universe hit a pretty good mix of how politics blended with the just having a good a time as you can lifestyle.

Plus, despite being a pretty demanding Beattles fan, I think they did a great job with redoing the vocals and music. Inclusing expanding the Beattles beyond male fantasy even while not touching the lyrics.


From: Minasville, NS | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
KenS
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posted 30 March 2008 09:28 PM      Profile for KenS     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting to note that mythology of the counter-culture 'spitting on' Vietnam Vets. Images of young women screaming 'Baby Killer'!

In the very late 60's and early 70's there were literally thousands of AWOL soldiers [vets] living in the counter-culture.

Many of them did more than one circuit of the revolving door. Identity checks were rife then, and AWOL soldiers would be picked up and returned to the Army- to join 'disciplinary battalions', holding tank barracks segregating them from tainting soldiers that had not shipped to Vietnam yet... where uniforms weren't always worn, LOTS of dope smoked... and after a while, guys would go AWOL again and seamlessly melt back into the counterculture ghettoes.


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Boom Boom
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posted 31 March 2008 05:12 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A friend of mine was a 60s draft dodger who came to Toronto, did his BA and Master's there, married and worked there as well. He received an amnesty, went back and visited his family, continues to live in Toronto. I'm glad the DD's were able to make new lives here - Canada got a lo of talent that way.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged

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