To be a hippie, or not to be a hippie, that is the question.

Not something I spent a lot of time worrying about until recently when I joined the facebook group WORLDWIDE HIPPIES. You can join too because they let anyone in! And if you can imagine, there are constant arguments about what qualifies one as hippie. More on that to follow.

I came up in the hippie era but was too young then to participate or even nearly appreciate the magnitude of what was going on. One of my earliest memories was the assassination of JFK, or more accurately, the image of my mom wearing horn rimmed glasses and soiled apron, sobbing for a very long time on her knees in front of the black and white that day. The Viet Nam war came into my view at some point not long after, then another Kennedy, and Martin Luther King .. shot dead. By that time I was somewhat aware, as much as a dumb kid can be, that there were a lot of bad feelings going around. Nightly body counts on television from Viet Nam, bodies of our guys. Riots and mayhem in all directions domestically.

At 1969's Christmas, I was given the double vinyl Beatle's White Album by my parents, which I remember as seeming very cool of them; The Beatles at that point had come to represent the counterculture quite clearly, and my family was anything but counterculture. But late that Christmas morning, I heard it for the first time beginning to end, on Grandpa and Grandma's Magnavox record player cabinet thing which was state of the art back then. Dad, Mom, Grams and Gramps, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins .. all hearing 'why don't we do it in the road' for the first time. Free love y'know. Cousin Phil giggled. My Dad grinned. Mom looked forlorn and distant. Revolution #9 #9 #9 finally made Grandma pull the plug.

I was ten years old and hippiedom was at it's peak but who knew it would be such a big deal, or so short lived? The following summer, mom had a nervous breakdown. Four live hellyun births and a miscarriage in the 60's calamity may have been too much.

What I knew of hippies at that point was LONG HAIR. Hippies had long hair, no leap for the girls, but guys with long hair were really looked down upon by the established. And dirty, hippies were dirty. Tree hugging free loving don't worry about AIDS because it's not around yet non bathing pot smoking acid dropping dirty hairy war protesting .. hippies. 

I always considered myself born a little late to really qualify. The summer of love had come and past and I was barely aware it had happened. Woodstock was the apex .. pretty sure I can get a consensus on that, and I missed it for being too young! 

The seventies came along then as my world awareness grew. The damned war in Viet Nam was slowly coming to disastrous end (well, the whole thing was a disaster so why not the end too .. at least it was over), and end it did, not long before I would have been eligible for the draft. Maybe that's where the magic ceased, when the war was no longer there to protest. I don't know, but somewhere in the middle 70s, somehow, began the disco era. Yes DISCO, as hippies everywhere hung their heads in shame. Disco? Surely the end times were near!

Anyway .. that's a short personal background, my perspective, which brings me to my questions : 

WHAT EXACTLY IS A "HIPPIE?" 

The existence of the facebook group I mentioned, where myself and hundreds, maybe thousands, of other folks from around the world are members, tells me there is still a huge interest in hippie culture. The term itself carries a certain badge of honor; LOTS of people consider themselves, to this day, to be hippies.

Must male hippies have long hair? Never worked for me as mine is baby fine and curly wavy. My hair gets big, not long. So I'm going with no, hair length or style has naught to do with hippiedom. The group agrees also.

Must hippies smoke or otherwise imbibe marijuana? I would have always said hell yes, but consensus at WORLDWIDE HIPPIES is no. There was a post and very long comment thread on that very subject recently. Some people said like myself, yeah of course, hippies smoke weed, duh, but oh my the backlash! How could a true hippie love child judge negatively those who don't burn? I AM SORRY!

Can one be a hippie and also love guns and recite the second amendment to the constitution by heart? I nearly lost my mind at that thread, but consensus seems to be of course you can. Hippies can be gun nuts. Who woulda thought? I was called names by the old guy that posted on that subject. Went nearly apoplectic and said I was a punk kid living on fantasy island. Ha.

Is it still a peace, love, and understanding sort of thing? No arguments there. Hundreds of hippies honey-drippy with all of the above. Peace man.

Any hippies vote republican? I'll leave it you to guess. I was aghast. 

Is there an age restriction? Some glutton for punishment posted something to that affect, saying that if you weren't there in the 60s you missed out and were disqualified. Needless to say that didn't go over well. Many in the group are yet less than twenty years old. 

Hippie wardrobe of hemp fringe, tie dyed this and that, big bell jeans? Nope, wear what you will, even a suit, like THE MAN! 

Hippies are vegan or at least vegetarian? No, thank goodness. Although many attest to be, they refuse to look down upon those who eat food that used to have a face.

Can we at least agree that The Grateful Dead was and is the quintessential hippie band? Probably not! But I would at least suggest that all hippies and wannabees watch, as I did yesterday, "The Other One" about Bob Weir, guitarist for 'the dead' .. which basically makes it a history of the band itself, and one more therefore .. a history of all things hippie in a nutshell. I always considered "Ripple" by 'the dead' as THE hippie national anthem. Bob said "they say blood is thicker than water, but we were thicker than blood." Deep thoughts. By the way kids, I saw The Grateful Dead perform live at least seven times. Did you? Ha ..

Apparently, bottom line is that ANYONE can be, or at least call themselves, a hippie. After all, they let my barely pseudo-hippie ass into the group!

                                                                                    moi with big hair and a double-lengthed masterpiece circa late 70s

Views: 1139

Comment by tr ig on January 17, 2016 at 8:21am

Please do Z. Thought of you when writing this, you and Anna.

Comment by Gerald Andersen on January 17, 2016 at 10:57am

This is great and the comments are wonderful. Many people feel the hippie movement started to decline after the Altamont concert in 1969. The real kill shot I think was the Mason family and it's activities in the 70s. I was in my prime in those days and I recall there was a scale of hippiness from real hardcore (communal living, rejection of the establishment including working for the "man", free love, etc.) to folks who just adopted the hair styles and clothing. I would categorize myself as hippie-ish: liked the clothes, the pot, free love (the no bra look!!), but I had career ambitions and was a bit of a greasy grind in the day. 

Comment by greenheron on January 17, 2016 at 1:09pm

My hippie resume is pretty solid. I lived in tipi for a year, sewn from a kit my boyfriend and I ordered from The Whole Earth Catalog. I sewed it, because hippies seemed progressive, but were still patriarchal, and women did the sewing, and were referred to as ‘old ladies’ at 17 if they had an 'old man'. Our hippie dogs were named Ripple and Sugar Magnolia–aka The Grateful Dogs. I lived in a commune for a year, where the old ladies cooked communal suppers for the old men and passed around their crabs. Thank god I never have to do that again!

Being a hippie was about the times. Just like I can’t be a real beatnik or a real greaser, someone who wasn’t alive in the sixties can’t be an authentic hippie. They can adopt the hippie philosophy though: peace, love, drugs, music, back to the land, brown rice.

Authentic hippie philosophy does not embrace voting for Republicans though! Tell your facebook friends to cut that out!

Comment by Anna Herrington on January 17, 2016 at 2:32pm

Hey tr ig, thanks for the heads up  : )

I find myself wondering if there was any consensus about what *does* constitute a hippie, in the minds of the almighty facebook crowd....

My first thought when reading this was (and is):  

Hippie is a state of mind, Man. It's hearing/living by the rhythms of the syncopated beat. It's an internal identification.  

And rather like those who say they are sexually fluid or they have always been a woman at heart even if their body presents externally as male, who can say what they feel and identify as?

So it is with being a hippie, personally.

I've never thought of myself as a hippie, I've always said, even if many of the 'labels' fit. I hung out with, observed, wore the costume (in clothing, diet and abode) for awhile, during a later wave of hippiedom that pervaded the Pac NW during the Capitalist Crazy 80s and 90s. 

I would say my oldest brother was a bona fide hippie, he who traveled west from the NYC scene to LA in the 60s, was at Altamont, who did sound at Monterey Pop, who house-sat for Joni sometimes when she was on the road, he as one of the younguns hanging out up Laurel Canyon...he who still comes alive best when a guitar is in hand...

he has pretty much only tuned in to the syncopated beat.

I've had people laugh when I've stated my own thoughts about it (maybe even you laughed?  ; )), being a hippie or not - but I've never quite been able to jump on the bandwagon so far myself as to call myself a hippie

- but -

I've always enjoyed those who march to a different tune than the mainstream beat, that's for sure....

(while I hear my oldest son in my ear saying, "Geez Mom, if you're not a hippie, who the hell is?"  ha!)

And holy cow, you and Eli look alike !  

Love seeing photos from back in the day - wish I had time to fish some of my own out, but.... been a really busy Fall and Winter this year:  yay!  Maybe I'll get around to photos - but although my intentions are good, my track record is not, on follow through, as sadly, you know. 

Great post -will check back in to read comments - love that you're posting again, any site needs those who attract decent conversation  : )

Comment by DaisyJane on January 20, 2016 at 7:38pm

they are lying to themselves.

hippies cannot own guns.

hippies cannot vote republican.

but fake hippies sure can.  i know lots of fake hippies - they talk in the SUGARIEST little voices, and stab you in the back.  or the dude in the nehru shirt and love beads, driving his porsche - hippie fail.

dont let them fool you.  i live in the epicenter of hippiedom.  no guns, no republicans.  but you can dress however.  and anybody who works on wall street and pretends they are hippie bc they smoke doobie and like the grateful dead?  they are wrong.

that picture's pretty hippie-ish.

Comment by vzn on February 8, 2016 at 10:18am

just read this joke on dailybeast in article about baby boomers vs current pres candidates.

Q. what does a deadhead say when the pot runs out?

A. man this band is terrible!

Comment by vzn on February 8, 2016 at 10:21am

ps wear a deadhead hat with "steelface" on it for man years. random people would wink at me for years & didnt know why, just bought it for the cool design. finally someone explained it to me. quite a few ppl have commented on it over the years. recently at dairy queen a very young girl, presumably older teenager, said she liked the hat. "my dad was a deadhead" she said without a fully cheery expression. wanted to ask her for more details but didnt... it could have turned into a psychology/ therapy session? :|

Comment by Veronica Corso on February 8, 2016 at 10:48am

What is the difference between a hippie and a hipster? I'm confused.

Nice post btw. :)

Comment by JMac1949 Today on February 8, 2016 at 10:55am

Hippies from the 60's and 70's were all in revolutionary wannabes.  Millennial hipsters are fashion statement wannabes.  The difference is that hippies hitchhiked with whatever spare change was in their pockets.  Hipsters carry Mom and Dad's American Express Card in their back pocket and drive leased Scions because they look kewl.

Comment by Arthur James on February 8, 2016 at 11:01am

`

SQUARE WAS BACK.

`

IT GOOD DAY

TO SHOOT

POOL

BILLIARDSS.

`

NO PLAY 

POCKET

POOL IN

THONL-

TANK-

`

STINKER-

PAID-STINK-

TANKS- `?'

`

~CC~

TO BILL MOYERS?

`

HA HA-OHO-HEH

``;``

`CC`

`

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