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

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Comment by nerd cred on January 15, 2016 at 8:31pm

I adopted a hippie persona for a day or two at 18 and suddenly realized it was just another uniform. That was ok because I liked it as a costume. Cheap and easy and better for people to look at me and hate me for being a hippie than for being me. (because they were seeing the costume yadda yadda) But I also began to see it as just a new style that mostly didn't bring the supposed idealism with it.

And I think that rather than hippies being actually dirty, long hair on a boy was de facto dirty. That was kind of the way they (old people) sounded to me.

Some older guy said to me once with great astonishment like, can you believe this? that when he saw a couple with long hair from the back on the street he couldn't tell which was the boy and which was the girl. I asked him why he needed to know that. BAM

Your pictures: You're both cuties but long hair? Hippie? Parents even thought the original Beatles had long hair. I wish I could find pictures of my brothers in the 70s to demonstrate truly big hair. It's too Irish to go into anything like an afro, it's just bushy - like Rosanna Rosanadanna. But Irish.

she took my brothers' hair

Comment by nerd cred on January 15, 2016 at 8:32pm

You both look pretty intense, too.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 15, 2016 at 10:53pm

Sorry, JMac
From those pictures, you did not have the hair, though Tr ig kind of qualifies.

Hippies, hmmmm

I have a friend, really a friend of my younger sister's, who I might classify that way. He still goes to Rainbow Gatherings. 

Politically, a technicality:
In my first election at 18, I voted for a Republican for Congress. That sounds different from what it was - he was more liberal than his Democratic opponent. That was possible back then. There were still liberal Republicans. 

I can remember having this very discussion in summer camp. I was fourteen. I was in the Catskills. Unbeknownst to me, there was this music festival the counselors would head over to a couple of times in the evening. It was called Woodstock. That discussion didn't go anywhere. 

Hair, usually. Listening to rock an absolute must, with a probable taste for jams that meandered. Getting high probably a requirement. Antiwar, at least specifically anti-Vietnam war. Not trusting of the military or, really, authority. A definite egalitarian streak because not accepting people is bad news. Not materialistic - greed is a big sin. As silly as it sounds now, accepting of sex without marriage, which in the sixties was an actual distinction. Much more inclined toward going with the flow than with being uptight - calmness, or specifically mellowness, a valued attribute. Definitely non-violent. Appreciating color, particularly bright and often patterns. Thinking Eastern stuff is cool, particularly if there's a mystic quality to it. Way informal; formality is pretty antithetical to your existence. Inclined to share and to expect to be shared with. Favoring that which is Holistic. 

How am I doing?

Really, I'd ask Zanelle. She's as close as I know here. 

Comment by Rosigami on January 16, 2016 at 1:12am

My long-haired hippie musician boyfriend had gone to Woodstock; it was a little before my time. I am not big on crowds and mud anyway. But the music! I loved it all. In HS,I was part of an experimental pilot program called "The Informal School" by the admins, and "The Free School" by the hippie freaks who were in it. It was a blast. And an mitigated failure from an academic point of view. But for promoting political awareness, social responsibilty, and self discovery, it was an amazing experience.
The fb page sounds like a hoot. I'm definitely gonna have to go see.

Comment by Julie Johnson on January 16, 2016 at 5:14am

Zip to Zap, (google it, it's funny) 5 months BEFORE Woodstock.  It made the national news.  I was in 6th grade, my dad had just remarried and my step mom's younger sister, only 3 years older than me, told me she had been there.  I'm still not sure if I believe her or not.  For a few months, we did have real live hippies living across the street from us.  It was a scandal!  They had a HUGE speaker system, loud parties and played Led Zeppelin all night long.  I could hardly wait to grow up, and join in.  Alas, those days passed me by.        

Comment by koshersalaami on January 16, 2016 at 6:13am

Longer than mine was. Mine got cut when I got out of college and went to work for my father. It had been down to my shoulders, never long enough for a pony tail. 

Not that I ever qualified. I was never that mellow. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on January 16, 2016 at 6:46am

Just to be clear...  I was NEVER a hippie.  That was SOOOO passe by the time I got around.

On the other hand, I rocked the hell out of Goth for about 10 years (who am I kidding?  I still do!  LOL)

Comment by tr ig on January 16, 2016 at 8:28am

Wow ... good morning, thanks for the great bunch of responses! Shows, maybe, that the word still holds some mystique and piques interest. I find the facebook page sometimes enlightening, sometimes ridiculous. As I noted, they'll let ANYONE in the group. How would you qualify who to let in anyway as an admin.? I can always tell they really young "hippies" by their comments. For example, when you see people attempting to communicate with meme pics with captions, it's usually kids who I fear, sadly, might not be able to actually write real sentences so they use pictures. Peace kiddies! Maybe 5%, not including myself .. not really ... as noted, I might consider genuine. Maybe the long experience in blogging, where we are left with nothing to judge character and personality but words .. how they are used ... many small clues as to who might not be a dipshit or a wannabee. I can tell as you can who is full of it. The gun thread killed me but mostly it's true enough individual human and environmental concern type stuff, put across in arteestly fashion. So yeah, it's fairly fun and sometimes even enlightening .. a little bit. 

Thanks again. Hau‘oli lā Ho‘omaha loa

Comment by koshersalaami on January 16, 2016 at 9:52am

Amy,
I wouldn't mistake you for a hippy in a million years, so don't worry about it. 

SB, Great story. 

Comment by Zanelle on January 16, 2016 at 11:53pm

Ohh  Joisey  I love your tail.   I feel a hippy post coming on.  thanks for this and the comments.

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