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