Freak Fear and Loathing in America
By Stephen Simac
As the American dream bursts like a frothy bubble, we're going to
have to learn how to make do with less. Nobody since the hippies have
been better at that, so it's time to grab those tye dyes out of the
Free Box and flash the Peace Sign again.
For those too young to remember, or too brainwashed by relentless
propaganda painting hippies as dirty, dope smoking, know-nothings,
judging all hippies by the burnt out ropehead sparechanging in
Bolinas, is like lumping biodynamic wine growers with his sidewalk
sharing compatriot swilling Mad Dog 2020.
A word of caution to newbie hippies, graying ponytails do not a
hippie make. And Free Love was always a scam, The hippie tribe does
party like it's 1999, of course, as part of doing more with less. No
tribe is more creative at turning less into more, castoffs into
fashion, ghettos into artists' garrets. Hippies didn't emerge in a
vacuum, but flew like phoenixes from the forge of the mid 60's
through the mid 70's.
Not all hippies have long hair now, some are bald. Back then there
was a groovy uniform that varied wildly in plumage and aroma. That's
a much rarer bird these days. Even local media thinks traditional
hippies lark in Bolinas, when the last one left Bo for San Geronimo a
PSYCHEDELIC TUBER SPROUTS
Beatniks claim hippies were only a devolution of their poetry
spouting, bongo thumping, cool cat hipster archetype. Like a
sunflower sporting from a potato. The baby boomers born after the
last Great War, almost overnight went barefoot, put a flower in their
hair, got in their Folksvagon vans, headed off to San Francisco and
other hippie hotspots around the world. On the road sprawled into
Eastern and Southern realms. Hippies brought back whole cultures to
study and practice and perfect. From Yoga to Zen. From Castaneda to McKenna.
When the cities got too grim, as hippie ghettos became gentrified,
many fled to the country where the water tastes like wine. Some
joined communes, some homesteaded, most gardened or farmed to get
more from less. Redneck hippies grew roots in the country and raised
hippie kids. Whether living in the country or the city or someplace
in between, many hippies tried to blend in, getting straight jobs,
did 'cut their hair today', only showing their colours at Rainbow
Gatherings and Dead Shows.
Hair does not a hippie make. A willingness to participate, a certain
light in the eye, a secret understanding, a relaxed
non-competitiveness, genetically opposed to authority not being
questioned and eventually subverted if no good answers come forth are
aspects of the hippie tribe.
When the War on people who use Drugs other than approved sedating
ones put the heat on long hair, most potheads cut their hair,
although some grew dreads. No discrimination around the hippie peace
pipe. Very few quit smoking, but not every hippie partakes. Those
that do created a community wealth generator. The whole natural foods
store phenomena, turning vitamin shoppes into bulk, whole food social
scenes was funded by drug money. Mostly herb.
MUSHROOM PIZZA TO GO
Organic, natural, whole earth, moonchild, peace and love, freakin'
hippies seeded Renaissance Communities across the country from
Coconut Groves to Sausalito Houseboats, from Vermont Woods to Sunny
Beaches. Each with their own flavor and obsessions. Like some
fantastically mutating species of thought and action, an exploding
synaptic orgasm of challenges to the establishment slithered out of
the hippie egg after their shell imploded some time around '76.
Some blame it on the drugs, some on Disco. Without Vietnam there was
no draft to fear, no war to fight, but challenge to authority went
viral. Women's Lib, Gay Lib, Animal Lib grew out of Hippie Lib, not
civil rights, that movement was as patriarchal, homophobic and
authoritarian as the establishment.
Health and Wellness, Alternative Medicines. Raw Foods, Grass Fed Beef
originally was just Hippie Shit. Personal Computers were invented in
a garage by pot smoking hippies, or should have been. No Nukes, Green
Power, Bicycle Day, even Bike to Work Week were just hippie pipe
dreams brought to fruition by hippie stoners. If pot made them lazy,
apathetic or averse to hard work then conservatives should really
fear eradicating cannabis as a communist plot.
HAIRY ARMPITS AND ALL
Bad Trips, Guru Cults, Dead Tours, Guatemalan Clothes, Drainbows,
Mayan Shrooms, Harmonica Virgins. It wasn't all pretty, but giving
birth to the Aquarian Age is necessarily bloody. A more mature
hippie, if that's not a complete oxymoron, is the answer to our
Running out of water in Bolinas? Bring back those good ole, dirty
hippie days. Can't afford to cut the hair you have left? Don't go
mullet, tuck it under a rastaman hat. Foreclosed because of subprime
interest rates, no retirement money left in the pension funds? Join a
commune, pool your welfare, SSI and social security checks, and eat
government cheese, rice and beans with greens from the garden. Live
in yurts and teepees again with a composting shitter out back. From
Free to Be Me to a Season of Sharing.
Dry Cleaning bills, which need it, hippie entertainment beats cable
TV. Nothing cheaper than nude beaches. Walking and Bicycling are more
affordable health insurance, at least if cyclists are more visible
wearing tye-dyes. Pile the hippies in the SUV for road trips. There's
always room for a hitchhiker on the bus.
Any belly who's ever been to a Rainbow Gathering knows how creative
and resourceful hippies are at living well with less. Out in the
woods or stuck in the hoods, don't fear the hippie next door, welcome
'em to the neighborhood with a lit joint and a sack of purple potatoes.