Our favorite '60s message:
'Yummy yummy, I got love in my tummy'
by Noelle Olompali, Sebastopol
September 15, 2009
I'm writing in regard to Rex Allen's Aug. 28 letter ("Sorry 'Bout
That, Man...") [see below] in which he commented upon your recent
Behind the Sun columns about the Chosen Family, and felt he deserved
an apology for the narcissism of the counterculture. Yes the '60s did
have rebellious, grubby, drug-taking, love-making and music-loving
hippies, but damn it was a fun, treasured moment in history!
But let's also remember the other events happening in the '60s: the
Vietnam War, segregation and the assassinations of the Kennedys and
Martin Luther King. It was a time of change, and change is often
misunderstood by those unwilling to see that it is necessary.
I lived at Rancho Olompali, where we were graced by the presence of
generations of free-thinking, revolutionary and visionary artists,
poets, actors, musicians, activists, playwrights, authors, doctors,
professors, school teachers and homemakers. We tried to find a new
code to live by--as per the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would
have them do unto you." It was an experiment, a new concept and we
were naive--but we still hoped to create a world where people could
coexist harmoniously. Those who experienced it will attest there was
a small window of time when "love was all you needed" and we really
did try to "give peace a chance." We believed in "make love not war,"
but that ideal was eventually consumed and tainted by opportunists
So, as the official spokesperson for the Chosen Family, I'd like to
bring a few things to your attention: Though many communities formed
under the guise of "hippie communes," each embraced different beliefs
and aspirations, so it's really unfair to group them together as if
they were all bad or useless. I cannot apologize for all the grubby
people of that era, but I'd like to inform you that many went on to
make significant changes and contributions to our communities and to
the world we live in today. Those rebellious folks helped raise
awareness about saving the planet, became human- and animal-rights
activists, environmentalists, creators of outreach programs (like
Doctors Without Borders), holistic doctors and Montessori teachers.
So, before you attack my Family (who, by the way, still exists as
family 40 years later), you should know more about the people you
have condemned. We are good people who have raised a generation of
children with good values and our sons won't rape your daughters.
So dear Rex, I am sorry that after 40 years you still feel you need
an apology. I am sorry that you didn't heed the message that rang out
in the music of that time. "Come on people, smile on your brother,
everybody get together, try to love one another right now." So sorry
you've remained stuck, closed-minded and negative. I am very sorry
that you came away from that unique time without some positive
feelings to reflect upon. Good luck, there's always time to expand your views.
Sorry 'bout that, man...
August 28, 2009
Steve McNamara was "write-on, baby!" with his comments in Jason
Walsh's recent Behind the Sun column about the Chosen Family at
Olompali ["A Family Affair II: Paradise Lost," Aug. 14]. Commenting
on the myth that the 1960s and '70s were about "philosophizing,"
McNamara described the hippie idealism of the Chosen Family and
similar groups as "Mostly bullsh-t and the real deal was to get
stoned, get laid, and listen to some great music." And he said the
feel-good con was all underpinned by a decade-long "grubby underbelly."
Many would like to forget what else that era was about:
• Seizing someone else's property in the name of "enlightenment"
• Rebelling against the "system" that gave the "revolutionaries" the
right and very means to rebel
• While replacing that system with either nothing, or vague and
incoherent communal concepts with no staying power, or a thoroughly
discredited Marxist-Leninist state, ruled from above by armed thugs
who'd have liquidated the "enlightened ones" the first day in power
• An unbridled narcissism dressed up to look like passion, that meant
screwing (and dumping) as many hippie chicks as possible to help
overthrow the "power structure."
I, along with many others, am still waiting for the collective
apology we'll never receive.
Rex Allen, Novato