Thursday, May 19, 2011

Field Guide to Hippie Identification

In the previous thread, Buck asks a thought-provoking question: "WHY is everyone so down on hippies? They never hurt anyone!"  Well, if there's one thing in life I like better than a root canal, it is answering readers' questions!

In the beginning, there were Beatniks.  These were artsy-fartsy people who hung out in coffee shops and listened to acoustic Bob Dylan songs.  Remember, this was way back in the beginning - before all the coffee shops had free WiFi.  Heck, there wasn't even an internet then.  There was ARPAnet, but you had to either be a VAX/VMS geek or Al Gore to even connect.  But I digress.  Sorry... The Beatniks would have spent their time looking at bizarre porno on their laptops off the free WiFi, if it had existed. But it didn't, so they sat around and wrote a lot of bad poetry.  So it was for decades.  Then there were some among the Beatniks who said "this is great, but it would be even better if we bathed less often!"  Not all of the Beatniks were on board with this, though, so a schism formed.  There was conflict and contentiousness.  Soon, the peace-loving less-bathing group split off from the rest of the beatniks.

These were the protohippies.  Forced from their native habitat, they began a westward migration towards places like Berkeley, Taos, and Eugene.  As they settled in this new bountiful region, the favorable conditions allowed them to indulge in liberating behaviors like humping in the park while their friend tapped out the Morse Code for "got any weed?" on a bongo.  Some particularly successful bands of hippies even had a guy named Ravi playing a sitar while they humped in the park.  By now the protohippies had evolved into full-blown hippies.  Gone were the berets and trenchcoats, which had been replaced by patchwork skirts and tangled hair.

About that time, LBJ said they had to go to Vietnam and shoot Charlie.  The hippies, being peace lovers, were not cool with this at all.  They had recently discovered fire, and they put this new discovery to use in the burning of draft cards.  And bras.  All was well for the hippies, and their population surged.  Some remained rooted in their territories, while others chose a more nomadic existence following the Grateful Dead around in multicolor buses.  Thus they gained sway over more and more territory. 

When it appeared that they might be unstoppable, there was a concert at Altamont.  The Hells Angels biker club had been hired to perform "security" at the event.  Despite outward appearances, the Hells Angels might well be considered anti-hippie.  There was a disturbance, and the hippies' fatal weakness - namely, pacifism - was exploited to the fullest and many a mangy hippie was beaten with a tire iron by a liquored-up Angel.  This proved a turning point in the hippie history, as things were never quite as rosy afterwards.  Some took up new identities, wearing saffron robes and giving out plastic flowers at the airport.  Some actually cut their hair and got jobs.  The remaining fled to communes where they survived on organic produce and LSD.

During the '80s, things got even worse for the hippies.  There was a movement towards consumerism marked by things like improved grooming, stylish clothes and the Sharper Image Catalog.  Yuppies, preppies and other -ppies arose and usurped the place once held by the hippies.  Unfortunately this pendulum swing went too far in the opposite direction and Miami Vice was the result.  Most of the hippies were now extinct - a mere remnant of them remained.  Some came out of hiding having morphed into a meaner and more aggressive sub-species which would later come to be known as "neo-hippies."  These were a distinct group from the earlier group, who would thereafter be known as "classical hippies."

The classical hippies clung to their live-and-let-live lifestyle and infrequent bathing.  Examples of this breed include Jerry Garcia, Tommy Chong and Willie Nelson.  The more assertive neo-hippies went on to take positions in the media and academe.  Some neo-hippies even ran for government office - a complete refudiation of the classical hippie mantra against The Man.

Which brings us to the present day.  It may at times be difficult to classify a hippie that one might encounter.  The best way is to tell the hippie "Why doncha get a haircut, you maggot-infested lump of human debris!  And maybe get a job while you're at it!"

If the hippie says, in a Tommy Chong accent, "Hey man, conflict is not the answer, man!" then the hippie is a classical hippie.  Take advantage of the classical hippie's pacifist tendencies and kick him at will.  Or, if he doesn't smell too bad, invite him to your next party.  Sometimes hippies are fun to party with.  This is a decision that should be made on a case-by-case basis.

If the hippie gets all indignant and tries to run you over in his Prius, then he is a neo-hippie.  While the Prius is unlikely to do any lasting harm, be aware that the neo-hippie can be quite vicious.  He may try to take out a hydroelectic dam to save the salmon, or may make your incandescent light bulbs illegal.  If you choose to kick this hippie, be aware that he either is a lawyer or married to a lawyer and you may face some kind of civil penalty.  But because of neo-hippie policies we are all broke and thus pretty much lawsuit-proof.  It is unlikely that the judgment against you will ever be collected because you are penniless.  Again, the decision to kick this breed of hippie should me made on a case-by-case basis on whether you have any assets that could be seized by some lefty judge.  Even if you do, you may find the satisfaction from kicking the hippie to be worth the expense.  I certainly do.


  1. Finally, an historian who accurately writes about history!

  2. Hey man, that is spot on man! Some days I miss my ponytail...Heh.

  3. Sounds right to me! Hey man I think Ijust spotted one.

  4. One of your best!

  5. Dude, far out! hey man, you think you know it all. Well my wife, the lawyer, will be contacting you.

  6. I have an idea. Why don't we use take the classic, unwashed hippies and break into the neo-hippies mansions and let them use their bathtub.

    That should give the neo-hippies heart attacks.

  7. Heh. This is surprisingly accurate. I only use the modifier because I CAN. I can also vouch for the "some of 'em are great fun to party with" thought, especially the females of the species.

  8. This is perhaps the most informative post that I have ever read.

    It would be great to pit the classic hippies against the neohippies. Come to think of it, throw in the neocons too.

  9. I thin you'd better stick to partying with Neo hippies -- genuine Flower children of the female persuasion have not aged well, as best I can tell from scary pictures circulating around the net.

    W/V zingr. Heh.

  10. Is proflict the answer?

    Hippies For McCain Palin

    I never did sell any stickers for the guy. But a lot of hippies liked the sentiment. Uppity Woman and I had an especially enjoyable exchange.

    Hippies are on the verge of going from everybody's "ni****" to sainted victims. Don't get caught in the squeeze.

    A LOT of PUMAS are hippies. Be nice to your allies until you win the war.


Family-friendly phrasing heartily encouraged.


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