Friday, June 29, 2012

The Hippie Missing Link

Hippies in theory are a sound idea. Any person or group who advocates a counterculture perspective is a good thing for society. Unfortunately the Hippie movement has failed to gain any traction or leave any legacy over the past forty years. Sure, there was a spike in Hippie activity directly after "Hippie-Genesis" occurred in the 1960's but throughout the following decades the thrust of being a Hippie lost all importance and credibility. If you asked an average Joe on the street today to describe a Hippie  they would render them down to drugs, joblessness, The Grateful Dead or Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Although there are many flaws with Hippies (shudder) the most glaring error in their evolution is the lack of a Hippie moderate.

As I see it there are two predominant groups of Hippies:

1) The Dirty Hippies.
2) The New Agers.

The Dirty Hippies are the easily recognized Spicoli type. Part surfer, part skateboarder, part singer-songwriter. You'll often smell them coming before you actually see them. Not because they rarely bathe (which they don't) but because they'll be driving a biodiesel Volvo puffing exhaust clouds of repurposed french fry oil. In the back yard of their shared housing they will most likely have a complex handmade filtration system that indirectly irrigates thier tomato garden with excreted piss and shit. Almost all Dirty Hippies have an idiot savant knowledge on the multifaceted uses for hemp as well as the beneficial applications of medicinal marijuana. Don't be fooled by a DH's lopsided information ratio, you see Hippies are not consumed with the legalization of drugs for their own recreational benefits NO! they are in fact fighting a war on personal freedoms. Armed with ponchos, patchouli oil and puka shell necklaces these birkenstock bearers will never harsh your mellow.

 New Agers are to Hippies as born again Christians are to Christianity. Born Agains are essentially criminals or deviants who did terrible things early on in their lives that forced them into rehab or jail. During their time in the clink they rediscover the word of God in order to absolve their sins. The byproduct of being reintroduced into the faith however is an overwhelming desire to (cram their beliefs) instruct any non believer that they might encounter in their daily lives.

New Agers are usually former Hippies who abandoned the Hippie lifestyle once they realized that love (and LSD) could not in fact conquer all. They threw away their bandanas, suited up and got real jobs for a couple of decades so that they could pay the bills. But, the nagging desire to celebrate their vague spirituality and fascination with the healing power of gems finally overcame them. All of their repressed Hippie urges started a wheat-grass-roots campaign in the bottom of their souls and began screaming "Kumbaya." What resulted was a need to preach Hippie platitudes funded with the finances collected during their time working for "The Man." Whether they are on their way to Whole Foods or a Phish concert or just topping up their Tesla with a fresh laptop battery a New Ager is never too busy to pontificate on the dangers of plastic, the importance of recycling or the necessity to integrate solar panels into every light reflecting surface on the planet. 

The unfortunate consequence of the New Ager's monetary success manifests itself in a lack of awareness of how the other 99% actually live. The average American does not have the 50 extra dollars necessary to purchase a pound of organic buckwheat nor do they have the means to buy and service a Prius. 

What Hippies have created then is disconnect. In one instance you have young (perhaps misguided) drug laden folk with a passion for living off of the grid. On the other hand you have organic elitists whose monetary class renders them unrelatable to the rest of the world. It is not just a matter of money either. Like a modern day Atheist New Ager's operate with righteous indignation. It is not enough to provide information and to be inclusive of any step in the right direction. Anyone who has been to a Trader Joe's knows the smug look you get from your fellow shoppers if you forget to bring your reusable nylon bags and instead have to opt for a paper one. The irony of course is that the Hippie culture was a response to popular culture and like other countercultures was intended as a refuge for all of the freaks and nutters of society. What it ultimately has created however is a no man's land that only seems to breed spite and derision.


  1. Man... You hit the nail on the head. I work with a guy who is a white, new-age, hipster doofus. He loves pontificating about recycling, organic foods and yoga... He only shops at Trader Joes or Whole Foods and I think he almost had an aneurysm the other day when I told that him I shop at Aldis or Shop n' Save.
    Great post!

  2. Maybe I'm the next step in the evolution? I enjoy yoga (and do try to espouse its benefits...not quite pontification) and do shop at Whole Foods (only once a month, though), but I certainly don't think of myself as a hippie or new-ager. I guess I'm too pragmatic, too much of an amalgam, to be labeled one way or another. Good post either way, D!

  3. @kevin: glad to hear that it is not just me encountering this.

    @ryan: you do have a little hippie stink on you. next time you go into whole foods please just feel a minuscule amount of shame and I will consider this a step in the right direction of creating the Hippie moderate. :)

  4. i remember my aunt saying i could never be a hippy because i'm too worried about everything all the time.

    now, since the brain injury, i understand what she meant.

    and on the day i was hit, i became a hippy.

  5. I work at the Fed and had to smell the Occupy Boston people everyday after work. They would denounce be for "working for the enemy," though our company is not related to Goldman Sachs whatsoever. We just rent a floor in the Fed to appease clients.

    My favorite moment was when walking across the street to get some Dunkin' Donuts, one of the occupiers ran over to me, whilst waving a rain stick in my face, yelling, "Where is your money going?" I couldn't help but break out in laughter despite how crazy I probably looked. Guess they didn't realize that although I wear business attire and work in the city, I still make next to no money and live at home with my parents.

    Great post as always. I couldn't have said it better myself. Though, I do like Trader Joe's. They have a good variety of hot sauces there.