Saturday, October 6, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

"Never trust anyone over 30!"

Image Source: PhotoBucket

On this day in 1967, the Diggers held an event called "The Death Of Hippie" - a funeral procession down Haight Street -
meant to announce the death of the "media creation" of the hippie culture.

The Diggers - a group of "community anarchists" associated with the SF Mime Troupe - were known for giving out free food (either donated or stolen), opening 'free' stores in the Haight/Ashbury, and generally attempting to create a mini-society free of capitalism.
Actor Peter Coyote is probably the most well known member.

What's clear is that the fun didn't last very much longer after October '67. The movement that spawned "peace and love" started becoming decidedly less peaceful, the drug culture began to eat itself, and the general culture became increasingly desperate, ultimately glomming onto groups like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen Underground.

These folks just couldn't believe what was happening, or, at least, couldn't believe that this was happening to them. Them of all people!

Here's my take on it... just because they dropped out and decided not to embrace the capitalist life does not mean that the hippies didn't give up their sense of privilege. The political movements of the 60's were driven more or less by sheer arrogance.

Leftists of today whine - constantly - where are the big 60's style protests against the Iraq War? The war is certainly unpopular, without a doubt, but why aren't people in the streets?

I think part of the answer is that we've all seen what happens when you do that - unlike the 60's protesters who were in uncharted territory. And we've decided that it just isn't worth it. The hippies, in many cases, sacrificed their families, their health, and their sanity. And for what?

The Iraq War has been a little easier for some people to stand on the sidelines for because of the rather obvious little problem of 9-11. President Bush has been able to convince some people - enough people - that this has something to do with the War on Terror. The Vietnamese government did not smash planes into the World Trade Center. Now, I don't personally believe it; I think it's pretty clear that invading Iraq was always 'Plan A' with this administration even before 9-11, and that the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda was a big stretch (or, at least, was... before the civil war broke out).

Afghanistan, however, is a completely different story. I had NO PROBLEM bombing Afghanistan back to the stone age (not a very big leap, but still). The Taliban is a scourge on humanity and deserves to be exterminated. And that's a problem for the modern leftist... a blanket condemnation of war simply will not fly in the United States in 2007... not while they're still digging body parts out of Ground Zero.

I know many people who have problems with the Iraq War. I know nobody who has a problem with the destruction of the Taliban. NOBODY! If anything, the only thing that angers people about Afghanistan is that we left too quickly... that we gave up on finding and killing Osama Bin Goatfucker... and, instead, went to Iraq so George Bush could assuage his pathological obsession with Saddam Hussein.

Here, from the Diggers' archive, is the flyer passed out by The Diggers on "Death Of Hippie" Day...

And here's the first paragraph...

MEDIA CREATED THE HIPPIE WITH YOUR HUNGRY CONSENT. BE SOMEBODY. CAREERS ARE TO BE HAD FOR THE ENTERPRISING HIPPIE. The media cast nets, create bags for the identity-hungry to climb in. Your face on TV, your style immortalized without soul in the captions of the Chronicle. NBC says you exist, ergo I am. Narcicism, plebian vanity. The victim immortalized. Black power, its transcendant threat of white massacre the creation of media-whore obsequious bowers to the public mind which they recreate because they too have nothing to create and the reflections run in perpetual anal circuits and the FREE MAN vomits his images and laughs in the clouds because he is the great evader, the animal who haunts the jungles of image and sees no shadow, only the hunter's gun and knows sahib is too slow and he flexes his strong loins of FREE and is gone again from the nets. They fall on empty air and waft helplessly to the grass.
It makes less sense as it goes on, but you get the drift.

Good intentions... fresh asphalt for the road to hell...

Check out the Free Republic's take on the Summer Of Love here - OUCH!


Anonymous said...

Hey... I usesd to be a hippie, sorta, kinda, lol...

"Never trust anyone over 30" - yep, that was the mantra.

I wouldn't say it was all driven by arrogance; many of us thought we really could change the world for the better. Of course once we got out into the real world, our attitudes changed.

Reality forced us to grow up, finish our educations, get jobs, etc. Most most of us followed that course; admitedly there are still a few 60s leftovers around - unfortunately they mostly seem to be college professors, ie folks who never did get out in the real world.

Anyway, I like your site. Keep up the good fight.

I'll drop in again.

Anonymous said...

me again... forgot to add that whoever wrote that flyer was doing more than smoking weed. Trust me on that.

I'm a fairly staunch conservative now - but if I had to do it all over, would I change that portion of my life?

A resounding No from me.

I guess you just had to be there...

The Realist said...

Thanks, A., for you comments.

Having grown up in the Bay Area and living in or near the Haight/Ashbury for nearly 20 years, I feel like a 60's are a part of me whether I like it or not. And I used to like it a lot more.

Your comments are correct, of course, and it's actually comforting to hear that you wouldn't change that time of your life. I was a little too young (by about 15 years) to be a part of that, but the spillover affected more parts of my life than I care to admit.

There's a romance to the 60s that, unfortunately, gets overlooked around here - mainly because the downsides of the 60s are still very much in evidence every day. But I will not deny that the 60s were an important time and really - for better or worse - redefined and reaffirmed what "freedom" was. I only think that maybe - if the movement had been a little more inclusive and not so anti-family - the legalxy might have been better.

Cuz let's face it... 1950s America needed a kick in the ass, only the kickers took such a hard swing they knocked themselves out.