June 27, 2012

Did hippies have German roots?

Back in the 1960s, where did hippies come from? They emerged with incredible suddenness over about a one year period between 1966 and 1967. Did they have any precursors? My new Taki Magazine column considers the question of one luridly famous example of social change to see if the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Read the whole thing there.

104 comments:

agnostic said...

That German naturist movement had its mainstream counterparts in the Anglo world back then, namely the birth of the Scouting movement and of the breakfast cereal as health food craze. Tanning was mainstream and promoted as natural and healthy, well before Coco Chanel's influence.

That period of the turn of the 19th C through the early '30s was a period of rising homicide rates, and every time that happens, there's a back-to-nature feel in the zeitgeist.

The reason is simple: lower population density areas tend to be safer, so when the world's getting more dangerous, it's time to pack up for greener pastures. It's only once crime rates start falling that people glamorize city life.

During the Elizabethan-Jacobean wave of violence, there was Marlowe's "Passionate Shepherd to His Love," Spenser's "Shepheardes Calender," and Sidney's "Arcadia".

Urban sophistication came back in fashion when homicide rates began falling again, from Samuel Pepys' diary through Enlightenment cosmopolitanism.

During the Romantic-Gothic wave of violence, just about everything was infused with the pastoral ideal and disillusionment with cities (even more stark with industrialization).

The sophisticated man-about-town came back in during the falling-crime Victorian era. Also during the falling-crime mid-20th-C, when Grace Kelly's character in Rear Window is a socialite who rubs elbows with a respectable crowd in Greenwich Village, worry-free.

After the back-to-nature feel of the '60s through the '80s, the day has belonged once again to sophisticated city-slickers. Gentrification, the New Urbanist cult, Amelie, Lost in Translation, etc.

Today's hipsters, vegan or not, are more like the beatniks of the '50s -- overly self-aware and antipathetic. Hippies and '80s New Agers were too far off into outer space to be self-aware, and practiced free love rather than free scorn.

bjd0bbs said...

Do give you an idea of how far the Germans have fallen, consider these two leftist intellectuals trying to pronounce Volkswagen:

http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/10015?in=25:00&out=25:14

Carol said...

A few things.

The term "hippie" originally applied to jazz fans who hung around the clubs but didn't dance, had all the records, knew all the players and got dope and girls...the first guy I heard appropriate this term for youth cultrue was Frank Zappa in his early Freak Out days circa 1966.

By 1968, it was common to ask a girl how her boyfriend was doing, and be told "...he's growing his hair!" Ooh.

My first BF was an early draft-dodging longhair, who supported the war but didn't want to interrupt his music career, and greatly feared hazing by other guys in the service more than anything else. The rest of the war business didn't seem that real to him. He finally beat it by stepping out of the draft lineup as an objector, then getting braces. His career went nowhere. Meanwhile Jimi Hendrix had already been in and discharged...LOL.

Also, don't forget that hippies were immediately preceded by beatniks, who had many of the same obsessions with dope, eastern religion, work avoidance etc.

Lastly, in 1967 there was a desperate screed in the LA Free Press imploring the kidz to reject pop music because it was all big business bullshit and hype hype hype! It shook me up because I certainly lived for the dreck at the time. I never knew who wrote that thing...needless to say it had little effect.

Anonymous said...

Well, the hippies copied the communial movements of the 19th century.

Anonymous said...

One hippie-related cultural phenomenon I’ve never understood (which also touches on yesterday’s Springsteen thread) is the popularity of the Grateful Dead among the Northeastern yuppie set.

I was born in 1982 and grew up in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Don Henley’s line about “a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” was no joke -- a good chunk of the nicer cars in my high school parking lot had lightning-bolt skulls or the ubiquitous dancing bears. Being a Deadhead signified that you were a certain type of well-off frat boy, a lacrosse-playing future hedge fund manager who spent his winter break on the ski slopes. (The freaks and geeks listened to Weezer and Radiohead.)

Can anyone older than I am shed light on this? My impression is that the Dead in the 70s were a stoner cult band. How’d they become an affectation of wealthy finance types?

Black Death said...

It could be. In German, it's called Freikörperkultur (FKK). From Wiki:

Freikörperkultur (FKK) is a German movement whose name translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also of being nude itself, without direct relationship to sexuality. The followers of this culture are called traditional naturists, FKK'ler, or nudists. There has been an extensive removal of restrictions on public nudity in Germany since about the 1980s.

...

It was especially popular in the old German Democratic Republic (DDR). I saw an interesting exhibit about it last month at the DDR Museum in Berlin.

Anonymous said...

I don't know.
The 'love and peace ethic' together with the habitual consumption of drugs, the lack or order and orderliness in their lives seems to me to be rather anti-Teutonic.
The German loves nature, yes, but he also has a pathological fear or disorder and dicking about for no purpose. The 'hippy' phenomenom seems to me to be more about dicking about, trying hard to be trendy, making an exhibition of one's self and a general lack of any real substance ie it is fully American.
German love of nature is altogether different - sitting in a dank, desolate isolated forest somewhere for hour after hour and silently watching rare species of bird coming and going.

Mr. Anon said...

Though a "long-hair" only in the metaphorical sense, Hermann Hesse was a bit of a hippie. And a number of his books, "Siddartha" and "Steppenwolf" in particular, were rather influential with the hippie sub-culture.

Anonymous said...

I always thought they came from the Quakers.

Anonymous said...

I really have begun to wonder if the hippie movement that came out of the Laurel Canyon scene and the Summer of Love wasn't an astroturf movement? I mean a mostly manufactured popular movement created to serve a goal. What was the goal? To start applying the social model Aldous Huxley described in his "Brave New World". Why? Simply because there wasn't enough room at the top of the pyramid for all the upwardly mobile children of the GI generation. There had to be a handicapping of them or a monkey wrench thrown into their motors (pick your metaphor). The great North American pyramid scheme economy needed great swaths of the population to "tune in, turn on and drop out" rather strive to make as great a leap in prosperity as their parents had: from a Depression childhood to a clean little bungalow in a safe neighbourhood. The men up at the Rockefeller, Carnegie & Ford Foundation level knew there wasn't room at the top for all these Boomer kids so some kind of game changer was needed.

Basically the children and grandchildren of the men who made their fortunes before WW2 wanted to pull up the ladder behind them and turn the kids of the GI generation into little peace & love lotus eaters. The lotus blossoms in this case being an endless variety of consumer products and lifestyle options. Get the boys to think and act like silly and mostly harmless girls, get the girls to want "careers", make trivial lifestyle choices seem hugely important and make important things trivial. "You can say and do whatever you want as long as it's unimportant".

In brief, the hippie movement was a great way for a tiny handful of guys at the top to take out huge swaths of future rivals for their power and wealth.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what you are talking about in the article when say "Northern Europe’s blonder regions, where people tan rather than burn."

My own background is half Eastern European and half old line white American. (Puritan? Scots-Irish? I have no idea). I have blue eyes, fair skin, and had blond hair when I was young. My self image has always been that I'm as white as it gets.

And yet when I read about people complaining that they can't tan, or spend 20 minutes unprotected in the sun without burning, I wonder what is going on. I don't particularly like the sun, don't seek it out, and have never had a deep tan. But it takes me much longer than that to burn -- maybe 2 or 3 hours. The parts of me that are regularly exposed, like my forearms, do pick up a light tan, which seems to be very protective, because they hardly ever burn. Is there some hidden European geography of burning versus tanning that I don't know about?

Matthew said...

Off-topic but: Stockton, California (40.3% Hispanic, 21.5% Asian, 12.2% Black) declares bankruptcy.

What I don't get is that - despite stories like this, massive unemployment, and insanely high budget deficits - popular support for at least a "limited" amnesty is supposedly high. Are Americans really that stupid/brainwashed?

Luke Lea said...

Hippies came out of a lab in Swiss alps. Here is proof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id9yew9JEu4

Anonymous Rice Alum #4 said...

I remember an article from a few years ago about the Wandervogel ("wandering birds") movement as the origin of the American hippy. The connection seems obvious in hindsight.

My favorite Wandervogeler is Ernst Junger. After WWI, he became the kind of arch-reactionary that makes today's mainstream Republican "conservatives" look like the Democrats-Lite they are.

Rob said...

The only pre-60s longhair I can think of was the Italian Fascist Dino Grandi. He sported a ponytail in the 1920s.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/341/1923mussolini.jpg/

Paul Mendez said...

Vandervogel and other German youth groups were indeed hippie-like in that they advocated getting back in touch with nature, singing folk songs, picking wild flowers, etc.. (The fact that boys and girls could mingle on long hikes and bike rides without much adult supervision was also a big attraction.)

But these were not "drop out" type movements -- more like the Boy Scouts in always doing your best. They were also usually highly nationalistic, anti-semitic and romantically bellicose, since life-or-death struggle was seen as being an essential part of nature.

Vandervogel youth volunteered eagerly in 1914, and were shot down in the thousands at the First Battle of Ypres singing folk songs and wearing flowers in their hair. The "Kindermord bei Ypern" became a cornerstone of Nazi mythology.

Harry Baldwin said...

I recently reread Kerouac's "On the Road" (written (1947–1951; published 1957) and "Dharma Bums" (1958). Both describe a decidedly hippie lifestyle, the latter especially. Longish hair, using drugs, lots of sex, parties where people got naked, hitchhiking cross-country, living out of a backpack, dread of 9-to-5 jobs and the straight lifestyle, aspirations to radically change society--it's all in there.

Anonymous said...

The more likely archetype is the Indian yogi. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (and assorted other Indian gurus) were very active in California in that ti,e frame. Mahesh Yogi started his first American organization devoted to Transcendental Meditation in Los Angeles, in 1966.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maharishi_Mahesh_Yogi

Indian philosophy had a seminal role in creating this culture, which in its turn played a prominent role in shaping the ethos of the California tech culture. Steve Jobs was a hippie who spent a lot of time in India.

A good book on the Indian philosophical influence in America is :American Veda", by Phillip Goldberg.

TTP Society said...

Sailer writes:

"One of the biggest changes of my lifetime has been the decline in the speed of social change... Instead, mass society fragmented and thereby stabilized."

Maybe this is true when it comes to hair styles of white people. But hair-styles among blacks have changed quite a lot, especially among men. We don't see Afros anymore. What is most popular among black men is the Slave-Rebellion look of the shaved head. It makes them look meaner and leaner than they already are.

As for Alvin Toffler's FUTURE SHOCK, the only reason we don't feel the 'shock' is because we are Future-Shell-Shocked. It's like people in wars eventually become accustomed to the explosions, deaths, gore, and horrors. We've been bombarded with so much change so fast that much of it don't register as change or 'change' has become the new stability.

Also, what is exactly meant by 'social change'? One might argue that the internet amounts to technological change and not social change, but technology impacts society and culture. The rise of the internet has had profound impact on how people communicate, buy things, get information, make and share entertainment, become famous, become controversial, etc. It certainly gave a new voice to the American Right once silenced by liberal media and Neocon takeover of the GOP.

Also, aren't demographic changes afoot in the US and EU part of social change?
Personally, I've never seen so much change happen so fast, and mostly for the worse. Even just by comparing the 80s with the 90s and then 90s with the 2000s, the change is overwhelming. The rise of Rap as mainstream music is one. The mainstreamization of porn, and then the utter interrace-ization of porn is another. (I know because I worked in video rental during the late 80s and 90s when the change first took off in a big way.) The complete Neocon takeover of GOP had a huge impact. One could argue that's political change, not social change. But politics translates into social power and social change. The rise of Jews and gays in politics and media has meant all of America is turning more pro-gay just like it turned more pro-Zionist. Even after WWII, Jews used to fear and respect Southern white and German-American power, which is why Hollywood, for the most part, didn't make movies that dehumanized German soldiers and Southern whites. But today, almost all Americans(even conservative German-Americans and Southern Christian whites) do little else but sing hosannas to Jews and Israel. This had a profound impact not only on political policy but cultural outlook among White Conservatives who even wanna nuke Iran and wipe out Palestinians to please Jews.

TTP Society said...

And consider the Boomer takeover of power in the 90s and then the rise of Obama. No candidate in the 80s supporting half the things Obama stands for could have been elected. Even in the 90s, it would have been impossible, which is why Clinton settled for DADT. Now, Obama openly comes out for 'gay marriage' and still leads in the polls. Timid conservatives meekly voice support Traditional Marriage(as if that's something dirty) but don't dare oppose 'gay marriage' with any spine or guts. A beauty contestant got dragged through the mud by the entire Jewish-and-Gay-controlled media apparatus by answering Perez Hilton that she doesn't support 'gay marriage'. The media even dragged out details of her private life to smear her. In the new social environment, Perez is normal and decent while a beauty contestant who isn't for 'gay marriage' is treated like a dirty tramp to be hated.

There is utter social, cultural, and political fear of gay power, especially as it's protected by Jewish power. Soon, attacking the gay agenda will be like attacking Israeli policy.

Also significant is the utter beta-male-ization of the white man and the rise of the Tough Sexy Negro. TV commercials openly promote the wussification of the white male and promote interracism of white girl and Afro-Aryan black guy.
Jack-Johnson-ism the law of the land. And dweebized white guys don't resist and don't even know how to resist. They've become irrelevant unless they're 'creative gays'. Obama isn't just some political phenomenon but a social and cultural one as well. America's acceptance of him as leader means profound social changes has taken place. How long before the next president is a dark-skinned black guy married to a blonde woman? Americans in 2008 found nothing wrong with a friend of Bill Ayers becoming Commander-in-Chief. If anything, the best-educated Americans were swooning all over Obama and even fainting.

As for the Jews, they've turned into an utterly corrupt New Elite. When Wasps ruled the roost, Jews used to be for free speech, dissent, speaking truth to power, and etc. Today, while Jews continue to use those tropes, they are really working to push Political Correctness to end free speech(that's critical of Jews and their allies), to bail out Jews on Wall Street, to silence any criticism of Jewish power and Israeli policy, to promote interracism mainly to weaken the white race and white power, and totally change the terminology of the nation with nonsense notions such as 'same-sex marriage' and 'undocumented immigrants'. Obama tramples on the Constitution and illegally offers amnesty to illegal aliens who are now called 'undocumented immigrants'. And he still leads in the polls and will win in 2012 while the timid, awkward, and pathetic white boy Mitt Romney seems endlessly flustered as he tries to win conservative votes while, at the same time, pandering to the Jewish-and-Gay Lobby.
Yet, Sailer thinks there's no social change because there are still some hippies around.

joetexx said...

Richard Miller's Bohemia: The Protoculture Then and Now hooks together Victor Hugo, the boho artists of Paris, H L Mencken, the wandervogel and the Beats and hippies and hippies as part of one vast if amphorus historical show. The wandervogel were definitely precursors of both the counterculture and the Waffen SS. Their hiking leaders were even called fuerhers.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1941663.Bohemia

Anonymous said...

"Hippiedom is really just a perennial sub-culture…as old as the first humans that ever walked upright.…That’s why hippies will never go away…because they’ve always been here anyway."

Crucial to hippiedom was the use of drugs and rock music, or the combination thereof. The best book on the drug culture of the Sixties is Jay Stevens' STORMING HEAVEN, a real classic--and beautifully written too. It's less about hippies and more about the intellectual leaders of the movement, but many popular ideas have elitist origins.

The term 'hippie' was, of course, coined by the media, and most hippies hated it and preferred to call themselves 'freaks'. Actually, I think the media did them a favor.
What distinguished hippies from proto-hippies, ersatz hippies, and other kinds of 'hippies' was the emphasis on populism and mainstream-ization. Even as hippies were saying stuff like 'drop acid and drop out of society', they wanted to change ALL of society. They wanted Nixon to drop acid, sing along to Hey Jude, and see the light. It was no longer content be a sub-culture going off and doing its own thing but became a messianic attempt to change mankind. It even spawned JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Generation of Jesus and Grass.
Think of Woodstock. That was huge, not just a rock concert but a 'nation'.

Yogi spiritualism was a big part of Indian life, but yogis were thought to be experts who'd devoted their entire lives to attain some profound truths. Being a yogi wasn't easy and indeed it was often painful, but the yogi, in his infinite self-discipline and wisdom, was said to have overcome the pain--such as sitting his ass on a cactus patch.
But hippiedom was marked by painlessness and ease. One could drop some acid, smoke some weed, hang some posters on the wall, say 'groovy' and 'far out', listen to rock songs, and watch EASY RIDER.. and that meant you were one of the wonderful 'freaks'. Even as hippiedom rejected consumerism and materialism, it was very much a product of consumer America where a whole bunch of young kids could live on allowances and take it easy until they finally had to settle down to work for a living.

German 'hippie-ism' had an ascetic and active side. One really had to break away from society and take up hard-muscled stuff like mountain climbing and long hiking. Hippies preferred to bum off cigarettes and rides, sit around parks and smoke weed, and take it easy. Hippiedom was passive. Even when hippies got all excited, it had to be done to them, like with people at Woodstock. The music had to charge them to shake their bodies and act nuts. But once the music was over, hippies didn't know what to do. They lacked discipline and focus. They didn't see nature as a challenge but naively as some Eden, that is until they ran out of toilet paper and ran home to their parents to take a shower and sleep in their bedrooms.

Anonymous said...

Btw, if hippies were always around, the same can be said for anything. Punks were always around in that societies everywhere and at all times had trouble-making demented brats. Aristocrats have always been and will always been around in that all societies have their share of snobs; even in democratic America, there are plenty of people who put on fancy airs and wanna feel superior to the 'unwashed masses'. There has always been 'fascists' and 'communists' too in that there have always been people obsessed with either the mythology of power or the coercive need for 'social justice'. I'm not sure what that proves. Everything always exists as a form of sub-culture or sub-ideology.

What really made hippiedom different was that it had once been part of the mainstream in the late 60s. Today, it's just a part of some nostalgia trip.
People turned away from nature since the mid 70s, and JAWS was a benchmark in this cultural change. Nature was not some Edenic wonder but a shark that wanted to bite off a chunk of your ass. Consider the nude girl who goes swimming in the opening scene of Jaws. She's like a nature child who dives into the waves like it's Mother Ocean. But the son of Mother Ocean in the form of a big shark chews her leg off.
And then came STAR WARS with all its techno-gizmo stuff and artificial special effects became the New Thing in cinema. 80s was the decade of clean suburbia, and 90s was the decade of artificial gentrification of the cities into neat-gay-paradises. New Liberalism took a shower and bought fancy things. Artificial sounding synthesizer music took over, and kids today prefer the synthetic nature of AVATAR to real nature and the synthetic sound of techno-music and hip hop to real soulful or natural sounding music.

The closet thing to hippies in the 80s were the California Teenager--a more nakedly materialist and hedonistic, albeit more honest, form of a hippie--and the slacker of the 90s. I suppose grunge was kinda like a combination of punkism and slackerism. I can't stand either.

Anonymous said...

The difference between German nature cultists and hippies was crucial. Germans, even in their worship of nature, had a tragic view of nature. Nature was beautiful, mysterious, wondrous, grand, and/or awesome, but it was also dark, dangerous, brutal, ruthless, and inhuman. This comes through in Herzog's films such as AGUIRRE THE WRATH OF GOD, GRIZZLY MAN, and RESCUE DAWN--that candy bar sure tastes good--(and even CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS). There's also some of this in the Mountain Films starring Riefenstahl. Nature was a struggle but if one could survive through the hardship, one could stand atop the mountain... but then one had to climb down again. There is some of this in Hermann Hesse novels too. Some of his characters might be considered 'proto-hippie-like', especially the Goldmund character of NARCISSUS AND GOLDMUND. A romantic, he goes off on his own comes upon all sorts of adventure with women and nature and etc. But for all its rewards, it comes with a price. Loneliness and ultimately death. Death, by nature or at one's own hands, is a big theme in Hesse's novels. So, there was always an allure to being different but also a heavy price to pay for deviating from social norms, but then, true believers were willing to pay the price and in that is a kind of nobility.

There was no tragic sense in 60s hippie-ism. It was like if you join with the groovy people, it's all cool and it's all gonna be about love and etc. But reality caught up with hippies for the whole world to see at Altamont.

The 60s hippie view of nature is essentially Edenic, and here's the crucial difference between Germanic nature cult and Hippie/New Age nature worship. The Germanic approach was as boy-scout-ish as hippie-ish. Germans understood nature posed challenges, and so one had to be prepared and psyched. It's like Boy Scouts are taught to be clean, neat, orderly, and prepared at all times because nature is so messy, chaotic, and unpredictable. Nature is full of wonders, but they wanna eat you, drown you, make you sick, sting you, or get you lost in the woods.

In the Bible, there is the Edenic view of nature and the Mosaic view of nature. In the Edenic View, nature is paradise and will feed you and take care of you. The Mosaic view is the opposite. After the Hebrews leave Egypt, they wander in the wilderness for many years, and it's one tough challenge after another just to survive, which is why organization/discipline/
hierarchy/laws come to be so important. Without such, the tribe will just fall apart and go separate ways. Hebrews who followed Moses had to take a boy-scout-ish than hippie-ish approach to nature. Eden was no more, and one could not expect nature to just take care of you. (And I'll bet even hippies at Woodstock were hoping the Port-o-San man could work a bit faster.)

Germans, by their very nature, tend to be into order, and so even German Greens and nature-lovers have emphasized preparation, organization, and cleanliness. Germans probably clean up on nature trails. But look at the heaps of trash left by hippies at Woodstock as if some natural force would take care of all that plastic and glass. Woodstock actually looked more Edenic when hicks ran it.

Anonymous said...

Exodusic or Exodic is closer to the mark than Mosaic.

corvinus said...

That's funny. My brother, who spent last fall in Germany, described Germans as "anal hippies".

Anonymous said...

Royko once wrote a funny column where he said he couldn't tell the difference between a hobo and a hippie.

Rokyo on Ebonics:

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/benjo4u/Royko/010897g.html

I'm not sure any white male journalist could get away with something like that today.

Dahinda said...

I thought that a lot of the styles that came from the hippie movement, long hair, beards, t shirts and jeans, and even marijuana use came from young people in big cities emulating the okies and hillbillies that were moving north and west for jobs during and after WWII.

Anonymous said...

An entire article by Jonathan Martin in Politico on populism, and the capture of the Democratic Party by business interests, and not a single mention of immigration and how it relates to unemployment, income stratification, and the demands of the business lobby.

Chris Anderson said...

Great Article, Steve.

I'd never heard the word before, but I recognize Wandervogel in long-distance bicycle touring, something I've done off-and-on for the past 30 years. Virtually every man who embarks on a trip of a month or more will get hippie-ish, especially growing the hair and beard. The smell is sometimes there too, although more incidental than intentional.

helene edwards said...

C'mon Steve, "hippies" means masses of young people turning their backs on business culture. You might better have asked whether the Port Huron Statement was German-inspired.

not a hacker said...

Never picked up so many quick friends as when I wore a "Skankin' Pickle" t-shirt to my basketball games.

riches said...

I’m not sure if I’ve had a senior moment yet but thank goodness I have senior memories.

One of the latter is a version of “Nature Boy” by Chicagoan Dee Clark. If you thought his hit “Raindrops” was a little eerie, imagine his take on the already otherworldly “Boy”.

Shouting Thomas said...

The weird cults around Rudolf Steiner and Madame Blavatsky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were hippie predecessors, too.

Yes, the Port Huron Statement was German inspired. Marxism is an Old World idea. It is not a New World idea.

Anonymous said...

Hippie Culture is Hip

Dave Yarbow said...

Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters dropped acid in 1964. I suspect the LSD coming out of the Bay Area had a lot more influence on the 60's hippies than the Germans. Also, the folk revival in Greenwich Village was well underway by '64.

Anonymous said...

Germanic Tribes that took over the old Roman Empire were long hairs while the Romans were their hair short.

Dahlia said...

I appreciate you looking into this, Steve. My mom was a bit of a hippie as am I, though I would have loved to have come of age during the Edwardian period. A similar time, but with lots of lace :)

I have loved all the hippies I've ever met and these are people in their 50s through 70s who never changed. They are gentle, unpretentious people and do not do drugs any longer if they ever did. One I know did back in the early 70s and went to prison for a few months, I think. He became a Christian and has been involved in all kinds of missionary work ever since, starting out with prison mission work.

Last December, I had a wonderful experience going yard saling and came upon a little commune of old hippies out in the country well north of our town. I bought a tambourine (no joke) that is typically sold to evangelical churches. Priceless! They were so nice and gentle. It was kind of sad, though, as they were all older and the place was getting run down.

Dahlia said...

Anonymous asked what Steve meant about blonder regions where they tan, not burn.

Looking it up, I'm guessing that Steve means to say these people are more Germanic and not Celtic.

The Fitzpatrick Scale for classification of skin tanning behavior with scoring according to the Von Luschan's chromatic scale:

Type I (scores 0-7) White; very fair; freckles; typical albino skin. "Celtic" type.

Always burns, never tans

Type II (scores 8-16) White; fair.

Usually burns, tans with difficulty

Type III (scores 17-25) Beige; very common.

Sometimes mild burn, gradually tans to a light brown

Type IV (scores 25-30) Beige with a brown tint; typical Mediterranean Caucasian skin.

Rarely burns, tans with ease to a moderate brown.

Type V (scores over 30) Dark brown.

Very rarely burns, tans very easily

Type VI Black.

Never burns, tans very easily, deeply pigmented.

Anonymous said...

That's funny. My brother, who spent last fall in Germany, described Germans as "anal hippies".

------

The anality of evil.

Anonymous said...

the pursuit of hippiness

Anonymous said...

Levin was a hippie? Interesting take. I can sort of see it in his back to the land quality.

Anonymous said...

I guess gingers don't tan. Bog people from NW Europe! I've also seen some very light-skinned Jews with ancestors from the Baltic region who will burn immediately, but there are gingers among Jews as well.

Scandinavians and other blond types like this, however, have the most beautiful tans in the world. Their skin turns golden when tan.

Steve has a theory on this in another post:

"Redheads seem to be associated with very low melanin skin, which can cause big problems when the sun is bright. Redheads get more common the farther out in the Atlantic you go because the skies are more overcast, so the chance of a bad sunburn is less. In contrast, blondes tend to tan better, so they are more common more inland where the weather is less misty. On the other hand, while highly reflective hair makes blonde women hard to ignore, it can be work against blonde men who are hunters or warriors by making them visible from a long way off. (You used to be able to spot the formerly ultra-blond golfer Greg Norman from an enormous distance off at tournaments from the sun glinting off his hair.) So, blonde hair isn't very common where the sun is high in the sky because blonde men then tend to lose the element of surprise."

I doubt this, because men can wear helmets and because summer campaigns in northern Europe would happen under a high sun anyway. Also, keep in mind that the heroes of the Iliad, in the Mediterranean, are blond.

Tanning is good and the whole WN thing against it is as silly as blacks claiming white people want to "be black" when they tan. A tan looks healthy and manly, and in ancient Greece if you were not tan it was assumed you were effeminate because you obviously spent all your time indoors with women instead of in the gymnasium or training for war.

Richard Woland said...

I am sure that if John Muir was alive today he would be considered a hippie.

Prof Woland said...

I read a very good book about 4 years ago called the Zoo Keeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. It was based on a true story about how the Nazi's commandeered the Warsaw Zoo and was using it to back breed the fairly recently extinct European Bison, Horse, and cattle. Their ultimate aim was to depopulate humans from parts of Eastern Europe and repopulate it with “pure” strains of animals to live alongside the “pure” Aryans.

From what I understand, they were able to somewhat reproduce one of the critters (the Bison I think). There were historical records of how big and what the animals look like because they had died out only hundreds of years ago. But it was easier to breed the animals to look like the originals but the temperament and other traits could not be reproduced. If my memory serves me, there is some group of scientists somewhere who are now trying to do the exact same thing only now they have the benefit of DNA.

Douglas Knight said...

I found this article very frustrating. It seemed to me to be two good parts pushed together in an unnatural way. I think the need for a conclusion to a column encourages journalists to make stuff up and to amp up their confidence. It is better when you just trail off, as you usually do in Taki's. (or is that just the movie reviews?)

The topics of the origin of hippies and the importance and rate of social change are interesting and important. But what does the existence of proto-hippies have to do with the explosion? By the time people are pointing at punks and predicting their explosion, they already exist. Maybe the long history of proto-hippies means that the culture has evolved to be good at accommodating new people, compared to the new punks, but if that's what you mean, come out and say it.

Yes, German nature-worship is an important predecessor to the hippies, but there are other sources, like the beatniks. In particular, the German proto-hippies were anti-drug, right? eden ahbez was still anti-drug, but otherwise sounds a lot more like the hippies than his predecessors in Germany.

Henry Canaday said...

Did you ever wonder whether, deep down, one cause of World Wars I and II was the desire of working-class and office-bound German males to get out in the countryside and visit their European neighbors, which, before the days of affluence, easy visas, the EU, credit cards, cheap airfares and ATMs, was something only the elites could do peacefully?

The first two years of World War II were a risky but fun adventure for most German soldiers:

“Wir farhen, wir fahren, wir farhen nach England.”

Sometimes, comedy is not nice.

pat said...

I think your dates are off. I was a hippie of sorts in the Haight Ashbury in the late sixties. I had a beard and fooled with some of the less dangerous drugs. I couldn't quite get with the scene musically but otherwise I looked the part.

However as early as 1962 at George Mason in Northern Virginia we had a "Hippie dance" in which all we clean cut short haired college students dressed up as hippies. Five years later we weren't pretending.

Or maybe I'm confusing beatniks with hippies. In early 1965 I went to North Beach to observe the beatnics in their natural habitat,.City Lights bookstore was there as well a series of coffee houses on Grant Avenue north of Columbus.

Being a beatnic or a hippie was mostly sartorial. You dressed badly and didn't shave. There was damn little ideology other than "What the hell!".


People were always trying to infuse some ideology or mission but nothing much stuck until the anti-war movement took off. Timothy Leary came to the Polo Field at Golden Gate Park to speak. I could have gone - it was quite close to Haight Ashbury - but I didn't want to be in a big stinky crowd. A friend who went said Leary told them that they were "the most holy generation" of all time. I imagine if you have dropped enough acid that statement might impress you.

My most vivid memory of the Summer of Love were all the hippies from the rest of the country freezing in their tents in the Panhandle. Funny as hell. BTW during this current heat wave I've been freezing once again. I've been wearing my hoodie.

P.J. O'Roarke has written brilliantly about hippie fashions. It's not like the good old days of the Pachucos in Zoot Suits or the British Mods and Rockers. Hippie Fashions are like Rap Music - total cultural degeneration.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Dave Yarbow said...

Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters dropped acid in 1964. I suspect the LSD coming out of the Bay Area had a lot more influence on the 60's hippies than the Germans. Also, the folk revival in Greenwich Village was well underway by '64.


Check out the links between Kesey and the MK-Ultra experiments:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MK-ULTRA#Notable_subjects

This meshes disturbingly well with the conspiracy theory I posted above about the hippie movement having been an astroturf movement.

beowulf said...

"As a 17 year-old hustler living in Harlem in 1939 Malcolm [X] noticed,
"A few of the white men around Harlem, younger ones whom we called "hippies", acted more Negro than Negroes. This particular one talked more "hip" than we did. He would have fought anyone who suggested he felt any race difference"...

"In "On The Road" Kerouac noted that while passing through Los Angeles in the summer of 1947 he saw "an occasional Nature Boy saint in beard and sandals"."

http://www.hippy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=243

agnostic said...

Surfer dudes had a much greater impact on the culture starting in the '60s and peaking in the '80s, and although they're more or less gone, their influence is still stronger than that of the hippies.

The trouble with historians trying to re-construct the past is that they're usually working with media, especially literary media. And even when more sources are available, they're a bookish type, so they go for the literary sources anyway.

That means that hippies show up in historical accounts -- they were more a part of the literate culture, compared to the surfer dudes. A good number actually wrote manifestos, books, and pamphlets to sum it up for a readership. Also guides to hitch-hiking, how to run away from home, etc.

But the beach bum had a far wider impact on society --

Their music was way more popular. The Beach Boys regularly made the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 songs, but Hendrix never did.

Their slang caught on so widely that by the end of the 1980s, just about every young person had at least passing familiarity with it, even if they didn't know where it originated from.

Their brand of drop-out culture and hedonism mixed with hazy spirituality also became more widespread. Most young people wanted to pile into a VW bus with some brewskis, head to the beach, and scope out some bodacious bods, while worshiping the sun in a carnivalesque atmosphere.

They had long hair too and practiced semi-nudism, wearing shorts all day long. What's the first thing that Spicoli and his buds do in the fast food restaurant? Take off their shirts to feel more comfortable and natural, and a little bit smartass. You saw lots of dudes with longish hair and no shirt on in public during the '80s, and it came from surfer rather than hippie culture.

All of these things -- songs, slang, habits, and appearance -- are hard to see except in real life, face-to-face settings. They don't keep as well in media. So most historians totally missed the biggest wave of counter-culture to hit mainstream society during the past 50 years.

Even in media, though, look at how long the surfer dude and beach bunny lasted in movies. Spicoli was totally contemporary in Fast Times, not a 10-15 year-old relic. I guess Point Break from 1991 was the last time it still felt current.

That movie also highlights some of the key differences with the hippie's flight-to-nature program. Namely, the greater focus on the destructive, chaotic, and sublime aspects of nature, in addition to the more Edenic normal way of the beach.

You think Caspar David Friedrich would've gone to hang ten if he were in L.A. circa 1984?

Marlowe said...

Indian philosophy had a seminal role in creating this culture, which in its turn played a prominent role in shaping the ethos of the California tech culture. Steve Jobs was a hippie who spent a lot of time in India.

A good book on the Indian philosophical influence in America is :American Veda", by Phillip Goldberg.


Indian Vedic works had a profound effect on German scholars and philosophers from the mid-19th century on, such as Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. The Indo-Aryan people became the root of the Nordic and Germanic tribes in National Socialist teaching. Look up Savitri Devi, a Nazi loyalist and Hitler worshipper who also had a book (The Impeachment of Man) published during the late '50s that proclaimed a deep ecological view of mankind and promoted animal rights. She lived in India during the '30s and '40s and spied on the British Raj for Germany.

tommy said...

It was well before my time, but my impression is that the hippies were influenced by pretty much anything and everything that was not mainstream at the time: back to nature movements (perhaps including the Wandervogel), the new psychedelic drugs, certain Old American ideals, prior utopian communes, Eastern mysticism, sundry philosophies from here and there. Anything that was off the beaten path was fair game.

Trying to sort out which one was the greatest influence may be useless. The real question is what drove this mass embrace of everything that was other. What changed in America from the end of World War II to the mid-60's that led to the splintering of American culture? Was it really just a war a long way off that had barely begun when the first hippies emerged? If the war hadn't happened, would the hippies have remained a small and insignificant curiosity of the era, like the beatniks of an earlier era, or was this splintering inevitable even the absence of a war?

Was it demography? The widespread adoption of the automobile? The television? An increase in disposable income among the young? Was the average American just in some sense more culturally cloistered from exotic cultures in 1950 than they would be in 1965?

SFG said...

"The 'love and peace ethic' together with the habitual consumption of drugs, the lack or order and orderliness in their lives seems to me to be rather anti-Teutonic."

Couldn't they be Germans sick of 'Orndung muss sein'?

nsam said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadhu

the original hippies

Anonymous said...

A lot of the LEADING "Hippies" were in fact the sons and daughters of German Jews who'd come here in the 30s and 40s.

And like Steve I remember what a big deal long hair was. The older men HATED long hair. To them it was effeminate, communistic, Fagish, etc., etc.

Of course, the average American hippie was just being manipulated by the left-wing.

ben tillman said...

Grace/Darby/Jerry Slick's "Great Society" covered "Nature Boy". That was a hippie band.

ben tillman said...

Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters dropped acid in 1964. I suspect the LSD coming out of the Bay Area had a lot more influence on the 60's hippies than the Germans.

Acid came from the Germans.

Anonymous said...

I'm a type II. Probably score 8 or 9.

Great column and great comments. Why I keep coming back.

I haven't read Hess yet. I ought to, though, and I hope to before too long.

Keep up the good work

Risto

Anonymous said...

http://amren.com/news/2012/06/racism-is-innate-the-human-brain-makes-unconscious-decisions-based-on-ethnicity/

Anonymous said...

Relevant to the discussion...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2165342/Prussian-Blue-twins-Lynx-Lamb-Marijuana-changed-Nazis-peace-loving-hippies.html

Anonymous said...

I think the cause of the hippies was probably a combination of World War II and the very good economy of America during the 1950's when the GDP averaged 5% a year. Therefore, many baby boomers had fathers who were both hero/patriots and had very good careers. I think a lot of baby boomers thought they couldn't measure up to their dad's and the hippie movement became very appealing to them.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:49 has it partly right. As someone who was a kid in the late 60s that the average white american never had so good. The USA was much less crowded, gas was 35 cents a gallon, unemployment was 5% and immigration and outsourcing were non-issues. The Hippies - like everyone else - thought this prosperity was God given and that it would last forever.

Which it didn't.

Douglas Knight said...

A video of the Sunset Strip Riots. I can't make out the hair very well, but much of it looks as long as the '66 Beatles. At 3:26, the announcer says "You can be sure of seeing a goodly representation of the Now Generation. Long hair and bare feet are sprinkled liberally about the area."

I'm not sure whether that agrees or disagrees with Steve's description. How many longhairs before a crowd stops looking clean-cut?

kurt9 said...

Surfer dudes were from SoCal. Hippies were in the Bay Area. I always like SoCal than the Bay Area. SoCal was, like, totally knarly in the 80's.

Mr Pink said...

The weird cults around Rudolf Steiner and Madame Blavatsky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were hippie predecessors, too.

I think you're correct. All those nutty Yankees of the 19th century, like Heny David Thoreau, were heavily influenced by German Romanticism and Occultism. If you look at the top of the emblem of the American Theosophical Society, you'll see a sun wheel, aka a swastika.

Where people get the idea that Germans are conservative is beyond me. There are constantly giving birth to revolutionary movements, for example the Reformation, Communism, hippies, etc. Not surprising considering Faust is the national epic.

Five Daarstens said...

This Star Trek episode is a good commentary on the early hippies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRewcZXEMb8

Mr. Anon said...

"Paul Mendez said...

But these were not "drop out" type movements -- more like the Boy Scouts in always doing your best. They were also usually highly nationalistic, anti-semitic and romantically bellicose, since life-or-death struggle was seen as being an essential part of nature."

They weren't entirely anti-semitic, although they were mostly rightist. Werner Heisenberg (hardly an anti-semite) was a Wandervogel adherent. I believe that Claus von Stauffenberg was too.

Marc B said...

Germany seemed way hippie during my first visit in 1986. I was expecting to see a bunch of Eurotrash/New Romantic looking people but instead I saw many more Greenpeace looking types with the longish hair, beards, and Lennon specs. The impression I got was that the men were were denying themselves anything resembling traditional dominant masculinity and were reacting to much internalized post-Third Reich guilt. It was if they were pusposely trying to be as non-threatening as possible.

Anonymous said...

The odd thing about long hair for men is how brief a time it lasted. From the late sixties to the early eighties, pretty exactly. These days the fashion is for very short hair on men.

Which raises the question - individual women can wear their hair long or short, as they chose. Why are men so conformist about their appearance?

Anonymous said...

"Germans, by their very nature, tend to be into order, and so even German Greens and nature-lovers have emphasized preparation, organization, and cleanliness. Germans probably clean up on nature trails."


"I'd never heard the word before, but I recognize Wandervogel in long-distance bicycle touring, something I've done off-and-on for the past 30 years. Virtually every man who embarks on a trip of a month or more will get hippie-ish, especially growing the hair and beard. The smell is sometimes there too, although more incidental than intentional."


LOL. Halfway into a transcontinental bicycle trip in the summer of '91, I encountered a pair of German cyclists going the other way. We'd each covered about 2,000 miles. I was by that time dirty, sunburnt, longhaired, bearded and smelly, although I had started out clean-cut. The Germans, however, were still dapper and immaculate, with nary a bead of sweat or speck of dirt on them. Herrenvolk indeed.

CJ said...

George Orwell wrote The Road to Wigan Pier in 1937. In Chapter 13 he laments the proto-New Agers who were putting the British people off Socialism (which he spelled with a capital S):

It would help enormously, for instance, if the smell of crankishness which still clings to the Socialist movement could be dispelled. If only the sandals and the pistachio-coloured shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaller, and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly!

Anonymous said...

"One of the biggest changes of my lifetime has been the decline in the speed of social change."

"bestseller Future Shock about how the late 1960s’ tumult was a harbinger of the ever accelerating waves of change"

"yet it didn’t really happen."


WTF? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Hairstyles seem to come and go. Encyclopedia Britannica's classic edition from 1911 has a great article on the history and popularity (and unpopularity) of beards.

http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Beard

... With the reign of Queen Anne the country enters the beardless age, and beards, moustaches and whiskers are no more seen. In the 18th century the moustache indicated a soldier from beyond sea. A Jew or a Turk was known by the beard, an appendage loathsome as comic. Matthew Robinson, the second Lord Rokeby, was indeed wearing a beard in 1798, but he was reckoned a madman therefor, and Phillips's Public Character pictures him as "the only peer and perhaps the only gentleman of either Great Britain or Ireland who is thus distinguished." That George III. in his madness should have been left unshaved was a circumstance of his misery that wrung the hearts of all loyal folk. ...

beowulf said...

"I think the cause of the hippies was probably a combination of World War II and the very good economy of America during the 1950's when the GDP averaged 5% a year. Therefore, many baby boomers had fathers who were both hero/patriots and had very good careers..."

Thom Hartmann-- a former hippie himself and the only liberal talk show worth listening to-- has made the point that the post-war economy was so strong for every level of society (adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage was 50% higher than today's $7.25/hr; unemployment rate was 3.5%) that kids could afford to take time off to be a goofball or antiwar protester. There'd be plenty of good jobs around when they were ready to get a haircut.

Hartmann suggests its no coincidence that politicians in the decades since then have left the economy weaker and less egalitarian in the decades since then-- people living hand to mouth don't have the luxury of dropping out or bucking the system.

Kylie said...

"Which raises the question - individual women can wear their hair long or short, as they chose. Why are men so conformist about their appearance?"

No, most individual women wear their hair as fashion (and/or the man in their life) dictates.

You might be surprised at the number of women who allow the length of their hair to be determined by the men in their lives. When I got my hair cropped earlier this year, the hair stylist told me that I was lucky my husband didn't mind short hair. Actually, he prefers it quite short, not the ear-exposing old lesbian look so many older women sport but a short cut nonetheless.

To sell clothing, beauty and hair care products, fashions change quickly. Women will find a look that suits them and proclaim they're going to stick with it. But then another fashion comes along and they either decide they want a change or don't want to be left behind.

Men aren't so much conformist as willing and allowed get stuck in a fashion rut. It makes no sense for men's fashions to change quickly since men don't seem to crave the novelty of different fashions the way women do.

J said...

Wandervogel is the opposite of hippy. They were highly disciplined, loving physical effort, absolutely against drugs and alcohol. Romantic. Hippies were not romantic.

corvinus said...

"Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters dropped acid in 1964. I suspect the LSD coming out of the Bay Area had a lot more influence on the 60's hippies than the Germans."

Acid came from the Germans.


That's funny. "LSD" is in fact a German acronym. The English would be LAD.

Paul Mendez said...

The first two years of World War II were a risky but fun adventure for most German soldiers.

I knew an old German who said the first 3 years of the war were the happiest years of his life. He was away from home and his overbearing parents for the first time in his life, always had money in his pocket, and was stationed behind the lines at several naval communications center staffed by lots and lots of young women.

But then all those US bombers showed up, and later he got sent to the Eastern Front which wasn't so far to the East any more, and then a Russian sub sank his hospital ship as he was coming home wounded...

bbartlog said...

There's a book describing (some) of the roots of the modern counterculture: 'Mountain of Truth: The Counterculture Begins', which traces its origins to Ascona in Switzerland.
Of course you can also go further back and find elements of hippie beliefs and lifestyle in Rousseau or for that matter Diogenes and the Cynics.

C. Van Carter said...

The jogging craze of 70's can be traced to Germans as well, look up the Dassler brothers.

Norville Rogers said...

Great, yet more Mad Men-inspired journalism, nobody's covering that beat. Steve is SWPL at heart...

Ric Flair said...

Can't wait till the hipsters make an ironic mashup HBO series about my sterling career. Don Draper? Pshaw, I am clearly the most well-known, well-dressed, best-looking, workplace-drinking, alpha masculinity totem going, WOOOOOOOOO

Norville Rogers said...

kurt9, that's true. The Redondo/Hermosa/Manhattan Beach surf vagrants also outlasted the SF Bay Area noble savages (who all moved on to Vermont and Asheville, NC it seems)

Anonymous said...

"Hence, it’s probably more reasonable to consider hippies less a solely German phenomenon than a broad one with deepest roots in Northern Europe’s blonder regions, where people tan rather than burn (as implied by the title of Kennedy’s book Children of the Sun)."

Wait, do Germans and Russians tan rather than burn? Who established this fact?

Whiskey said...

TTP -- Social change is driven by technology, mostly, not "the Jews" who if you don't like them, wait twenty or more years, there won't be any more. If anything, the US has become more anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, as Blacks (who HATE HATE HATE Jews/Israel) and Hispanics (who dislike them but less intently) have gained power at the expense of the US White middle class which is pro-Israel and detests Muslims.

Social change is driven by the condom, the pill, anonymous urban living, and worst of all, mass-media consumerism driven by female prejudices and dislike of White beta males.

Indeed re the post upthread about Black-White porn, that's driven by more female acceptance of porn, and embracing it. Not too many White guys are into that stuff.

Basically, consumer mass marketing aimed squarely at the female consumer who influences over 85% of all purchases caters to the Penelope Trunks of the world. Which is why from Japan to South Korea to Norway to the US, the world is in such a mess: falling birthrates, anti White guy sentiments, etc.

Hippie-dom is a constant Protestant heresy about "back to nature" to find a God-replacement. Thoreau, others could be considered proto-hippies, not the least of which is the MONEY required to live the simple life. Don Henley was right, Deadhead stickers on Cadillacs are a dead giveaway. As are the disorder and un-German like trashiness of the Hippies, living in filth. Of which Germans have a horror but post-Protestant WASPs like. [Jews also dislike filth, culturally, and dislike pastoral settings among most though not all Ashkenazi.]

Whiskey said...

Re Immigration, White women don't get threatened by it, and gain jobs teaching Mexican kids and caring for sick Mexicans in a government paid health care operation.

Just recently a family member was hospitalized, in the hospital was a picture of idealized staff and a slogan about the corporate commitment to patient health. I counted a smiling Blonde nurse, an Asian doctor, various Asian and Hispanic aides/techs, and a Black nurse. Know who was absent?

White guys.

There you have it. When uber-hot Hispanic women come in and grab all the hot Alpha men and put White women on the street, homeless, THEN and ONLY THEN will immigration be a non-starter.

corvinus said...

"Hence, it’s probably more reasonable to consider hippies less a solely German phenomenon than a broad one with deepest roots in Northern Europe’s blonder regions, where people tan rather than burn (as implied by the title of Kennedy’s book Children of the Sun)."

Wait, do Germans and Russians tan rather than burn? Who established this fact?


It's true from personal observation. Germans and even Scandinavians, as well as Russians, tan quite well to a nice golden or even bronze color. The Irish and other Celts OTOH burn like crazy. One of my uncles on my Irish side once got third-degree burns on his toes from golfing. I myself thought I was incapable of tanning until I was in my mid 20s when I got a very slight trucker's tan from a summer job.

Anonymous said...

I liked the part where six-year-old Sailer "dispatched [his] mother to get the autograph"--tout de suite, mum, I've got to a radio contest to win and a Congressman to debate by 4pm sharp

Anonymous said...

Surfer dudes were cooler than hippie dudes.

Marc B said...

"I counted a smiling Blonde nurse, an Asian doctor, various Asian and Hispanic aides/techs, and a Black nurse. Know who was absent?

White guys."

That's almost all modern advertising/promotions except for college pamphlets where they have to use Photoshop to add the token black to the front cover. Judging from the displays at Target stores white men/boys make up about 10% of the population. This is not done by accident.

ricpic said...

Harry Baldwin's 8:19 AM description of the hippie scene in Kerouac's barely disguised autobiographical On The Road is dead on, especially "dread of 9 to 5 jobs." So much of what makes hippies hippies boils down to avoidance of work. As one who shares that fear, dread, avoidance of what Larkin called "the toad, work" I have shared the hippie fate, which is to be marginal and marginalized, but also have partaken of the hippie love of and joy in easy living. How many hippy/artists are little more than layabouts, layabouts with a bit of talent and a bit of effort but not all that much effort relative to those who make careers in business, finance, the professions. The hippy avoidance of work also explains why hippies are often a hairsbreadth away from crime and frequently slide into flat-out criminality, rationalizing their shady activity as at least not being square.

Hacienda said...

The natives and "aboriginals" throughout planet Earth.

The first hippies. Fools.

theo the kraut said...

so you thought we lost the war? think again, bozos, there's Götterdämmerung for everybody--dress code is casual, this time.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Carpenter

Anonymous said...

from "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"

"Anybody who thinks this is all about drugs has his head in a bag. It's a social movement, quintessentially romantic, the kind that recurs in time of real social crisis. The themes are always the same. A return to innocence. The invocation of an earlier authority and control. The mysteries of the blood. An itch for the trancendental, for purification."

Anonymous said...

Abbie Hoffman appears to have said: "There were all these activists, you know, Berkeley radicals, White Panthers... all trying to stop the war and change things for the better. Then we got flooded with all these 'flower children' who were into drugs and sex. Where the hell did the hippies come from?"

Poor guy, here you've got the revolution all primed, then all your troops drop out to do drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know the influence of Norman Mailer's essay "The White Negro" on the hippie cultural phenomena. I read it once, parts were pretty incoherent, but Mailer saw that it might be easy to get whites to "drop out" of boring old square white culture by pointing out the advantages of adopting "hip" laid-back black culture. This would lead to great social changes, miscegnation, greater equality, and other good "rejection of the man" and "do what thou will" stuff. I recall it as if Mailer said, hey, why peddle revolutionary ideology, when you can just adopt Black attitudes, it's already anti--the-man and an easier sell, besides the drugs and music are cool. The timing was also about right (1957-1959) and it fit in with the civil rights movement. Of course Mailer's essay was, no doubt, just one expression of like-minded ideas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Negro

"Hippie" sounded better than "White Negro", though.

Anonymous said...

"Hippie" sounded better than "White Negro", though.

-------

white hindu or hindude?

Anonymous said...

Hippies pissed all over at Woodstock.

He pee.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

This would lead to great social changes, miscegnation, greater equality, and other good "rejection of the man" and "do what thou will"".

You touch on something else here which I think was likely an important influence on the hippies: Alistair Crowley and occultism, and that whole Wicca/Golden Bough/Magick/New-Agey pile of crap.

Anonymous said...

There is a version of Mailer's 1957 Dissent article,
The White Negro, online here:

http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online.php?id=26

Mailer likely assumes his audience consists of radicals such as himself. He introduces the reader to a number words of the hippie vernacular, but as black idioms to be adopted:

"...to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self. ... One is Hip or one is Square... ...the source of Hip is the Negro... marijuana was the wedding ring, the child was the language of Hip for its argot gave expression to abstract states of feeling which all could share... ...the cunning of their language, the abstract ambiguous alternatives in which from the danger of their oppression they learned to speak (“Well. now, man, like I’m looking for a cat to turn me on ..")...

I have jotted down perhaps a dozen words, the Hip perhaps most in use and most likely to last with the minimum of variation. The words are man, go, put down, make, beat, cool, swing, with it, crazy, dig, flip, creep, hip, square... To which a cool cat might reply, “Crazy, man!”

It is this adoration of the present which contains the affirmation of Hip... ...that all men and women have absolute but temporary rights over the bodies of all other men and women—the nihilism of Hip proposes as its final tendency that every social restraint and category be removed..."


Yahoo! Come the revolution!

"With this possible emergence of the Negro, Hip may erupt as a psychically armed rebellion whose sexual impetus may rebound against the anti-sexual foundation of every organized power in America, and bring into the air such animosities, antipathies, and new conflicts of interest that the mean empty hypocrisies of mass conformity will no longer work. A time of violence, new hysteria, confusion and rebellion will then be likely to replace the time of conformity. ...

... it is perhaps possible that the Negro holds more of the tail of the expanding elephant of truth than the radical..."

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks for the link to that legendary Mailer essay. Finally reading it, I can see why he jumped on the New Journalism bandwagon in the 1960s.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailor said:

"Thanks for the link to that legendary Mailer essay. Finally reading it, I can see why he jumped on the New Journalism bandwagon in the 1960s."

Like, dude, I think you've got to drop the right amount of acid. I hear Grateful Dead music helps. Wait, maybe that's marijuana. Oh, what the hell, try it all, be courageous like the man says. Probably after about 10 hours of lecture by Marxist profs.

I was particularly touched, aroused you could say, an epiphany maybe, by learning that if I did enough sex and drugs and adopted a particular black patois, "the epic grandeur of Das Kapital would find its place in an even more Godlike view of human justice and injustice..."