Thursday, February 11, 2010

THE HIPPIES WERE RIGHT

I have always thought that I did not fit into the path most people take. My father was a loner and I grew up, for the most part alone. I had very few friends in school and in my Canyon hood, hardly anyone my age. I used to talk to make-believe playmates and occasionally would be caught speaking to no one as people walked by my house. I would get those blank, the kid must be crazy looks from people as they passed by. I moved to the beat of a different drum. I discovered a lot about myself from those experiences, but mostly I learned a tremendous amount about people by just sitting in on my parents conversations with their friends. I was, quite lucky, to be able to hang out with folks much older and wiser than me. Today's kids don't seem to get that experience. That makes me a little sad that as a race we have evolved into a individualistic mentality. The one thing I hated as a kid, not having any friends, has become a way of life for many children now. I at least had my sisters, their friends, my parents friends and so forth. Now kids get lost in mindless video games and TV. I had some crazy freaks in my hood. I grew up in Laurel Canyon in Hollywood during the heyday of the peace movement. The long haired hippie freaks they used to call us. I had navy bell bottoms with paisley patches on the ass and along the bottom seams. I wore a three inch belt which my mom had to make custom belt loops to wear it. I also had had puffy sleeved pirate shirts which my sister made for me of bright colored paisley patterns. I frequently wore old Army denim jackets with flowers embroidered on the back or peace signs. I had hip boots with inward zippers to the knee. I owned a Fred Segal fringe cowhide jacket which I wore so much it had molded into the shape of my skinny body. I would sneak wearing peace beads to school, until busted once by my mother who freaked out. She was convinced that once I started wearing beads it meant for sure that I was on drugs. Funny thing is, she was right! My dad with his military background was surprisingly pretty cool and was fine with my ensemble as long as I didn't bring chicks to the house around my younger brother. Oh and we all wore the mirror coated sunglasses to cover up the red eye.
In high school I hooked up with these two lesbian hippie chicks who taught me how to open up and be myself. We were taking Ceramics class together and the teacher was probably a stoner himself. We were getting high before class in those days and would only have to look at the teacher and know that he knew we were high. One day the two girls were giggling and saying something to draw me out when he walked by and said something about "now do you see what the Wobby spirit has done to you" I had no clue what the "wobby spirit" was until the realization at the end of the semester that he did, in fact, get high and was messing with my head. Oh and he also, later, wanted to date my sister. He also would say things like "the slave allows the clay to control him, while the master makes a slave out of the clay" Simple shit like that but profound philosophy for life just the same. Just like if I was out washing my Colby Mustang fastback in my hood and some hippie would walk by, look at me and say "you know you get it on, you get it off, it's all the same" and keep walking.
Life seemed so simple then. There were hippies who would just talk to me for hours about anything. for instance, one felt the government should subsidize him to make candles for everyone. Many of them believed in communism in the true sense of it. Socialism? whatever you want to call it. For the people, by the people comes from that. There were the draft dodgers. Yes we had a draft then and everyone feared being drafted and having to go to Vietnam to really get your head fucked with. I knew many guys who were permanently messed up from going there. I was too young to go but had very conflicted feelings about it. It was a time of protesting our government policies and there was a sense of something really big about to happen, a revolution as it were. What happened to that? My take is that after Nixon had the students shot at Kent state university just for war protesting that everything started to change. The realization that our leaders could and would do something that horrific, left many scrambling for cover. We were still reeling from the assassination of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and later, of course, Bobbie. I was a kid but it still has a strong effect in my memory. The death of Camelot as they called it. People say the whole Watergate incident did not bother them, but really I see it as a shift of the way we slowly began to give up all our freedoms and rights as a nation. And what it has spiraled into now, has left many of us feeling just hopeless.
I really don't think it matters anymore which party is in office, that our country is not run by a president or a party system, but by an elite group of a very rich power hungry conglomerate that now controls the world. We sold our rights, our country, our dreams everything this country stood for out to them with our fear of the almighty Terrorist mentality. That is exactly what they wanted all along and they perpetrated the whole 911 catastrophe just to get it.
The only way we will ever get our freedom and rights back my friends is my another revolution. Ironically the hippies were right!

4 comments:

  1. The hippies *were* right, but like most revolutionary groups they were felled as much by hubris as by oppression. Kent State was the external cause and the dissipation caused by the drug culture was the internal cause of the demise of this marvelous movement.

    Timothy Leery said it best: "When you get the message, you can hang up the phone."

    But the hippie culture became the drug culture, and for the most part, everyone forgot that there even *was* a message. You are right, of course, we have spiraled into hopelessness. So what are we going to do about it?

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  2. Your right about the drug culture killing the movement, but the ideals were real and not every hippie was pacified by drugs. Drugs also were used to open and expand the mind into greater awareness. The problem with that is the euphoria associated with the drug taking overrode the benefits of expansion. Jim Morrison understood that more than most. If he had not become an alcoholic perhaps he could have accomplished some great things. Of course lust got the best of him also :) What can we do now? I mentioned revolution but do any of this younger generation have the guts to take up the cause? I don't think they could even agree on one. Our government is now owned by these elitists I think, so we cannot expect anything to change very soon. Perhaps slowly some good people can infiltrate and make some dents but it's not looking real good for us right now unfortunately.

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  3. I was a flower child, not hippie (no hard drugs) and 16 when I saw Bobby Kennedy just two weeks before his death. "They" made sure to take JFK, MLK & Bobby so that anyone left would be too afraid to lead. I have two grandchildren and shiver at the thought of the world they will have to live in.

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  4. I also watched that horrific night as I stayed up on a school night to watch Bobbie accept winning the California primary. The horror that followed is still etched strongly in my mind. It was, like you said, the power and manipulation of silencing our freedom. I don't think we will ever fully recover from that. Obama has some good ideals but unfortunately he is just another string controlled puppet. I feel for your grandchildren.
    I loved the flower children and miss that time dearly, but life must go on.
    Thank you so much for your comment!

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