As promised, here I am back again, to rant about my pure disdain for the modern so-called Hipster. My intended goal is to enlighten those who are not familiar with the old school terminology of hipness, and what the phrase Hipster or Hippie, meant to most Boomers.
In the early to mid sixties the beats were still the target of choice; but then, slowly at first building into a violent crescendo the Hippie culture emerged Hippie culture was all inclusive, ethnicity or gender and even age didm’t really matter much. In spite of the slogan don’t trust anyone over thirty, a lot of Hippie Icons were in fact over thirty and a lot of hip older dudes were in fact mentors for the politically aware younger crowd. Even icons who were long gone by the sixties were admired and embraced by Hippies. I remember the first time that I visited a genuine Hippie crash pad as a young Marine with a big Chip on his shoulder. I was amazed by the massive amount of books and the concept of the free library(take it if you want it and pass it on to someone else) It was a way of disseminating Knowledge to those who could not afford to buy books.
While browsing through this library I became acquainted with books that I had been told to avoid Like the little red book and the communist manifesto. But I also found copies of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Hermann Hesse, Carlos Castaneda, Frantz Fanon, James Baldwin and many others. It was a college course in its own right. These young people came from varied backgrounds but the one thing that they had in common was a thirst for knowledge and sense of mission to save the world. It Was not a philosophy of take from the rich and give to the poor but one of honest sharing and justice and equality. These are Issues that we are still struggling with.
According to my African History Professor Hip is derived from a Yoruba word meaning understand which is why in its original usage it was used to indicate understanding as in the phrase are you hip to this which was usually answered with I can dig it (Dig being another word derived from the Yoruba language).
In this period Feminism re-emerged and has remained active ever since. The Anti war movement and anti nuke movement brought thousands to the streets. The ecology movement also became prominent; most of us had never heard the word ecology before. Rachel Carson became a household name as did Gloria Steinem.
It was easy for vapid shallow youths to mistake the superficial trappings of the movement for its substance. Who doesn’t want lots of sex, mood elevating drugs and Rock and roll? In an age where we were on the brink of total nuclear annihilation, every one needed diversion, although some hippies abstained from casual drug usage. Free your mind and your ass will follow. The same type of idiots that broke down the fences at Woodstock, because they felt entitled to free entertainment, have the same mentality as the contemporary Hipster. They just didn’t understand that being hip is not about dressing trendy and following trends it is about knowledge activism and understanding the world around you and changing it for the better. In other words they are not Hip to the fact.
Now that I’ve got that rant out of the way Let’s examine what Holly wood had to say about Hippies
In the good ol days I would have been on the other side of the gun. Everything changes even attitudes like mine. I’ve attempted to show you the good the bad and the ugly of media and Hollywood portrayals of the hip people of the past. They actually stood for something more than sex drugs and rock and roll, some of them actually died or were injured for their beliefs. Social justice is no longer associated with so called hip people, only frivolity, insensitivity, Banality and superficiality. To me these qualities are more lame than hip. There is no love of culture, knowledge or the arts only an empty Shell with an appropriated label.