Althouse | category: hippies



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Sitting around in my own mess, pissed off at the world, disdainful of the people in it, and thinking my contempt for things somehow amounted to something..."

"... had some kind of nobility, hating this thing here, and that thing there, and that other thing over there, and making sure that everybody around me knew it, not just knew, but felt it too, contemptuous of beauty, contemptuous of joy, contemptuous of happiness in others, well, this whole attitude just felt, I don’t know, in the end, sort of dumb."

Writes Nick Cave, responding to a fan who asked "When did you become a Hallmark card hippie? Joy, love, peace. Puke! Where’s the rage, anger, hatred? Reading these lately is like listening to an old preacher drone on and on at Sunday mass" — at The Red Hand Files. 

After his younger son Arthur, aged 15, fell off a cliff and died, Cave thought about "the precarious and vulnerable position of the world" and felt he ought to try to help the world, "instead of merely vilifying it, and sitting in judgement of it."

In 2022, his older son Jethro died, aged 31.

"First thought; Can I work/live there? Maybe it will help me grow back my lost hair from all the stress of 'normal daily life :)"

"Seriously, look at all these folks beautiful hair! Am I the only one that dreams of just dropping everything and moving to a forest and living off the land and selling goods the 'old fashioned' way... you know, actually selling things you physically make? Maybe I just need to move out of New Jersey. Anyway, thank you for sharing this story with us folks stuck in cyber-world tending to our keyboards, twiddling our fingers on plastic buttons, growing roots out of our posteriors." 

A reader comments on the NYT article, "Taking to the Woods With Maine’s ‘Tree Tippers’/Generations of Mainers have made a living working seasonal, nature-based jobs. Harvesting the balsam used to make wreaths is one of them."

The old hippie dream is always there, waiting for revival — replete with hair... long beautiful hair.

"Grateful Dead tapestries. Lava lamps. The distinctive orange inspired by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dust painted indiscriminately on walls."

"Until now, these were the markings of marijuana dispensaries, dripping with 1960s hippie nostalgia and the musings of the stereotypical stoner, and it’s high time for the cannabis aesthetic to get a refresh, cannabis entrepreneurs say."

From "The Golden Age of Dispensary Design Is Almost Here/As cannabis legalization has become more widespread, retailers are getting increasingly serious about the design and branding of their shops" by Anna P. Kambhampaty (NYT).

“The retail environments for cannabis don’t match the money people are spending on it, nor do they match the diversity of the consumers,” said Kim Myles, the co-founder of MylesMoore, a design firm that revamps the interiors of mom-and-pop cannabis dispensaries across the country. “It’s a quality plant. Going into a dispensary should be a quality experience. There’s no way we are going to overcome the stigma it has if we don’t change the touch point for the consumer.” 

Do you care about buying legalized marijuana? If so, do you want to buy it amidst hippie trappings or do you want to shop in a more up-to-date setting? What would that be?

Here's what the MylesMoore firm has come up with. Does that say "quality" in a way that sparks your appetite for cannabis?

"Princeton went coed in Alito’s sophomore year. Alice Kelikian, who became a friend of his, remembered hanging out with him around a microwave oven..."

"... that had just been installed on campus, warming up chocolate-chip cookies while talking about Italy and the philosopher John Rawls. Kelikian, who dated one of Alito’s friends, noted that Alito was always 'very respectful of me,' adding, 'A lot of male classmates were not.' Still, feminism was in the air...."

From "Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America Isn’t Over/He’s had win after win—including overturning Roe v. Wade—yet seems more and more aggrieved. What drives his anger?" by Margaret Talbot (The New Yorker). This is a very long article, and my excerpts don't represent the overall thesis justifying the article title. I'm just pointing to some things that intrigued me.
In 1973, the year after Alito graduated...

The year I graduated from college. 

.... the Supreme Court issued its Roe decision. Kelikian, now a history professor at Brandeis University, told me, “Sam was Trenton Italian and I was Chicago Armenian.” That felt to her like some sort of commonality, but they had different attitudes toward the tight-knit, convention-bound immigrant communities from which they’d emerged. She felt that she was breaking away from hers; he remained tethered to his.

Tethered! Imagine what word would be used against him if he were the one breaking away from his own ethnic group. 

Alito later told an interviewer for the National Italian American Foundation that he couldn’t relate to his peers’ view that their elders had “become affluent by taking advantage of other people—they had bad values, they were very materialistic.” Alito went on, “I thought that whole view of my parents—of the generation to which my parents belonged—was false. Perhaps it was true of some people in that generation, but certainly it wasn’t true of the people that I knew.”

That wasn't just about Italian Americans. It was the general Baby Boomer attitude in the early 70s, eager to be completely different from our woefully misguided parents. 

At his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, he described his New Jersey suburb as a stronghold of traditional values that felt safe.


At Princeton, he said, he saw some “very privileged people behaving irresponsibly, and I couldn’t help making a contrast between some of the worst of what I saw on the campus and the good sense and the decency of some of the people back in my own community.”...
For Alito, Yale Law School, too, was mined with countercultural bombs. In 2005, a member of Alito’s class, Diane Kaplan, told the Yale Daily News that “a lot of us were hippies, love children, political dissenters, draft dodgers.” She noted that Alito and his Princeton friends “came to class with buttoned-down collars and looking very serious.”...
Alito had come to Yale eager to study with one of his intellectual heroes, Alexander Bickel, a charismatic and prolific scholar who believed that the Warren Court had indulged in egregious activism. But Alito wasn’t placed in Bickel’s constitutional-law class. Alito’s friend Mark Dwyer, meanwhile, was assigned to the staunchly conservative scholar Robert Bork’s course, and he later told the Times that Alito had seemed jealous. In one of the worst pairings of student and professor in course-scheduling history, Alito ended up with Charles Reich, the eccentric counterculture guru who had written the best-selling manifesto “The Greening of America.”...

The New Yorker devoted an entire issue to a long excerpt of that book, thus promoting it as uniquely important.

Alito, having read the book, formally requested to switch out of the class, but he was told no. 
Reich loved flower-child sensibilities as much as Alito hated them—he saw even bell-bottoms as a form of rebellion worth validating....

"He" meaning Reich, of course. I found the bell-bottoms in the 1970 issue of The New Yorker, at page 106, linked above:

The sentence continues on the next page: "... its doctrines of honesty and responsibility. The Establishment cannot safely swallow those." I think what the text there is saying is that the bell-bottom style can be copied and coopted — that's "coöpted" for us New Yorker readers — by the establishment, but the true rebellion — that which cannot be coopted/coöpted is all the abstract stuff — liberation,  search for self, honesty — that belongs in a special way to the people Reich called "Consciousness III." So Reich wasn't "validating" the rebellion of bell-bottoms — as this new article puts it. He was dismissing the pants as what the Establishment could — ridiculous image intended — swallow. 

The new article continues:

Many students were charmed and inspired by Reich: Bill and Hillary Clinton both studied with him. (When Bill Clinton became President, one of his environmental initiatives was called the Greening of the White House.) Alito was not one of those students. In appearances and interviews, he has spoken disparagingly of Reich’s “most bizarre course.” Reich, Alito said, told his students that he “had a ticket to San Francisco in his desk and at some point during the term it was possible that there would be a note on the bulletin board that he had gone to San Francisco, and the course would then be over.” Alito recalled that, sure enough, he returned from Thanksgiving break to find just such a note. He joked... that he was “self-taught” in constitutional law....

I have 6 TikToks for you tonight and no idea which one you'll like best. So let me know.

1. Random boy doesn't seem to know what freckles are.

2. The Italian husband makes caprese salad.

3. Do you think your happiness depends on finding that special someone?

4. Why not paint your car Tiffany blue?

5. Time to practice hippie dancing.

6. The Canadian guy was warned: Don't let New York City change you.

"The [Rainbow] gathering is organized around large camps and communal kitchens that serve coffee, tea and food. No money is exchanged."

"At a trading post, kids and adults bartered for jewelry, stones, glass pipes and Snickers. A painted rainbow was being erected over the 'Granola Funk' stage in the meadow, where a musical, a gong show and other performances would take place. At the Christian-themed Jesus Kitchen, one attendee said the nondenominational gatherings had made him a believer. 'I’d never seen Christians do it the way these guys do it,' said Gavin Boyd, 25, a carpenter from Fort Collins, Colo. It was, he said, less orthodoxy and more spirituality."

This weekend is the 50th Anniversary of the first Rainbow Gathering.

Most of the WaPo article is about the locals worrying about the environmental impact of the gathering and the group's basically good reputation for sanitation and cleanup. There was a little something about politics:
[I]n a nation that often seems to be divided in two, the Rainbow Gathering’s half-century assembly told a story of many Americas.... Attendees skew left but probably also include a few “Trumpsters” and QAnon devotees, said one longtime camper. The era’s political divisions, in any case, did not dominate conversations. 
“You have the whole continuum of people,” said Ray, 70, who on Friday was pulling a 100-pound cart of supplies up the 1.5-mile trail from a parking area to what is known as the Main Meadow, site of communal dinners and the event’s pinnacle, a July Fourth silent peace prayer and meditation....
“There’s also politics here. The right of the people of America, United States, to gather peacefully — that’s supposed to be a right — on the people’s land… To practice spiritual belief, freedom of religion,” said Ray, a retired health-care worker from southern Oregon. “To assert those rights at a time when, in my view, fascism’s grip is getting tighter and tighter and tighter.”
Here's the group's webpage. And here's their video:


Meade overheard that and said "Sounds like something from 'South Park'... Tegridy Farms."

Here's the Wikipedia page, "Rainbow Family":
Rainbow Gatherings emphasize a spiritual focus towards peace, love, and unity. Those who attend Rainbow Gatherings usually share an interest in intentional communities, ecology, New Age spirituality, and entheogens. Attendees refer to one another as "brother", "sister", or the gender neutral term, "sibling". Attendance is open to all interested parties, and decisions are reached through group meetings leading to some form of group consensus. Adherents call the camp "Rainbowland" and refer to the world outside of gatherings as "Babylon". The exchange of money is frowned upon, and barter is stressed as an alternative.... 
Participants make the claim that they are the "largest non-organization of non-members in the world." In addition to referring to itself as a non-organization, the group's "non-members" also even playfully call the group a "disorganization."

Hippie humor. It never changes. 

This use of the rainbow predates the LBGTQ use of the rainbow, which began in 1978. But it doesn't predate the Rainbow People's Party, AKA the White Panther Party, which began in 1968 in Ann Arbor. And it doesn't predate the Rainbow Coalition, which began in 1969 in Chicago. And it doesn't predate Rainbow/PUSH, the Jesse Jackson group, which began in 1971.

"A jobsworth is a person who uses the (typically minor) authority of their job in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights..."

"... in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. It characterizes one who upholds petty rules even at the expense of effectiveness or efficiency. 'Jobsworth' is a British colloquial word derived from the phrase 'I can't do that, it's more than my job's worth,' meaning that to do what is requested of them would be against what their job requires and would be likely to cause them to lose their job. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as 'A person in authority (esp. a minor official) who insists on adhering to rules and regulations or bureaucratic procedures even at the expense of common sense.'"

Wikipedia defines "Jobsworth," a word I just learned.

I encountered it in the context of a Reddit discussion of that Disney employee who intervened in a marriage proposal. (Video at the link.) Somebody commented: "What a jobsworth….karma will deal with his decision to destroy a once in a lifetime moment for that couple."

The OED finds the earliest use in print in the September 1970 issue of the magazine Melody Maker: "If you are a taxi-driver, jobsworth or policeman, you will now be able to understand hippie lingo." Oh, now I desperately want to read Melody Maker's guide to hippie lingo!

Of course, there are many other lists of hippie lingo, but I want one written in 1970. Here's something from 2021, informing us of the too-obvious: bread, dough, bummer, dig, downer, flow (in "go with the flow"), fry, the fuzz, grok, groove, groovy, hang-up, head, hit, heavy, the man, the establishment, mellow, primo, psychedelic, threads, trip, trippy, vibe. 

And then all the phrases, like "blow your mind." Too numerous to type out here. But they left out my favorite: "Do your own thing." 

That's the problem with being a jobsworth. You're quite specifically not doing your own thing.

I was just rewatching the movie "The Times of Bill Cunningham," about the street fashion photographer. At one point, he says: "You see, if you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do, kid. That’s the key to the whole thing. Don’t touch money."

"'Vibe' as slang, referring to an aura or feeling, emerged in the sixties, in California, and gave the word its enduring hippie associations."

"The underground paper Berkeley Barb made frequent use of it as early as 1965. The following year, the Beach Boys hit 'Good Vibrations' exposed the slang to broader audiences.... In some ways, the rise of digital life allowed for a vibe revival....  Whereas Instagram’s main form is the composed tableau, captured in a single still image or unedited video, TikTok’s is the collection of real-world observations, strung together in a filmic montage....  TikTok’s technology makes it easy to crop video clips and set them to evocative popular songs: instant vibes.... When I watch a morning-routine TikTok from 'an herbalist and cook living in a Montana cabin,' I take in the mood of December sunlight, coffee in a ceramic mug, a vegetable rice bowl, tall pine forest, with a slowed-down Sufjan Stevens soundtrack—a nice creative-residency or hipster-pioneer vibe. After absorbing a dozen such videos at a stretch, I look up from my phone and my own apartment glows with that same kind of concentrated attention, as if I were seeing it in montage, too. The objects around me are lambent with significance. I can take in the vibe of my home office: hibiscus tree, hardwood desk, noise-cancelling headphones, sixties-jazz trio, to-go coffee cup. I suddenly feel a little more at home, as if the space belonged to me in a new way, or I had found my place within it as another element of the over-all vibe, playing my part."

From "TikTok and the Vibes Revival/Increasingly, what we’re after on social media is not narrative or personality but moments of audiovisual eloquence" (The New Yorker). 

ADDED: Speaking of hippies, I've been rereading Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," which was published in 1968. It never uses the word "vibe," but "vibrations"/"vibrating" appears 61 times: 

They mean it. Everything in everybody’s life is … significant. And everybody is alert, watching for the meanings. And the vibrations. There is no end of vibrations....

She has never taken LSD before, but she looks fearless and immune and ready for all, and she hooks down a good slug of it. They wait for the vibrations ….

Somehow Norman got the idea the people at Kesey’s were like, you know, monks, novitiates; a lot of meditating with your legs crossed, chanting, eating rice, feeling vibrations, walking softly over the forest floor and thinking big. Why else would they be out in the woods in the middle of nowhere?...

The Angels took to the Prankster thing right away. They seemed to have an immediate intuitive grasp of where it was going, and one time Kesey started playing a regular guitar and Babbs started playing a four-string amplified guitar and Kesey got into a song, off the top of his head, about “the vibrations,” a bluesy song, and the Angels joined in, and it got downright religious in there for a while, with everybody singing, “Oh, the vi-bra-tions … Oh, the vi-bra-tions …”


"Alienated Young Man Creates Some Sad Music."

That's the headline from January 1968 in The New York Times for a review of "Songs of Leonard Cohen," Leonard Cohen's first album. The headline is hilariously dismissive. 

The reviewer was Donal Henahan (1921-2012), whose obituary (in the NYT) says he was a WWII fighter pilot, and he began his NYT reviewing in September 14, 1967 with this:

“The American subculture of buttons and beards, poster art and pot, sandals and oddly shaped spectacles met the rather more ancient culture of India last evening at Philharmonic Hall. The occasion was the first of six concerts there this season by Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso, whose instrument traces back about 700 years and whose chosen art form, the raga, is said to be 2,000 years old.”

Oddly shaped spectacles.... Here's the whole Ravi Shankar piece as it appeared on page 53 of the NYT that day. There's not much more to the article, but, my God, what you see on that page!

Look at the ads for live shows in New York City on that one day! Shall we see Nina Simone at the Village Gate or Thelonious Monk at the Village Vanguard? Or Tim Buckley at the Cafe Au Go Go? We could see Fugs. Or Eddie Fisher and Buddy Hackett in "a hilarious evening of comedy and songs." We could see Marlene Dietrich with an orchestra conducted by Burt Bacharach. Or — the height of absurdity — Up With People at Carnegie Hall. We could see Lauren Bacall in "Cactus Flower" or Lou Jacobi in Woody Allen's "Don't Drink the Water." Angela Lansbury was doing "Mame" at the time (I caught that one). There were 2 Harold Pinter plays. And "Cabaret," "Fiddler on the Roof," and "The Man of La Mancha." 

What insane riches! So maybe you wouldn't care about the alienated young man with some sad music. Subheadline: "Leonard Cohen Writes and Records Own Songs Poet Is as Unhappy as Bob Dylan, but Far Less Angry."

Leonard Cohen is fairly young — 33 years old — Canadian, Jewish, and very, very sad. On the ailenation scale, he rates somewhere between Schopenhauer and Bob Dylan, two other prominent poets of pessimism.
Weltschmerz and soft rock are what Mr. Cohen is selling.... His songs are crooned monotonously, mostly in minor keys, and their lyrics employ all seven types of ambiguity.... "Suzanne" has its moments of fairly digestible surrealism.... Mr. Cohen is smooth, of voice and bland of meaning.... [T]he Canadian troubadour sounds like a sad man cashing in on self-pity and adolescent loneliness. "Oh take me to the slaughterhouse/I will wait their with the lamb," drones Mr. Cohen. After a while it seems like a tempting invitation.
Meanwhile, I was listening to the "Songs of Leonard Cohen" this morning — and it feels completely fresh and beautiful.

"First thought; Can I work/live there? Maybe it will help me grow back my lost hair from all the stress of 'normal daily life :)""Princeton went coed in Alito’s sophomore year. Alice Kelikian, who became a friend of his, remembered hanging out with him around a microwave oven..."

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