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megimoo
08-21-2009, 10:46 PM
Coming Out of the Countercultural Closet; Reclaiming and Redefining Hippie

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds ” Bob Marley
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg2n039txnk

Apparently, you can’t call post-sixties hippies "hippies." Consider:

A San Francisco-based belly dancer, she and her colleagues are tattooed and pierced; she’s vegetarian, always performs barefoot. Their genre, “tribal fusion,” is, like hippie culture itself, eclectic--part gypsy, part other things she’s hesitant to identify. Some of these women, and some of their men, wear dreadlocks. Yet when asked if she and tribal fusion are hippie, she seems uncomfortable. She prefers “bohemian.”
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59G67qq19e0&feature=related
snip
It's 2004, and I'm in a hippie microbrewery/restaurant in Boulder, CO. He’s wearing a hemp necklace, a tie-dye under his jacket, and a baseball cap with an "Eat a Peach”* logo. An alternative nutritionist from Pittsburgh, he's thrilled to have found this clearly countercultural place--a home away from home. Well, he seems pretty hippie to me. I later ask him if there’s a significant "hippie community" in Pittsburgh. "Oh," he responds, suddenly uncomfortable, "I wouldn't know about that.
I don't have much to do with that crowd."
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A Midwesterner recently relocated to a Colorado mountain town, he looks hippie and acts hippie, frequenting, for instance, the local natural-organic grocery/restaurant; yes, he sometimes smokes pot. Yet, when casually asked if he sees himself as a hippie, he trumpets indignantly, “Hippie?!
Why heck no. I’m a mountain man!”
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I contact an artist who’s drawn something for a national magazine to accompany a piece on a girlhood spent in the counterculture. In the illustration, a woman with short dreads is flashing the peace sign as surrounding “straight” businessmen wag condemning fingers at her. I suspect the illustration is a self-portrait. When the artist tells me she’s a “vegan and activist” and admits, “I suppose I do share some values with them [hippies],” I’m thinking, she probably is hippie.

But she bridles at the term: it has “connotations of drug use.” Seeing hippies, apparently, as stereotypical drug abusers, she wants no part of that.
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snip
Now, the Nedhead uses what I call the Mythic Definition. As he defines them, hippies are a mythical tribe of holy people. Wizards, Gurus and Gandalfs, oh my! But if this approach is at least a positive, it’s also ahistorical and inaccurate, ignoring today’s hippies and romanticizing those of the past. Worse still, it too humiliates: who can measure up to such an absurd standard? “Oops, sorry. Can’t perform any miracles just now. Left my magical staff at home today.” So the Mythic Definition also gives permission to feel inferior; it embarrasses.

That’s why Nedguy is so out of sorts, so apparently uncomfortable in his own skin--he‘s not worthy of being called “a hippie.“
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snip
Step out of the closet, hippie-Americans. It’s not the word hippie that’s humiliating you; it’s the prejudice too often behind it. A hippie by any other name would still be a hippie, so for now, at least, let’s call ourselves that, and stop being embarrassed about it.

Remember, we’re not criminals: we’re a people criminalized. Do not grant permission to feel inferior.
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FN1--”Eat a Peach” is the name of a famous album by a hippie rock band from the American South, The Allman Brothers.
FN2--A lyric from “Heart of the Sunrise,” by the American countercultural rock band Yes.
http://www.happilyhippie.com/html/hhComingOutOfTheCounterculturalCloset.html