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HIPPIES

I love hippies and I don't know why. Mayhaps it's because they're so non-threatening. Or maybe because they represent a time in America that I have sad nostalgic longing for. If you watch documentaries about the 60's you see a lot of hippie action and youth action in general and it makes you think that tv and junk food of the past forty years have really won out in the civilization sweepstakes. Young people, agitating at Berkeley, or walking around dazed at Woodstock, or throwing Molotov cocktails in Chicago, seem oddly more mature than their counterparts today by a large margin. They speak from the heart and with a lot of intelligence and commitment, and some of them have great haircuts and jackets. It seems like a cheap shot to compare them to today's glazed youth, but why? Should we be given special lenience because of forty years of corporate manipulation and hydrogenated oils? Are we so cynical because of social conditioning or because we have learned the lessons of the past, that nothing ever really changes? But the youth movement of the 60's really did change America and it has resonated through the culture ever since.

When I was about five some hippies moved in across the street. The ladies wore long skirts and the guys had beards and smoked pipes on the front porch. I was very young and figuring out the world all by myself, so I thought they were colonial Americans. I didn't have a good grasp on the concept of time. Long skirts, beards, pipes, they must've just hopped off the Mayflower. But now I know how valuable they were, as well as what was in the pipes. Be kind to your local hippie!!