inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #76 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 11:32
    
>>So what're your cousin and her husband (or perhaps ex-husband) up to
now? How did their embrace of the hippie ethos in 1971 influence the
rest of their lives up to now?

My cousin, in college had Ted Bundy as a lab partner in a psychology
class. He had a thing for long brown-haired women, not blondes, so
maybe she was spared.  After college she went to Italy and studied
Montessori. She is still a Montessori teacher in the Northwest. Her
husband, who she divorced in her mid-twenties, went on to do social
work for the State.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #77 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 11:47
    
>> from Gary Burnett: I'm interested in some of the stylistic aspects
of some of these books-- when I first read things like Trout Fishing In
America (which always seemed like the quintessential hippie book to
me) and Slaughterhouse Five as a teenager (I'm the same age as you,
Scott, born in 1955), it wasn't just the content that spoke to me as a
hippie wannabe, but the way they were written -- jumps in continuity,
multiple narratives intersecting with each other, etc.  I'd be
interested in seeing some comments about these kinds of things: is
there a hippie narrative "style" that distinguishes these books from
non-hippie books of the same period?  Certainly in the San Francisco
music scene of the time there are hallmark stylistic elements such as a
particular approach to song structure and improvisation that make that
music distinct.

Welcome, Gary. I called my publisher and the log shows the book being
sent out to you on 4/3/07.  

And, yes, The Hippie Narrative is as much about the literary evolution
of the period-- a bridge between late modernism and postmodernism-- as
it is about the cultural phenomenon that was unfolding.  And, yes,
Trout Fishing and Slaughterhouse-Five are the two best examples in The
Hippie Narrative of this literary experimentation with structure that
came to be so favored by the poststructuralists.

However, like the folk revival movement and its yearning for
authenticity, at the same time this literary innovation was taking
place, The New Journalism, as described by Tom Wolfe in the book of the
same name, was adopting the literary techniques of social realism. 
This is what Wolfe said gave the New Journalism its "electricity", an
electricity that was being abandoned in the experimental novels.

Maybe this is not unlike the eclectic nature of The Dead, where they
can go from the wildest amplified space-noodling to the most soulful
blues song or C/W ballad in the same set.

When you read The Hippie Narrative, I trust you will have more to
discuss on this "long, strange trip" between the late and the post. 
This narrative transition, filled by the countercultural canon, puts
the evolution into a fresh context, I believe.

Thanks for joining in, Gary.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #78 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Fri 6 Apr 07 14:28
    
Scott, I read post #72 and realized I didn't know exactly what is
meant by postmodernism so I skipped to your chapter 16 on Postmodernism
Reconstructed.  I got what you were saying on the first page but then
stalled on this sentence on page 232:

"To make this argument, the fundamental unit of meaning for the
postructural deconstructivist is linguistic and derived from the
signifier or sign that cannot be objectively delineated"

Is there some easier way to say this?  

I continued reading the page and felt like I wasn't getting it.  I
then decided to look up Postmodernism on wikipedia.  I read part of the
article and remained confused and found myself becoming exhausted.

Is trying to understand postmodernism in an hour kind of like trying
to learn calculus in an afternoon, or do I have some mental block, or
am I just not looking at it in the right way?

In any event, I think I will skip Postmodernism for now.  I agree with
most of the rest of what you said in post #72.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #79 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Fri 6 Apr 07 14:30
    
#73 gave me a big belly laugh
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #80 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 15:10
    
Hi Tom,

You're not alone in getting lost in the discursiveness of postmodern
literary theory.  On page 12 of The Hippie Narrative, I give a
definition straight from the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary
Terms.  

Aristotle in "Poetics" outlines speaker/audience/subject to understand
drama, which later literary theory shifted into text/reader/author. 
Postmodern literary theory is able to deconstruct or break apart any
text, but, what do they miss by discounting the inherently
constructivist role of the author?  

Postmodern theorist, Ronald Barthes, argued at one point for the death
of the author.  My approach to The Hippie Narrative is more
neo-Aristotelian because I am looking at all these texts in terms of
how they were constructed by the author, how the author/text/reader
dynamic is integrated, rather than with an analysis that simply
deconstructs the text.

I am not trying to disprove postmodern literary theory, but am simply
using a different lense to discuss these works.  Coming out of an MFA
in creative writing fiction program, I learned to think like a writer. 
Also, in terms of literary history, this approach in The Hippie
Narrative sheds an interesting light on how postmodernism arrived at
its particular analytical niche including what are clearly its
particular literary structural preferences.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #81 of 349: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 6 Apr 07 18:58
    

It sounds as though your creative writing studies have informed the way 
you approach literary criticism, Scott. Did you have any specific 
experiences in writing workshops or otherwise that influenced how you 
wrote The Hippie Narrative?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #82 of 349: Diane Shifrin (dshif) Fri 6 Apr 07 19:15
    
'Sometimes a Great Notion' put on the reading list and I'm going to
try to talk my bookclub into giving it a try. 

Scott, you really don't seem that fond of 'Been Down so Long..," -- I
didn't see an overriding reason to include it. 

Definitely concur that reading like a writer is a different
experience. It allows you to appreciate and analyze how books actually
work (or don't). (I appreciate this perspective in 'The Hippie
Narrative'.) Spoils you for bad writing though. It's like poison after
your eyes are open. And some writers/readers don't care. That's fine. I
only get upset when authors try to pass themselves off as literary
when they don't have the chops.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #83 of 349: Diane Shifrin (dshif) Fri 6 Apr 07 19:19
    
The Brautigan chapter made me take down an anthology I have here:
"Revenge of the Lawn", (my personal favorite, because of the Library:)
"The Abortion" and "So The Wind Won't Blow it All Away". Talented man.
Tragic loss.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #84 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 20:23
    
Hi Cynthia.  Some of this might also better clarify my approach for
Tom.

I took creative writing workshop courses almost straight
through from 1999 to 2005 when I earned my MFA.  It's a great way to
gain feedback on stories in the process of being written, and it also
teaches you how to critique other writing.   

The focus when workshopping is almost always on how well a story
adheres to the elements of craft such as plot, conflict, character
development, place/setting, voice, sensory details, and how well the
writing sustains its momentum in relation to the dramatic whole of the
piece.  People like John Gardner in "The Art of Fiction" and Flannery
O'Connor in "Mystery and Manners" articulate these concepts very well. 

In "The Hippie Narrative" I use this same "constructivist" approach. 
In other words, I looked at each of the works examined in my book in
terms of how the author "built" the text, how the dynamic of each
story was structured in relation to the dramatic whole.

Interestingly, after I received my MFA, I stayed one extra semester in
the program at Antioch University to study the pedagogy, or
teaching,of creative writing.  This provided a highly intensive
introduction to the world of literary criticism, a world that has been
dominated most recently by Postmodern deconstructivism.

Without going into the discursiveness of the poststructural
deconstructivist approach, I found that this emphasis on the play of
signifiers and the de-emphasis on the role of the author in the
process of creating text, to be completely foreign to the six years I
had just spent in the creative writing workshop environment.

However, when I sat down to write this book, I realized that the more
experimental structural forms of narrative favored by the
postmodernists had several seminal prototypes from the literature of
the '60s.  The juxtapositional brilliance of Richard Brautigan's
"Trout Fishing in America" is one such example.    

In any event, this immersion into contemporary literary theory, always
loomed on the horizon as I moved chronologically through an
examination of the key works of the counterculture.  Ultimately, I
feel that the "constructivist" approach I used in my critique informed
how we can view "deconstructivism."  

Interestingly, the hippie phenomenon itself also exhibited a
transformation from a "deconstructivist" period to a more
"constructivist" one when alternative lifestyle options were being
heavily explored. 

My undergraduate background in the '70s was in anthropology and
journalism, not English, so I also found myself differentiating
between the advent of a "postmodern" culture that the hippies played a
large role in fomenting, and this "postmodern" literary theory that
offers a different way of approaching text than the way in which I
choose to examine it.

I found it very interesting that the prime early proponents of
Poststructural deconstructivism-- Derrida and Foucault-- moved into
the world of literary criticism after 1968 when the socialist student
uprisings in Paris were quelled.  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #85 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 20:55
    
Hi Diane and thanks for your continued reports as you work your way
through the book.


>>'Sometimes a Great Notion' put on the reading list and I'm going to
try to talk my bookclub into giving it a try.

Tell them to stick with it for the first hundred pages and give them
the secret to its structure (making Hank give up), and I trust if they
like rich literature, that they will be rewarded at the end. 

>> Scott, you really don't seem that fond of 'Been Down so Long..," --
I didn't see an overriding reason to include it.

I did struggle with this. I think I included it for its cultural
significance more than for its literary importance, though the
juxtaposition of the Cuba scene with the campus protest was
outstanding.  The man was too ornately verbose for his own good, and I
think he was trying too hard to cop a frenetic Beat style filled with
an overload of hip allusions. There were some very strong passages, but
if it didn't complement Pynchon's work so well as a depiction of the
period just prior to everything breaking loose, then I would have
omitted it. 


>>>Definitely concur that reading like a writer is a different
experience. It allows you to appreciate and analyze how books actually
work (or don't). (I appreciate this perspective in 'The Hippie
Narrative'.) 

Thanks.

>>Spoils you for bad writing though. It's like poison after
your eyes are open. 

I remember Ron Carlson made exactly this same point.  This is where
Frank Gaspar's suggestion to remember to read "evangelically" comes
into play.

>> And some writers/readers don't care. That's fine. I
only get upset when authors try to pass themselves off as literary
when they don't have the chops.

In a way this is not unlike the idea of someone being an "authentic
hippie."  What is it that makes a novel a work of literature that is
more than simply its subjective appeal.  Just as the "authentic hippie"
lives his or her ethos, there are elements of craft, effectively
executed, that "work" in the totality of the piece.  This is not
snobbish arrogance that elevates something to the status of literature,
but several definitive criteria, many of which I explore through these
works.

Maybe, another benefit of Been Down So Long is in how it forced me to
articulate its shortfalls and,in this backhanded way describe what an
effective work of literature should do.  

If I compare The Hippie Narrative to the Beatle's "Yesterday and
Today" album, then Been Down So Long is like Ringo singing "All You
Gotta Do Is Act Naturally" after Paul gives us "Yesterday."  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #86 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Fri 6 Apr 07 21:01
    
Hex mentioned Childhood's End, which sparked me to consider the role
of science fiction in hippie culture.  

Stranger in a Strange Land is not heavy on the sci-fi: for the sake of
the plot conceit, Michael Valentine Smith could've been raised by some
obscure legendary tribe like Tarzan or something just as well as
having been raised by Martians: the important thing was that he was an
outsider with advanced spiritual insight.  What in that book, I hazard,
the hippies responded to was the communal free-love & "Thou art God"
message, none of which was essentially
futuristic/scientific/extraterrestrial.

Slaughterhouse Five, which Scott also wrote about, isn't your average
sci-fi novel either, but there is that element of becoming "unstuck in
time," which certainly might've resonated with the psychedelic
experience of timelessness and disorientation from drug use (including
flashbacks, such as Billy Pilgrim had--even though his was WWII PTSD). 
Scott, I can't recall--did you make that connection in your chapter?

Are there other sci-fi novels that had an impact on hippies?  I would
imagine that the novels of Philip K. Dick, which often depict
disorienting shifts in time, dimension, or reality, would have had a
similar resonance, and Dick himself expeienced one of his visionary
break-throughs while on lysergic acid.

One of my professors who had been a hippie/acidhead told me that the
popular program to watch when he was in college was the old Star Trek
series.  I've been told that Kubrick's 2001 was a favourite to view
while tripping.  My personal psychedelic experiences included visions
of outer space (anybody else?), and some who have studied ayahuasca and
sacred mushrooms (Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, Terence McKenna, Jeremy
Narby) have discussed these substances in connection with
extraterrestrial intelligences. The hippie era was coeval with the
'Space Race,' which makes me curious about the hippie attitude toward
space exploration--was it all directed only toward INNER space?

Also, perhaps this query shouldn't be limited to sci-fi, but include
fantasy literature in general, as several hippies whom I've known have
mentioned Lord of the Rings as staple of the hippie library.  Why is
that?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #87 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 21:03
    
I agree, Diane.  Brautigan did have a real gift for the
juxtapositional narrative form.  Too bad about the drinking.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #88 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 21:21
    
Hi Robyn. You make several interesting suppositions. 

I have to confess a bias of never having been a Sci-Fi fan.  Vonnegut,
frankly, is the closest I get, and his Sci-Fi, as you point out,
transcends the genre.  Consequently, I recommend that someone write
Volume V, The Hippie Sci-Fi: An Inner-Terrestial Perspective on the
Counterculture.


>> there is that element of becoming "unstuck in
time," which certainly might've resonated with the psychedelic
experience of timelessness and disorientation from drug use (including
flashbacks, such as Billy Pilgrim had--even though his was WWII PTSD).
Scott, I can't recall--did you make that connection in your chapter?

I don't make this direct comparison for Billy Pilgrim, though it is a
good one, I think.  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #89 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Fri 6 Apr 07 22:00
    
-> Are there other sci-fi novels that had an impact on hippies?

-> curious about the hippie attitude toward space exploration--was it
-> all directed only toward INNER space?

Those are hard questions.  Remember there were thousands of hippies
and each one was an individual with their own history of reading and
thought.  It is kind of like asking what is the negro attitude toward
science fiction. 

Having said that, I will say that I read lots of science fiction and
it had a big effect on me in my teens.  It expanded my imagination
tremendously.  It was my great love.  I think of all of that sci fi and
then the psychedelics and then the eastern religion and mysticism as
being a progression of expanding my imagination.

I was very interested in space exploration and still am.  It was more
important then.  Remember we had just landed a man on the moon and the
whole country watched it on TV. 

That was true for me as one hippie.  I think it was true for lots of
others too, but we all would have either laughed or cringed if someone
had asked us if hippies liked science fiction.  

Sorry I don't mean to pick on you for asking that question or the way
you phrased it.  I think the thing that seems off kilter here is the
idea that a hippie was such a set type of person.  Some liked science
fiction and some didn't.  

I read lots of Ayn Rand in my early teens and was still thinking about
her as a hippie.  One of my best hippie friends was really into
Hemingway and got me started and I eventually read all of Hemingway's
stuff while I still would have been considered a hippie.  So you could
say some hippies were into Ayn Rand and Hemingway.  Others weren't.

I understand the thrust of your question.  Just keep in mind we were a
very diverse bunch.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #90 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Fri 6 Apr 07 22:02
    
I want to talk more about science fiction tomorrow.  I am tired now
and headed for bed.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #91 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 22:39
    
I think the decision to limit The Hippie Narrative to those works that
were written contemporaneous to the time period is to avoid exactly
what you are saying, Tom. 

If we include "Walden's Pond," then should we include "The Hobbit" and
what about "Doors of Perception" and "Childhood's End"?  

I do think there were commonalities in the types of books enjoyed by
the hippies, but, for me, the question narrowed into which literary
works produced DURING the time from 1962-1976 were genuine reflections
of its Zeitgeist.  

Then, what is it about these works that is distinctive to this time? 
How does this canon fit into a broader continuum of literary history? 
As genuine cultural production, what do these works tell us about that
culture--in this case the counterculture?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #92 of 349: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 6 Apr 07 22:50
    
Do you have thoughts on the relation of the narrative in underground 
comix to the literary mix of the time?   

Also -- speaking of fiction -- what about Carlos Castaneda?  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #93 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 22:56
    
>>from Tom:  the idea that a hippie was such a set type of person.

That was/is the beauty of a hippie gathering such as the Rainbow
Gathering or Burning Man.  Within a shared ethos of peace and
tolerance, the counterculture as a "culture" embodied a great range of
diversity--diversity of spiritual belief, ways of dress, eating, music,
partnering, expressiveness, etc. This certainly applied to literary
interest, too.  Yet, this said, it is also apropos to look for shared
values, beliefs, practices that define what it was/is about a hippie
(or counterculturalist) that sets him or her apart from the mainstream
culture and what unifies this separate identity.

Literature, when done well, allows the personal to become the
universal.  Divine Right/David Ray, in my estimation, was a consummate
hippie character in literature.  This is not to say that there wasn't a
spectrum of hippie characters quite unlike D.R., but that this cat was
very representative in the manner in which he engaged the larger
culture and his own counterculture.

Stereotyping is tricky turf, and so is cultural studies.    
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #94 of 349: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 7 Apr 07 05:39
    
Gail, I've been sitting here for twenty posts trying to remember that
guy's name. thanks.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #95 of 349: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Sat 7 Apr 07 07:17
    
>So you could say some hippies were into Ayn Rand and Hemingway. 
Others weren't.<

This and other posts got me to wondering is one of the limiting
aspects of the hippie or some other movements may be that of reaction
to perceived existing culture and, thus, dependent on it. Ayn Rand is
definitely a reaction. Not that reaction hasn't given us great things.

More truly detaching may be exemplified by groups such as the Amish
and other such, especially the long term durability while existing next
to regular culture. Not very productive of exciting new arts etc.
though.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #96 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 7 Apr 07 07:44
    
>>> from Gail :  Do you have thoughts on the relation of the narrative
in underground comix to the literary mix of the time?   

>> (and Sharon Lynne there pounding her brain):  Also -- speaking of
fiction -- what about Carlos Castaneda?

I'm really glad you brought up these examples.  This question of which
books made the cut for The Hippie Narrative, brings back the whole
process I went through simply to arrive at the focus of this book,
which I've discussed, but which bears elaboration. 

We've talked about Been Down So Long as barely making the cut.  There
was also a novel by Don DeLillo, the highly respected postmodern author
of White Noise, Libra, etc. that I eventually chose not to use.  In
the early '70s, he wrote a book called Great Jones Street about a
disaffected, Bob Dylanish rock superstar holed up in his Manhattan
loft.  The book didn't work mainly because the main character was
poorly rendered.  This rock star, I felt, was not Dionysian enough. 
Obviously, Delillo is a fine literary writer, but this book was weak,
weaker than Been Down So Long, in my estimation.

There are also, a great many books "about" being hippie such as "Wild
Child" about being the children of hippies, Paul Krassner's
"Confessions of Being a Raving, Unconfined Nut," Wavy Gravy's
"Something Good for a Change," or "Ringolevio" by Emmett Grogan.  I
went through a process that led me to focus on works I considered to be
important works of literature.  Though all were interesting, none of
these were innovative, trendsetting works of prose, but simply
interesting memoirs describing the era.

I mention Carlos Castaneda's first book Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of
Knowledge (1968) in the opening of my chapter on Siddhartha. This is
where I also menion Black Elk Speaks (1932), The Book of the Hopi
(1963), Silent Spring (1962), Future Shock (1970), and The Greening of
America (1970).  All of these books were, undeniably, important to the
changing ethos of the time.  Siddhartha, however, I included for both
its influence spiritually, and as a wonderful work of literature.  (I
think that deciding to focus on literature that warranted inclusion in
a literary canon of the counterculture helped make The Hippie Narrative
a more tenable project).

Gail, it's very telling that you remember Castaneda's book as fiction.
 This was part of its controversy.  Namely, Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of
Knowledge was written as the author's PhD dissertation in anthropology
at UCLA.  The veracity of Don Juan as a real shaman was later called
into question.  This called into question Castaneda's credibility as an
anthropologist.  

Maybe he didn't care as he continued to write this series of
top-selling, popular books.  As I recall, Half of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way
of Knowledge is composed from Castaneda's field notes, and half is
narrative.  The book certainly opened readers to new ways of "seeing,"
but as literature, I didn't find it particularly compelling. (Some of
this, again, is subjective).

More....        


  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #97 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 7 Apr 07 08:38
    
>>> from Gail :  Do you have thoughts on the relation of the narrative
in underground comix to the literary mix of the time?

When I was working on my critical paper, I actually wrote a short
section about R Crumb.  Comix provided a significant mode of
narrative/visual expression during the hippie era.  Again, the decision
to narrow my focus into a "literary perspective" caused me to omit
this. 

You can think of this as a DVD outcut of a Movie--with a cautionary
note for those who think the '60s should not be oversimplified. 
Crumb's narrative "strips" the whole period into one comix.  This is
what I wrote:



No comic book artist was more a part of the countercultural scene than
R. Crumb.  Even his exaggerated, "keep-on-trucking" style exhibited
fragmented, imagistic forms honed during the Beat Movement coupled with
the new found play-as-power whimsy of the burgeoning counterculture.  

Crumb was never afraid of self-deprecation as he routinely laughed at
himself through his wacked-out narrative art. Even though broken up
frame-by-comic-illustrated-frame, the seemingly disjointed narrative of
R. Crumb offers an internal rhyme scheme, poetic rhythm and a
satirical commentary on the counterculture of the late ‘60s in San
Francisco.  His work was often an example of how the culture of the
youth movement echoed back to itself the wildness, exhilaration and
dangers of rampant drug consumption. 

R. Crumb in 1982 even takes a reflective, autobiographical look at the
‘60s with his inimitable, don’t blink, satirical wit in his comic
strip titled, “Nostalgia Department – I Remember the Sixties, R. Crumb
Looks Back":

        “Is it a boy or is it a girl, Don’t trust anyone over thirty an’ like
that!, End the War, Pig, pig, pig, GrrrGrunt, What’s y’ badge number,
Peace, Acid? Speed? Lids?/ Ah the Sixties! I’ll never forget that
wonderful wacky decade! Those were the days my friend, we thought
they’d never end…/ I was still living in the “real” world, until one
day in 1965 I took LSD.  That’s when the ‘Sixties” really started for
Mr. Bob Crumb!/ Y’know, for our fathers it was World War Two, “The Big
One”… for “us” it was LSD and other such mind-altering substances… our
dads tell war stories… we tell LSD stories (guys who were in ‘Nam” tell
both!)!!!/ Everything was different after that… I took Dr. Tim’s
advice: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” I followed the herd of flower
children out to San Francisco!/ Those were the days, eh? Women were
“chicks” and still looked up to men for guidance and protection, but if
you want to know the truth, I like the ‘new woman’ much better/ I
spent the so-called ‘Summer of Love” sitting on Haight Street…/
Sometimes I hung out with my friends up on ‘Hippy Hill.”/ I was swept
up in the general idealism of the time. I believed that we were
creating a new world.  People would love one another and be kind and
have loose sex forever…/ I admit it, I too was obnoxious… I too had
contempt… I too was brought back to reality by the new feminist line/
And how about that Revolution we were so sure was just around the
corner/ But back then we wanted to break down all ‘law n’ order.’ We
hated all symbols of authority.  Anything associated with our parents
and their values was poison to us, and we expressed ourselves!/ But it
couldn’t last…/ The light-hearted days of the ‘flower-children’ began
to wain after the ‘Summer of Love’… the low-lifes and the greedy were
spreading ‘bad vibes.’  The scene was getting too ‘heavy’ for a lot of
people… gangs of outlaw bikers were taking over Haight Street…/ A
scruffier brand of hippies began to appear… their brand of hipness was
offensive to the refined sensibilities of those from more upper class
origins/ By 1969 a demon called paranoia stalked the Haight…the drugs
got harder and people were carrying guns…it was a grim fuckin’
spectacle…/ It was about 1969 and ’70 that the big wheel was spinning
too fast and people started flying apart in all directions…/…the wave
finally crashed on the beach/ I was a burn-out case for years… All the
LSD…All the dope…the craziness…My mind was shot/ But hell, I’m doing
better than some other Sixties casualties…some of them are still out
there on Haight Street… still doing all the drugs/ Some of them became
hopeless religious fanatics of one ‘cult’ or another… everyone a space
case…/ Others decided to cut out all this childish nonsense, dropped
back in and knuckled down… you see them now clawing their way to the
top, making bucks hand over fist, buying hot tubs: Good natured slob
who drinks too much: “haw! Hey, ‘member the time we all tried to go out
‘n’ live in the woods ova deh? ‘member, huh, do yuh? Huh? Do yuh?”;
Reformed hippie chick: “Mmyeah…heh, heh..but really, I can’t decide
whether to go with a money market fund or put my equity into more real
estate… interest rates being so damn high… well, I must be off,
dahling… got to see my accountant and… uh…let’s have lunch some…/ Still
others scattered to the hills in a “back-to-the-land” movement,
preserving intact the trappings of the hippy subculture, they took with
them.  It’s not a bad life for a lot of these hippy-billies./ Yeah but
who cares about the Sixties anymore, anyway? It’s all ancient history
by now… this is 1982…”
   
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #98 of 349: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sat 7 Apr 07 08:55
    
What a wonderful discussion!

Catching up a bit -- Scott, you're quite right that Kesey was not a Beat 
writer.  That's just a misconception spread by latter-day hippies who 
would also consider Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski Beat writers!
You may as well call Coltrane a "bebop musician."  (For what it's worth, 
Ginsberg didn't even consider *Ferlinghetti* a Beat writer.)

Re: Heinlein -- both David Crosby and Paul Kantner have talked to me at 
length about how influential _Stranger in a Strange Land_ was on their 
early ideas about communal living, open relationships, and so on.  (Maybe 
David Freiberg <freemountain> could chime in here, since he lived in those 
early proto-communes with those guys.)  In a way, hippie = beat + science 
fiction.  :)
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #99 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 7 Apr 07 09:20
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #100 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Sat 7 Apr 07 09:22
    
I guess it shows from some of my posts that I am uncomfortable with
the word "hippie".  I think of it as a label for too big a group. 
However that is probably true of words in general.  In the poetry
conference we were talking about the definition of the word "poem". 
Just where do you the draw the line and say this is or is not poetry or
prose.  Someone posted the following which I really like:

"The proper meaning of a word (I speak not of technical terms, which
kindly godparents furnish soon after birth with neat and tidy
defintions, but of words in a living language) is never something upon
which the word sits perched like a gull on a stone; it is something
over which the word hovers like a gull over a ship's stern. Trying to
fix the proper meaning in our minds is like coaxing the gull to settle
in the rigging, with the rule that the gull must be alive when it
settles; one must not shoot it and tie it there."

 - R.G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art
                 
  

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