inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #276 of 349: Michael Zentner (mz) Tue 17 Apr 07 10:03
    
Right, I was talking more off point about the 60's in general.

Stoopid hippies.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #277 of 349: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 17 Apr 07 10:24
    

As an aside, I'd like to recommend another book read here a while ago. 
Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure, by Carol Brightman...

That book is a story of the Dead and deadheads by the sister of 
an insider, who was herself a political radical and not a hippie chick 
during that era.  It's an excellent read because of the honest, nuanced 
comparisons of those sides of the era and so it offers insight into 
how people chose their paths and manifested their identities.  If 
you are not logged in, check out 
<http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/29/Carol-Brightman-page01.html> 
and if you are, see <inkwell.vue.29>
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #278 of 349: Cogito, Ergo Dubito (robertflink) Tue 17 Apr 07 10:41
    
"Dubya, Rummie and Tricky Dick Cheney" will pass away but questions
will never pass away. 

I don't see how the stupidity (or hubris) of the present validates
some past time. At best we might conclude "not as stupid (arrogant)". 

 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #279 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 10:51
    
That's right Rik.  There were none of those friggin' longhaired kids
fightin' and dyin' in 'Nam.  I seen the pictures.

And to Michael's point: I think this is where a book like
Slaughterhouse Five was part of the social cauldron that helped the
protest movement (which very much included hippies) broaden its antiwar
convictions into the mainstream. It spoke compellingly about the
senseless US bombing of Dresden in WWII in a way that was easily
applied to Vietnam. In this way Vonnegut became a voice of the
counterculture and to a mainstream wearying of a war that wouldn't end.
 As a widely read work of literature, S-5 played a small incremental
role in fueling the critical mass of opposition that was needed to stop
the war.

In most countries of the world, when the prevailing power screws up at
the human exploits of war, the leadership goes down in a coup d etat
or are swallowed by the opposition, or in the case of France which
preceded the U.S. in Vietnam, they simply tuck the imperialist tail
between the legs and slink back home.     
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #280 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 10:56
    
>> from Gail:  Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead's American Adventure, by
Carol Brightman

I concur. This is an excellent sociological study about the Dead and
the hippie era.  I read it a few years ago. I think she also makes the
distinction between the more Dionysian and mystical hippies and the
more politically activist members of the counterculture. 

Thanks. 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #281 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 11:14
    
>> from Robert:  I don't see how the stupidity (or hubris) of the
present validates some past time.

I don't see how these three men who came of age at this very
significant time of our past are so stupid as to not learn at least the
most fundamental lesson of the Vietnam era.  No matter what one's
political leanings, as a basic pragmatic question related to the
expenditure of military capability, the lesson is simply that it is
far, far easier to start a war than to get out of one.

This is only the tip of the iceberg on this rankling subject. 

I'm not sure who said it, but unless we understand our history we are
destined to repeat its mistakes:  

In 1921 Senator William Borah of Idaho, while pressing for a
disarmament accord, described the “fetish of force” as:

the most hoary-headed lie––proved false a thousand times––that great
armies and great navies are assurances of peace.  It ought no longer to
vex the ears of the people, or disgrace the lips of leaders.  Armies
and navies are incitements to war; are in fact, if we judge the future
by the past, assurances of war.


Just as America needs to confront its "fetish of force," there is a
place for the peace & love ethos of the '60s and '70s in our present
political scenario. It is validated by this heinous mess in Iraq.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #282 of 349: Michael Zentner (mz) Tue 17 Apr 07 11:22
    
>>> It spoke compellingly about the
senseless US bombing of Dresden in WWII in a way that was easily
applied to Vietnam.

It certainly did that for me. The kicker there was that the guys who
carried that and other war necessitated idiocies out were the fathers
of the kids serving in Vietnam. 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #283 of 349: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 17 Apr 07 12:46
    

To be honest, Scott, the whole postmodern literary discussion can get very
confusing to most people, yet you've tried to show in "The Hippie
Narrative" how postmodernism got some of its influences from the works
of literature that you focus on. However, by your closing chapter you've
been building a case that seems to challenge postmodern literary theory?  
How are these hippie narratives both an influence on postmodern literature 
and an example of how postmodern theory is somehow lacking?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #284 of 349: John Ross (johnross) Tue 17 Apr 07 13:05
    
Was Slaughterhouse-5 more important as an antiwar novel in its time than
earlier books such as "All Quiet on the Western Front" or "Johnny Got His
Gun" to theirs?

This is not to take away from its significance as part of the Hippie
Narrative, but it's not as if Vonnegut invented the form.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #285 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 13:50
    
>> it's not as if Vonnegut invented the form.

I was speaking of S-5 in the context of its not insignificant
influence in 1969 America.  I can't comment on the degree of its
influence compared to the earlier books you name.  The antiwar theme of
S-5 was by no means new, but structurally this work was a very
innovative departure from the traditional form in the ways I talked
about earlier.

It was interesting how twenty-four years after the fact, S-5 brought
to light this specific WWII atrocity when most everything about that
war had been presented so favorably. This was part of the book's
impact.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #286 of 349: Michael Zentner (mz) Tue 17 Apr 07 14:00
    
Exactly. Greatest Generation and all that.

Same bunch that got us into Vietnam as a matter of fact. Oops!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #287 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Tue 17 Apr 07 14:51
    
Whereas Johnny Got His Gun, Catch-22, All's Quiet and the other
'anti-war' novels focused on the war time experience, S-5 dealt
primarily with the after effects--being haunted by this traumatic
experience to the point where it felt like becoming unstuck in time,
and ultimately being carried away by an extreme need to escape--as far
as Trafalmadore if need be.  (Note, however, that Billy Pilgrim is both
a captive by the Germans AND the Trafalmadorians).  The hippies on the
homefront weren't directly familiar with being in the THICK of the war
experience, but they were seeing the after effects in those who came
back--so perhaps that's why this PARTICULAR anti-war novel had such
relevance.  

And doubtless the horrors witnessed by the WWII vets Vonnegut & Mailer
were what prompted their respective literary statements against the
war in the Vietnam--the only overtly anti-war books included in Scott's
canon.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #288 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Tue 17 Apr 07 14:59
    
It is interesting that those authors in Scott's canon who experimented
with drugs were not NECESSARILY the ones who wrote in the
'post-modern' style.  Kesey's narratives are relatively
straight-forward, as are Robbins'.  However, it may also be observed
that the post-modern texts ARE by authors who experimented (Brautigan,
Thomspson, presumably Pynchon--his description of an acid trip exhibits
some verisimilitude).  Perhaps the aspect of hallucinogens distancing
one from 'reality' had some precipitatory effect in culturing the
hyper-reality of postmodernism...?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #289 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Tue 17 Apr 07 15:09
    
Scott has done a service, I think, in identifying a hippie canon, if
not the complete canon, & I wonder about the possible ways in which
this might effect the future scope and trajectory of literary
criticism, as well as of future literature itself.  What roles might
this canon and the discussion about it play in terms of the broader
picture?  Any thoughts from Scott or others?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #290 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 16:40
    
>>> from Cynthia:  by your closing chapter you've been building a case
that seems to challenge postmodern literary theory?  How are these
hippie narratives both an influence on postmodern literature and an
example of how postmodern theory is somehow lacking?

Again, The Hippie Narrative is foremost a literary study with the
cultural history of the period as an outgrowth. These questions that
Robyn and Cynthia ask are what drive the book.

My approach to literary criticism is constructivist, or based on how I
viewed the way the author crafted and formed the story.  As such, it
is more nuts and bolts than discursive in the manner of postmodern
literary theorizing. In the same way that a psychoanalytical analysis
of a text, a neo-Marxist interpretation, or a feminist critique offer
different lenses on the same story, a constructivist approach does not
negate these other analyses, but tries to put the reader of The Hippie
Narrative closer to the author of the story.

A fundamental difference between constructivism and postmodern
deconstructivism is in how meaning is derived.  Deconstructivists
suggest that meaning stems from the play of signifiers.  A word is the
signifying unit upon which text is built.  

By comparison, this constructivist approach, without arguing
poststructural notions of what is or is not real or objective, looks to
the dramatic whole of a work as the unit from which meaning is
derived.  Of course there is le mot/the perfect word/the signifier as
the initial building block with which writers write, but the
"electricity" Tom Wolfe spoke of, derives foremost from the whole of
the story.

In college English departments there is usually a chasm between
creative writing and literary criticism.  This is due, in part, because
creative writing instructors eschew the idea of theory.  Yet when one
reads The Art of Fiction by John Gardner he talks about the traditional
narrative arc, the energeic form as being the "trunk of the science." 
Along with energeia––the actualization of potential in character and
situation, he also describes profluence, or the aspects of craft which
keep a story moving forward.

My analysis of these hippie narratives was built on what I present as
the theory at the heart of creative writing.  Namely, the traditional
narrative––the trunk of the science––is one where the energeics are
embedded in the profluence of the prose.

Whereas postmodern theory gets itself embroiled in preferences for the
petit recit (or the small narrative) over the grand narrative (with
its Eurocentric and masculine bias), or for juxtapositional irony over
the traditional narrative arc, by comparison, I argue that the trunk of
the science––energeics embedded in profluent prose––is value neutral. 

Specifically, Trout Fishing in America is seminally postmodern with
its vignettes (or petit recits) that are ironically juxtaposed.  Divine
Right's Trip adheres closely to the trunk of the science as I've
described it.  I argue that both are wonderfully successful literary
renderings.

So, in brief, constructivism is a different way of critiquing text
than poststructuralism.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #291 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 16:41
    
>>> from Robyn:   What roles might this canon and the discussion about
it play in terms of the broader picture?  

The value of the hippie narratives is threefold.  

First, the array of literary forms represented in The Hippie Narrative
emulate the experimentation and openness of the time period and
demonstrate that, whether energeic or juxtapostitional, one form is not
inherently superior literature as the postmodern biases seem to
suggest.  

Secondly, as literary history, these 15 works, though not
comprehensive, track the evolution of late modernism to postmodernism,
but in a way that discounts any idea that traditional narrative was
ever abandoned.  It remained the dominant form, especially through the
burgeoning of creative nonfiction.  

Third, in terms of the era's cultural history, these hippie
narratives, while better delineating the parameters of postmodern
literature, show how postmodern culture, rather than the alternative
society that so many dreamed of in the '60s and '70s, became the
synthesis in the dialectic or battle of the mainstream culture and its
counterculture.           
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #292 of 349: Cynthia D-B (peoples) Tue 17 Apr 07 17:05
    

You touched on this during our Inkwell conversation, but after nearly
two weeks of discussion, have your thoughts changed on which books you
might delete and what titles you might now include in the event that
"The Hippie Narrative" were given a second edition?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #293 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Tue 17 Apr 07 18:17
    
>> which books you might delete and what titles you might now include
in the event that "The Hippie Narrative" were given a second edition

I remember hearing about an interview where someone asked Toni
Morrison if she ever re-read her novels.  Toni said that she didn't
because it would drive her crazy to find changes she couldn't make.

All-in-all, I think The Hippie Narrative offers a solid grouping based
on the criteria I established for myself (see the bottom of post# 4). 
As I mentioned, I would likely revisit whether or not to include Been
Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Farina.  The finale of
the book is excellent, but until then it could be a painful read at
times.

For comix relief (or Intermission between Act II and Act III), if R.
Crumb's estate would allow, I would love to include the section I
posted above that gives what I am sure is the most succinctly accurate
history of the hippie that has ever been written.

Also, I would re-read Carlos Castaneda's Trilogy to consider including
those works.  I remember being an anthropology undergrad in the late
'70s when a professor from UCLA visited.  I think her tone and complete
disregard for the integrity of this man influenced my decision not to
revisit his Don Juan stories for this compilation.

There is no question that Carlos Castaneda's works during the late
period of the counterculture opened many people's eyes to Shamanism and
the mystical realms.  His, in many ways, was a North American
aboriginal version of Siddhartha's quest on the Indian subcontinent.

Will literary historians be willing to revisit these purported works
of non-fiction, a distinction put forth by the author himself, and
instead judge the merits of these books as fiction.

We saw the drug-addled blurring of fiction and nonfiction in Fear &
Loathing in Las Vegas.  Why should it matter that Castaneda duped the
UCLA establishment by claiming Don Juan as a legitimate flesh and blood
subject for his anthropological field study?  If the writing is
compelling enough and evocative enough to be considered literary, then
isn't this enough? We're talking about the blurring of what is real and
illusory anyway with this Don Juan cat, so what does it matter?  

As long as it sells, as long as it sets the stage for all those
purportedly non-fiction works such as James Frey's book, then is all
well in publishing land.  

Somewhere between Fiction and Creative Nonfiction will a hybrid genre
emerge? Yet, maybe Castaneda's work is as distinctly American as Mark
Twain's––certainly it's more Native American.  Maybe the hybrid has
long existed.  After all, isn't Don Juan simply part of that most
American of all genres called the Tall Tale?

For now, Siddhartha will have to suffice for my canonized work of
hippie narrative that embodies the seeker's quest into mystical realms.

Finally, I'm hoping Gail can help unearth a lost classic of hippie
literature written in the late 60's or early 70's by a woman.   
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #294 of 349: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 17 Apr 07 18:22
    
Cathy and the Beautiful People? :)
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #295 of 349: Cynthia D-B (peoples) Wed 18 Apr 07 06:34
    

>  Finally, I'm hoping Gail can help unearth a lost classic of hippie
>  literature written in the late 60's or early 70's by a woman.

I hope so too. I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with novels
written by women around that era that had a big impact on me and/or my
friends. So far, no luck.




Scott, you've spent several years of your life focused on the literature
that formed the hippie canon, first during your studies for your Master's
and then as you expanded on the idea for your book, "The Hippie Narrative."

I can tell that you've found the material you covered richly rewarding.
I wonder, though, if you're now looking toward a different avenue of
exploration. Is there another unmined era of literary treasures that you are
hoping to delve into? Do you have plans for another book? Are you already
working on one?

What's next for you, Scott?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #296 of 349: Gary Lambert (almanac) Wed 18 Apr 07 07:29
    

I don't think that anyone would mistake it for a "lost classic," but
Yippie co-founder Anita Hoffman, Abbie's then-spouse, wrote (under the
pseudonym "Ann Fettamen") a pretty funny novel called "Trashing," which
was an account of life in the revolutionary underground as a kind of
potboiler-romance parody.

And I wouldn't exactly call it "hippie literature," but some of Grace
Paley's stories feature characters and situations associated with the
counterculture. "Faith In A Tree" from "Enormous Changes at the Last
Minute" springs to mind first.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #297 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 18 Apr 07 08:07
    
Before I answer Cynthia's last question, I want to sincerely thank
everyone who has taken the time to make this a fascinating two weeks of
discussion.  

Foremost, I would like to thank Cynthia for, not only hosting the
discussion, but for all the behind-the-scenes work in making this
conversation run smoothly.

I'm pleased that these works of literature inspire such an array of
discourse.

Thanks again to all for a rich and meandering two weeks!!  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #298 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 18 Apr 07 08:41
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #299 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 18 Apr 07 08:49
    
>>> I wonder, though, if you're now looking toward a different avenue
of exploration. Is there another unmined era of literary treasures that
you are hoping to delve into? Do you have plans for another book? Are
you already working on one?


Actually, I have been so pleased to discover The Well and the quality
of discussion here that my next book involves an open invitation.  I
have been asked to edit a book that delves into the hippie epoch.  It
will be scholarly, but with chapters written by those who can offer a
"being-within" perspective on some aspect of the era.

For example, I would love to have Gail write a chapter on the women
writers who most influenced the hippie era. Or, expanding on what she
called a "rant," I would welcome Cynthia to write a chapter on being an
athiest hippie when so many people associate the hippies with
spiritual quests.  I enjoyed Rik's post on discovering in 1965 and 1966
that he belonged to a "tribe" of sorts. Perhaps this retrospective
could be expanded. Maybe David Gans could write a chapter on what's
become of the Deadhead scene since the passing of Jerry Garcia.  In
sum, I think this could be a fascinating compendium. 

Similar to how the different works of literature from the hippie era
created a larger gestalt, I hope this collection of perspectives will
provide a thoughtful and provocative re-examination of the hippie
phenomenon as a whole.  Unfortunately, as an academic publication,
there is no pay for the contributors, but, of course, each contributor
will receive a copy of the book.  Maybe a chapter here might lead to a
full book for that writer.  I also think there is intrinsic reward in
helping shape how our own culture, the history of the hippie
counterculture, is portrayed.  

So if anyone in The Well has an interest in contributing a chapter on
either a unique retrospective slice of hippie life, a fresh analysis of
some aspect of the counterculture, or distinct ways in which
mainstream culture has been or is still influenced by the hippie
counterculture (attitudes toward peace, healthier eating, informalized
attitudes, music, etc.), then please e-mail me your proposal or
thoughts at the address I have posted in TheWell.com.

Again, I very much enjoyed my time on Inkwell.vue and look forward to
continued great conversation in TheWell.com.


Thanks to all!

Scott MacFarlane
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #300 of 349: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 18 Apr 07 10:13
    

> I would like to thank Cynthia for, not only hosting the
>  discussion, but for all the behind-the-scenes work

And thank *you*, Scott, for making it so easy! It's been a conversational
treat, both here in Inkwell in our our behind-the-scenes planning sessions.

I was startled to realize this morning that we've been talking now for two
whole weeks. It's just gone by in blink, ya know? I'm afraid I have some
pressing obligations I have to turn my attention to, so I won't be able
to talk with you further at the moment. However, if you're able to
stick around here in Inkwell, Scott, you're more than welcome to do so.
The topic will remain open for further comments and queries indefinitely,
so if others want to keep going, that'd be great!

Good luck with your new book idea, Scott! You just may round up some
wonderful writers from among the participants here.
  

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