The Death of Hippie
You know, for some of us hippie never left. Though, truth be told, I scorned hippies---they were unwashed and simplistic and irresponsible and high all the time, and I disliked all those attributes. I often describe myself as a hippie chick because it's an easy shorthand to the ethos of those times, and such a self-description sets me well and safely apart from the straights. But in actual truth I was no more a young hippie than I was a Young Republican.
How could I have been? I had college loans I was faithfully paying back and I was writing in and running a magazine at the age of 22. I was a warrior against oppression---the Church, the government, convention---from the minute I figured out what I could constructively do with my bottomless wrath: hippies were never angry, they were (a), too stoned, and (b), too stupid. I never rolled out to the Haight to sleep barefoot and grimy on the street or Earth-Mother it up in some Marin commune or seek my meals from the Diggers, and frankly, I had nothing but contempt for those who did.
I thought they were lightweight grasshoppers with no "bottom" to them, to use a nautical term. People who thought that everything should be free---pads, music, love---and that there would never be a bill for any of it. Or that they'd never have to get a job because someone else would always take care of them.
Not that I was a diligent humorless no-fun ant, but I did have some very definite ideas on how I wanted my life to go and how I wanted to live it with fitness and honor, and the hippie way wasn't it.
They had a few good ideas, the hippies did, but not the foggiest notion of how to implement them---the ones who actually did weren't hippies at all---and for that we are today paying the very, very steep price. The fellow college students we couldn't stand then and did all we could to distance ourselves from are the ones running the country today. And it's our fault, the fault of the hippies and the freaks and the straights alike, that they are.
But I did wear a kurta top and jeans to work the other day with an armful of bracelets. Diamond bracelets. Not unlike some of the ones the Times had pictures of. Told you I'm not a real hippie...though I do still harbor hopes of hip.