Last week a blogger, who goes by the name Doug J, created a link from his home blog Balloon Juice to our home blog Changing Aging.
As a result, we experienced a fun influx of new readers and they left some pretty interesting comments. I thought that I would highlight some of these comments because they help show how comments extend, deepen and enrich the blog experience.
We will start with a link to the orginal post. A Salute to the Hippies
Here is a link to Balloon Juice.
Commenter Jeff Blanks writes…
I guess it depends on what you mean by “adulthood”. The hippies rejected conventional adulthood (in the sense of a mere socio-cultural role and a set of behavioral expectations and signifiers), but the message people got was that they were rejecting maturity. People also got the sense (still prevalent today) that the hippies were simply in denial about aging. I can’t help but think these people were missing the point; I’m one of those who believe that a youthful attitude really does keep you young in the best sense, both physically (if you take care of yourself) and mentally. (Unfortunately, one pitfall of this approach is that you don’t take care of yourself and actually end up wearing yourself out early.)
In fact, in the wake of the ’60s pretty much our whole culture has become, to some extent unconsciously, about hippie-bashing. With punk and Gen-X (and any discussion of the hippies should address punk), even counterculture started to acquire some reactionary characteristics; in fact today’s hipsters are essentially neo-beatniks, not neo-hippies, the idea being that beatniks are somehow more credible because they came first, which is by definition a conservative way of looking at things. (And after all, it’s important to note that the roots of the hippie movement go deeper than lots of people imagine.) The idea that hippie-bashing is the preferred way to establish your bona fides as a rebellious, independent thinker is just one of those things that “everybody knows”.
The question now is, “How do we rescue the dream, or at least hand it off, before it really is too late?” It may not be as hard as we imagine; I actually think lots of the resentment toward hippies is born of disappointment, because deep down lots of people wanted them to succeed (whatever that might mean)–it’s just not safe to admit such a thing, so out come the Freudian defense mechanisms. But if we make it safe, who knows?
Commenter Judith Shapiro responds…
Jeff, your response is “right on”. We weren’t actively avoiding adulthood, just redefining it. The song from Peter Pan, “I Won’t Grow Up” comes to mind, in which characteristics of adulthood are clearly defined and unpalatable. Check out some of the lyrics: I won’t grow up, I don’t want to go to school. Just to learn to be a parrot, and recite a silly rule. If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. I won’t grow up. I don’t want to wear a tie, or a serious expression in the middle of July. And if it means I must prepare to shoulder burdens with a worried air, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up.
The Peter-Pan hippie in many of us endured as we did, in fact, grow up. But many had learned that growing up doesn’t have to mean sending our kids to school, or wearing a tie, or demonstrating our maturity by sporting a worried air.
And one more thing comes to mind that I think Hippies knew: Anything is possible.
When I first heard the term “hippie-punching” over at Digby’s Hullabaloo I felt a jolt of fear. Back in the volatile summer of ’68 I’d been a longhair foolish enough to go to Southern Missouri. I was leaving a roadhouse late one night when a bunch of guys ran out –‘Dirty Hippies!”and got in their trucks to follow us. If they’d caught us it might have been worse than punching.
Read the whole thing HERE it really is excellent
Commenter Nellcote goes there with a link that makes a provacative argument about the enduring influence of the Hippie movement. Read it HERE