Then I had an epiphany. Maybe not much of an epiphany, and maybe no surprise to anyone but me - but I realized that Menopausal Stoners are Hippies. It's a State of Mind not a Demographic. That's what Hunga Dunga Phil was saying when he left this comment on a post I had written about The War (Not in Our Name). I could have sworn Phil said something to me about age/demographics - but it must have been in the comments over at World Wide Hippies since I can't find it right now. I can find the article where he clearly defines the difference between Hippies and Baby Boomers: Life's Exit Ramp - Boomer or Hippie. Phil says:
. . . to be a ‘hippie’ is to have a set of cultural attributes and values that include love, peace, a strong belief in social, economic and political justice for all, and a profound respect for the earth. By that definition, to be a hippie is to be unconstrained by a specific span of time.Some Original Hippies think Hippies scattered to the winds when the Sixties died and that as the Hippies get old and die themselves, Hippies become extinct. Well, at least that's what Woody thinks and he is an Original Hippie. I may not be presenting his point of view accurately since he and I often slide quickly between topics, but Woody seems to believe Hippies were a specific group of people confined to a specific place and time. I've looked at Hippies that way, too - as a point on a time line - which is why I wondered where Menopausal Stoners would fall on that same time line, demographically speaking.
The Hippie Movement is not a thing of the past, however. The Hippie Movement simply got buried under the same load of shit that trickled down on all of us on account of Reaganomics.
During my epiphany, I imagined a bunch of Hippies crawling out from under Reagan's legacy, dusting themselves off, stretching and getting ready to Dance - but not just old hippies like Woody. All kinds of people are Hippies now. The Age of Aquarius dawned forty years ago, after all. The Old Order rapidly reasserted itself - because that's the nature of things - but that doesn't mean the Hippie Movement was Dead. Buried? Yes. Depressed? Definitely. But not Dead. Furthermore, there were those of us who were directly touched by the actions of the Original Hippies. We, their younger sibs. Hippie Values live inside us - just as they remain alive in the Original Hippies - and we've all influenced the people around us.
That's when Woody called and started grousing about The Rally to Restore Sanity being a piece of corporate sponsored shit. I don't agree. The Rally was certainly a commercial event, and the show itself reminded me of a skit we saw up at the Hippie Dippy Quaker camp where Velvet spent many, many summers - which was all about supporting independent media in the face of Corporate Control. However, the Rally was an excellent way to show today's very comfortable "slacktivists" that descending on the Mall in Washington DC can be safe and fun. You have to admit that if you grew up with visions of Kent State and Birmingham in your head, you might be reluctant to march in the streets.
The 18 - 40 year olds (that's a demographic) at the rally may have learned about Kent State in history class (probably not, though) and Ronald Reagan is just another dead president to them. This group is the product of an Education system determined to kill the ability to connect the dots. They are also the product of a consumer culture gone wild - a society that never connected the dots between their gas guzzling SUVs, dependence on fossil fuels and the war in Iraq. Like their gas hogs are basically tossing hand grenades at the very soldiers they claim to support.
Even dedicated Progressives in this demographic aren't going to descend on Washington except for a Corporate sponsored event with Celebrities and Merchandise - and the chance to post their pictures on Facebook. Life is too cushy and comfortable, and demonstrations are not trendy. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert drew a crowd of concerned, if comfortably complacent, citizens to the Mall for intellectual fellowship and an introduction to Connecting the Dots. Maybe it wasn't political activism, but activism is scary. I'm scared of it - and Woody still has scars from his days as a Peace Activist during the Vietnam War.
I went to sleep thinking about Being the Change and woke up thinking about the Mandelbrot set. It's that never ending pattern - the one you continue to find no matter how far we look outward or how deeply we look inward.
In humanity's case, the pattern seems to be that Wealthy Rulers rape, pillage, plunder and oppress the rest of us, and every so often the Peasants revolt. Society evolves into something a bit more human, and then the Rulers go back to raping, pillaging and oppressing the rest of us. And so it goes. Each time we peasants revolt, we make a little progress. Maybe that's why they call us Progressives.
There is more to being a Hippie than being Progressive, however, and I'm fixing to dive in and discover all those differences for myself. I wonder if taking the Hippie plunge is sort of like being dunked by holy rollers so that you come out a Born Again Hippie. I may get a chance to find out for myself this weekend. I'm heading up to Tree Hugger to visit Velvet and if I drive just a bit farther west on Rt 17 than usual, I'll wind up at World Wide Hippies Headquarters where I can meet Mr. Joseph McEvoy, one of the founders.
This Joint Venture seems to be coming in the nick of time, too. The election results suggest that it's time to solidify the Rebel Alliance. In this Culture War, I intend to bring everyone Greetings from the Resistance.