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inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #26 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Wed 4 Apr 07 20:03
    
Scott, I think you really hit upon the key difference of hippies from
beats, in pointing out the "collectivist idealism."  Whereas the Beats
seemed clique-ish and malfloralist (to coin a term derived from
Baudelaire), there really was a kind of hippie "nation," a fraternal
consciousness of WE (humanity), and an optimist idealism that none of
our subsequent countercultural movements (punk, slacker, grunge,
hacker, etc.) have exemplified.  

And yet most of the novels that you examined, focusing as they did
primarily on individual protagonists & their quests & crises, did not
evoke that sense of utopian tribalism so well as, arguably, Mailer's
broader sociological study in Armies of the Night. 

You point out in your book that most of the authors of these works
were actually from a generation or two before most hippies--do you
suppose that is why that sense of belonging to a tribe with a
collective mission isn't the main thrust of these novels?  Or is it
endemic to a successful novelistic narrative to emphasize what is
distinctive between characters over what unites them?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #27 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 4 Apr 07 20:22
    
Hi Steve.  Great comments on Kerouac. I am pleased you're both reading
and enjoying The Hippie Narrative!

Regarding The Dharma Bums, as you know, it ends on Desolation Peak in
the North Cascades above the little town of Marblemount in the upper
Skagit River Valley.  Currently, I live downstream from there, up the
hill from where Captain Kendrick’s Memorial Hot Dog Wildlife Preserve
and Roadside Attraction is supposed to be.  

As an anecdote, on St. Patrick's Day last month, I went to a pizza
place near Marblemount to hear Roger and Celeste play fiddle and
guitar.  I hadn't seen them for 15 years. Roger was a founder of the
short-lived Three Lights Commune in Marblemount in 1970 or so.  I met
them when I was still in college in Seattle when we shared a house. 
Their baby, Noah Star, was 6 months old and our son was 12 months old.

At their St. Paddy's gig, I brought them a copy of The Hippie
Narrative, blaming them in no small measure for those cross country and
other hippie adventures we had after sharing that house.  Roger &
Celeste looked straitlaced enough, but their fine son, Noah Star, is
now 28, longhaired and a member of U.S.E., a Seattle band that is quite
popular these days in Japan for its accessible techno-fusion dance
sound.

(But I digress with this cook up of nostalgic mush).

As for a list of films, I didn't have anything like that in mind,
except to compare the movie and literature versions of Cuckoo's Nest,
Great Notion, Slaughterhouse Five and Even Cowgirls. Mostly, I ignored
the film adaptations and concentrated on how these narrative were
rendered as literature.  However, as this Inkwell conversation unfolds,
I can see we have the makings of an encyclopedic set.  Volume IV- The
Hippie Film: A Celluloid Perspective on the Counterculture. 

(How much of this floating zendo Hippie Perspective talk will the
world be able to handle from the land of aging Bodhisattvas?!!?)    
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #28 of 349: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 4 Apr 07 21:07
    
But all bodhisattvas are aging?  Hi!  I have a bunch of thoughts, 
mostly orthagonal to the conversation, so I'll hold for a bit except 
to say I love when Inkwell conversations trigger so many 
interesting comments.  If you come up with plans for a sequel from 
an Inkwell converation you will not be the first! 

One aside: For anyone interested in some reflections on the idea 
of Hippie from ten years ago here on The WELL, here's a archived 
discussion from people of mixed ages and involvements, with some 
movie refs and personal stories that shows how drifty and 
collage-like discussions can get around here.  (anyone logged in 
click on <boomers.old.217> and check it out for some interesting 
thoughts on movies, marketing and the truely hip.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #29 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 4 Apr 07 21:23
    
Hi Robyn.  I think the depiction of a collectivist idealism does
manifest itself in several of these books. Actually, in Armies of the
Night, Mailer's climactic depiction of the symbolic army of protesters
being bludgeoned in the night--especially, the singling out of the
women by the real Army--is a statement of outrage, not idealism, even
though at another point in the book Mailer, cautiously, is going to put
his faith in those "villains, that are the hippies."

The allure of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I think, had as much to
do with Wolfe's portrayal of the tribal configuration of this wild,
new lifestyle being adopted by Kesey and the Pranksters, as it did with
the LSD. For me, the most fascinating part of this book was the degree
to which the Pranksters melded with one another in a heightened state
of collective intersubjectivity. Was it just illusory? or was it a true
group transcendence of individual egos into a sort of tribal state of
"kairos," as Wolfe called it?

Divine Right's Trip not only shows the collectivist instincts of the
hippie scene, but takes it a step further when Gurney Norman has D.R.
and Estelle needing to integrate their idealism and dreams into a
longstanding community populated by the everyday, usually god-fearing,
occasionally moonshine-drinking folks in the Cumberland Mtns of
Kentucky.  The collectivism portrayed here was not that of an insular
commune that shuts out the surrounding community, but a realizable
idealism that allowed this young hippie couple to find a wholesome
place for themselves in this traditional community.

Finally, both of Tom Robbins' works have a communal texture. His
roadside attraction is exactly that, a collectivist gathering place
that, like a magnet, draws people to it.  Amanda, similarly, has an
enlightened, sensual energy that draws people to her.  

In Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976), the all-woman commune
faces--comically--most all the same challenges that the prototypical
hippie commune faced just a few years earlier. Their idealism and
collectivism was severely challenged by a society that is sometimes
paranoid in its policing tactics and favors privatized living that is
fueled by individual consumerism.  And, not to mention the challenges
of an internal group dynamic, how does any idealistic commune facing
such external pressures survive?  Robbins' book thrives on all the
absurdist/collectivist conflict manifested in such a setting.

I don't think that the age of the authors born in the mid-1930s, which
is most of them in The Hippie Narrative, is an issue.  To be about
thirty in 1967 is to not be an old fogey, but still to have had enough
perspective and life experience to write about this tumultuous time
better than, say, a 17 year-old flowerchild/streetkid trying to eek out
his or her survival on the sidewalks of Haight Street.  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #30 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Wed 4 Apr 07 21:33
    
Welcome, Gail. Orthagonal can be good so long as it doesn't cause our
minds to turn to cooked mush. 

Also, thanks for pointing out the Hippie discussion archive in The
Well.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #31 of 349: Dan Levy (danlevy) Thu 5 Apr 07 05:05
    

Scott, what is the method of purchasing your book that will land the 
most bucks in your pocket?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #32 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 08:52
    
Hi Dan.  The best question, yet.  Send me one of those credit card
checks that you've signed, let me know how much your credit limit is,
and I will fill in the amount and send you a signed copy.

Actually, Amazon.com is the best way to buy the book since they won't
charge you postage, and you will receive it fastest.  Thanks for
asking.      
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #33 of 349: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 5 Apr 07 09:06
    

Inkwell's front page -- http://www.well.com/inkwell -- currently has a link
directly to "The Hippie Narrative" at Amazon.com, by the way.





Scott, you presented "The Hippie Narrative" in a three-part form that you
called "acts."

You titled Act I, which covered the early '60s, Narrative Foreplay. You 
then moved on to Narrative Interplay for the burgeoning counterculture of 
the late '60s in Act II, Narrative Afterplay for the early '70s in 
Act III, and finally, "Postmodernism Reconstructed" as your denouement.

Why the sexual implications as you structured "The Hippie Narrative" in 
this way?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #34 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 09:50
    
Hi Cynthia.  A pet thesis that I have, not only for "The Hippie
Narrative" but for the novel I just completed, is the idea that the
hippie counterculture and the outburst of Psychedelia from 1967-1972
represent the greatest Bacchanalia that the world has ever witnessed.  


The best metaphor I could think of to do justice to this concept was
the idea that in 1967 and '68, the United States (and many of the
advanced western societies) underwent a cultural orgasm that changed
those societies forever more.   

Though the term hippie seemed to show up overnight, this societal
orgasm did not spring from a void.  The Beat literary movement, the
first two novels by Ken Kesey--"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and
"Sometimes a Great Notion"-- Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49"
and "Trout Fishing in America" all portray the cultural pressures that
were leading to the upsurge of the late '60s.

The works I look at in Act II coincide with the outburst itself, such
as the way "Siddhartha" and "Stranger in a Strange Land" served as
roadmaps for the hippies to begin deviating from core Judeo-Christian
notions of spirituality, or in the case of all the "grokking" in
Heinlein's Sci-Fi Classic, to experiment with the sanctity of the
monogamous relationship.   

Also in Act II, Tom Wolfe's and Norman Mailer's breakout works of New
Journalism in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and "The Armies of the
Night" portray this cultural orgasm in an upclose manner.  Wolfe's
depiction of Kesey and The Merry Pranksters was more sociological,
while Mailer's autobiographical novel of the four days he spent during
the March on the Pentagon in 1967 was more political.  Things had
busted loose.

Finally, in Act III, Narrative Afterplay, "Divine Right's Trip" offers
the quintessential protrait of an actual hippie couple seeking to find
a "constructivist" way to engage the world in the aftermath of their
personal 'bacchanalia.'  This Narrative Afterplay was also the
beginning of how the hippie counterculture began to be absorbed by the
mainstream culture, when the most positive aspects of the upheaval were
assimilated, while other aspects, such as drug use, communal living,
or non-monogamous sexual relations were largely rejected.

My summational chapter called "Postmodernism Reconstructed"
is an attempt to reconcile these observations on the literary front
with the changes within the hippie counterculture.  It makes a case for
differentiating "postmodern culture" from the tendencies of
"postmodern literary theory." There is a parallel between the
deconstructivism of hippie culture during "Act II" and the
deconstructivist approach formulated by Derrida and Foucault at the end
of the sixties.  I argue that while the hippie phenomenon evolved into
a more constructivist mode, postmodernist theory remains stuck when it
diminishes the constructivist role of the author in creating text.   

As I conclude, "The Hippie Narrative" looks to make a strong case that
these structurally diverse works congregated here, should be viewed as
the canon of countercultural literature.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #35 of 349: Michael Zentner (mz) Thu 5 Apr 07 09:55
    
>>> 1967 and '68, the United States (and many of the
advanced western societies) underwent a cultural orgasm that changed
those societies forever more. 

Totally. You can see the right wing blowhards still fighting it 40
years later.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #36 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 10:09
    
>>> You can see the right wing blowhards still fighting it 40
years later.

I want to say, "right on," but that might encourage the neo-cons.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #37 of 349: Diane Shifrin (dshif) Thu 5 Apr 07 11:49
    
>the idea that the hippie counterculture and the outburst of
Psychedelia from 1967-1972 represent the greatest Bacchanalia that the
world has ever witnessed.  

Fascinating. 

One thing I remember from Venice, CA  (ca. 1971) was the impression
that everyone I met had just sort of emerged, Venus style, from the
sea. Where they had come from and who they might have been before was
irrelevant and uninteresting information.

And yes, if there's room in the canon for a Jane Austen novel about
hippies, I'm the one to write it!!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #38 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 14:48
    
I love this Venice image you describe.  It's like in The Bacchae where
the maenads leave the City-State for the mountainside.  When the
streams are flowing with wine and honey, who wants to rap about life in
the City-State.  How about "Austen City-limits" as the title of your
new novel?!!? 

As for deciding if there is room in the canon or not, here I am just
one guy standing up, drawing a big circle around a period of time,
looking straight into the vortex of the counterculture and stating that
I think this is the list of literary works that are the most genuine
reflection of the era.

For example, when I presented my MFA critical paper at the Popular
Culture convention in San Diego in 2005, I remember sitting in on a
different panel about the Beat writers.  When a Columbia grad
student--very keen on Ginsberg's poetry--said something about Ken Kesey
being a Beat writer, I commented at the end that I thought he was more
of a hippie writer.  I watched her shake her head in disagreement.

Of course, to draw this circle to establish a "hippie" narrative, I
had to carefully define what I meant by the elusive term hippie, define
what I considered to be literature, and argue for why each work here
is a genuine reflection of the period.

Kesey definitely bridged the gap between the Beats and the hippies,
behaved in a turned-on, proto-hippie manner, and did not write in the
more frenetic and spontaneous-seeming style of the Beats. His own
experimentations were of a different tenor than that of the Beats, and
in one interview, Kesey acknowleges that he knew he was plowing new
ground with Great Notion.  

Sorry, the Beats can't have him.  They can't have you either, Diane,
but since there may be a more gender-sensitized hippie renaissance on
the horizon, there should be room for your work!! 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #39 of 349: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 5 Apr 07 18:47
    

Scott, from what I can gather, you are too young to have been part of
the '60s counterculture, though perhaps not by a whole lot. When you
and your wife took that cross-country trip in a VW bus back in 1981, 
it seems like you may have been trying to live the life that you didn't 
get to experience back in the '60s. And if so, how did it pan out? Did
you find the spirit of the '60s still alive in various outposts
around the country? What was your best experience on the road? What 
was the most disappointing thing that happened?
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #40 of 349: Robyn Touchstone (r-touchstone) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:04
    
Scott--returning to my earlier question, I was interested particularly
in what foibles of the movement that the outsiders might have observed
that hippies were unconscious of, and what specific authentic
revelations were unavailable to outsiders.

(Tangentially, re: Steve's earlier question, my own personal vote for
the best hippie film of all time is Roger Corman's Gas-s-s-s-s.  Though
satiric in many ways of hippies--as well as of the establishment--it
is also sympathetic to hippie aspirations and actually tackles some
crucial questions as to the practical applications of the idealism of
the times). 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #41 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:23
    
Tom Carr here.  I just got the book in the mail today and have only
glanced at a little of it.  In addition to getting it late, I am a slow
reader.  I hope this conversation goes on for a while to give me time
to catch up.  

Briefly about me.  I was born in 1950, so I was strongly influenced by
all of this.  I read most of the books mentioned in the Hippie
Narrative.  

A few thoughts.  I was a confused teen ager in 1968, but I pretended I
knew everything.  By then the Hippie thing had become a media driven
mass movement.  I wanted to be a hippie but had self doubts.  Maybe I
wasn't a real hippie but just a pseudo hippie.  Like most 18 year old
boys I was sexually frustrated.  I thought I would have more sex if I
were a hippie but I was kind of shy and growing my hair long didn't
change that.

The books were good but the music was the big thing.  I loved the
music so much.  Ever since then I have been disappointed.  I thought
there would always be great new music, but that was the peak.

The draft was very scary.  One book I would add that really influenced
me was "Johney Got His Gun".  This was written after world war I about
a guy who had his arms and legs and face blown off.  He was deaf and
blind and just lay and thought about how horrible war was.  I read that
and I really didn't want to get drafted and sent to Vietnam.  Lots of
us read it.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #42 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:29
    
I am reading over the the topic from the beginning so I will comment
on anything that comes to mind as I read it, maybe referring to things
written a few days ago until I catch up.

-> one of the recurring dichotomies that I noticed between the texts
-> analyzed was that of outsider/insider to the hippie movement.  

Remember that most hippies were teenagers.  Teenagers want to belong
to an in group.  The hippies were the group that most of us wanted to
belong to.  The problem is that if everyone is a hippie it isn't an in
group or cool any more.  There was lots of talk about pseudo hippies
and real hippies.  It seems like silly pretentious teen age stuff
looking back on it.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #43 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:31
    
-> what significant aspects of the hippie movement were the 
-> outsiders able to perceive clearly that the insiders couldn't

Drugs are bad for you.

Having sex with lots of different people does not lead to happiness in
the long run.

Most of you are teenagers doing what teenagers have always done, but
you think you're different.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #44 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:38
    
-> and what aspects do you think that the outsiders just didn't get, 
-> if any? 

LSD was amazing.  If you didn't do it you had no idea.  

The music was wonderful but the outsiders didn't like it at first. 

There was terrible hypocrisy in the society.  For example people
thought that black people would always be second class citizens and
that was OK, but also thought there should be prayer in schools.  The
hippies were pretentious but so was mainstream society.  I think the
hippies saw though the hypocrisy of mainstream society.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #45 of 349: Tom Carr (tomcarr) Thu 5 Apr 07 20:41
    
-> what significant aspects of the hippie movement were the 
-> outsiders able to perceive clearly that the insiders couldn't

One more big one.  They saw that we were a bunch of kids from middle
class families wondering around the country pretending we were homeless
vagabonds with no parents who were beyond caring about money, but that
 the truth was if things got bad we could always cut our hair and go
home to suburbia and our parents would give us a place to stay.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #46 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 22:12
    
Hi Cynthia,

I was born in ’55 and, yes, too young to have been in the thick of the
countercultural explosion. I wouldn’t say that I was trying to live
the life that I didn’t get to experience in the ‘60s, but I had older
cousins from the thick of that era who helped open me to a hippie
perspective. Also, when my parents split up and my mom moved us to
Western Washington, attractive woman that she was, she dated men
several years younger than she was. She took my sister and me to see a
Jimi Hendrix concert because one of these younger guys was into Jimi
and had invited her.  I was 14 and a bit slack-jawed to observe all
those hippies up-close and to see the drugs and smell the pot that I
had been warned about. It was a rainy day on my sister’s birthday, less
than three months before Jimi died, the last concert in his hometown
of Seattle.  Also, I always thought it was cool that I shared Jimi’s
birthday.   

When I was a college undergrad, I remember an anthropology professor
describing my age group—–those born from 1954 to 1957––as part of a
transition generation, those who were shifting away from the thick of
the counterculture. [Interestingly, this shift coincided with the age
of those boys no longer eligible for the Draft].   

One key thing that happened to me when I was 17 and 18 was the
opportunity to live in Sweden as an exchange student.  The Selective
Service draft was no longer in place in 1973-74, but the Vietnam War
was still winding down.  Sweden, which harbored many draft dodgers, was
very much opposed to the US involvement in Vietnam.  Being an American
in Sweden at this time was not highly popular.  I think the experience
sensitized me to the fact that there was nothing sacrosanct about
American foreign policy. 

Also, as I mentioned, my ex-wife was/is a talented pen & ink artist. 
There is a common assumption that it was the drugs that killed the
hippie movement.  More significant was the need to make a living.  This
required, for most hippies applying for a job, the need for a haircut
and to engage the establishment on its terms.  However, the artisan
class, which even in the feudal times was small but uniquely positioned
as a class, was the one place, other than the drug culture, where the
hippie could live an alternative life more on his or her own terms. 
With my wife’s artwork, which she started selling at those hippiesque
arts and craft street fairs when she was fourteen years old, we had a
form of currency to sustain ourselves on the road. I was the salesman.

Also, I mentioned living with our friends, Roger and Celeste, when I
was still in college and our sons were babies.  In the true
participant/observer role of a field anthropologist, at the end of the
‘70s, I grew fascinated with this lingering hippie culture that was as
strong in the Pacific Northwest as anywhere.  

We would go to rural barter fairs in Western Washington and in the
Okanogan, we were into The Dead, got to know the Love Family commune
and Roger’s and Celeste’s friends in Marblemount when they moved back
there from our shared house in Seattle. That house was next to the Twin
Teepees Restaurant, that cool roadside icon from the ‘30s on Highway
99 next to Green Lake.

In 1979 when I graduated, the pre-Microsoft Seattle economy was in a
recession. There were few jobs, so we gravitated more and more to that
bohemian artisan, late-hippie lifestyle.

More…    
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #47 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 22:42
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #48 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 23:15
    
>> Cynthia:  Did you find the spirit of the '60s still alive in
various outposts around the country? What was your best experience on
the road? 

In 1981, when we left the Pacific Northwest on our cross-country bus
trip, the spirit of the '60s was very much alive in various outposts
around the country.  My wife and I knew that with my son out of
diapers and not yet in school, this would be a good time to adventure
across America.  She always had this strong desire to travel, so as one
of our rough destination points, we placed New Orleans and Mardi Gras
on our destination list.

Maybe one of the diehard Deadheads in The Well can help me out, but
there is this great quote attributed to the Grateful Dead that says
something to the effect that "the magic happens, the closer you get to
the edge."

That year we spent on the road was actually rather charmed. I sold
matted pen & ink prints from California to Arizona, through New Mexico,
into Texas, doing especially well convincing people that these little
works of art would make fine Christmas presents.  

Specifically, I remember in Arizona when we were looking for an
inauspicious place to park our VW Bus for the night, I made the mistake
of turning up a steep dirt road in Prescott.  We heard the muffler
bottom out.  When I crawled under the VW transporter to inspect, I
thought I felt something drop on my face, but
I wasn't sure.

We took the VW bus to the nearest auto repair place and had the
mechanic weld the muffler back into place. That night my eye started
to hurt. I wondered whether this was because of debris or because I had
looked into the arc welder.

The next couple of days we ventured to northeastern Arizona to the
Navaho and Hopi Reservations. My eye started to hurt worse, but I was
afraid to go to just any old doctor to have him munge around my pupil.
I bought a pair of really dark sunglasses to protect my eye because the
light was causing it to throb.

After about the fourth day, I woke up in the morning, looked in the
rearview mirror and saw that dead-center in my pupil, a
shard had caused a touch of infection to develop.  This was no
arc-welder problem.

We took the bus and headed toward the first inhabited town.  I needed
to find any physician, even though I didn't like the idea of this.  The
closest place to the magnificent Canyon de Chelle where we were, and
that I couldn't quite enjoy because of the throbbing,
was the nearby village of Ganado with a population of 1500, 90% of
whom were Navajo Indians.  

With low expectations and my eye throbbing, we pulled
into the really small rez village  at about 9 a.m. I had my eyes
peeled for a Doctor's office, but when we looked over at the far end of
a parking lot near the center of Ganado, we noticed a motor home with
a line of Indians standing in front.  On the side of the motor home was
written: "Arizona State Traveling Opthamology Unit." 

I was allowed at the front of the line and they plucked that nasty
shard from the very center of my pupil. 

more...
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #49 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 5 Apr 07 23:53
    
>> What was the most disappointing thing that happened?

During that year we were on the road, we found ourselves in New
Orleans in January 1982. The Christmas selling season for pen & ink
prints was over, so we hunkered down by renting a room in Toad's Inn at
the edge of the French Quarter.  We parked our VW Bus down the street
at the edge of the market made famous by the Stone's song, "Brown
Sugar." In our bus we would use our kitchenette to eat.  That propane
stove and pressure cooker were a mainstay where we steamed many
chickens with rice.

Toad's Inn was coarse, but Joe and Suzie, the managers were pretty
nice. Across the hall, even Danny, the devil worshipper, was respectful
of us.  A few weeks later, before Mardi Gras, the cops came and took
Danny away.  His girlfriend, whom we had seen lurking at on the side
streets of the French Quarter, was found drowned in the Mississippi
River.

Two days later, the cops let Danny go.  He came back to Toad's Inn
with his face black and blue. He didn't say anything, but seemed guilty
to us.  With his room right across the hall, I remember sleeping with
a frying pan under my pillow. If the MF tried anything, I had every
intention of bludgeoning him.

As for Mardi Gras, at one point we recognized Wandering Willie, a
hippie we remembered from the '81 Rainbow Gathering in Usk, Washington
before we had left.  Willie's routine was to hold a cigarette butt in
the air and urge people to join his campaign.  He wanted to fill a
caravan of dump trucks full of these butts and dump them in downtown
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Anyway, we let Willie sleep in our bus, and Willie set us up in a
country/western bar on Bourbon street to paint faces for Mardi Gras. 
Before Mardi Gras on Valentine's Day in Jackson Park at exactly noon,
we watched a witch marry Woodstock and Teresa. Yes, the spirit of the
'60s was still alive.  That first Mardi Gras we made about a thousand
dollars for three days work.

Like I said, that year on the road was all but charmed.  After a few
months in Knoxville that spring and summer where I got a laborer's job
helping build a Geodescic Dome for the 1982 World's Fair (you've got to
be there), we decided to try our luck in NYC.

In New York in the Fall, I landed my first "real" job at age 26. 
However, that winter, the president of the company in California
decided to lay off everyone for a week.  That week happened to coincide
with Mardi Gras of 1983.  By that point we had rent to pay and
Montessori bills for our son, so we elected to fly back to New Orleans.
 Our friends from Toad's Inn invited us to stay with them.  Joe was
then working at Tulane University in the boiler room and they had an
apartment in the dorms.

That year we made a couple grand painting faces at that same C/W bar. 
Suzie helped babysit our son the way she had done the year before.

On the last night of Mardi Gras we invited Joe and Suzie to dinner to
thank them for their help.  Oddly, they excused themselves early.  When
we went back to their apartment at the Dorm, they had ripped us off of
the two grand.

That wasn't exactly on the road, but this betrayal and violation of
trust was the worst thing we experienced during that period. It felt
like the end of our innocence.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #50 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 6 Apr 07 00:24
    
>> what foibles of the movement that the outsiders might have observed
that hippies were unconscious of, and what specific authentic
revelations were unavailable to outsiders.

Hi Robyn,

I think the foibles of youth are such that older people or outsiders
can see a level of naivete that the youngsters cannot.  The alternative
society was never able to fully substitute for the many institutional
mechanisms of mainstream society that were functioning effectively.  

Personally, as someone on the young end of the hippie spectrum, I
probably have a higher-than-typical respect for my slightly older
kindred spirits.  Also, I think that the establishment, or older
generation of the time, truly needed to be curtailed and admonished for
many of its excessive modern policies and actions.  

The counterculture represented a rare time when the youth had seized,
quite rightfully, the moral imperative of the time by asserting
themselves against a pathetically conceived war in Vietnam, and against
corporate practices that legitimately needed curtailing.

Again, the revelations articulated by these idealistic and
collectivist youth that the outsiders couldn't grasp was one of a
raised consciousness, an expanded sensitivity or enlightenment to how
humans might better embrace a peace and love ethos.  The sincere
hippies, though human foibles interfered, were trying in earnest to
live out this alternative ethos.  

Did these young people succeed in manifesting this lofty dream. No.
However, in so many ways they came close.  And in so many ways, this
was an era where the kids, for that ever-so-brief moment, showed the
elders that a higher path might be possible. 
  

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