Michael Zentner (mz) Mon 14 May 07 08:43
I saw that article in the Chron and thought it was pretty amusing. I've always claimed we won the culture wars. But, I'm not sure it was the "hippies" who did any of that, since "hippy" was totally a media creation.
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Mon 14 May 07 08:45
Well yes, but it was also a convenient collective description of something that was very real. But it certainly points out how reductionist naming can be.
"The Best for Your Health!" (rik) Mon 14 May 07 08:48
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Mon 14 May 07 08:53
And <bbraasch>, didn't you think that the media presentation of the hippie phenomenon received far more emphasis than any sense of what was going on inside all these youth to reject the mainstream in the manner that they did? For example, and to your point, there was more emphasis on Charles Manson's aberrational behavior than there was on the impact of the Vietnam War. The latter was a prime catalyzing influence while the former was one more excuse for the mainstream media to write off everything "hippie." The frustrating part for me was that the documetary got many things right, but in the next bit, it would grossly oversimplify things. Also, didn't you think that the presentation of "Hipppies" was very staccato and never did well at conveying the practiced ability of many/most hippies to center themselves in spite of the worldly chaos and shit going down. The documentary focused on the extremes of behavior instead.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Mon 14 May 07 09:00
Yeah, hippie was largely media created, but calling the voluntaristic members of this irrefutably real phenomenon "counterculturalists" discounts the role of groups such as The Black Panthers who were very much countercultural, but by no means "hippie." Besides, no one was ever heard to say, "hey,Margaret, would you look at that longhaired, no good, lazy, dope-smokin' counterculturalist sittin' over there."
resluts (bbraasch) Mon 14 May 07 10:45
It was certainly true that the counterculture found a whole lot of other countercultures showing up once the word was out that this was a party. then came speed and heroin and the end of the party. the real story as best I can tell is in archives 121, Life on the Bus. a fellow named Wolf who works for BGP can tell some good stories about growing up in his mom's clothing store on Haight Street. there's only so much footage though, so film can only capture what got taken from the tourist bus, but that was the wrong bus to be on. unless you don't what to let go of what keeps you on the wrong bus.
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 14 May 07 11:13
<archives.121> is delish.
What another day this takes: (oilers1972) Sat 26 May 07 17:33
I just saw "Hippies" and at least it is vastly superior to the recent hour-long American Experience documentary "Summer Of Love" that ran on PBS. At least there was more of an attempt to cover the history of the '60s counterculture, and also to portray some of the positive changes brought about by the counterculture as well as the more negative ones.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 7 Jun 07 09:00
This Q&A interview/review was just published in today's Bellingham Herald. Hippie hippie shake: MacFarlane takes an in-depth look at books that reflect culture MARGARET BIKMAN THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Mount Vernons Scott MacFarlane examines the key works of prose of the hippie movement of the 1960s and early 1970s and how the works are reflective of the counterculture. Q: Until you wrote this book, there really was no defined genre of hippie narrative. How did you decide what to include? A: First, I was surprised that no similar book has been written on the literature related to the hippie counterculture. When researching The Hippie Narrative, I focused on literary works that were either strong portrayals of the rise, crest or ebb of the hippie counterculture, directly about hippies or narratives that greatly influenced the hippies. The 15 books and three essays I examined are, in my estimation, the most genuine literary reflections I could find from the hippie era. There is enough commonality of style and tone linked to the period to argue that these works comprise a canon of countercultural literature. In my narrowing process, I differentiated the liberationist movements of the era, all based on the struggle for enfranchisement, from the hippie role in the counterculture, made up of the enfranchised heirs of those in the establishment. The hippies were not driven by ethnicity or gender, but voluntarily rejected the consumerism, militarism, racism and unfettered progress of the mainstream. For this reason, books from the mid-60s such as The Feminine Mystique or The Autobiography of Malcolm X did not fit my criteria as hippie narratives. Q: How do the writing styles of the Beats differ from the writing styles of the hippie narrative? A: The writing of the Beats is notable for its jazz-like intensity and feel of spontaneity sustained throughout the entire novel or poem. This dithyrambic quality was supplanted, in these hippie narratives, by a tone that is less frenetic, less dark, and with a style that exhibits more playfulness and sense of whimsy. The Eastern and Bohemian philosophies articulated in Beat literature vectored through the counterculture that followed. The hippie narratives carried forth the Beat preference for roguish characters and an underground posture of disaffection toward mainstream society. Both periods featured unconventional realism as mainstays and produced some wonderfully alternative, often picaresque, visions of the American experience. In the 60s and 70s, hippierelated literature demonstrated wider experimentation with the narrative form including a heavier use of juxtapositional irony, surrealistic interludes and the intersubjective innovations of New Journalism, which is now called narrative journalism and is a seminal influence on todays dominant literary genre creative nonfiction. Q: In a recent interview with Tom Robbins in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he refers to his years of pursuing phantasmagorical novels down shadowy hallways. Does that reconcile with your view of his writings and with other fiction writers of this time period? A: The unconventional realism seen in the novels of Tom Robbins is, indeed, phantasmagoric, and I sense that the shadowy hallways are the authors way of suggesting that he employs a comic surrealism to probe deeper philosophical and cultural issues. Of the works I chose to include in The Hippie Narrative, only The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle is as overtly comic in tone and delivery as Another Roadside Attraction and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. However, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., rely on juxtapositional irony to convey the absurdity and fast-paced fragmentation of our American existence. By the 1980s this condition was labeled postmodern. Other works I examine One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion, Divine Rights Trip and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test feature hallucinated tones, but as dramatic narratives, these books are more serious (as opposed to comic). Q: Kotzwinkle has said that his characterization of E.T. has a quality of humanity that is yet to come, and it has to do with love. Furthermore, one critic has said that E.T. senses the spiritual grandeur that modern technology is obliterating. Can you place the hippie narrative in the context of those ideas? And perhaps carry it further, to ideas of utopia, for example? A: The peace and love ethos of the hippies was, at its essence, intent on redefining the quality of our humanity. Its certainly fair to ask when such yearning for spiritual grandeur crosses the line into utopianism. Rather than using utopian as a dismissive label, perhaps we should ask ourselves to question when such a shift in consciousness is essential to our sustained survival as a species and when our quests are purely escapist. Literary characters such as Chief Broom, Vivian Stamper, Valentine Michael Smith, Billy Pilgrim, Divine Right/David Ray, Horse Badorties and Marx Marvelous all in very different ways sought spiritual transcendence to cope with a modern malaise. Q: How was the West a bed of fertility for the blossoming of such writers as Kesey and Brautigan, and how did their writings differ from those of Thompson, Mailer and Vonnegut? A: Kesey and Brautigan structured their narratives in radically different ways. However, Cuckoos Nest, Great Notion and Trout Fishing were profoundly influenced by the loss of the pastoral and the shifting role of the wilderness in the human psyche. Both authors were born in 1935 and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. They developed Beat sensibilities after moving to the San Francisco area in the late 50s. Unlike the works of East Coast writers Wolfe, Mailer, and Vonnegut, the writings of Kesey and Brautigan were shaped by the loss of frontier. The spirit of Western rugged individualism and the wilderness to be confronted in post-World War II, modern America was suddenly more internal than external. In many ways, the back-tothe- land movement, and the psychedelia that flourished most strongly on the West Coast can be better understood within the context of Americas manifest destiny reverberating back on itself. Q: Why was this book fun to write? A: Once I decided to work chronologically from 1962 to 1976 and to (largely) devote one chapter for each work, the project took on a momentum of its own. I enjoyed the way each author provided a different lens on this era of tumultuous change. The fun came from mining each work for its unique perspective on the era. For example, The Armies of the Night takes on the political climate of the times, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test looks at the sociology behind the burgeoning psychedelia and Divine Rights Trip shows a young hippie couple trying to find an alternative path in the wake of what was arguably the largest bacchanalian upsurge that the world has ever witnessed. Its exceedingly difficult to write comprehensively about the explosion of change in the 60s and 70s, so letting these authors lead the way was fascinating. Their perspectives taken as a whole render an intriguing Gestalt of the hippie epoch. Q: Do you think the readers of the novels and New Journalism who were in their 20s in the 1960s or who had some background in literary technique had a different understanding of what was being said in those works than perhaps those over 30. And how does your reflective analysis differ from those who were reading and perhaps changing their lives because they were reading Siddhartha, for example, in 1969? A: My own reading of the texts in The Hippie Narrative was to examine authorial design and expression within the context of the 60s and 70s counterculture. I chose to include Siddhartha, written in 1922, and Stranger in a Strange Land, published in 1961, because these narratives shaped the formation of a hippie counterculture. Authors Hesse and Heinlein, in this regard, were in no way trying to communicate to a readership of hippies. The mostly pejorative term hippie was largely media driven and very seldom used until 1967, when it became immediately widespread. However, these two books in particular became textual blueprints that helped these youth share a community of meaning and formulate lifestyles that broke from conventional Judeo-Christianity and traditions of monogamy. In many ways, the hippie sense of underground community was created within a social vacuum of chaos. Certain music, art, poetry, comics and literature resonated within a youthful paradigm of free-spirited rebellion and hopefulness and led to what was called the generation gap. Siddhartha, with simple eloquence, suggested a new spiritual path. Stranger illustrated a Dionysian collectivism that came to be at the core of the hippie phenomenon. Heinlein, however, was shocked at the way hippies actualized his work of sci-fi to justify communalism, ecstatic religious practices and open relationships. Reach Margaret Bikman at email@example.com or 715-2273.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 10 Nov 07 08:31
Norman Mailer, age 84, died yesterday: "His 1968 account of the peace march on the Pentagon, "The Armies of the Night," won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He was described as the only person over 40 trusted by the flower generation."
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 27 Dec 07 00:05
What a wonderful holiday surprise. Margaret Bikman at the Bellingham Herald, really did like The Hippie Narrative. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/lifestyle/story/269986.html
Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 27 Dec 07 04:44
That's great Scott! Merry and Happy!
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 27 Dec 07 07:00
You must be beaming, Scott. That's a tantalizing review, indeed, and well deserved, too!
Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 27 Dec 07 07:19
I'm gonna have to read that.
David Gans (tnf) Thu 27 Dec 07 17:28
Wonderful! Congratulations, Scott!
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 28 Aug 09 16:01
I just received good news and a surprise check from my publisher in the mail! The chapter I wrote on Slaughterhouse Five in The Hippie Narrative is being reprinted in Modern Critical Interpretations, Harold Bloom, Ed. This Chelsea House volume on Slaughterhouse Five is due to be published in late September or early October, 2009.
descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Fri 28 Aug 09 16:08
I hope it was a decent sized check.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 28 Aug 09 16:23
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Sat 29 Aug 09 06:52
Congratulations, Scott. That's a nice acknowledgment of your hard work and critical thinking.
what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sat 29 Aug 09 16:49
David Gans (tnf) Mon 31 Aug 09 13:12
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 12 Oct 09 12:12
Laura Dinnebeil (prettyhands) Fri 23 Oct 09 12:18
The last vestige of bohemia in New York City, The Yippie Cafe and Museum, hosts my one woman show "The Electric Closet" about the yuppification of New York City, and the artists who have been choked by it.... http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2398587
Gail (gail) Mon 26 Oct 09 14:11
brava, <prettyhands> !
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