inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #326 of 349: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #327 of 349: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #328 of 349: "The Best for Your Health!" (rik) Mon 14 May 07 08:48
    
Counterculture, then.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #329 of 349: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #330 of 349: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #331 of 349: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #332 of 349: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 14 May 07 11:13
    
<archives.121> is delish. 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #333 of 349: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #334 of 349: 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 Vernon’s 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 today’s 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 author’s 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 Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Sometimes
a Great Notion,” “Divine Right’s 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. It’s 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, “Cuckoo’s 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 America’s 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
Right’s 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.

It’s 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 margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com or
715-2273. 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #335 of 349: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #336 of 349: 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
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #337 of 349: Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 27 Dec 07 04:44
    
That's great Scott! Merry and Happy!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #338 of 349: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #339 of 349: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 27 Dec 07 07:19
    
I'm gonna have to read that.  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #340 of 349: David Gans (tnf) Thu 27 Dec 07 17:28
    
Wonderful!  Congratulations, Scott!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #341 of 349: 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.  
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #342 of 349: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Fri 28 Aug 09 16:08
    

I hope it was a decent sized check.
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #343 of 349: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 28 Aug 09 16:23
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #344 of 349: Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Sat 29 Aug 09 06:52
    
Congratulations, Scott. That's a nice acknowledgment of your hard work
and critical thinking. 
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #345 of 349: what another day it takes: (oilers1972) Sat 29 Aug 09 16:49
    
Congrats Scott!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #346 of 349: David Gans (tnf) Mon 31 Aug 09 13:12
    
Congratulations, Scott!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #347 of 349: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 12 Oct 09 12:12
    
Real cool!
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #348 of 349: 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
  
inkwell.vue.296 : Scott MacFarlane, "The Hippie Narrative"
permalink #349 of 349: Gail (gail) Mon 26 Oct 09 14:11
    
brava, <prettyhands> ! 
  



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