The Hippies DID Have It Right


I’m loving Mark Morford’s column from about two weeks ago in SFGate, celebrating the original Hippies. After much bad-mouthing of the counterculture folks in the last 15 years (even as fashion designers continually emulate their style, adding elements like flower-power prints and navel-grazing beads to their collections on an almost seasonal basis), the Hippies are finally getting their due. Since they were totally right and all.

An excerpt (but the whole column is definitely worth checking out!):

All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies. Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatment of animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMA seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative worldviews, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it’s about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

…..without the ’60s groundwork, without all the radical ideas and seeds of change planted nearly five decades ago, what we’d be turning to in our time of need would be a great deal more hopeless indeed.

But if you’re really bitter and shortsighted, you could say the entire hippie movement overall was just incredibly overrated, gets far too much cultural credit for far too little actual impact, was pretty much a giant excuse to slack off and enjoy dirty lazy responsibility-free sex romps and do a ton of drugs and avoid Vietnam and not bathe for a month and name your child Sunflower or Shiva Moon or Chakra Lennon Sapphire Bumblebee. This is what’s called the reactionary simpleton’s view. It blithely ignores history, perspective, the evolution of culture as a whole. You know, just like America.

(Disclaimer: my whole family is a bunch of hippies, going way back, and it is their influence that has inspired me to do what I do. How do you think I ended up with my groovy name, which IS actually on my birth certificate?)

For more pro-Hippie content, check out last month’s ‘green’ Elle which has a great article called “To the Ladies of the Canyon” by Simon Doonan (subtitle ‘As Eco Becomes Oh-So-Chic, Simon Doonan Fondly Remembers The Original Earth Mamas, with Tofu in Their Mouths and Flowers in Their Hair, and Entreats Us to Please Put Some Grooviness Back Into Green’)

Thanks to Remy C. for the link.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.