October 06, 2015

Source: Shutterstock

If the hippies really did win, it hardly seems fair because, in many ways, the “€™60s never really happened.

The era was, as this contrarian Englishman says, a “€œmass hallucination.”€ (I wish I could remember who described “€œSwinging London”€ to me as “€œ18 months that happened to somebody else,”€ but as this paper reminds us, despite the (mostly dreadful) movies and garish, four-color photo essays, “€œLondon was, and would remain until the early 1970s, a city of bedsits and corner shops, greasy cafes and council housing estates”€ for the vast majority of its decidedly unhip citizens. Their American counterparts, meanwhile, made “€œThe Ballad of the Green Beret”€ a million-seller and kept right on wearing polyester, drinking martinis, and eating Velveeta.

The hippies”€™ elitist attitude can even be seen in that “€œDeath of Hippie”€ “€œhappening”€ 48 years ago this week.

While positioned as a rather clever and even self-deprecating protest against corporate commercialization and bloody-minded middle-class misunderstanding, the organizers were obviously just really pissed off that so many trashy “€œnewbies”€ were decamping from the sticks”€”flowers, as instructed, in their hair”€”to ruin their beloved, rarefied little neighborhood. (The petulant Psychedelic Shop went so far as to close its doors for good the following day, picking up its bongs and going home.)

A writer in the Oracle pleaded that week that “€œanyone willing to help a budding scene flower make a move to Louisville, Kentucky”€ instead. I have a funny feeling he stayed put in beautiful S.F., don”€™t you? So, I”€™ll bet, did this woman, who explained the “€œfuneral”€ this way:

We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, don”€™t come out. Stay where you are! Bring the revolution to where you live. Don”€™t come here because it’s over and done with.


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