hippie n : someone who rejects the established culture; advocates extreme liberalism in politics and lifestyle [syn: hippy, hipster, flower child]
- hĭp'i, /ˈhɪpi/, /"hIpi/
- Of or pertaining to hippies: e.g., “the hippie era”.
- Not conforming to generally accepted standards: e.g., “Despite being for the widely-used Windows operating system, rather than using the commonly-used RAR or ZIP file-compression formats, they used a bunch of hippie compression formats instead”.
- A teenager who imitated the Beatniks
- One who chooses not to conform to prevailing social norms: especially one who ascribes to values or actions such as acceptance or self-practice of recreational drug use, liberal or radical sexual mores, advocacy of communal living, strong pacifism or anti-war sentiment, etc.
- Someone with long hair: specifically, of a hair length that is considered unconventionally long in relation to one’s gender, age, ethnicity, or land of origin.
- Someone who dresses in a hippie style.
- One who is hip.
The Hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that began in the United States during the early 1960s and spread around the world, The word hippie derives from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. These people inherited the countercultural values of the Beat generation, created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as cannabis and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness.
In 1967, the Human Be-In in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast. In Mexico, the jipitecas formed La Onda Chicana and gathered at "Avándaro", while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa. In the United Kingdom, mobile "peace convoys" of New age travellers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge.
Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by the mainstream. The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a wide audience. The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in a myriad of forms—from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and even to the cyberspace revolution.
EtymologyLexicographer Jesse Sheidlower, the principal American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, argues that the terms "hipster" and "hippie" derive from the word "hip", whose origins are unknown. The term "hipster" was coined by Harry Gibson in 1940, and was often used in the 1940s and 1950s to describe jazz performers. The word "hippie" is also jazz slang from the 1940s, and one of the first recorded usages of the word "hippie" was in a radio show on November 13, 1945, in which Stan Kenton called Harry Gibson, "Hippie". However, Kenton's use of the word was playing off Gibson's nickname "Harry the Hipster." Reminiscing about late 1940s Harlem in his 1964 autobiography, Malcolm X referred to the word "hippy" as a term that African Americans used to describe a specific type of white man who "acted more Negro than Negroes."
Although the word "hippie" made isolated appearances during the early 1960s, the first clearly contemporary use of the term appeared in print on September 5, 1965, in the article, "A New Haven for Beatniks", by San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon. In that article, Fallon wrote about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse, using the term "hippie" to refer to the new generation of beatniks who had moved from North Beach into the Haight-Ashbury district.
In 2002, photojournalist John Bassett McCleary published a 650-page, 6,000-entry unabridged slang dictionary devoted to the language of the hippies titled The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s. The book was revised and expanded to 700-pages in 2004. McCleary believes that the hippie counterculture added a significant number of words to the English language by borrowing from the lexicon of the beat generation, shortening words and popularizing their usage.
The foundation of the hippie movement finds historical precedent as far back as the counterculture of the Ancient Greeks, espoused by philosophers like Diogenes of Sinope and the Cynics. Hippie philosophy also credits the religious and spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ, Hillel the Elder, Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, and Gandhi. Inspired by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, Hermann Hesse, and Eduard Baltzer, Wandervogel attracted thousands of young Germans who rejected the rapid trend toward urbanization and yearned for the pagan, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors. During the first several decades of the twentieth century, Germans settled around the United States, bringing the values of the Wandervogel with them. Some opened the first health food stores, and many moved to Southern California where they could practice an alternative lifestyle in a warm climate. Over time, young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants. One group, called the "Nature Boys", took to the California desert and raised organic food, espousing a back-to-nature lifestyle like the Wandervogel. Songwriter Eden Ahbez wrote a hit song called Nature Boy inspired by Robert Bootzin (Gypsy Boots), who helped popularize yoga, organic food, and health food in the United States.
Like Wandervogel, the hippie movement in the United States began as a youth movement. Composed mostly of white teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years old, hippies inherited a tradition of cultural dissent from bohemians and beatniks of the Beat Generation in the late 1950s. extending as far as the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. The hippie ethos influenced The Beatles and others in the United Kingdom and Europe, and they in turn influenced their American counterparts. Hippie culture spread worldwide through a fusion of rock music, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock; it also found expression in literature, the dramatic arts, fashion, and the visual arts, including film, posters advertising rock concerts, and album covers. Self-described hippies had become a significant minority by 1968, representing just under 0.2% of the U.S. population before declining in the mid-1970s. championed sexual liberation, were often vegetarian and eco-friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs to expand one's consciousness, and created intentional communities or communes. They used alternative arts, street theatre, folk music, and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their feelings, their protests and their vision of the world and life. Hippies opposed political and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and nondoctrinaire ideology that favored peace, love and personal freedom, perhaps best epitomized by The Beatles' song "All You Need is Love". Hippies perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entity that exercised undue power over their lives, calling this culture "The Establishment", "Big Brother", or "The Man". Noting that they were "seekers of meaning and value", scholars like Timothy Miller describe hippies as a new religious movement.
Early hippies (1960–1966)During the early 1960s novelist Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters lived communally in California. Members included Beat Generation hero Neal Cassady, Ken Babbs, Mountain Girl, Wavy Gravy, Paul Krassner, Stewart Brand, Del Close, Paul Foster, George Walker, Sandy Lehmann-Haupt and others. Their early escapades were documented in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. With Cassady at the wheel of a school bus named Furthur, the Merry Pranksters traveled across the United States to celebrate the publication of Kesey's novel Sometimes a Great Notion and to visit the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. The Pranksters were known for using marijuana, amphetamines, and LSD, and during their journey they "turned on" many people to these drugs. The Merry Pranksters filmed and audiotaped their bus trips, creating an immersive multimedia experience that would later be presented to the public in the form of festivals and concerts.
During this period Cambridge, Massachusetts, Greenwich Village in New York City, and Berkeley, California, anchored the American folk music circuit. Berkeley's two coffee houses, the Cabale Creamery and the Jabberwock, sponsored performances by folk music artists in a beat setting. In April 1963, Chandler A. Laughlin III, co-founder of the Cabale Creamery, established a kind of tribal, family identity among approximately fifty people who attended a traditional, all-night Native American peyote ceremony in a rural setting. This ceremony combined a psychedelic experience with traditional Native American spiritual values; these people went on to sponsor a unique genre of musical expression and performance at the Red Dog Saloon in the isolated, old-time mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. He and his cohorts created what became known as "The Red Dog Experience", featuring previously unknown musical acts—Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Charlatans, The Grateful Dead and others—who played in the completely refurbished, intimate setting of Virginia City's Red Dog Saloon. There was no clear delineation between "performers" and "audience" in "The Red Dog Experience", during which music, psychedelic experimentation, a unique sense of personal style and Bill Ham's first primitive light shows combined to create a new sense of community.
When they returned to San Francisco, Red Dog participants Luria Castell, Ellen Harman and Alton Kelley created a collective called "The Family Dog." Attended by approximately 1,000 of the Bay Area's original "hippies", this was San Francisco's first psychedelic rock performance, costumed dance and light show, featuring Jefferson Airplane, The Great Society and The Marbles. Two other events followed before year's end, one at California Hall and one at the Matrix. On Saturday January 22, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company came on stage, and 6,000 people arrived to imbibe punch spiked with LSD and to witness one of the first fully-developed light shows of the era.
By February 1966, the Family Dog became Family Dog Productions under organizer Chet Helms, promoting happenings at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium in initial cooperation with Bill Graham. The Avalon Ballroom, the Fillmore Auditorium and other venues provided settings where participants could partake of the full psychedelic music experience. Bill Ham, who had pioneered the original Red Dog light shows, perfected his art of liquid light projection, which combined light shows and film projection and became synonymous with the San Francisco ballroom experience. The sense of style and costume that began at the Red Dog Saloon flourished when San Francisco's Fox Theater went out of business and hippies bought up its costume stock, reveling in the freedom to dress up for weekly musical performances at their favorite ballrooms. As San Francisco Chronicle music columnist Ralph J. Gleason put it, "They danced all night long, orgiastic, spontaneous and completely free form."}} Some of the earliest San Francisco hippies were former students at San Francisco State College who became intrigued by the developing psychedelic hippie music scene. Young Americans around the country began moving to San Francisco, and by June 1966, around 15,000 hippies had moved into the Haight.
On October 6 1966, the state of California declared LSD a controlled substance, which made the drug illegal. In response to the criminalization of psychedelics, San Francisco hippies staged a gathering in the Golden Gate Park panhandle, called the Love Pageant Rally, As explained by Allan Cohen, co-founder of the San Francisco Oracle, the purpose of the rally was twofold — to draw attention to the fact that LSD had just been made illegal, and to demonstrate that people who used LSD were not criminals, nor were they mentally ill. The Grateful Dead played, and some sources claim that LSD was consumed at the rally. According to Cohen, those who took LSD "were not guilty of using illegal substances...We were celebrating transcendental consciousness, the beauty of the universe, the beauty of being."
Summer of Love (1967)On January 14, 1967, the outdoor Human Be-In in San Francisco popularized hippie culture across the United States, with 20,000 hippies gathering in Golden Gate Park. On March 26, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick and 10,000 hippies came together in Manhattan for the Central Park Be-In on Easter Sunday. The Monterey Pop Festival from June 16 to June 18 introduced the rock music of the counterculture to a wide audience and marked the start of the "Summer of Love." Scott McKenzie's rendition of John Phillips' song, "San Francisco", became a hit in the United States and Europe. The lyrics, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair", inspired thousands of young people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco, sometimes wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passersby, earning them the name, "Flower Children." Bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), and Jefferson Airplane continued to live in the Haight, but by the end of the summer, the incessant media coverage led the Diggers to declare the "death" of the hippie with a parade. According to the late poet Stormi Chambless, the hippies buried an effigy of a hippie in the Panhandle to demonstrate the end of his/her reign.
Regarding this period of history, the July 7, 1967, Time magazine featured a cover story entitled, "The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture." The article described the guidelines of the hippie code: "Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun." It is estimated that around 100,000 people traveled to San Francisco in the summer of 1967. The media was right behind them, casting a spotlight on the Haight-Ashbury district and popularizing the "hippie" label. With this increased attention, hippies found support for their ideals of love and peace but were also criticized for their anti-work, pro-drug, and permissive ethos. Misgivings about the hippie culture, particularly with regard to drug abuse and lenient morality, fueled the moral panics of the late 1960s.
Revolution (1968–1969)In April 1969, the building of People's Park in Berkeley, California received international attention. The University of California, Berkeley had demolished all the buildings on a 2.8 acre parcel near campus, intending to use the land to build playing fields and a parking lot. After a long delay, during which the site became a dangerous eyesore, thousands of ordinary Berkeley citizens, merchants, students, and hippies took matters into their own hands, planting trees, shrubs, flowers and grass to convert the land into a park. A major confrontation ensued on May 15, 1969, and Governor Ronald Reagan ordered a two-week occupation of the city of Berkeley by the United States National Guard. Flower power came into its own during this occupation as hippies engaged in acts of civil disobedience to plant flowers in empty lots all over Berkeley under the slogan "Let A Thousand Parks Bloom."
In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Festival took place in Bethel, New York, which for many, exemplified the best of hippie counterculture. Over 500,000 people arrived to hear the most notable musicians and bands of the era, among them Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carlos Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Wavy Gravy's Hog Farm provided security and attended to practical needs, and the hippie ideals of love and human fellowship seemed to have gained real-world expression.
In December 1969, a similar event took place in Altamont, California, about 30 miles (45 km) east of San Francisco. Initially billed as "Woodstock West", its official name was The Altamont Free Concert. About 300,000 people gathered to hear The Rolling Stones; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Jefferson Airplane and other bands. The Hells Angels provided security that proved far less beneficent than the security provided at the Woodstock event: 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was stabbed and killed during The Rolling Stones performance.
Aftershocks (1970–present)By 1970, the 1960s zeitgeist that had spawned hippie culture seemed to be on the wane. The events at Altamont shocked many Americans, including those who had strongly identified with hippie culture. Another shock came in the form of the Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca murders committed in August 1969 by Charles Manson and his "family" of followers. Nevertheless, the oppressive political atmosphere that featured the bombing of Cambodia and shootings by National Guardsmen at Jackson State University and Kent State University still brought people together. These shootings inspired the May 1970 song by Quicksilver Messenger Service "What About Me?", where they sang, "You keep adding to my numbers as you shoot my people down."
Much of hippie style had been integrated into mainstream American society by the early 1970s. Large rock concerts that originated with the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and the 1968 Isle of Wight Festival became the norm. In the mid-1970s, with the end of the draft and the Vietnam War, and a renewal of patriotic sentiment associated with the approach of the United States Bicentennial, the mainstream media lost interest in the hippie counterculture. Acid rock gave way to heavy metal, disco, and punk rock. Hippies became targets for ridicule. While many hippies made a long-term commitment to the lifestyle, some younger people argue that hippies "sold out" during the 1980s and became part of the materialist, consumer culture.
Although not as visible as it once was, hippie culture has never died out completely: hippies and neo-hippies can still be found on college campuses, on communes, and at gatherings and festivals. Many embrace the hippie values of peace, love, and community, and hippies may still be found in bohemian enclaves around the world.
As in the beat movement preceding them, and the punk movement that followed soon after, hippie symbols and iconography were purposely borrowed from either "low" or "primitive" cultures, with hippie fashion reflecting a disorderly, often vagrant style. As with other adolescent, white middle-class movements, deviant behavior of the hippies involved challenging the prevailing gender differences of their time: both men and women in the hippie movement wore jeans and maintained long hair, and both genders wore sandals or went barefoot. while women wore little or no makeup, with many going braless." Hippies often chose brightly colored clothing and wore unusual styles, such as bell-bottom pants, vests, tie-dyed garments, dashikis, peasant blouses, and long, full skirts; non-Western inspired clothing with Native American, African and Latin American motifs were also popular. Much of hippie clothing was self-made in defiance of corporate culture, and hippies often purchased their clothes from flea markets and second-hand shops. Bobby Seale discussed the differences between Yippies and hippies with Jerry Rubin who told him that Yippies were the political wing of the hippie movement, as hippies have not "necessarily become political yet". Regarding the political activity of hippies, Rubin said, "They mostly prefer to be stoned, but most of them want peace, and they want an end to this stuff."
In addition to non-violent political demonstrations, hippie opposition to the Vietnam War included organizing political action groups to oppose the war, refusal to serve in the military and conducting "teach-ins" on college campuses that covered Vietnamese history and the larger political context of the war.
Scott McKenzie's 1967 rendition of John Phillips' song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)", which helped inspire the hippie Summer of Love, became a homecoming song for all Vietnam veterans arriving in San Francisco from 1967 on. McKenzie has dedicated every American performance of "San Francisco" to Vietnam veterans, and he sang at the 2002 20th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. "San Francisco" became a freedom song worldwide, especially in Eastern European nations that suffered under Soviet-imposed communism.
Hippie political expression often took the form of "dropping out" of society to implement the changes they sought. Politically motivated movements aided by hippies include the back to the land movement of the 1960s, cooperative business enterprises, alternative energy, the free press movement, and organic farming. On the West Coast of the United States, Ken Kesey was an important figure in promoting the recreational use of psychotropic drugs, especially LSD, also known as "acid." By holding what he called "Acid Tests", and touring the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, Kesey became a magnet for media attention that drew many young people to the fledgling movement. The Grateful Dead (originally billed as "The Warlocks") played some of their first shows at the Acid Tests, often as high on LSD as their audiences. Kesey and the Pranksters had a "vision of turning on the world." Heroin, for example, was banned from the Stonehenge Free Festival.
Travelseealso Hippie trail Hippies tended to travel light and could pick up and go wherever the action was at any time; whether at a "love-in" on Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco, a demonstration against the Vietnam War in Berkeley, one of Ken Kesey's "Acid Tests", or if the "vibe" wasn't right and a change of scene was desired, hippies were mobile at a moment's notice. Pre-planning was eschewed as hippies were happy to put a few clothes in a backpack, stick out their thumbs and hitchhike anywhere. Hippies seldom worried whether they had money, hotel reservations or any of the other standard accoutrements of travel. Hippie households welcomed overnight guests on an impromptu basis, and the reciprocal nature of the lifestyle permitted freedom of movement. People generally cooperated to meet each other's needs in ways that became less common after the early 1970s." This way of life is still seen among the Rainbow Family groups, new age travellers and New Zealand's housetruckers. A derivative of this free-flow style of travel were hippie trucks and buses, hand-crafted mobile houses built on truck or bus chassis to facilitate a nomadic lifestyle. Some of these mobile gypsy houses were quite elaborate with beds, toilets, showers and cooking facilities.
On the West Coast, a unique lifestyle developed around the Renaissance Faires that Phyllis and Ron Patterson first organized in 1963. There are even more local and regional festivals, as well as underground and public gatherings, that enjoy a large attendance. The Rainbow Family Gatherings, Community Peace Festivals, Woodstock Festivals and others have helped perpetuate and continue the culture as well as creating an environment of peace and networking for the greater good.
In the UK, there are many new age travellers who are known as hippies to outsiders, but prefer to call themselves the Peace Convoy. They started the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1974, especially Wally Hope, until the English Heritage legally banned the festival, resulting in the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985. With Stonehenge banned as a festival site new age travellers gather at the annual Glastonbury Festival to see hundreds of live dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other performances.
Acid House/The Second Summer of Love In the UK and Europe the years 1987/89 were marked by a large scale revival of many characteristics of the hippy movement of 20 years earlier.A mass movement of those aged 18-25 in which there was a large scale re-adoption of much of the philosophy of love/peace and freedom and which resulted in the summer of 1988 becoming known as the Second Summer of Love. Although the soundtrack was modern electronic (acid house/house etc)in the chillout rooms you could even hear certain tracks from the original era played.
Between 1976 and 1981, hippie music festivals were held on large farms around Waihi and Waikino in New Zealand. Named Nambassa, the festivals focused on peace, love, and a balanced lifestyle, featuring workshops and displays advocating alternative lifestyles, clean and sustainable energy, and unadulterated foods.
- Binkley, Sam. (2002). Hippies. St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture. FindArticles.com.
- Brand, Stewart. (Spring, 1995). We Owe it All to the Hippies. Time.
- Gaskin, Stephen. (1970). Monday Night Class. The Book Farm. ISBN 1-57067-181-8.
- Kent, Stephen A. (2001). From slogans to mantras: social protest and religious conversion in the late Vietnam war era. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0-8156-2923-0
- Markoff, John. (2006). What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-303676-9
- Marty, Myron A. (1997). Daily life in the United States, 1960–1990. Westport, CT: The Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-29554-9
- Mecchi, Irene. (1991). The Best of Herb Caen, 1960–75. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-0020-2
- Young, Shawn David. (2005). Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music. Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works. ISBN 1-59399-201-7
Further reading and resources
- . See also: Rainbowpedia
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