The Whole Earth Festival came and went last weekend with both grunts and squeals. “Mending Our Web” included a plethora of enjoyment. Personally, I eat up all the free-spirited vibes in the air, love the wide variety of handmade goods for sale and of course the ethnic concession stands and the zero waste mission. But for some, Whole Earth is not so enjoyable, as they resent the high concentration of hippies.
What’s with the hippie hate coming from all sides of the social spectrum? I’ve heard conservatives, punk rockers and all kinds of social liberals alike bear a disapproving view of the hippie demographic. But when it comes to subcultures or strains of ideology, I find the hippie scene the least invasive or outwardly bothersome to the general public.
Let’s just go down the list of stereotypical attributes and stop at the first sign of absolute intolerability. That will prove that there’s nothing “so bad” about hippies.
First, hippies don’t shower. Big deal, a lot of people choose to not shower as much as they should, or shower and still emit a rather unpleasant odor. Next time you take your second daily shower or turn on your dishwasher, remember that hippies are making up for how much water you’re wasting.
Hippies enjoy being in touch with nature and other spiritual elements. On one note, I think there is a little we can all learn from hippies in this aspect, as we continue to slap down pavement and jump into our automobiles. But honestly, how does this “nature connection” even begin to impact the hippie hater, especially when they’re all out of your (cleaner) hair, not near your suburbs and rather out in the middle of nowhere? Once a year, they come out of the woodwork (literally) and celebrate WEF. One weekend a year of longhaired barefooted folks isn’t going to kill you.
And lastly, the ideology of hippies is a touchy subject. Many people disagree with the views of hippies, which is inevitable in any situation, as debate is a normal process. But a lot of hippies simply dress the part and don’t practice or advocate any certain ideology. And especially in the modern era, the “hippie” demographic has calmed down substantially.
Going on this point, the peak of the hippie era was in the ‘60s and ‘70s when young people were acting out against the government’s choices to go to war or to repress certain alternative social groups. Women were burning bras, people were talking in front of military tanks and everyone was using LSD to find a fourth dimension.
Do modern day hippies embrace the sexual revolution or outwardly impose their countercultural ideas on other people? Not so much. Not that it’s bad to do any of these things, because actually expressing your opinion is pretty commendable. However, what doesn’t match up is why people would hate on the modern day hippie, who does very little to bother you or try to change your mind about current events. (Which is ironic enough, since this era doubles the ‘60 and ‘70s in the aspect that we too are in a war in 2008).
Maybe it’s because the hippie look is in right now that this comes to so many people’s attention. “The look” was running rampant across WEF this weekend, most definitely.
As with any fashion trend or subculture, there is the activity end of “being,” and there is the image end of “being.” Does that not apply to subcultures across the board? Modern fashion always seeks out subculture and exploits it. Right now, Urban Outfitters is doing it, but when we move on to the gothic look, Hot Topic will expand to the scale of Walmart.
Though I feel like WEF is one of Davis‘ most impressive activities and one that all the community should be proud to share, not everyone holds the same opinion, and that’s fine. I am sure if haters got over the fact that a ton of hippies would be in full force during the three days, they‘d find something they would like about the festival.
But honestly, why all the hate on a very unobtrusive “people” that is marked by unity and love? Because when you look at it that way, we should all have a little hippie in us.
You may say NICOLE L. BROWNER is a dreamer, but she’s not the only one. She hopes someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.