Friday, Oct. 03, 2008

Abbie Hoffman

Hoffman co-founded the Youth International Party ("Yippies") in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War and the American economic and political system. A master of the publicity stunt, he gained national attention in 1969 by interrupting The Who's performance at Woodstock to protest a fellow activist's arrest and incarceration. "I think this is a pile of shit! While John Sinclair rots in prison ...," he screamed, high on LSD, after grabbing the microphone from a shocked Pete Townsend. The following year, he was convicted for crossing state lines to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, though the conviction was later overturned. In 1971 he made headlines again with his best seller Steal This Book. After being arrested in New York City for trying to sell $36,000 worth of cocaine, Hoffman jumped bail in 1974 and vanished. (He made for a flamboyant fugitive, personally reporting his disappearance to police.) Seven years later, he resurfaced in upstate New York with an entirely new name (Barry Freed) and an entirely new face (thanks to plastic surgery). He served one year in prison and later worked as an environmental activist until his death in 1989.