Youth: The Hippies

  • Share
  • Read Later

(9 of 10)

than beautiful visions," says a tanned, clear-eyed hippie girl named Joan. That hippies can actually work becomes evident on a tour of the commune's vegetable gardens. Cabbages and turnips, lettuce and onions march in glossy green rows, neatly mulched with redwood sawdust. Hippie girls lounge in the buffalo grass, sewing colorful dresses or studying Navajo sand painting, clad in nothing but beads, bells and feather headdresses. (Not everyone is a nudist—only when they feel like it.) A shaggy sheepdog named Grass plays with the hippie children, among them a straw-thatched 17-month-old boy named Adam Siddhartha.

Work Trip. The new-found trip of work and responsibility reflected in the Morning Star experiment is perhaps the most hopeful development in the hippie philosophy to date. Other hippie tribes are becoming aware of the work trip as well. New York's Group Image, an aggressive agglomerate of some 50 East Village hippies—many of them from the Middle West—turns out everything from silk-screen prints to psychedelic artifacts and a deadly serious, tidily edited magazine called Innerspace. The tribe's seven-man combo plays to packed and palpitating houses at such uptown discotheques as Cheetah and

Trude Heller's Trik. Other New York tribes, like Pablo and the Third World, produce light shows for discos and department stores, run their own shops, where they make jewelry and pottery with a medieval dedication to craft and quality.

The drug scene itself has imposed demands for organization on the hippies. Foremost among the do-gooders are the Diggers; named for a 17th century society of English agricultural altruists, the latter-day Diggers provide free food, shelter and transportation for down-and-out hippies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and the East Village (where a Digger with the nom de hip of Galahad maintains a crowded "crash" pad and returns runaways to their parents). San Francisco alone has such drug-derived service organizations as HALO (Haight-Ashbury Legal Organization), the HIP Job Coop, with 6,000 names on its part-time employment roster, and Huckleberry's (homes for runaways). In Los Angeles, an outfit called Kerista, founded three months ago by a former heroin addict named John Thomsen, provides pads and proteins for homeless hippies.

Irrelevant Goals. For all the hippies' good works and gentle ways, many Americans find them profoundly unsettling. One reason is that straight society finds it difficult to argue with people who, while condemning virtually every aspect of the American scene, from its foreign policy to its moral values, offer no debatable alternatives. By contrast with the rebels of every previous generation in the U.S.—from the "wobblies" of 50 years ago (see BOOKS) to the New Left activists of the early '60s—the hippies have no desire to control the machinery of society or redirect it toward new goals. They have no urge to reform the world, if only because its values seem irrelevant to them.

What offends, perplexes and yet also beguiles the straight sector is hippie-dom's total disregard for approbation or disapproval. "Do your own thing," they say, and never mind what anyone else may think or do. Yet this and many hippie attitudes represent only a slight and rather engaging distortion of the Protestant Ethic

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10