20 May 2015
The Hippies: A New American Culture The hippie culture that blossomed during the 1960s created a new way of life for hundreds of middle class young people who no longer wanted to live a life that was pre-planned for them. This new American counter culture emphasized: a free spirited mindset, love to all, world peace, and embracing your own persona.
The word “hippie” originated from the word “hipster” which means “a usually young person, who is trendy, stylish, or progressive in an unconventional way, someone who is hip” (Unabridged) and it was first introduced in modern use when an article by Dorthy Killagen was published with the following sentence “New York hippies have a new kick-baking marijuana in cookies” on July 11, 1963 (Killagen). Although that was the first time, the “hippie” term was used, it was clearly used for the first time in Michael Fallon’s article “A New Haven for Beatniks” published on September 5, 1965, where he was talking about the Blue Unicorn Coffeehouse in San Francisco (The 1960s Hippie Counter Culture Movement ).
Hippies felt isolated from the middle class society, whom they thought of as corrupt and materialistic, and so they created a new lifestyle where they promoted peace, especially during the Vietnam War, creating the slogan “make love, not war” (Britannica) . They often lived in communities with other fellow hippies, where they began to practice the vegetarian diet, in which they ate organic food and practiced natural and holistic medicine. They were also known for their liberal views on sex, practicing what they called “free love.” As they lived a life of freedom, they often sought to find themselves by practicing Buddhism or other Eastern religions, ones that often included meditation. Another way they sought to find their inner-self was through the use of marijuana and the hallucinogenic drug LSD. Hippies defended their use of these drugs saying it helped them find their own inner peace (Britannica).
One could tell a hippie apart because of their bright colored clothing, which often included tie-dye t-shirts, bell bottom jeans, and rag clothing. They often walked around barefoot, and when they weren’t, they would wear sandals. Hippies also loved the usage of beads as part of their wardrobe and much of their clothing was bought old. Another way they used color was with their Volks-wagon buses from where they traveled to and from music festivals, protests, or any major gathering such as protests, concerts, or gatherings. (The 1960s Hippie Counter Culture Movement )
The 1960’s were a time during American history in which the United States was involved in the Vietnam War, and although there were various groups who opposed this war, mostly everyone referred to these groups as hippies, as they were known to promote love and not war. Hippies were very active in anti-protest events. Often participating in “draft burnings” in which the burning of draft papers occurred, although the burning of the draft was not in opposition of the draft, but towards the involvement of the war (Flynn) .When President John F. Kennedy was murdered, hippies noticed that newly sworn in President Lyndon B. Johnson had increased the United States’ involvement with Vietnam and created the anti-war chant “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today’ (Stone)?
Music was a strong way hippies expressed their opposition to the war. Songs like “Times are A-Changin” by Bob Dylan, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” by The Byrds are examples. The lyrics to this song reinstate that there is still time for change, for example the song says “to everything, turn, turn, turn, / there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven. / a time to gain, a time to lose./ a time to rend, a time to sew./ a time for love, a time for hate./ a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” Which means that there is still time for peace in the United States.
One event that…