By: Andrew Bank (Syracuse University)
Hippies annoy me. I’m not talking about the politically-charged, Joe Cocker-loving, tie dye-wearing hippies of the ’60s. I’m referring to the confused, politically-ignorant, Dave Matthews Band-idolizing, “legalizing Marijuana will save America” quoting, Birkenstock-flopping modern sort.
There was a time when hippies actually fostered positive discussion and action in our country. Nowadays, college-aged poser hippies often make America’s youth appear apathetic and misguided.
“Puffing the Magic Dragon,” wearing Che Guevara t-shirts (why?), disliking George W. Bush without legitimate reason (“he’s dumb” isn’t enough to justify your sentiment), and having a Bob Marley poster in your dorm room doesn’t qualify you as a “true” hippie. Actually, this just makes you a tool.
Today’s hippies are essentially walking contradictions of those from decades ago. Instead of taking to the streets with a united goal for change, many now stay home and bitch about problems they don’t understand, or do little about. Sadly, most of those who actually do possess knowledge fail to constructively apply it.
I believe that the single most powerful force inhibiting our nation’s political, social, and economic progress is our impracticality. It’s impractical to expect comprehensive reform overnight (with regard to any major issue, including health care, war, corporate greed, etc.). It’s even more so to anticipate action from others when you yourself are unwilling to make compromises.
Vegetarians criticizing meat-eaters for their roles in animal cruelty should instead preach support for the companies who do things more humanely. Environmentalists should put their money where their mouths are and quit following Phish across the U.S. in their fume-emitting vans (how do all of these “hippie” folks afford tickets to all of these jam fests, anyway?).
Real hippies once knew how to blend their idealism with realism. They stood together and illuminated a generation’s conscious restlessness through speech, song, and collectivization. To them, Dylan and Marley were known as ambassadors of compassion and peace, not just for the pot that they famously smoked.
College campuses were once the place for hippies to be themselves. Today, however, it seems like too many students are dazed and confused.
*Andrew Bank is a senior Television, Radio, & Film major at Syracuse University. Visit ANDREWBANK.COM to read more of his work.