Now here’s a backhanded compliment. The Register, those bad-boy tech journos in the UK, wrote up the hilarious fact that UK Nuclear Warships run on the Windows operating system. And on page two of the story, they wrote about possible security breaches, first software based, then physical:
Peaceniks with time on their hands have reached the outer casing, though the boat in question was unarmed and de-fuelled at the time. People more dangerous than the disarmament hippies have never yet bothered with such capers, perhaps because one can’t achieve much once inside.
Well darn it if that link to the word “hippies” doesn’t go to my profile over on the Greenpeace Blog: Making Waves. And shame on me for being behind a desk when I read it while my
colleagues brothers and sisters were being arrested in the UK for doing something to actually earn that honor.
Now I wear the label “hippy” with pride, and hate what has been done to the term over the years by the relentless forces of government and corporate groupthink sheep herding. They (and yes, this is a Pynchonian “They”) managed to marginalize and trivialize one of the only genuine threats to the US status-quo, and the only social movement in the US that has seriously challenged the drift toward consumerism and Me First society since the days of Emerson and the Trancendentalists.
But history hasn’t been written by the forces of Peace, Love, and understanding. Hippies have never had spin-managers or marketing consultants to guard their “brand.” Few back then, and even fewer today, saw the distinction between the Left’s quest for political control within the US political system versus the Hippy creed of freedom and rejection of the system itself. It’s tempting to see the “counterforce” against corporate/Republican fascism as monoglot, but it wasn’t. The Revolution wasn’t supposed to be violent. It wasn’t supposed to be as conservative as electing Eugene McCarthy. And it definitely wasn’t supposed to be a branding opportunity for “The Pepsi Generation.” When the cause of ending the Vietnam war withered as a unifying element, the natural alliance of Hippies and the left got shattered. And The Revolution died.
But it was, briefly, a Revolution. And it had its champions, and it had its victims. You can say that anti-war hippies aren’t dangerous, but then you have to ask why over the course of history they’ve been jailed and shot. And I’ll continue to my dying day to object to the mental image of Hippies as a dope-smoking musical sideshow on the Richard Nixon — Ronald Reagan Highway. It was a valid, alternate vision of what the world could be. And no matter what label gets put on that by the forces of conformity, no matter what stigma it gets painted with, it lives on by other names.