CAN YOU SAY ‘DIRTY HIPPIE’?
I have mixed feelings about BW’s cover story about advice from Boulder’s “meme queen,” particularly the response “Help, I’ve Fallen in Love with a Hippy.” I have written a book, Happily Hippie-American, in which I argue that what I call “Hippie-Americans” are in fact part of a modern ethnicity, now over half-a-century old, that has made many important social contributions (such as the invention of the personal computer and the natural/organic-foods industry, for examples) and comprises over 10% of today’s America. This ethnic perspective is an enlightened way in which to see and understand the counterculture, as opposed to the cliché that Hippies were just a thing of the 1960s, something that ignores the fact that most of today’s Hippie-Americans were not born until long after the 1960s ended. And of course, minorities, whether racial, ethnic, religious or sexual, are scapegoated and stereotyped. As such, Ms. Vermeire’s casual comment about an “unwashed lover” should be seen as an obvious and ugly stereotype. If such a comment were made about any other group, readers would clearly see it as such, and no newspaper would publish it. Why, then, when someone says it about a Hippie-American, do we brush it off as something acceptable, as witty and urbane humor? Can you say “dirty hippie”?
— Paul Dougan/Boulder