The World According to Humboldt Hippies

Seen in a park in Arcata. Poor horse.
According to some, I'm a bit harsh on Humboldt hippies.  The reality is: I'm harsh to all hippies, save a select few.  They are throwbacks to an age when hygiene and ideas weren't all that important and it was all about "vibes."  My favorite hippies lived out in the desert and got all creepy crawly.  In my opinion, Manson's happy little group also signified the "end" of the hippies.  A public, already distrustful of the longhairs who discarded their draft cards and bras, now had every reason in the world to believe all their fears.  Hippies would kill them and leave something witchy in their wake.

In Humboldt County, we've still got hippies.  They're in Eureka, Garberville, Arcata (especially Arcata) -- everywhere.  They are like Tea Party Parrots: carrying poorly worded signs, spouting nonsense, living off trust funds, and calling for the downfall of the government while living off it.  That's actually not why I dislike them so much.  It's because so many of them are so fake, in a transit period between high school and becoming insurance salesmen.  They sit on the corner with their dogs, their acoustic guitars and a plea for help.  Perhaps they sell overpriced hemp jewelry and say things like, "Have a blessed, sunny day."

And the music really sucks.

Turn on, tune in, stab repeatedly.
When I see them walking around town with baggy, patchwork pants in three different earth tones, dog at their side held in place by a hemp rope, I wonder what drew them here.  Yeah, it's the pot, the organic foods movement and the perceived liberal attitude.  I believe it's also the sense of escape.  They come to a place on the far edge of the country, a place that accepts them and their ways.  We do, of course.  We accept most people here who aren't overly violent.  Seeing them at the farmers markets doesn't even warrant a second glance.  Old people smile at them, finding them quaint.  They have forgotten about a pregnant Sharon Tate stabbed to death, her blood used as a warning and a catalyst for a race war.  No.  These youngin's are tree hugging, bong loving throwbacks, and we love it.  It's part of what makes Humboldt Humboldt.  The way I see it, though, the Manson incident isn't that far fetched or unbelievable.  Like the Tea Party Parrots, when you believe odd things, you do odd things.  Hippies belief that all is peace and love on the planet goes against every law of nature.  It's a nice pipe dream, but it leaves you open to attack and persuasion.  The actions of Manson and the government proved that.

The hippies have been credited with many things: the rise in STDs, the end of Vietnam, the popularity of patchouli.  They had their hand in all those (well, patchouli they pretty much owned).  There is one other thing they and the times they came from have been credited with that hasn't gotten as much coverage as it should have.  The rise of pedophilia in the Catholic Church.

"Let me put on a little Country Joe and the Fish."
That's right, the Catholic Church, in a study it requested on the rise of sexual abuse of children by its priest places the blame squarely in the lap of the '60s counterculture.  The permissive attitude in the country that called for free love, questioning authority and dropping acid also apparently called for priests to fuck children.  I believe that sparked the People's Park incident.  It all makes perfect sense when you see how the '60s influenced the church in so many other ways.  The tie dye robes the priests wear.  The playing of "Age of Aquarius" during Mass.  The smoking of pot.  Yes, it all makes perfect sense.

I don't dislike the hippies because they like to stab pregnant girls or inspired priests to fondle children.  No, I just really hate patchouli.

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