Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
WHAT’S WITH THE HIPPY DIP TRIP, VOLUME TWO….I thought that maybe some of you would get a kick out of a thorough bashing of the modern hippie scene and the high-minded liberal reactionary rhetoric that often accompanies it (see “What’s With The Hippy Dip Trip?” below). It was certainly fun for me! I’m gonna call "Derek"’s bluff and take him up on his challenge, right around Comment #10. To quote:

"B. Coley made political comments all the time in FE in his reviews, etc.

It's funny that you can't seem to help admitting you like Sunburned Hand Of The Man when you saw them.

Sorry, but Comets On Fire are also part of this movement that is coming to take over my scene (yeah, right) too.

If we're comparing pathetic cultural anachronisms, 'punk' 'wins' every time."

First, “SUNBURNED” were fine when I saw them – I know there’s some talent lurking there, and you get me in a small club to see live rock music for the first time in months, I’m likely to be pretty open-minded & positive about just about anything, even a dancing hippie. It’s only when I’m back at my keyboard that the curmudgeonly cynicism kicks back in, and I thought it might be pleasurable to have a cheap chortle at their expense. But the more broad – albeit mocking and somewhat tongue-in-cheek -- point was being made about the modern underground taking up common cause with the reactionary left (not to be confused with the reasoned, informed, change-embracing left). The politics associated with the underground really don’t interest me much, since we’re talking about people who wear their lefter-than-thou personas with the same amount of well-crafted consideration and urge to shock mom as they do their hair and clothing styles. Whatever. My antipathy to these people dates back to my weekly date with the Maximum Rock and Roll radio show in the early 80s, when “Tim and the gang” would argue for hours about who was the better communist, or mercilessly harangue MDC because they took a plane to Canada rather than drive a beat-up bus fueled with potato oil. Now it’s all about the chasm between September 10th Americans and September 11th Americans, and I resent the insinuation that everyone with any interest in the musical underground has to make their bed with the former. Thurston Moore’s ranting in ARTHUR and the general spirit of that magazine personifies the groupthink that I have absolutely no time for, whether it comes from the right or the left.

Recognizing fully the risk of taking this down to the level of a high school pissing match, I have to comment on Derek’s statement regarding what’s more of a pathetic cultural anachronism, “punk” or “hippy”. Who cares? I only make fun of hippies in the happy-grinnin’ mocking spirit of early LA punks Eugene, Mugger and The Deadbeats. Let’s remember, though, that one (punk) is a music that necessitates no lifestyle to be wrapped around it, whereas the other (hippy) is wholly defined by the lifestyle, and only vaguely represents music. Far be it for me to be the sacred defender of punk, but there’s no getting around its relevance to the furthering of the rock and roll form. At some level, that’s even true today. But let’s not confuse wardrobes, attitudes and political associations with the actual music. Isn’t it great that blogs like mine can really get to the meaty issues of our times? Glad to help!