Last updated on July 31, 2021
There’s a story about the first time the Beatles met Elvis Presley. I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I have a hunch that it’s pretty close to the mark.
Supposedly, there were multiple attempts to get the King and the Fab Four together in the same room during 1964/65, but something always came up on Elvis’s end and the meetings would get cancelled at the last minute. The following got to be a running gag between John, Paul, George, and Ringo: “Where’s Elvis?”
Finally, on August 27, 1965, the Beatles met their hero at his house on Perugia Way in Los Angeles. Apparently, the meeting was awkward and weird. Elvis was zoned out on goofballs or something, and he was totally surrounded by the “Memphis Mafia,” the nickname for his large, protective, sycophantic entourage. Our English friends were, understandably, disappointed.
As the Beatles were leaving Elvis’s house and climbing back into their car, John Lennon supposedly asked the rest of the lads, “Where’s Elvis?”
I’ve had this same feeling after encounters with people who present themselves as hippies. They might dress the part and act the part, but something’s not quite right, and I come away feeling somewhat cheated. It makes me want to ask, “Where are the hippies?”
Being a Hippie
I think we all carry around with us a little image in our heads of what a hippie is. Tie-dye, flower power, counterculture, long hair, bare feet, Woodstock, dope, VW micro-bus, folk music, peace and love. You know the stuff.
It’s the counterculture aspect that’s particularly interesting to me. I like the idea of protesting idiotic governments, establishing self-sufficient communities that are not dependent on the State, and refusing to participate in a corrupt, money-dominated culture. Therefore I’d like to associate being a hippie with a fundamental mistrust of traditional institutions, governments, and societal norms. So it’s jarring to me when I bump into “hippies” that are evangelists of leftist political ideologies. It makes me wonder if The Man has gotten to ‘em.
Example: Several years ago, I had an old hippie dude tell me how proud he was to be living in a country with a black president. Was he too stoned to detect the irony of that statement? I couldn’t tell. His eyes were crystal clear and he seemed so sincere.
Here’s a DIY experiment for the brave of heart: It’s easy enough to get yourself into the mix with hippie types. You can just visit a town like Northampton, Massachusetts, or Asheville, North Carolina, or Yellow Springs, Ohio, or Manitou Springs, Colorado, or Eugene, Oregon, or countless others. Or attend a festival like Burning Man. Go ahead and get yourself a henna tattoo if you’re feeling fancy, and start engaging in some friendly chit-chat. Pick any benign subject for starters. Now, while you’re in it, try to keep track of how long it takes before you find yourself conversationally dabbling in socialism and other ideological weirdness. Carry on and you may even begin to suspect, as I often have, that you might actually be speaking with unwitting HippieTM brand ambassadors who are not really in touch with the True Hippie Spirit. It’s really not so different than speaking with Christian fundamentalists, where the ole’ Jesus name drop is just waiting there like a conversational time bomb.
And so the thesis for this article was born. I wanted to dig into historical records and find evidence that there were “original hippies” that were primarily concerned with protesting baby boomer culture and Vietnam and the like. I wanted to make the case that these original hippies posed such a threat to The Man that it was deemed necessary to have spooks and shills infiltrate their ranks, introduce drugs to dumb them down, and ultimately convert them into harmless wards of the State and/or gullible social justice rabble-rousers. But instead, here’s what I discovered:
There’s no such thing as hippies. And there never has been.
Here’s what I’m learning (it’s a work in progress, so please forgive the over-simplifications):
The term “hippie” that we strongly associate with the 1960s didn’t actually become widely popular until sometime after the fact, in the early 1970s. “Hippie” came to be used in the media as a catch-all label for the 1970s’ here-and-now groups, and also as a retrospective label applied collectively to a bunch 1960s groups such as the Freaks and Yippies who rejected conventional society, each in their own ways.
What’s a Freak? What’s a Yippie?
The Freak movement was essentially a spin-off of the Beat movement of the 1950s. The main interests of this group revolved around spiritual enlightenment (with an emphasis on Eastern philosophy), community building, and sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll. Freaks didn’t really give a rip about politics. Fun fact: I can remember when this label was still in vogue; when I was growing up in the late 70s, “Freaks” were what we called the long-haired kids in school who wore jean jackets and smoked pot under the bleachers at ball games.
The term Yippie was derived from the initials of an organization called the Youth International Party, although it was more commonly associated with being just another term for “Hooray!” or “Fun!” They were known for their street theater antics and politically-themed pranks, such as supporting a pig as a candidate for President of the United States. Pretty good stuff, I’d say, until you scratch beneath the surface and discover that they were all about forming a “New Nation” with decidedly Marxist ambitions. The Yippies supposedly had no formal leadership structure. Yet they had themselves an official flag. The flag was black with a big red communist star in the middle. Overlaid on top of the commie star was a green marijuana leaf.
Some of the real and imagined lines between Freaks and Yippies certainly blurred over time. And most of the “squares” witnessing it all unfurl probably made no distinction. So it became easy enough to bundle it all up under a single label. To wit: Even though Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters called themselves “pranksters,” they were more like Freaks than Yippies. And even though Vito Paulekas is considered by many to be the Father of the Freaks, his Laurel Canyon based gang was much too Yippie-like to be anything else. Kind of confusing, eh?
Exhibits A – D
Now, are there some spooky ties between “hippie culture” and “The Man?” Absolutely.
Below are just a few to chew on. I intended use these and others to support my thesis that The Man infiltrated and subverted a pre-existing, noble hippie subculture.
- In a 1984 interview former KGB agent, Yuri Bezmenov articulately describes the four stages of ideological subversion (and Marxist take-over) in the U.S. This is worth watching back-to-back with any modern newscast. It’s best to be sitting down while doing this.
- The origin stories (and purposes) of many of our favorite rock bands from the 1960s might be complete fiction. The Beatles? Where’s Elvis indeed. There’s considerable evidence that the Beatles were a actually a social engineering experiment created and operated by the Tavistock Institute. John Lennon himself nearly spilled the beans on this – and this may be the primary reason that he’s no longer alive. The Doors? Jim Morrison grew up (happily) in a multi-generational military family; his father just happened to be the commander of the U.S. ships that were supposedly attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin (the bogus incident that kicked off “official” U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War). Supposedly, Admiral George Morrison was not supportive of his son’s career choice in music. Supposedly. Tip of the iceberg here. If you want to start digging into the psyop aspects of the 1960s music scene, a great starting point is David McGowan’s revealing book, titled Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream.
- Operation Midnight Climax. This was the covert project started in the late 1950s where CIA-run safe houses in San Francisco and New York City were used to study the effects of LSD on non-consenting individuals. Any apparent connections to the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene were purely coincidental, I’m sure.
- Arguably, LSD was the fuel for many of the fringe-beyond-fringe shenanigans in the 1960s (the ritualistic Manson murders, atrocities committed by LaVey’s Church of Satan, etc.). And right there at the front lines to publicly promote and distribute LSD were known CIA assets Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), both ex-Harvard guys. But maybe I shouldn’t pick on these guys as individuals. Perhaps it would be better to call out Harvard in its entirety as a CIA asset. Hmmm…since Yale controls the CIA, does that mean that Harvard is actually an asset of Yale, a sub-contractor you might say? OK, this is getting complicated.
All this said… None of this fun stuff points to a coordinated take-down of some noble hippie movement that posed a threat to the Establishment. From what I have learned, no such noble movement ever existed. Instead, the above entanglements point to the existence of movements that are both started and subsequently fueled by interests that are not what they appear to be. In that sense, the so-called hippie movement of the 1960s was not so different from what’s still going on today with all the Q-anon / BLM / Antifa psyop nonsense.
In other words, there was no early 1960s grassroots group that was drug-free and unconnected to spidery Marxist handlers that had “sticking it to The Man” as its prime objective. It breaks my heart a little to discover this. I rather liked the idea of the noble hippie.
Phil’s Two Cents
So I guess I’ve burst my own bubble here. There is no Gold Standard Hippie against which modern hippies can be compared, complimented, or criticized. “Where are the hippies?” I’ve asked. The answer to my own question seems to be…”Like…totally…nowhere.”
This reminds me of a joke:
Q: What did the lifeguard yell to the drowning hippie?
A: “You’re too far out, man!”