Maybe this one will actually work

It was Spring of 1969, my last year at Guilford College, in North Carolina. My freind Gene Massey (later of the great Gene’s Books in King of Prussia, PA) and I went into a curb market nearby to get some beer. There we ran into Wayne, a huge former football player at the school, who apparently hung out there, and was drunk. As we walked up to the counter, Wayne approached both of us in a daze, said “Two hippies!” and planted one punch each, a right and a left, into our middles. We were more shocked than hurt. “Wayne,” I said. “Back off, man. We’re just a couple guys from Guilford!” Wayne blinked, squinted and seemed to wake up. “Aw shit! I didn’t know ya’ll boys were from Guilford! Damn. I’m sorry. I thought ya’ll was a couple of hippies.”

In fact Wayne was right. The label applied. Gene’s hair was long to his shoulders. Mine hadn’t seen a scissors in many months and was bushed out. But we were hippies in far more than looks alone. We really thought we were in the midst of a revolution.

Are we again? I hope so, which is why I shouldn’t be surprised to see a post called Hippie 2.0 that seems to be right up, or down, my current alleys.

6 comments

  1. Terry Heaton’s avatar

    Amen, Doc. I’d love to see your take on what killed the first revolution and whether you think we’re marching down the same road again.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Boy, what a huge mine to dig there. Or mine field to cross.

    The short version, for me, is that this is a very different time, and that the presence of the Net in the middle of our current state of affairs puts us in territory for which there are no good models in the past.

    Most of the time I’m optimistic. Sometimes I’m not.

  3. Terry Heaton’s avatar

    I agree with you on that, Doc. Horizontal connectivity changes everything, but I worry. For me, the first revolution ended at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. America saw chaos and ran from it. While you and I see symmetry and elegance in that which is the Web, the illusion of chaos is an easy sell for those who live by the law and order of the status quo. Is another Nixon far behind? As the commercial says, “If you want a revolution, the only solution: evolve, got to evolve.”

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    I agree about the first revolution. Our best people (Jerry, Abbie) were also immature assholes at the time. Funny, right in many ways, but not persuasive to the silent majority.

    My concern about the Net is that the phone and cable companies will “win” — that is, continue to market what they let us have (“Triple Play”) as TV 2.0: “content” out the wazoo, and not much else. All with restrictive upstream speeds, no IP addresses or other “business” services (except for too much money) and as a result having lotds of other businesses prevented, by keeping us all consumers rather than recognizing how much more money can be made by supporting our productive side as well. I’d put that better if I were not rushed.

    Nixon looks like Gandhi to me now, compared to the wackos I see on the right. I worry for the country. Opposition to Obama on the right is solid and absolute, and only based partly on reason. Obama himself has been remarkably blah as a president. Maybe we need that, and maybe that’s “change,” but it’s still disappointing. I’d rather see a better feedback loop than the shit-throwing and lying we have instead.

  5. Jay Deragon’s avatar

    The “Man”, political and media pundits, are trying to take over the minds of the massive with all their spin and political games. The real feedback loop is one to one to many whom “think” in real revolutionary terms. Revolutionary thinking will help us all improve productivity….that is if enough people can “get out of the silos” and unite “in the open” with force. It is happening in small crowds swelling in size given the collective frustration with “the established” philosophy propagated by “the man”.

    I guess I sound like a 2.0 Hippie and yes proud of it. Take a few hits off of Doc’s thinking and you too will get high and enlightened :)

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