76 Proteus 4 months ago I'd just like to know if anyone else here thinks "I blame everything on hippies" is the same kind of "hate speech" as "I blame everything on the Jews" . To me it is not. To me, who knows Tavo - and everything he's just explained - the two comments seem self-evidently in different worlds. I assumed Tavo was "being funny." I didn't think it was a particularly successful attempt, because a Gretsch butchered with a locking trem is not something I would in a zillion years associate with "hippies." So it seemed an oblique bounce-off to me. And his "took the bait" meme seemed less to represent his intention from the outset than an attempt to humorously salvage something that blew up in a way he hadn't anticipated.For most of us, the lifestyle we choose to present - perhaps as a sort of index to our identity - is not really the lifestyle we live. It's impossible to truly live in the 50s - or the 60s. We all had to adapt to life in the 70s (while I don't think we have many who present as disco swingers, no doubt we have members who would project a punk lifestyle), the 80s, the 90s, etc. The routines and the economies of our actual daily lives are probably at some variance with any lifestyle image we choose to project. (Lawyers as weekend bikers, anyone?) At some level, we must recognize that we can't be 100% hepcat, rockabilly, hippie, freak, punk, shredder, goth, grunger, emo, hipster, death-metalist, co-splay Trekkie or RenFester - or denizen of any other musical/sociological subculture from which we employ cues to identity - not and live in the real world of jobs and mortgages and media and consumerist culture. (Tavo, fergawdsake, is a worship leader at his church. How rockabilly is that?)I don't mean to say that these "poses" (either partial or complete) are inauthentic or disingenuous. Quite the contrary. Identifying with some more-or-less recognized cultural current and its perceived ideals, mores, interests, and attitudes expresses some essential part of ourselves. It is our idealized avatar as ambassador to the world.Also, some of us take our lifestyle identifications more seriously than others: we lived the life. We have deviated less and under more duress from our true (sociological) faiths. Maybe we almost cut our hair - and then didn't, and paid a price for it. Maybe we let our freak flags fly. Maybe we stuck to our guns, left the safety pins and piercings in. (Note I do not include myself among this "we" - I've been something of a cultural chameleon - it's intended as a rhetorical and inclusive "we", so that I don't step on anyone's toes in particular. Personally I recall that what we now call rockabilly was kinda the "greaser" culture and style I saw around me as a kid, and accepted as a given. It's not alien - or exotic - to me. Nor is it a fetish. Growing up in the mid-60s and early 70s, I was deeply imprinted by both the British Invasion and the hippie culture - more deeply than most of my peers - but, like Mac, was too late for the real summer-of-love reality, and made do with similar "freakiness" during college. Dropout druggie? No. Earnest, cynical, politically leftward intellectual music-nerd? Yes. I felt punk wasn't meant for me, and as a musician I evolved along with rock and fusion into the early 80s - when I got the point of hair-metal shredding, but knew it wasn't meant for "my generation." So what do I identify as? An old guy whose taste and culture is an amalgam of all of the above, plus everything else I've been interested in.) The underlying point I've been circling here is that - to some extent or another - our "lifestyle" is something we've chosen, something we "put on." Important to us as it may (or may not) be, it's not as baked-in, as inescapable, as fundamental as the religion we were born to (or later chose), the color of our skin, our gender, our nationality, our race, any medical or developmental disabilities, our sexuality, etc. That's where it seems to me there's a great difference in scale and character between "blame it all on the Jews" and "blame it on hippies." The weight and magnitude of the bloody and baleful history surrounding anti-semitism and its ultimate flowering into the conflagration of WW.II dwarfs any cultural persecution of "hippies." I suspect the forms of hate and intolerance behind both phenomena are related, if not the same thing - the fear, mistrust, and intolerance of "the other," and maybe the militant mask of tribal unity over the insecurity occasioned by learning that others have chosen different ways of putting themselves in the world - but there's such a difference in proportion that they become, in my mind, different things.A mountain of long-standing animus fuels racial bigotry, misogyny and the subjugation of women, anti-semitism, prejudice based on national extraction, and persecution of the sexually other-than-straight - for the most part, attributes in which the individual taking the abuse has no choice. That seems (to me, instinctively) more serious, more offensive than mockery of socio-cultural and generational groups with which we choose to associate ourselves. That said, the same fundamental mechanism is at work. How do you balance six million Jews against four dead in Ohio? The math seems easy - but there's a direct line between the two. If we tolerate or dismiss or slough off the fear and tyranny that drove four kids in uniforms with guns to shoot four other kids in tie-dye chanting peace sloans, carrying posies - or even taunting and throwing rocks - we create an environment out of which holocausts can grow.I think Mac takes his "hippieness" (or freakness, and I take the difference) very seriously. I think he's lived a life of standing up to injustice and intolerance, of having the personal courage to speak up for values he believes in, and against their abuse in the culture at large. I do identify with the cynicism he mentions - and while he feels it, I don't think he's surrendered to it. You can only be righteously outraged if you believe in something, and feel compelled to defend it. This has no doubt put him at odds with the just-git-along attitude that prevails in most social groups.I can appreciate that he took more offense to what I assumed was Tavo's tongue-in-cheek jab at hippies than some of the rest of us did. As he said, he not feel it was trivial. In his place, I don't think I would either.He may not know Tavo as (I think) I do, and took understandable offense where it may not have been seriously intended. (Or I could be giving Tavo too many benefits of the doubt, and he may have been exercising some latent anti-hippie sentiment. While that's not my read, maybe Tavo at times opts to provoke for the sake of stirring things up.) There are a couple of ironies in all this. One (and I can't speak for Tavo, and hope I don't get this wrong or go too far in mentioning it): I know Tavo has dealt with anti-Hispanic prejudice in his life. It's come with the territory of his name and background. But he doesn't personally feel that designation defines him or should qualify his attitudes, goals, and aspirations. Just making the point that I suspect he well knows what it is to suffer ill-treatment for something he was born into, over which he had no choice, and which he necessarily (and I think willingly) accepts as part of the ground rules of his life - but which does not define him. This is all baggage which should be irrelevant in our dealings with each other as individuals, not part of any group with which we ourselves identify - or with which others identify us. But it behooves us to be respectful of each others' baggage.Second, it seems ironic, useless, and sad that there should be animosity and friction between musical and cultural generations. I know that many "serious rockabillies" are at least as sensitive about their lifestyle and cultural self-ID as Mac seems to have been. They can get quite prickly in defending their choices.But the same is true of any such musical/cultural group. We might find something faintly risible or ridiculous in the fashion, hair, behavior, taste of any group that came along before or after our particular pop-generation. But imagine being mocked and ridiculed and "blamed" for liking what you like, for growing up when you did, for feeling a part of whatever musical-social group you've chosen. It doesn't sit sell.And it's so very reductive: each of us is more - more complex, even more contradictory - than any stereotype we occasionally deploy to characterize ourselves. See someone primarily as the member or representative of any group, and you stop seeing the individual. No one likes to be considered a unit in an undistinguished mass, a number in the Borg.And the towering irony here is that we're all the same. From zoot-suiters to rockabillies to beatniks to hippies to freaks to punks to new wavers to grungers to emos to goths to who-you-got, we were all the "young generation," in rebellion against the culture of the time, our parents, the generation immediately preceding us - or as Marlon Brando put it, "what am I rebelling against? Whaddaya got?"Every ONE of those subcultures was (and remains, in their hearts) the rebels.More unites us than divides us. Let's just treat each other as brothers and individuals, ok?