"Beatniks and politics, nothing is new."
The term hippie is derived from "hip" or "hipster" used by the Beats to describe someone who was part of their scene. It literally means to know, so someone who's "hip" is "in the know", or wise. Hippies never adopted this term for themselves. They preferred to be called the "beautiful people". However the media played up "hippy" as the catch-all phrase to describe the masses of young people growing their hair long, listening to rock music, doing drugs, practicing free love, going to various gatherings and concerts, demonstrating and rejecting the popular culture of the early 60s.
The first recorded use of the word hippie was on Sept 5, 1965. San Francisco writer Michael Fallon used the term "hippie" while referring to the SF counterculture in an article about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse where LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana) & the Sexual Freedom League met, and in reference to hippie houses.
During the Summer of Love, in 1967, the media played up the phenomenon in San Francisco, using the term "hippies" to describe the people who were flocking there. As the hippy scene progressed, and the media started reporting the negative side of hippy poverty, living in the streets, drug overdoses, teen pregnancies, and the antiwar movement that split the country, hippie came to mean something negative to a great many Americans.
...we condemned them, our children, for seeking a different future.
We hated them for their flowers, for their love, and for their unmistakeable
rejection of every hideous, mistaken compromise that we had made throughout
our hollow, money-bitten, frightened, adult lives.
Today the term still generates anger, fear, hostility and resentment among many people. Unfortunately, this bigotry has been passed down to the younger generations. Yet many young hippies have adopted the term as theirs, and they are trying to give it a positive meaning again. After all what's so bad about Peace, Love and Freedom? Anyone who feels threatened by this really should take a look at their own life and find the source of their fears.
For my definition of hippy, please read the first chapter of this book, The Way of the Hippy. We all need to get beyond the stereotype and accept that there is a common belief system that defines hippies. In this book, I use the term hippies to describe those who participated in the counterculture of the '60s and early '70s as well as those who subscribe to the philosophy of that movement. This includes old hippies, young hippies and anyone else who has lived and espoused these values whenever or wherever that was.
By the way, the three accepted spellings are "hippy", "hippie" and the plural, "hippies". The correct contraction for the 1960s is '60s. If any words in this book are unfamiliar please check the glossary for the definition.