Friday, November 11, 2005

post-hippie domesticity

NOTE: I started working on this post last week. It almost turned into a novel, so I had to reel it in a little...

Have you seen The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach's semi-autographical film about his parents' divorce? I saw it last weekend at the Lincoln Center Plaza Theater at 62nd and Broadway. There were lots of old Jewish ladies sitting behind me. We could easily vibe-out on the Upper West Side old Jewish ladies but the movie is more about the generation after them: our parents!

This vibe is not explicitly Jewish, so when I say "our" I really mean "our" - assuming your parents grew up in America and didn't have crewcuts and go to Pro-War rallies in 1968. However, the vibe is tinged with Judaism in my vibe-consciousness because it has been framed by, duh!, my Jewish parents and some of their Jewish friends. If we want to take it beyond that we'll have to start bringing in that jerk David Brooks:

(From his recent review of "The Chosen" in the NYTimes Book Review)

A few years ago, I wrote a book about the rise of a new educated class, the people with 60's values and 90's money who go to Starbucks, shop at Whole Foods and drive Volvos. A woman came up to me after one of my book talks and said, "You realize what you're talking about is the Jews taking over America."

Let's save that can of worms for another day...

So, the Squid and the Whale takes place in Park Slope, 1986. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney play the parents. Noah Baumbach's real parents are Village Voice film critic Georgia Brown and Brooklyn College MFA Professor and author Jonathan Baumbach. Blah, blah, blah - go see the movie for more on plot; we're here to know and understand the vibes.

Before I even saw the film, I could sense certain vibes. Take a look at Jeff Daniels:

He's got a great look in the movie. Very reminiscent of the dad from "Family Ties".

Know what I mean? Bearded, eighties, semi-crunchy - what should this vibe be called? For now I think the umbrella term for the vibe I'm searching out should be called "post-hippie domesticity".

It's easy to imagine a chronology in which each and every hippie sold out and turned into a yuppie in the 80's (or earlier). Hippie Johnny got a job with "the man", had kids and was eating Haagen-Dasz for breakfast by 1985, right?

Well wait a damn second! Michael J. Fox (as Alex P. Keaton) was the "yuppie" of the Family Ties family. Mom and Dad were post-hippie domestics! Alex's Reaganomics-yuppie-Gordon Gekko vibe was constantly at odds with his laidback parents. This is not to say that they were still hippies. On the contrary, they ran a successful and happy household. They weren't hitting the bong or dumpster-diving to feed their children but they weren't managing hedge funds or lusting after Japanese stereo systems either.


Sometimes this group gets lost in the shuffle. Maybe they all eventually succumbed to yuppie-values. Can you think of a living specimen in your own life?

I think I can, but it's hard to be sure. Having met lots of middle-aged people in my day, I think I can safely make a distinction between the different kinds of households - therapists, academics, people with media-related jobs tend to have earthier households whereas bankers and lawyers tend to have more glistening formica in the kitchen. Is this fair to say? After all, they're all sipping on soy milk from Whole Foods...

Hmmmm, maybe the post-hippie domesticity vibe is more pervasive than I first thought. Have you ever met a total middle-aged hippie? Still driving the VW bus, still wearing tie-dye, probably doesn't have any kids, never got a "real" job. Try to imagine one...

Now imagine the most tight-ass, corporate dad you've ever met. He wouldn't even wear sandals on the weekends. He's kind of racist. He listens to CD 101.9 and may not know who Jerry Garcia is.

OK, now imagine the adult/parent in between these two extremes: it's most of them!


All that Carnaby Street/Swinging 60's/If yer going ta San Francsico stuff is very youth-oriented. Live in the now! Do drugs! Free love! All of these values are at odds with the traditional notion of a family...

Does the cultural shift from wild and crazy hippie to post-hippie domestic parallel the musical shift from late 60's psych rock to the singer-songwriter movment?

Well, it would take a lot of time to sufficiently look into that. However, I can say that a lot of my post-hippie domestic musical touchstones involve singer-songwriters:

-Cat Stevens - He's always singing about children and stuff. This song has always been special to me. Mostly because Cat Stevens drops some seriously twisted grammar in the chorus:

"Give me all the love you've me."

I've tried to put myself in Cat's shoes and imagine what he was thinking when he wrote that line. I guess the "to me" at the end is for emphasis, but c'mon! It does not work! Whatever, this is still a goddamn gem of a song! All about the pleasures of post-hippie domesticity - washing dogs, shifting logs, etc.

Cat Stevens - C'mon Baby (Shift that Log)


- The mother of all post-hippie domesticity songs is "Our House" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. This probably should have been the theme song for "Family Ties". This song immediately conjures images of a crunchy, earthy, deep brown wooden dining table kind of family.

I remember two summers ago I was subletting a Columbia professor's apartment with some buddies. For some reason, I was jonesin' really badly to hear "Our House". I was bumming because the internet wasn't working but then I went over to his relatively small record collection and found Deja Vu. Everyone that age has this album!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Our House

Can you imagine a hit song about the pleasures of home life today???


-70's Cookbooks
I'm not sure if my parents ever used any recipes from these, but the aesthetics of their 70's cookbooks really left an imprint on my mind.

The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas emanates some seriously post-hippie domestic vibrations; from the colors to the fonts.

The Moosewood Cookbook also has that earthy yet clean vibe.

- We could probably also throw "This Old House" into the mix; sensitive craftsmen working hard for the sake of domestic life.


As I said before, it would take a novel to fully explore this vibe. Let me know if you can think of other vibe elements from your own life or from the collective consciousness of AMERICA.

-The parents in "the Squid and the Whale" represent the post-hippie domestic vibe gone wrong! They are selfish and bitter. However, they retain enough of the vibe to raise some smart, sensitive kids.

- In a recent issue of Vice Magazine, they interview Michael Gross aka THE DAD FROM FAMILY TIES. In the interview they call his character from the show a "boomer pussy".

Later in the issue, the "Vice Staff" writes:
Everything about this generation comes back to what Paul Begalacalled “the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history.” They are the "Me Generation”... What a load of horse-shit! Sensitive, intellectual parents (aka post-hippie domestics) like the Keatons are not self-obsessed. The children of such parents who, in an effort to rebel against the positivity they grew up with, turn into rampant haterz are the "ME GENERATION".


Can post-hippie domesticity make a come back? I'm a little too young to have any married-with-kidz peers, but I can imagine some play-your-love-songs-all-night-long households springing up in the next 10 or so years.

Here's some hope from the NYTIMES:

Dr. Pennebaker, the University of Texas psychologist, has shown from an analysis of writing samples from 3,000 people taken at various ages that even the number of positive words people use rises significantly over time. The rate at which people refer to themselves, a measure of rumination or self-absorption, falls off dramatically.

People become more positive and less all-about-me as they grow older!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frances Negrón-Muntaner

2:19 AM  
Anonymous john said...

super vibable!

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Li'l Stevie C. said...

that was a good entry. I can see what you mean about it turning into a novel. One vibe I was hoping you'd explore, though, is that of the beard itself. If you don't mind, I'll do some exploring of my own in the comments section!:

Besides the obvious beard-as-self-expression and literally 'liberal' grooming practices, I think the beard is a physical reminder of masculinity in an otherwise effeminite or at least gender-equitable hippie culture. In lieu of the tie and briefcase, the beard broadcasts masculinity, allowing the hippie male to become soft, tolerant, and pacifistic without being emasculated in the process. Though shooting gooks or taking over corporations may satisfy the 'normal' man's desire to express his masculinity, the hippie must be more creative, finding a
new masculine role as some sort of lumberjack/carpenter/caveman. I think it works pretty well. I wish I could grow a beard.

A more interesting sub-vibe is that of the semiotic relationships between "the beard" and "the forest." Some words that come to mind: 'roots', 'tendrils', 'thicket', 'matted.' The forest is deeply entrenched in hippie culture and, in emerging from that culture into domestic life, the hippie-domestic cannot (and should not) let go of some of these elements.
The earthiness is preserved, as well as a desire for the organic, the nutty, the whole grain, the granola, the crunchiness itself. And just try walking down an aisle of Whole Foods without being enveloped by this vibe. It's actually very comforting.
Even deeper into the vibe we find a "beard of wisdom". Marc Bolan's people were fair and they had sky in their hair and stars in their beards. He may have meant this literally, as in some sort of wizard, but we can just as easily see the stars as crystals of salt in an otherwise black pepper beard; cultivated specks of wisdom where there once was wild bramble. Here is fatherhood at its most basic. Teaching your children well and all of that; unconditional love for even the most conservative supply-sider son.
Remember: You can take the hippie out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the hippie.


12:13 PM  
Blogger Ezra said...

wow, thanks Stevie. what an insightful comment. i especially like your idea of the hippie-man beard as "a physical reminder of masculinity in an otherwise effeminite or at least gender-equitable hippie culture."

i think that's what the post-hippie domesticity ideal is all about; a revision of traditional values rather than a disavowal of them. dad shouldn't shun his masculinity, he should embrace it. there's a lot of virtue in being a wise old lumberjack dude or a breast-feeding earth mother. these roles shouldn't be mandatory but they shouldn't be lost in the winds of time either.

your comment also reminded me of this article/review of The Life Aquatic:

Towards the end the author writes:

"the Age of Twee is finally over in hipsterdom. Come to think of it, I’ve been seeing a new breed of male around Brooklyn lately. He’s put on some weight, gotten burlier, more menacing, and grown a beard. "

Those are the only options? Twee-nerd or bearded and menacing? Yeah right...I wish I could grow a beard too.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous j-lo said...

on paul mccartney's first post-beatles album, he appears on the back cover, bearded, holding a baby and smiling intently into the camera. the album was largley recorded in his home studio. the following year 1971, he and his wife linda released "ram," which included the song "eat at home." mcartney's vibe got very domestic very quickly. on, the first style of music that is listed to describe mccartney is "soft rock." ezra, i think you are definately onto something with the 70's singer songwriter movement being the outgrowth of hippie idealism mellowing out and coming back down to earth. ultimately, this may all link together and lead to one place: kenny G

2:32 AM  
Blogger Ezra said...

i was afraid this would all lead to Kenny G. i honestly don't think i'm ready to take a good hard look at his catalog and legacy. i need to build up to it.

McCartney is a great example of post-hippie domesticity. Although the funny thing about him is that he was always kind of domestic. Sgt. Pepper's is often framed as the ultimate wild, experimental, psychedelic 60's album but then it has songs like "When I'm 64" and "She's Leaving Home". maybe when the beatles broke up, he could finally be himself, free from any trappings of hippie weirdness. although, i heard he was depressed around that time.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous a lake said...

steve is rite:
hippies love beards!!
that's why it's so hard to find hippie/natrual shave cream

10:01 PM  
Anonymous alec said...

amazing post

you need to leave this blogspot crap though


ps your vibe is uber-jewish

10:04 AM  
Blogger Ezra said...

yeah dude, blogspot is kind of wack. thanks for the positivity

9:53 PM  
Anonymous alec said...

no problem, and you are always welcome to join on my semi-independent blog wagon if you ever find yourself looking for a new home

also, the formula can be described as such

(socio-economic differences + cultural differences) * laughter = success of cultural mismatch #480

12:25 PM  
Blogger Elena Lazic said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's funny, because the generation after has post-yuppie domesticity.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous mine said...

its great

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok bro

12:52 AM  
Anonymous agen obat herbal said...

thx banget sob buat infonya
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis
obat penyakit sipilis

11:03 PM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

trimakasih gan..!!!!!!
cara mengobati kutil kelamin
obat kutil kelamin herbal
obat kutil kelamin apotek
cara mengobati jengger ayam
obat jengger ayam efektif
obat kutil kelamin
obat kutil kelamin manjur
obat kutil kelamin herbal de nature
obat sipilis dan kencing nanah herbal
obat sipilis dan raja singa herbal
obat gonore herbal
obat sipilis dan kencing nanah
cara mengobati sipilis dan kencing nanah

2:11 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

thx broo

1:00 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin herbal said...

thx broo

1:26 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

sangat bermanfaat arikelnya

1:28 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

sangat berterimakasih

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Obat Kutil Kelamin said...

Info yang menarik Gan...terimakasih banyak untuk infonya semoga sukses..

Ciri-ciri Kutil Kelamin
Obat Alternatif untuk kutil kelamin
Obat Kutil Kelamin Wanita
Obat Perontok Kutil Kelamin Terbukti

9:06 PM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

nice info

12:50 PM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

sumpah keren bgt gan,,

1:02 PM  
Anonymous obat sipilis said...

nice post

12:38 AM  
Anonymous cara mengobati sipilis said...

nice post

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Obat Penyakit Kutil Kelamin said...

terimakasih infonya Mas...

8:47 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

thx broo

9:36 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

salam kenak bang

9:38 AM  
Anonymous obat kutil kelamin said...

terimakasih banyak informasinya.. Simak juga artikel kita dibawah ini yah gan..!!
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis
obat sipilis

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Obat Kutil Kelamin said...

Nice Post Gan

1:45 AM  
Anonymous Cara mengobati kutil kelamin said...

Nice Artikel

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cara menghilangkan kutil pada kemaluan | obat keluar nanah pada kelamin | harga obat kutil kelamin | harga obat kutil kelamin | menghilangkan kutil di kemaluan | cara menghilangkan kutil di penis | cara menghilangkan kutil di penis | menghilangkan kutil di vagina | pengobatan kutil kelamin pada wanita hamil |

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mengobati kutil di kemaluan pria || mengobati kutil pada kemaluan || Malu punya kutil kelamin? || obat keluar nanah dari kemaluan pria || obat keluar nanah dari penis || kutil di kemaluan wanita || obat kutil kelamin tradisional || obat kutil kelamin tradisional || obat menghilangkan kutil di kemaluan || obat kutil di alat kelamin || obat kutil kelamin ampuh tanpa operasi || obat kutil kelamin dan kutil kelamin manjur || obat kutil di kemaluan pria || obat keluar nanah dari kemaluan pria

3:21 AM  
Blogger Heni Herbal said...

Spirit made this morning? thank you for providing information that is so interesting and useful
Pengobatan Alternatif Kanker Paru-Paru Secara Tradisional
Pengobatan Alternatif Kanker Prostat Secara Tradisional
pengobatan alternatif kanker otak secara tradisional
Pengobatan Alternatif Kanker Darah Secara Tradisional
Cara Mengobati Penyakit Liver Yang Sudah Parah

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Cara Mengobati Asam Urat Secara Alami Dan Cepat said...

thanks for information.
article very nice..

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Obat Kutil Kelamin said...

Trims, sangat membantu

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Obat Sipilis said...

Thank's, semoga bermanfaat

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Kutil Kelamin said...

Nice post gan, Semoga bermanfaat

Obat Kutil Kelamin
Obat Tradisional Untuk Kutil Kelamin
Obat Kutil Kelamin Tanpa Operasi
Obat Kutil Kelamin Herbal Paling Ampuh
Obat Kutil Kelamin Mujarab
Obat Kutil Kelamin Atau Jengger Ayam
Obat Antibiotik Kutil Kelamin
Obat Ampuh Menghilangkan Kutil Kelamin
Obat Tradisional Buat Kutil Kelamin

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Obat Sipilis said...

Trims infonya, sangat membantu

Obat Sipilis
Cara Mengobati Sipilis
Obat Ampuh Penyakit Sipilis
Obat Sipilis Yang Ampuh
Obat Sipilis Paling Manjur
Obat Penyakit Sipilis Raja Singa
Obat Sipilis Paten
Obat Paling Ampuh Untuk Penyakit Sipilis
Obat Yang Ampuh Untuk Sipilis
Obat Ampuh Untuk Penyakit Sipilis

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Obat kutil kelamin said...

Kutil Kelamin
Obat Sipilis

baru kali ini nih gan aku ngebaca artikel yang sangat bagus,ditgu ya yg artikel selanjutnya..!!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Obat sipilis said...

baru kali ini nih gan aku ngebaca artikel yang sangat bagus,ditgu ya yg artikel selanjutnya..!!

Cara mengobati sipilis

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Obat kutil kelamin said...

Nice post gan, sangat membantu

Kutil Kelamin

1:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home