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Be Quiet, Stupid Hippies

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Has a bumper sticker ever changed anyone’s mind about an election? Seriously, I cannot imagine someone driving down the road and spotting a bumper sticker for a candidate on the car ahead of him and saying, “Hey, if he’s good enough for the owner of that Honda Accord, he has my vote.”

How about those tacky signs people have on their lawns? How about a flyer handed to you while you were waiting for the train?

I’m hoping the answer to that is no. To answer yes means that you believe one of these devices actually contains enough relevant information on which to base a decision and that that information is truthful and unbiased. Frankly, if the answer is yes, you’re probably too ass-witted to vote. Hell, you’re probably too ass-witted to live.

I ask this question because I recently returned from a trip to Portland, OR (a truly delightful city) on a day when both Bush and Kerry were in the area campaigning. Now, Portland being Portland, there were no Bush supporters to be seen. But there were loads of stupid hippies pushing John Kerry propaganda on every street corner.

Before you take offense, let me point out that I refer to political activists of all stripes as stupid hippies. If I get a piece of pre-sorted bulk mail from the RNC I throw it away unread and mutter, “Stupid hippies.” If I walk into a bar and Bill O’Reilly is on the TV I ask the bartender to “turn off that stupid hippy.” It’s just a manner of speech I’ve developed.

So, really, what were these stupid hippies in Portland trying to accomplish. Were they handing me flyers because they thought I was ass-witted enough that it might alter my vote? If so, I should have given them a right and proper pimp-slapping.

Near as I can tell, the rationale behind this sort of thing is that Name Recognition is of paramount importance. Kind of like branding in the corporate world. If you swim in a sea of “Bush/Cheney” in a similar font and color scheme, the Karl Rove mind control will take over when you step into the polling booth, and then who needs hanging chads.

You know, I bet the stupid hippies in Portland would be the first to decry how corporate pigs use advertising to control the lives of helpless consumers, and yet here they are targeting the ass-witted with a bit of mind control of their own.

But once again, I have to point out encouraging someone that ass-witted to vote should be a crime. Instead, just give them a friendly pat on the head and walk them gently over to the short bus.

In 1964 Barry Goldwater lost the presidential election, getting only 38% of the vote. In 1980 Ronald Reagan won with 51% and a more decisive 58% four years later. From that one can make two observations.

This is of historical importance since you can see that as people experienced all the glories of the fabled ’60s counter-culture, the mind-opening of Woodstock, the revelry of the sexual revolution of the ’70s, and the horrible soul-searching of Viet Nam and Watergate, on average they moved to the right. Apparently, peyote and lurid sex work to the benefit of Republicans. Near as I can tell, this insight is lost on everyone except Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

More importantly, since then we have had exactly one Democratic president, who was as fervently centrist as his lack of principles could make him, whose legacy features Free Trade and Welfare Reform, and who the public spanked with a Republican congress as soon as he raised taxes. It remains the case to this day the public, on average, is mildly right of center.

This leads to the inevitable conclusion that every piece of political propaganda since 1980 has not changed anyone’s mind. Or if it has, it has changed them in pretty much equal numbers. And this is not just the pamphleteers. It’s everybody. How many years of Rush Limbaugh and his dittoheads? How many grave New York Times editorials? How much overwhelmingly snarky Michael Kinsley commentary? How many Molly Ivans books in the remainder bin? How many Arianna Huffington reinventions? How many polysyllabic words from Christopher Hitchens?

How much bandwidth burned up at Blogcritics.org?

The decades of endless PR. The volumes of ignorant analysis. The immeasurable quantity of wasted moral indignation. Entire forests leveled for direct mailings. And after all that, you end up right where you started. Congratulations on your great achievement, stupid hippies.

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About David Mazzotta

  • Eric Olsen

    Brilliant piece, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all conclusions. I think we are actually quite schizo – like me – I’ve moved to the right in some ways, especially defense and economics, but am still pretty far left socially, which I think is a pretty average position. Funny, thoughtful, great piece, though. Thanks!

  • boomcrashbaby

    I think the purpose of signs in the front yard during election time is name recognition. If someone goes to vote and they know nothing of the candidates or the issues, they will probably vote the name they have seen the most.

    I’m not sure how much of an influence it has though, I’d agree with you. And I don’t know if that’s always the intent. There is a car a few houses down the street that has a bumper sticker that says ‘Bush/Cheney 04 – We’re gooder’.
    I don’t know who they expect to win over with that.

  • I think the “gooder” bumper sticker is not designed to win anyone over. I think it’s supposed to make Bush supporters giggle and annoy the opposition.

  • boomcrashbaby

    I think it’s supposed to make Bush supporters giggle and annoy the opposition.

    If that’s the case, that only confirms my perception of the right, under the why do people hate Bush blog.

  • I think there’s a difference between generalized poking fun and the mean, spiteful behavior that you assume I and many of my friends have.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Now Justene, there are exceptions to every rule. On that blog I talked about conservative ideology. That doesn’t mean all conservatives march lock-step with it. I thought I made that clear.

    The fact that the liberal media presents it’s news with bias, and the conservative media presents it’s news with bias and with venomous slander, by giving credit to people like Coulter, Novak, Scaroborough, Rush, who cannot push an ideology without attacking (which Brokaw and Rather and Aaron Brown do NOT do), and the fact that fox news is number 1, with conservatives across the nation saying ‘finally! someone who speaks from MY heart’, is what I am referring to. I mean the ideology of the group collectively, and sorry, but I have to stand by what I say because it’s what I see.

  • boomcrashbaby

    it’s synonomous (sp?) with mob mentality. Meaning an individual alone might behave one way, but in a group of like minded individuals, you get an entirely different view of that person.

  • RJ

    Often, companies will continue advertising despite it not helping sales. Why would they do such a thing? Because their competitors are still advertising, and they are not about to unilaterally disarm.

    Sometimes advertising, in whatever form it takes, is more about holding ground already gained than gaining new ground…

  • RJ

    “I think the purpose of signs in the front yard during election time is name recognition.”

    In local campaigns, I agree. What percentage of the voting public can name every candidate for their local school board or county sheriff? Seeing one candidate’s name more than others probably plays a major role in how a lot of people vote in these contests.

  • David M, you were in Portland? Great town. 40,000 people attend his rally while Bush was up here in Seattle having his jerk off motorcade screw up traffic so he can suck a bunch of money out of a few rich people. Bush is gonna get his ass beat in these parts.

    The point is that this neck of the woods is loaded with hippies!!! From Humbolt County to the Canadian border you can find a bunch of hippies. Some poor, some richer than fuck (Microsoft stock options?).

    OK, one of the most popular bumper stickers around here back in punk rock days said “hippies are loud and stupid”. That is why I had to comment, I remember that popular statement. Those propaganda hippies in Portland were just tryin’ to be involved. Gotta give them credit.


  • RJ

    Sure, Portland HATES Bush. But Eastern Oregon LOVES Bush…

  • RJ, true. Same with Eastern Washington. Thank goodness the bulk of the population lives on the west side of those states.


  • Elected, eh? The Supreme Court put Shrub in office. And frankly, it would take the whole Bush tribe to hold a candle to Bill Clinton.

    As for “Left wing,” Portland, a city I happen to be very familiar with, and a city that has a history of police brutality and discrimination, it hardly qualifies. Portland is a typical American city run by moderate politicians and rich folks. And, yes, many of those rich folks will vote for Shrub.

  • RJ

    “Elected, eh? The Supreme Court put Shrub in office.”

    (Yes, I realize this is falling on deaf ears…)

    The USSC TWICE humiliated the Democrat-controlled Florida SC by remanding their baseless “judgments.”

    In so doing, GW Bush became President-Elect.

    Good thing, too. Because every recount by the liberal media showed Bush would have won anyway.

    So, again, you’re not exactly telling the truth. No surprises there…

  • rj, you really should check out alterman’s “what liberal media”.

    not that it’ll change your mind or anything (that’s not the point), but there are a whole pile of views on the media that most folks (myself included) haven’t considered.

  • Mac, hhhmmm… Portland and Seattle are very “left” cities. You can count on Washington and Oregon to go the other way in elections. McGovern won those state back in ’68 for starters..

    No, discrimination? I know you are basing your thoughts on that Ethiopian guy who was shot by skin heads. What might put things into light is the attempts by West Coast KKK to recruit the Portland skinhead population for their racist purposes. Suprise when they tried, finding that the population of that town was way left and drove them out of town. I mean, even the skinheads are comparitively liberal.

    God, the process of the government up here would drive you nuts. It is like swimming in glue. So much process. It’s like “lets ask everyone and not make a decision until we figure out what will keep everyone happy”. Years later, nothing happens, no one is happy. 180 degrees opposite of Chicago politics.

    You can pretty much bet that alot of the political leaders in Portland and Seattle have smoked the most awesome marijuana anyone has ever seen (research the pot from this area–B.C. bud is lame). Uh, kinda true. It is just part of the culture around here. At least we have that going. Politicians having used pot probably runs a higher percentage out here.

    blah, blah, blah…


  • boomcrashbaby

    We are looking to move from California due to cost of living. Seattle and Portland are both in our top 4 places to live, but I just saw a report at forbes.com that said in terms of cost of living/expenses vs. income Seattle was the most overpriced city in the nation. Apparently it’s due to the extremely large number of middle to upper managers there. Portland was in the top 10 of overpriced cities too, but farther down and I forget where.

  • Douglas, many white people consider disagreements among themselves the only ones that matters. The voices of people of color simply don’t count. I think that is typical of Portland and Seattle. The Oregon constitution actually had a provision making it illegal for ‘blacks and mulattoes’ to settle here. Well into the ’60s, Asian and African-American children were purposely segregated into separate schools. A ghetto and Chinatown were purposely maintained. Much of that legacy remains, including the ‘incidental’ shootings of minority motorists just about every year. I’ve lived in both and neither is nirvana.

    Steve (Boom), Oregon and Washington have had among the highest unemployment rates in the country for years. Unless you are certain of employment, I don’t recommend moving here. More than ten percent of our populations receive food stamps. As much as a quarter has no health insurance. Yes, some people live quite well. But, there is a flip side. We also lead in heroin and meth use, and suicide.

  • boomcrashbaby. Good of you to do your research. I would say it is accurate. It is ungodly expensive to live here. I mean, you can make great money out here, but you have to shovel it to your landlord or Nordstroms. Well, it is the home headquarters of Costco, Amazon.com, Starbucks and other shit. That makes it kinda fun. And lots of mother nature around. Nice scenics.

    But, oh man, buy a house? Sure, $250, 000 for a dump in a not great neighborhood.

    Yeah, It doesn’t help to have the world’s richest (Gates) and 3rd richest (Allen) guys and all their wealthy employees drivin up prices. But, I sure do like them on our tax base. It works out. they are all cool.

    Ah shit, I love it here. But its a good place to visit but probably wouldn’t want to live here. Traffic is really sucky. Bus system is great, but has a few years to go to complete public transo. (light rail and monorails currently under construction). The stadiums are nice. The earthquakes are a load of fun. The mountains are nice to look at. I wonder which one is going to go off next. The pot is the worlds strongest (ask the DEA), and there is a general peace-hippie-funk vibe in general. Lots of creative stuff, arts, etc..

    But the politics will drive you fucking insane! So will the prices. My one bedroom apartment is nice for $750/mo. I am near the north edge of the city. If this same apartment was in my old neighborhood closer to downtown it would easily be $1200+/mo.

    Blah, blah, blah. I wouldn’t move here unless you had a high paying job contract. Right now the job market is sucking real deep up here also.



  • Shark

    Seattle seems to be the new San Francisco — ie. Haight-Ashbury for people who wear shoes and drive BMWs, where computer ‘scientists’ have get their horoscopes and Fung Shui foretold. Feh. I’d rather live in Baghdad than some New Agey, politically correct liberal nightmare.

    (The only thing worse might be living in some Neo-Conny, politically facist Conservative nightmare.)

    Speaking of which…

    …my general advice to everyone considering a change of scenery: don’t move to Texas: We hate everybody except each other.

  • Shark, you got it! S.F.-Seattle are on the same street (I-5). Its just a day long (12hr.) drive. Alot of similaritites.

    Oh, Texas is putting in an express lane for the death penalty. Gotta like that. But in general, you got it on Texas also.


  • Shark

    re: Mays’ “…Texas is putting in an express lane for the death penalty. Gotta like that.”

    Yeah, I’m surprised the Evil GOP Marketing Pricks haven’t pulled that out and used it as part of Bush’s pristine, heroic “war record.”

    As Governor of Texas, Bush oversaw some 155 state-sponsored murders.

    (Kinda tough for a follower of Jesus!)

    He’s got blood on his hands in the ‘war on crime’ — and he didn’t even need a Swift Boat!

    (No medals, tho.)

  • Douglas, where in the world did you see a house for $250,000? The cottage across the street recently sold for $375,000. There isn’t room to swing a kitten in the little postage stamp yard. Don’t even ask what I paid for my wee condo in the Bell District in Seattle. Which happens to have a chronic leaky roof.

    In the interest of balance, I will also describe Portland and Seattle’s good points:

    *Relatively quiet. Most of the the disruption and crime are in poor areas, some urban, but a surprisingly high amount in the rural areas, where people have not had jobs for going on two decades.

    *Pretty. My significant other has a cabin on government owned land in the mountains. Visiting there is like turning back the clock to a more natural, pristine environment. The greenery makes urban areas attractive, too. Drop a seed and it will grow.

    *The referendum process. Everything gets voted on — again and again and again. If there is a law you don’t like, chances are someone will try to vote it away.

    *Transportation. Stinks in Seattle, but is very good in Portland. Light rail, trolley, buses and Amtrak make leaving your car parked a viable option. Also, unlike San Fran, most of Seattle and Portland are walkable. That is the best low stress exercise in the world.

    But, again, these places are not nirvana. They have the same problems of human relations as the rest of the U.S., sometimes worse.

    As for a gay person moving here, I dunno. Yes, the very vocal liberal pols were out front on gay marriage. But, there is a huge backlash. And, not all that long ago, Oregon had a law that barred homosexuals from receiving civil rights protections. It was repealed, but the referendum process allows revisitation of laws endlessly.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Here in Ca, the cost of living is just too outrageous to every buy a home. I went to Sperlings, where you can enter your income level for your city and then select a city in another state and it will tell you how much you need to make, to be the equivalent of where you are now. I derived about 20 cities this way and then chopped it down based on things like civil rights, climate, educational system, etc. If I were to use civil rights as the primary reason in finding a place to live, I’d pretty much have to knock out 48 states and all territories. Boston, Ma was just as expensive as Ca. I have noticed that by factoring civil rights in as much as possible, I am left with only states that touch oceans.

  • yea, boston is crazy. the prices are creeping up in new hampshire as well.

    ‘starter’ homes are now above $250k.

  • You’re not taking the proper approach. I’ve hated stupid hippies for years, and the first thing you have to realize is that a stupid hippy is easy to subvert.

    Just tell them that “Bush 2004” is the current code-word for this falls crop of BC bud. It’s so potent, it’ll make you think you got elected President.

  • Shark, Jesus also believed in “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” as that was what was in the scriptures he would have studied. And as for us Texans, we don’t hate everybody but us, we just think that we’re better than everyone else 🙂 I think it was Sam Houston who said, “Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can’t make it without Texas.”

    And as for the SC putting Bush in office, what is wrong with upholding the election laws that were put into place before the election was held? Well, I guess that doesn’t apply in NJ (right Senator Lautenberg?), but then that’s another story.

  • Shark

    EvilWhiteGuy: “…Jesus also believed in “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…”

    [Shark laughing… but looking over his shoulder]

    Guess you and George W can justfy just about anything using ‘scripture’ — but ya gotta get yer “Testaments” straight.

    Anyway, this thread deserves to die. And now that we’re back to the original Hippie That Should Be Quiet, Jesus Christ, maybe we should call it a wrap?


  • A fish bumper sticker led me to Jesus. But He told me that fish bumper stickers are sacrilegious and are tools of misled idolaters (Satan is afoot). I told Him to get off His high horse.

  • EWG (#27), read Matthew 5:38-42, where Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

    Shark has it right, more or less.

  • Shark

    Thanks, Phillip. I knew it was in there, but I didn’t remember where.

    As I understand it, JC was bringing a ‘new’ covenant to replace the ‘old’. Peace, love, and flowers to replace vengeance, wrath, and massacres.

    More or less.

    That way, we don’t have to sacrifice animals and kill adulterers anymore.

    (But hey, the day is young, eh?!)

  • Well, like I said — you have it right “more or less.” Theologians professional and amateur alike debate on whether JC “dispatched” the covenant of Abrham, or “fulfilled” it, or “continued” it, or what, but basically He introduced a new understanding of things at the very least.

    His death ended the necessity for the deaths of animals; on that much, Christians of a variety of theological viewpoints can agree.

  • Mac Diva (comment #23)!! Alright, we are on the same page really. $250,000 was a number I was pulling out of the hat for this dump I saw near Shorline (137th NE). Oh yeah, a condo in Belltown? Cripes! You can pay $100,000 for a closet.

    But pretty? Yeah. Ever be in the Ballard neighborhood on a nice, clear day, standing on Market St. and looking west? The Olympic mountains right there in your face! That is awesome for an in city view.

    Yeah, transpo will be better once the city catches up and gets the rail and monorail business up and running. Metro is an awesome bus system though. Beats anything else the USA has to offer. I went to Olympia yesterday for $1.75 (well, that is half price since I have a ton of medical expenses)! Took 2 transfers…

    A good walking city. Well, more towards your end of town. I mean, heck of a workout if you walk from Pioneer Square up James St. to Harborview Medical Center. Just that street alone is as steep as S.F. Have you ever done that one long street coming off the north side of Queen Anne dropping down to the Fremont Bridge? My god, that is steeper than anything S.F. has to offer. I am amazed firetrucks can even get up it. Well, the counterbalance is a heck of a workout…

    Yeah, what is the deal about the gay civil rights deal? Remember in Seattle about 5-6 years ago how that was an issue that had to be repaired? That blew my mind that such thought existed!!

    True, pockets of predjudicial bullshit, like anywhere. In general the pockets are smaller here and the pockets of the other side of the coin are larger. Hempfest? The biggest one in the USA. Well, what would you expect around here. And yes, as in any metropolis, we have those type of city problems.

    But yes, initiatives. Vote in an ordinance, vote it out, vote it in, vote it out… Can drive one nuts! But I do like I-75 passing. Making it law (not policy) to not bother pot heads. That kinda shows what the social climate is like compared to other cities. In general this place does still tilt to the left. Just gotta keep major business from trying to tell us what we are. Power to the people, we tell them who we are.

    So you live near SubPop Records… Anyway, groovy… Take it easy.


  • Shark (comment 28). “Hippie That Should Be Quiet”. I love it. When is the book titled such coming out?

    Funny how general discussion bends the angle of these threads. But, you know, it is all derived from the original article. Believe it or not, it is all still on track.


  • Oh, Mac Diva, the gay issues vs. actual vibe of the population. This is a great town if you are gay, as far as I can tell. I mean, how many invitations for wine or dinner have I turned down from other guys–just from riding the Metro? It happens alot. I mean, I don’t mind. I’m not threatened or offended. A pleasent “No, I’m not gay” is all it takes.

    OK, OK, got a story for you. Do you remember the original Gorilla Room (punk rock club) when it was near the Smith Tower? OK, our band (X-15/Life In General) were loved by the gay community. Well, a bunch of tall, lean, cute guys. We would do sound check for a gig at the GR. Go across the street to the predominantly gay bar. Have the gay men buy us drinks. Then we split. What a bunch of slut-users…. Well, poor punx, starving artists of the early 80’s. What can I say? No, I’m not gay.

    Anyway, just some Seattle experience…

    Take care,

  • I arrived later than that, Doug. Was around for some good times at the Crocodile Lounge, though. That was a really strange period to live in Belltown/Denny Regrade. It was considered upscale, but we still had transients waking us up in the morning and urinating in our expensive shrubs. Their attitude was that they ‘owned’ the neighborhood before and weren’t giving it up.

    Despite the large populations of lesbians in Seattle and Portland, I don’t get approached. I must give off a ‘men-only’ vibe. Even at the Broadway Fred Meyer, the lesbians seem to know I’m straight. I bet Mary Kay LeTourneau will get plenty of action there, though.

  • Mac Diva, wow, you bring up an interesting angle in the differences between the male and female sex.

    OK, you say as a woman you don’t get approached that much. But as a guy, I do. I wonder if that just has to do with the male vs. female aspect of, uh, for lack of a better word, aggressiveness. Being a hetero guy, with a ton of female input (see final paragraph), I tend not to be the one with all the cheezy, trapping pick up lines. I much rather be approached by the woman and be delivered all those pick up lines. I sure never got layed much (well, I got married to a girl who approached me) but, boy oh boy, when it all came together it was much superiour to just picking up someone. My numbers are better than most.

    Anyway, your lack of being approached could be the woman thing (unless you hang out at the Wild Rose or something)or just my be your love vibe, like mine. It seems like your soul is not easy to conquer either.

    OK, another punk rock days story. Our band had a fan base amongst the homosexual audience, both male and female. Male for our looks, female for our political stance. We would do benefit shows for the Radical Women posse. I’m talking about some hardcore lesbian seperatists. For some reason those particular gals liked me, as in one of the few guys on the planet they could even look at, much less associate with. Anyway, I used to be a sperm donor (ie: turkey baster) for alot of these gals. I’m pretty sure that I don’t have anymore of my gene pool out there though, unless I was never told…

    Wow, isn’t this the “stupid hippie” thread? Well, living up here we all have some sort of stupid hippie influence.

    And the pissing winos are moved out of your part of town, compared to a few years ago…

    much love….

  • Mac D, referring to my comment #35 “How many invitations….riding the Metro”

    Usually the #7 bus going up the hill…you get the picture….


  • To stay on subject and respond to comments: hhhmmm… maybe Mary K LeTounueau is a dyke stupid hippie. She does OK in this town.


  • Eric Olsen

    I actually like hippies, by the way, the positive vibe is soothing, though passivity in general gets on my fucking nerves: give me an army of active, but not obnoxious, hippies and I will rule the world.

  • Shark

    I WAS a hippie, although you’ll not be surprised to learn that I tended to be — as I am today — the Reactionary kind.

    —Which means I could get high, feel at one with the Universe, and still loathe all my fellow human beings and every aspect of that same Universe.

  • OK…I was raised by the hippie generation in the Northwest, but a punk at heart (born in Chicago’s Southside). I noticed this about the punx of the day in these parts: Punk/hippie? Really they are about the same thing.

    A hippie says: “oh wow, man. peace..” A punk says: “PEACE, goddammit!!!”


  • nmguy

    Wrong! A real punker doesn’t even care about these issues. Left, Right, to them it’s all friggin’ annoying. They are a nialistic bunch, whom all in all could care less about the issues facing America today, much less the global community.

  • east coast forever

    Right on! Wait, is that a hippie expression?

    I hate Portland with every ounce of my being. What a bunch of low-class meth-head freaks – all going out of their way to be “different” because they’re just SO DEEP because they can write a poem that doesn’t rhyme.

    Total hypocrites – all into diversity but live in a city that’s 80% white. All accepting and tolerant, unless you have a different opinion or from the East Coast. Grown men literally skipping down the street, knitting on the train, and using skateboards as their sole means of transportation. And forget having your door opened or your chair pulled out, ladies – thanks to the hairy-legged feminazis, men here aren’t encouraged to treat women like ladies and show a little respect. What an enabling, stupid place. I can’t wait to get the hell out of here and wait for the entire West Coast to slip into the sea.