Thirty-dollar smocks do not a hippie make

By Kristin

I love the band Phish, yet as my boyfriend once eloquently stated, “I hate everything about Phish except the music itself.”
Call me closed-minded, but the past few Phish shows I’ve attended made my stomach turn. The last two shows I’ve seen were in big-ass stadiums inundated with a new breed of pseudo-hippies. And I might be mistaken, but it seems they (and possibly Ann Arbor’s squirrels — I’m certain they’re up to something) are taking over the world.
Generally, I don’t stereotype people, but when they fit the genre of the barefooted, smock-wearing, hemp jewelry, vegetarian, granola hippie, they never cease to amaze me with their hypocrisy. You know they were crimping their hair, tight-rolling their jeans and amassing a collection of jelly bracelets while jamming to Wham on their pastel purple boom boxes a few years back. Yet now they’ve supposedly “found themselves.” I fail to see how finding yourself consists of becoming like everyone else whom you deem cool.
A new local store sells items to these wandering souls. I took a peek one day at their stickers, clothing and smoking accessories. My visit solidified my bad attitude. Old jeans with patches will run you between $30 and $40. A smock made out of two pieces of material costs $35. Come on, people! Real hippies make their own clothes. Even I can sew patches on my jeans (well, I usually do it for necessity, not to look cool).
I admit some people are bona fide hippies. They are not adhering to some mysterious standard of cool in the world of granola; they simply are who they are. Yet, when I go to Phish shows (yes, back to the topic long forgotten), true hippies are few and far between.
Instead, you have to make your way through mobs of twirling, tripping pseudo-hippies — who drove to the show in daddy’s Jeep Grand Cherokee — just to get to your seat. Yes, I do like having a seat at Phish shows. Last summer, some pseudo-hippie friends of mine laughed at me when I refused to get lawn tickets for a show. Sorry, I don’t want to spend three hours amidst a pot-smoke-filled crowd of stinky hippies, but I’m here to see a show, not to prove how die-hard a hippie I truly am.
Speaking of die-hard hippies, what’s up with people into bootlegs of shows? Granted, some tapes are actually well-recorded and enjoyable to listen to. But many people acquire bootlegs because they were too wasted and don’t remember the shows they attended. Asking a hippie acquaintance of mine how a particular show was, she actually said to me, “It was good … I think.” You think? Put the joint down, girl, and take a step back into reality.
Another thing that gets me is my assumption that people looking like free-loving spirits are friendly. Maybe they are but only to their own. At most Phish shows you will find the zombie hippies smiling and laughing with one another, but if you try to break into their world, they won’t give you the time of day. OK, so they don’t wear watches, but besides that, these people are down-right stuck-up. I’m sorry I’m not wearing a $30 smock; I’m sorry I’m not tripping balls and twirling around the parking lot; I’m sorry I’m wearing shoes, but dammit, I’m being myself, and isn’t that what the whole hippie attitude should embrace? Love everyone, including a cynical bastard such as myself.

Kristin Arola’s column originally ran in the May 21 edition of The Michigan Daily.