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Hippy
Posted: 03 April 2007 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have just been asked by my niece (who really ought to contribute to this board herself) how the term “hippy” arose.  The OED is not very forthcoming: it traces “hippy” to “hip” and “hip” to “hep”, which it defines as “ Well-informed, knowledgeable, ‘wise to’, up-to-date; smart, stylish”, which doesn’t fit well with the popular conception of a hippy.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You mean today’s popular conception of a hippy. Back in the sixties, hipsters were up-to-date and smart and stylish.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m not sure what you mean by “not very forthcoming.” It traces the history of the word; if you’re surprised that if you go back a few steps the meaning changes, you shouldn’t be.  That’s pretty much the norm.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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bayard - 03 April 2007 11:23 AM

Well-informed, knowledgeable, ‘wise to’, up-to-date; smart, stylish”, which doesn’t fit well with the popular conception of a hippy.

According to WordMaven, the sense development moves from a 40s jazz term meaning something like “up-to-date” or “hip” or “hep” to the Haight-Ashbury phenomenon of the mid-60s. But there is little or no explanation as to how or why it happened.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There have been at least three previous discussions of this, of which this one seems to be the best to link to. If only because it shows there was once a poster called Cunning Linguist.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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What I meant by “not very forthcoming” was the lack of explanation highlighted by Oecolampadius.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I guess I just don’t see the problem.  “Well-informed, knowledgeable, ‘wise to’, up-to-date” is the sort of meaning that can apply to whatever is the latest, hippest phenomenon.  Hipsters and hippies were both, at the time of nomenclatural choice, the latest thing, with it and wised up and all that.  What sort of explanation are you looking for?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Maybe that “hippie” has a bad connotation these days, and did back when, at least to the suits and snobs. Did the hippies name themselves or was the name foisted upon them by the snobs?

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Posted: 03 April 2007 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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It was my impression that Hippies were at least fond of the term even if might have been applied to them by others first.  But my recollections of the ‘60s are a bit dim.  Due to my youth, of course - the ‘60s didn’t really happen for me until the ‘70s. :)

The hippies always seemed like the snobs to me, thinking they were where it’s atand that us regular folks were just dumb hicks for not embracing their culture.  Suits were disliked by hippies and hicks.

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Posted: 03 April 2007 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I knew lots of people (myself included) that were called hippies by others, but to us, people were either “cool” or “straight” and appearance had nothing to do with it. If we wanted to make a reference to appearance, guys would have been “longhairs” or “hipsters” and women were “earth mothers.” Only straights used the term “hippy” (at least in my social circles).

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Posted: 03 April 2007 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Here’s an early use of the word in the Sixties sense. the Pasadena Independent, Nov. 1, 1965.  Shows, I think, that the word (at least in California) has been in use long enough for the reader to get the joke.

It’s from a comic strip called ”Gordo (see next note).” A dog looking in a window sees a spider weaving a new web.

Señor dog: What’s this Bug Rogers?  I thought you were a FAR OUT architect!
Bug Rogers: I am!  There’s been a definite swing away from the austere modern and…
[next panel] ...toward the softer line of traditional!
Señor Dog: But a Hippie like you designing a house like that?
[last panel, close up on the web]
Bug Rogers: Gotta keep up with the times Sweetie!

edit: after some late night reflection, I’m not sure that this cartoon had yet moved into the 60s use of “hippie.” Still pretty solidly in the 50s.  On the other hand see the interview below.

[ Edited: 03 April 2007 09:46 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 03 April 2007 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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bugsy.jpg

A transition point?

This is from the same cartoon strip (Gordo by Gus Arriola) a year earlier (Pasadena Star-News, Dec 28, 1964).  The above is panel two which I include to show that Bugsy is dressed and bearded like a beatnik (read 50s), but in the first frame calls himself a hippie!  His language is typical of the beat “hip” era.

after the Christmas holidays...

Bugsy: [Whew!] Things finally quieted down man!  I’m a hippie what digs bashes, but…
[panel two--above]
Bugsy: These two legged cats have been swinging since before December 16th!
Señor Dog: Don’t let the LULL fool you Bugsy, they’re just catching their second breath!
[third panel] There’s still a New Year’s eve party and Jan 6th, Dia de los Santos Reyes!
Bugsy: Well, drop the other sandal Dad! What’s Los Santos Reyes!

I hope this is “fair use” of material from NewsPaperArchive.  If not, Dave, please cut this.

See edit above

On the other hand from this interview with the Cartoonist:

Province: In particular, Bug Rogers, the spider, was featured in a great many of the Sundays, and so were the two worms.
Arriola: He was a result of the hippie era during the ’60s; a nonconformist spider who spun his far-out webs. It was a chance to do more artwork.

To be a nonconformist is to be “hip” it seems to me.

[ Edited: 03 April 2007 09:46 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 04 April 2007 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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To be a nonconformist is to be “hip” it seems to me.

Exactly.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Being termed a hippie in the 60s was OK with me. It beat flower children and beautiful people which even at the time I thought twee and pretentious.

Interesting how longhair switched from brainboxes and classical aficionados (BTW that one’s from bull-fighting, never knew that) to beats and hippies.

Here are the earliest and most recent cites in OED for the older sense, and first cite for the newer. (I’m sure there was overlap for the two meanings.)

1920 S. LEWIS Main St. xxiii. 281 I’m surprised to find you talking like a New York Russian Jew, or one of these long-hairs!

1967 Listener 16 Feb. 236/3 He planned to become a ‘long hair’ musician… He wanted to be a composer of symphonies.

1969 Rolling Stone 17 May 6/1 Would hippies and long~hairs sit on the youth commission?

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Posted: 04 April 2007 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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To be a nonconformist is to be “hip” it seems to me.

Exactly.

I disagree somewhat. Nonconformity is a necessary, but not sufficient condition of hipness.

A Trekkie who wears a Star Fleet uniform to work and makes jokes in Klingon is nonconformist, but the very antithesis of hip.

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Posted: 04 April 2007 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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True, but we’re not talking about Trekkies; in the context of this discussion, I think “nonconformist = hip” is a reasonable epitome of the argument.

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