Yeah that’s right I called you a hippie…You got a PROBLEM with that?!
I originally wanted to call this blog Shut up Hippie, because basically a hippie is what I am.
Yeah, I know most hippies don’t like being called hippies nowadays, if they even ever did, and some will even go so far as to tell you there aren’t any real hippies left! So far I’ve never met any true Hippie Deniers but no doubt they’re out there too! I don’t care. They may be right. But oh well…and with all due respect…fuck them.
I was born the year after Woodstock so what the hell do I know?!
Truly if people who seem to me to express themselves in virtually every way in a manner that makes me use the word ‘hippie’ in my mind don’t want my label…and if they even reject it the term for general use that’s totally their business…I’d never use the term toward or about them.
REALLY I wouldn’t! ‘Cuz man I’m a hippie…and I wouldn’t do something that heavy and uncool!
BUT since they choose not to own the term themselves they don’t have a lot to say about how I use it toward MYSELF. Nope…they can’t even pry that right from my cold dead weed-sticky deadhead fingers! Because I DO own it.
And anyway, if I told people I’m a long-haired left-leaning white hetero dude with a degree in Political Philosophy, (who therefore teaches art), is a singer/songwriter guitarist in a rock band and does sculpture and meditates and writes sensitive songs and tries to be more like Buddha and Jesus…well, I mean if my bro’s B-Dog and J-Man occasionally smoked weed and drank beer and watched the occasional Quentin Tarrantino flick…it would just take, like, WAAAAY too long, Man!
So what’s in a name?
Sometimes nothing…and sometimes quite a bit.
Depends on who’s using it, who’s taking it, who’s giving it, who’s keeping it, and most especially who’s rejecting it.
Words are the most powerful and devious tools devised by humankind…an already devious fucking bunch of inconsistent yahoos that we are! And yet we take words for granted, we use words casually and carelessly, we use words with precise and determined intent; with malice, with love…to entertain, to inform, to convince.
To quote the master wordsmith himself, Shakespeare (probably not a hippie, though he wore some AWESOME vintage clothes), in act II scene II of Romeo and Juliet, the famous scene in Capulet’s orchard, the Bard has Juliet say (and NOTE this is an aside to herself and NOT meant to be heard by Romeo):
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.
O, be some other name!
What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name, which is no part of thee take all myself.
I totally GET it Juliet…You’re awesome and totally ‘grownup’ for a lady your age…and I’m sure you’re a fine person for a 13 year old!
But honestly Darlin’ thou protesteth too damn much!
Let’s TALK Juliet… Seems we have a teensy disconnect between societal roles and the terms we associate with them. Maybe I’m wrong here, but aren’t you fulfilling the pernicious role of society by asking Romeo to consider throwing off the bonds of both his and your society in order to be nameless with you? Considering the reality of Late Renaissance society in Europe that was a pretty controversial thing even to think as a theatrical aside! A person with no land and no name virtually EXISTED to serve at the whims of the MAN…man.
I mean it’s some great theatre, but not a real groovy life-choice in that place and time.
YOU can’t disown disparaging language simply on your own, any more than you can choose to make disparaging language ‘OK’ simply because you’re cool and ‘in the know’ with the people who’ve been wronged by it. But HEY Juliet…I just loved loved LOVED the movie! At the same time I might love a black man but I’d never call him my ‘darkie’ because that’s SO laden with ugly history…no matter HOW cool the two of us are…and even if HE accepts it (for whatever reason) because NO African American I know adopts that term!
I love me some people who are transgender, but I’d NEVER use the term ‘tranny’ because, at the risk of making a generalization, umm…THEY don’t fucking USE that term EVEN disparagingly to each other!
I love some people who are gay and some who are lesbian, some who are abuse survivors and some who are any number of combinations I’ve never even HEARD of…but I’m not going to casually ingratiate myself to them by using a stigmatized label to show I’m ‘down with them’ or somehow ‘in the know’. I DON’T share their struggle…no matter how much I may love them. And I don’t have the right to call these folks, even in fun or in the greatest respect, any name I’m not given permission INDIVIDUALLY to address them with.
I might be Southern…and don’t hold THAT shit against me either, brothers n’ sisters…but in my book that’s just basic manners!
The point IS…do NOT think that this One Voice movement is JUST about YOUR particular minority or OUR particular friends and family who have been ‘othered’ by society…and that means by US.
As in YOU and ME along with everyone else…Uhh yeah, that’s society…and well, that would be US!
It’s about TRUE open honesty and respect! Equality amongst even those you don’t understand or relate to.
YOU have the weapons to kill and the tools to heal, depending on what you choose to do with that greatest of your weapons…the one that rests just above your chin and right below your nose. So boys n’ girls PLEASE watch your words…no matter WHO you are or WHAT group or sub-group you belong to or might be referring to! ASK before you just ‘tell it like it is’…because what it IS you’re ‘telling’ may not be the the words you would choose to use if you knew the inside story on the PERSON you think you know so well!
And most of us are too polite to say anything.
It’s not being PC…it’s being a conscious and feeling human being.
So for now this hippie’s gonna shut up for a while!
Thanks for listening!
Matt David Worsham