Hip­pies were a phe­nom­e­non of the 1960s.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

“When peo­ple in the early 2000s think about the 1960s, they might think first about the ‘hip­pies,’ ” sug­gests the widely used on­line ed­u­ca­tional com­pany Gale. Like­wise, the Prince­ton Re­view’s SAT guide­book prompts stu­dents: “Think about the 1960s. What comes to mind? Maybe it’s the Bea­tles, danc­ing hip­pies, and Viet­nam.” Hip­pies might be the most fa­mous sym­bol of the 1960s; af­ter all, they emerged in the mid­dle of that decade.

But they didn’t re­ally hit their stride un­til the early 1970s, when their num­bers and in­flu­ence peaked. The hip­pies’ drug sub­cul­ture in the 1960s be­came youth pop cul­ture in the ’70s; is­sues of the stoner mag­a­zine High Times, founded in 1974, sold hun­dreds of thou­sands of copies. Rock-an­droll, once seen as a friv­o­lous hobby for teenagers, be­came a se­ri­ous art form, and pub­li­ca­tions such as Rolling Stone be­came na­tional tastemak­ers. And a quick pe­rusal of nearly any high school year­book well into the late ’70s shows that long hair be­came stan­dard for teenage boys across the coun­try. Even some of the male teach­ers had shaggy cuts. Google Books’ Ngram Viewer re­veals the tra­jec­tory of Amer­ica’s fas­ci­na­tion with the coun­ter­cul­ture: The fre­quency of the term “hip­pies” peaked in books in 1971 and stayed above 1967 lev­els un­til 1977.

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