Hey hey! It’s four twenty! Finally, a day that Nazis and hippies can all get behind. Of course, we all know the storied tradition of 420 being a police code for smoking weed, which for some dumb reason has made this a holy day of stonerdom (as though the kinds of people who ‘celebrate’ 420 aren’t always just smoking weed anyway…which makes it about as pointless as a ‘day of breathing’ or the annual ‘night where we decide to get a little sleep’) but did you know that this is also Hitler’s birthday? It’s true. He’d be 122 today, and probably is, either as a drug-addled brain in a jar or down in Argentina wearing a Hawaiian shirt and complaining about how much he hates the juice, or both.
Nazis (and I’m gonna switch gears here a little bit and talk about the neo-nazis, not the actual German political party, though a lot of this probably holds true for both) and hippies have a lot more in common than just this wonderful calendar day. Firstly, and this is a big one, I hate them both. Granted, that’s a highly myopic and personal similarity, but I can say with assurance that pretty much anyone that’s worth the postage on a fart probably has a disdain for hippies that’s trumped only by their disdain for Nazis (and this is a funny point, because I have several close friends who, if asked, will say shit like “I’m kind of a hippy” or “I back hippies” but what they truly mean is ‘I don’t mind being a little bit filthy and I like weed and I listen to some Neil Young and generally, I think war is pretty bad.’ Without exception, EVERY time one of my ‘hippy’ friends is in a room with an ACTUAL hippy, they are every bit as revolted as the rest of us, which makes them, obviously, not hippies at all, but simply dirty individuals with a pretty decent worldview, a vastly different animal).
Another similarity between hippies and Nazis is that they have very specific ideas about how you should be living your life and they’re not afraid to tell you all about it. These ideological imperatives that hippies and Nazis spout are interestingly parallel, as in, they both literally demonize opposition and refer overtly to the destruction of the fabric of society and indeed the world itself as inevitable if people continue to breed outside the race or fail to free up their minds, bro. Sure, there are organizational imperatives at work here too, like supporting Greenpeace or the Northwest American Republic, and while I’m not gonna get into the legitimacy of either organization, I will say that one is clearly more stupid than the other, and that’s impressive. This brings me to my next parallel: stupidity.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “dude, sure, some hippies are stupid at times, sure, but there are some brilliant hippies out there too and to equate the stupidity of hippies with the stupidity of those neo-nazi mongos is really stretching it, bro.”
Nah. They’re both stupid as shit, and here’s why: Firstly, the ideological forefathers of these respective movements have very little to do with the footsoldiers walking the streets today. A modern hippy, while less morally repugnant than a neo-nazi, is hardly any more pleasant to be around. Note that I say ‘hardly’ as in: sure, yes. I’d rather be locked in a room with a group of hippies than a group of neo Nazis ten times out of ten, but I’m not happy about it. Listening to a bunch of dumbasses spout mindless slogans and attempt to enlighten me about why they’ve got it all figured out is not my idea of a good time, and the only thing that’s really giving the hippies the edge is that I think that if I got really fed up, I could beat up a room of hippies, whereas with the neo Nazis, swarming some random dude is kind of their thing (at this point it bears mentioning that I’ve met several extremely violent and scary hippies in my time, and I don’t think that’s rare. In my experience, people who go out of their way to overtly identify as ‘laid back and/or mellow’ tend to be extremely high strung wingnuts prone to fits of rage, so while I find Nazis to be scarier than hippies, maybe that’s a naïve statement. The fact of course remains that bigotry is really gross and definitely trumps any other misguided ideology in every single negative category that there is [unless you’re bigoted against hippies, I guess. Seems like in the context of this article, that’s fine], but again, I’m not happy to give the hippies the edge, though in this case they’re up against stiff competition).
Secondly, the ‘brilliant hippies’ that were forefathers of revolution and created great art and all that can really be correlated as opposite sides of the coin of the nazi forefathers who also implemented a revolution and made great art. Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I’m in NO WAY backing the nazi program at all. I’m just begrudgingly allowing (as with hippies) that they had some sharp minds in their ranks, even if those minds were totally twisted, and that if art and revolutionary thinking is a meterstick we use to judge hippies as a worthwhile group, well, then we’d kind of have to give it to the Nazis too. They made some pretty huge strides in the world of film and fashion and science and of course political theory, wartime strategy and propaganda, or as we call it today, advertising. Hippies also dabbled in a lot of these pursuits, though sometimes the results were pretty questionable too.
Personally, I think that the Alkaline Trio looks a lot cooler in their pegged slacks and armbands then Ultraviolet Hippopotamus looks in their patchy flannel overalls. It also helps that the trio are just fashionable, and not actually Nazis, because if they were, we wouldn’t be friends for one thing, and for another thing, their music would absolutely suck. And this brings me to my final point:
Both hippies and Nazis pretty much exclusively make terrible music. I fucking hate the doors. I hate the Dead. I hate Jefferson Airplane. I hate all that shit with a passion. It’s some of the most grating, shitty music that’s ever been made and GOD HELP YOU if you have to listen to any of the ‘post Jerry’ hippy drivel that’s out there, like for example, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus or the string cheese incident or Rusted Root or blues traveler or phish or any of that bullshit. It’s such garbage that garbage is embarrassed to be compared to it.
Buuuuuuuuuut, here’s where the hippies pull away to a clear victory, because there is nothing on the earth that’s so horrible (so horrible that it’s really not even worth making fun of) as neo-nazi music. Those ‘bands’ were and continue to be SO completely terrible that even at their best (and I think Skrewdriver is pretty unanimously considered to be the greatest nazi band ever) they’re still fucking terrible to a point where you’ve gotta wonder if everyone in the band’s got all their fingers and teeth and chromosomes. It all sounds like amputated and mentally infirm angry adults flailing around like babies and punching each other in the guitars. And Jimi Hendrix had some pretty great songs, if we’re being honest. Same with Steven Stills.
On a final note, one of my favorite (read: least favorite) little lines of bullshit is when people talk about that ‘first screwdriver record, you know, before they were racist. It was really pretty great.’ Here’s the thing about that: No, it’s not great. It’s subpar crappy nationalist oi with shitty vocals and it sucks, for one thing and for another thing YOU (person telling me this, because literally everyone who’s ever told me this falls into the same category) are one of the dumbest people I’ve ever met. We already don’t like the same things and I have zero respect for your intelligence as it stands, and this isn’t helping matters. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.
Okay, so what have we learned today? Hippies are stupid assholes that are worthy of disdain and outright mockery, and they can also be violent weirdos, but pound for pound, across the board, Nazis are much worse. Huh. Who knew?
So, congratulations hippies. You win 420. Sigh.