Post Magazine: “There once was a Guru from Rishnikesh” (Pg 23) By: Lewis Lapham

The New York Times: “Phantoms Will Not Bring Peace” October 1, 1969

The Austin-American Statesmen: “Narcotics Conference Will Meet” (pg 2) May 17, 1969

 

By Kelsey Daubner

The 1960’s were a pivotal time in United States history. This era produced a new attitude towards life. One in which drugs, peace, and new fashion was on the rise. The counterculture hippies rose in an attempt to prevent war and promote peace. Their care-free, love-all outlook towards life was something the world had never seen before, and completely rebelled against the straight-laced America before. To some this adjustment to these new “people” was a difficult one. The media did not hesitate to report about these counterculture hippies.

 Drug Use

When it comes to researching the hippie era, there was an abundance of material regarding the abuse of drugs. Before this time period, America had not really seen coverage on drug use. In looking through the university archives, there were several reports of drug busts in dormitories on the South West Texas campus. The most reports were about students smoking marijuana and taking LSD. A few articles were written about taking “bennies” to help with studying for exams. The effects of these Bennies were so strong that they were causing students to make stupid mistakes on tests. A writer of the University Star wrote about a federal drug abuse aid visiting the campus. In the article the writer said, “In the case of LSD, the user may find that his pupils are so widely dilated that the user may protect himself against the light with dark glasses, even at night.” I noticed that the coverage on drug use was not dramatic and almost seemed like a normal part of life. A 1968 article in Post Magazine about an Indian guru named Maharishi and his transcendental meditation referred to drug use as a casual, part of life kind of act. An example would be a snippet in the same article from your stereotypical hippie of the generation, Kip Cohen. The article says Cohen was part of the zen thing and experimented with various drugs. He regarded the drug scene as necessary, but an intermediate stage in the expansion of the mind. Also, when browsing through The Austin Statesmen, I found the law trying in many issues to put a stop to the immense drug use. They did this by holding conferences to bring awareness to the damaging effects that people would face after doing drugs. Today we have classes in school for that, but these new products in the sixties were sold with no warnings or previous knowledge behind them. This is why an abundance of conferences were held. One article in particular stood out from the Austin Statesman. This article, “Narcotic Conference Will Meet”, was to promote the crisis conference on Drugs and Narcotics with a handful of speakers. The speakers spoke about the medical aspects, political situation regarding the problem, and the psychology behind taking drugs. I was most surprised to find a small article in the Austin Statesmen about the finding of thousands of people abusing codeine-based cough syrups in which hundreds of cough syrups were being sold by the carton.

 The Anti-War/Peace Movement     

Hippies were known to be peace-makers. There was plenty of material on this subject, and I think that is because there had been so much violence up to the 60’s. A revolution began in the sense that people were more humane and civil than ever before. Post magazine makes a good point in one of their issues when stating that the parents of the hippie generation grew up during a rough time for America, The Depression. Therefore, they know you have to work hard to succeed in order to make it. Their children grow up having the things they want due to their parent’s success and they no longer believe in working hard for money. To them it is not about the best paying job, it’s about doing the right thing. People began accepting others for their differences. A huge part of the peace movement was protesting against the war in Vietnam, but at the same token I was surprised to find that protests and movements were happening all over the world. The fight between races was dissipating slowly. There was an article in the

 

peace demonstrators

AP Images- Associated Press. Peace demonstrators fill Fulton Street in San Francisco April 15, 1967 during their five-mile march through the city.


Fashion

University Star following Martin Luther King   Jr.’s death, in which a select group of students were mourning in the quad on a Friday afternoon to bring light to his death. This time there was a still a bad taste in some American’s mouths when it came to the fair treatment of all races, such as some of the professors. As anyone would suspect, Texas had a hard time adjusting to the acceptance of other ethnicities into society. There was also a strong urge for hippies to protest against the Vietnam War, which the media covered quite frequently. An article in the University Star states, “Approximately 12 men and women from the Austin school arrived on motorcycle and in cars around 2 p.m. to find out why the students of SWTexas could not protest the U.S. policy in Viet Nam.” I found an article in the New York Times about an anti-war demonstration in Rockefeller plaza where six women scattered secret service documents across the ground. This demonstration in particular was popular among the press, probably because it was woman and especially because the women ended up standing in front of a judge in court. I read a few articles in the New York Times about foreign countries facing issues mainly about religion, but the peace demonstration were gaining the most press. One of these issues in the same newspaper quoted Albert Einstein during an article about the Arabs wanting a just settlement with the United States. Einstein says, “Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” This simple quote really sums up the peace movement during the 1960’s.

The counterculture hippies started transforming their looks. Short bobs transformed into long tresses. Fringe, flower headbands, long dresses, and psychedelic looking clothing became popular. One University Star article was about the invention of the bikini. This look was new to people of this generation and caught on mostly with hippies, who had no shame showing skin. Post magazine makes a short mention that during the Guru’s meditation session the women would come wearing flowers in their hair.

 

“People wanted to be different and daring. People started wearing loud, vibrant colors.”

 

  

fashion

AP Images- fashion designer Mary Quant, right, waves as she poses with models wearing her Mod creations Oct. 25, 1968.

 

 

 

Kelsey Daubner is a journalism junior at Texas State University. She can be reached by  email at Kdaubner1@aol.com

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