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If you please, the Sixties are OVER

The little branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement encamped at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor reports that some motorists shout “Get a job!” as they drive by. If getting a job were that easy these days,* a lot of those people wouldn’t be demonstrating.

The choleric response to the Occupiers says something about how deeply stereotypes are embedded in our culture wars. We have the Spoiled College Kids Smoking Dope stereotype, the Lazy Bums stereotype, and the Dirty Hippies stereotype surviving from forty years ago, and some people reach for them reflexively.

Alison Kosik of CNN summed up the movement thus on Twitter: “bang on the bongos, smoke weed!” Bongos? Bongos! Has Maynard G. Krebs** turned up?

So the generals are once again fighting the last culture war.

If you concede that the tea party movement has legitimate grievances to express—and I concede that, even though those grievances have been somewhat obscured by the racist overtones and the illogical, frequently misspelled get-the-government-out-of-my-Medicare placards—then you ought to look for legitimate grievances among the Occupiers. I suggested previously that if you are suspicious of government, as Mr. Jefferson thought you should be, you probably ought to be equally suspicious of corporations.

Mr. Jefferson didn’t think much of banks, either.


*Let me suggest, from personal experience, that it’s not.

**Little Ones, Mr. John has to explain something from the Olden Times. Before there were dirty hippies smoking weed, there were beatniks, a kind of ur-hippie. They were represented to middle-class American on television in the early 1960s by the Maynard G. Krebs character in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. The character was played by Bob Denver, who went on to become the eponymous Gilligan in Gilligan’s Island, another dark chapter in America’s cultural history.



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:14 AM | | Comments (5)


Prof., you left out the slurs on "flag burners."

I'm working today with an editor who remembers watching "Dobie Gillis" as a child. On Nick at Nite. Somebody please tell me when it's time for me to be put down.

Well, I agree with the title of your piece, at least. The '60s ARE over. Now please tell that to the hippie wannabes who are cheering because they turned back an effort to clean their little slice of heaven. "Dirty Hippies stereotype"? The photos and "demands" speak for themselves, my friend.

Alas, I see you couldn't resist the "tea partyers are racist bad spellers" jab. I'm sure the placards on display at Zuccotti Park, unlike those of the illiterate Right Wing, are all examples of exemplary grammar. And if tea partyers had been caught on camera complaining that the recession is all the fault of those nasty Jewish bankers, it would have been front-page news. Oh, but anti-Semitism and defecating on cop cars doesn't fit the narrative, does it?

Clear proof that the Occupy Wall Street protesters are, by and large, anti-Semites:

It's long been a shibboleth that the people who run and ruin America are the Children of Israel. I don't know how that rumor started,but FDR - that well-known Child of Zion - was often occused of being Jewish. It's just the usual propaganda and is best ignored. Along with the latest mob of protestors. (I wouldn't hire any of them either!)

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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