The American Dissident: Literature, Democracy & Dissidence

Sixties Sellouts

Ce sont des artisses.  Ils voulaient changer le monde, ils ont simplement changé d’ideé.  Aujourd’hui, ils veulent changer de job, de char ou de set de salon.  Point.  Ils ont été indépendentistes, hippies, maoïstes, granolas, féministes, peace and love, marxistes-léninistes et finalement new wave.  Ils sont devenus de jeunes ou de vieux yuppies pleins de marde.  [They're artists.  They wanted to change the world, but they simply changed ideas instead.  Today they want to change jobs, cars or tv sets.  That's all.  They were separatists, hippies, maoists, organic foodies, feminists, peace and love, marxist-leninists, and finally new wave.  They became young or old yuppies full of horseshit.  trad. gts]
          —Pierre Falardeau, Les Boeufs sont lents mais la terre est patiente
I never registered Abbie [Hoffman] as a coward but I always registered him as a thief.  It affected me personally, very strongly, to feel that there were people that would use the ideas you were involved with to make money.  By 1972 there were bank commercials, billboards that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  To think that people we were involved with, who claimed to be alternative-culture people, had actually bought into fame, fortune or power was really depressing to me. [...]  How could we have so underestimated the conviction of the people we were involved with?  One of the reasons I’ve resented Hoffman was that that’s exactly what he did.  He bought out on fame.  I think he always had a problem with fortune.
          —Peter Berg, 60s radical, from Steal This Dream by Larry Sloman p. 228
John and Yoko [Lennon] were always making promises they never kept.  They were famous for that.  I always felt that they were into that game of playing revolution, but what they liked more was the fawning.
–Alex Bennett, radio personality, from Steal This Dream by Larry Sloman p. 254

During the Sixties, we'd call those who subverted their principles for money and power SELLOUTS. Unfortunately, the term became conveniently outmoded as the sellout phenomenon generalized over the years. Indeed, today, the man or woman who hadn't sold out had become the oddity.  The term "hippie" also acquired a somewhat negative, or at best pejoratively comical  connotation, which in itself was interesting.  Many hippies eventually sold out to academe, government, and even big business. Hippies were pitiful suckers for theatrics, image, and fame.  For the advertising moguls, a vapid Mick Jagger or even a Jimmy Hendrix was worth a 1,000 Thoreaus.  

Famous Sixties Sellouts [There must be 100s!  The list will perhaps be increased.]
One must really wonder whether or not any of these characters had any principles at all, unless of course one were to consider the acquisition of fame and wealth principles.  Most of them overtly scorned the tie and jacket, then ended up smiling in ties and jackets. 
President Bill Clinton has made millions from so-called public service.  Dubai has been paying him millions to sell the USA. 
Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has made millions from so-called public service.
Tom Hayden became a U.S. Senator
Jane Fonda became an exercise salesperson
Eric Clapton bought shares in a gentleman's clothier company.  [I mean, what the fuck?!]
Mick Jagger
(see toon)
Dennis Hopper has been on the tube for several years as spokesperson for Ameriprise Financial.  Wikipedia makes no mention about that. 
Bob Dylan became a spokesperson salesman for Victoria Secrets underwear.  [I mean, what the fuck?!]
Allen Ginsberg became a tenured professor and worried not of ideals but of his own paltry fame and place in the established-order literary canon.
Gary Snyder and others became tenured professor poet chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, concerned more with etiquette than with free speech and bold truth telling. 
Others like Paul McCartney and Van Morrison luxuriate in their multiple mansions and jetsetter lifestyles.  In fact, in retrospect, the psychedelic music men and women that gave the Sixties its beat and patina, for the most part, sold out. 

As for me, well, I'm pissed off at the 60s charade.  I'm pissed off at myself for falling for some of it:  the fashion, the music, the dope.  But, well, I was young then.  The counterculture, as it was called, was really nothing but a lightly disguised arm of corporate America dressed in paisley, smelling of patchouli oil and incense, yapping in hippie jargon, while selling, selling, selling, always selling.