Do hippies come to Austin or does Austin turn you into a hippie?

It’s no big secret that Austin is known for a certain hippie aura. We are the blue island in a sea of red where liberals come to take refuge within our hemp walls and “keep Austin weird.” Now while I must admit that my wife and I did immediately feel a certain comfort and vibe that seemed a comfy home to our liberal leanings, I imagine that much like most places, Austin is probably as diverse a place as any, in the same way that Texas is not solely populated by horse riding, country music loving rodeo enthusiasts (you’d be surprised how many people think that kind of thing).

I’ve always considered myself a fairly moderate person who, while leaning toward the left, tries to always see all sides and keep an open mind to different views. One day, however, as I found myself retrieving my re-usable paper grocery bags from the back of my Toyota Prius gas/electric hybrid in the parking lot of Whole Foods, time seemed to freeze as I suddenly pictured a frame around the image labeled “hippie cliché !” Now, truth be told, I really don’t think I am a hippie. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think “hippie” is in any way insulting, I just don’t think that I really fit into that mold. Okay, so I only eat whole grains and avoid refined carbohydrates. Even with all these things considered, I just don’t think anyone who knows me would ever describe me as a hippie, and those who joyously count themselves among the hippie ranks would most like only go so far as to possibly call me “hippie friendly”. Maybe an honorary hippie or something.

That’s all beside the point, however. The real question that came to my mind that day was whether Austin truly serves as some kind of magnetic “Mecca” for certain ideals and attracts like-minded people like Devil’s Tower in “Clsoe Encounters of the Third Kind” or whether it perhaps has some kind of hippiefying effect on it’s residents. Knowing the stubborn nature of most of humanity, I’d have to lean toward the former, but like most things, the reality probably lies somewhere in the gray area in between. Most people are probably somewhat affected by their surroundings to some degree, even if they don’t realize it.

…and somewhere, someone is building a replica of the UT clock tower out of mashed potatoes and insisting “This means something!”

4 Comments so far

  1. Jess (unregistered) on February 20th, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    I think it’s a little of both. I’ve actually given this topic some thought before, and I think that now, as never before, people (at the higher end of the wealth scale, which includes a majority of people in the US) are able to move long-distance to live in places that suit them ideologically or culturally. Once they get there, they have more license to indulge those cultural leanings, surround themselves with more people who agree with them, and get more involved in that way of thinking and being.

  2. Adam Rice (unregistered) on February 20th, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

    I’ve seen Austin have a hippifying effect on those who were not that way already.

  3. Elmo (unregistered) on February 20th, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

    Toyota Prius? Whole Foods? You don’t mean hippie, you mean YUPPIE.

  4. Heath (unregistered) on February 20th, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

    LOL…Wow, I think that must be the first time in my life anyone has ever called me a yuppie!

    ahhh, gotta love stereotypes and labels, heh!

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