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51 Genius Quotes That Prove George Carlin Was A Modern Philosopher




1 Genius Quotes That Prove George Carlin Was A Modern Philosopher

Nico Lang 0 Comments

In many ways, the comedian has the ability to be the philosopher of our era, a social critic and theorist whose words have the ability to shape public thought. As we saw from my piece on Louis C.K. a few weeks ago, comedy — at its best — pushes our buttons and challenges our ways of thinking. To me, no person is a better example of that than George Carlin, a savage satirist and brilliant thinker who was just as much of a writer and a philosopher as he was a comedian. His medium was stand-up, but he touched on issues of race, class, politics and American life — saying the kinds of things no one else dared.

Carlin got famous for his bit about the “words you can’t say on television,” but his legacy speaks of so much more, wisdom and wit that deserve to live on through the ages. Here are 51 quotes from the late comedian that show him at his best — hilarious, irascible and never satisfied with the state of society.

  1. I don’t have pet peeves. I have major psychotic fucking hatreds.
  2. The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”
  3. By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
  4. And what can we do to silence these Christian athletes who thank Jesus whenever they win, never mention his name when they lose? Not a word. You never hear them say “Jesus made me drop the ball.” “The good lord tripped me up behind the line of scrimmage.” According to these guys Jesus is undefeated, meanwhile these assholes are in last place. Must be another one of those “miracles.”
  5. The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
  6. It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do somethin’ different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard. That’s our history. We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.
  7. Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice?”
  8. How can [God] be perfect? Everything He ever makes dies.”
  9. If you take five white guys and put ’em with five black guys, and let ’em hang around together for about a month, and at the end of the month, you’ll notice that the white guys are walking and talking and standing like the black guys do. You’ll never see the black guys going, “Oh, golly! We won the big game today, yes sir!” But you’ll see guys with red hair named Duffy going, “What’s happenin’?”
  10. Cloud nine gets all the publicity, but cloud eight actually is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view.
  11. Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.
  12. Here’s another question I have: How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelet? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? When did this happen; that we passed chickens in goodness? Name six ways we’re better than chickens. See, nobody can do it! You know why? Because chickens are decent people. You don’t see chickens hanging around in drug gangs, do you? No. You don’t see a chicken strapping some guy to a chair and hooking up his nuts to a car battery, do you? When’s the last chicken you heard about came home from work and beat the shit out of his hen, huh? Doesn’t happen. Because chickens are decent people.
  13. People who say they don’t care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.
  14. Electricity is really just organized lightning.
  15. We’re so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin’ great. It’s been here over four billion years The planet isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, we’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we’ll be gone. Another failed mutation, another closed-end biological mistake.
  16. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
  17. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and He needs money.
  18. The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.
  19. Catholics and other Christians are against abortions and they’re against homosexuals. Well who has less abortions than homosexuals? Leave these fucking people alone for Christ’s sake. Here is an entire class of people guaranteed never to have an abortion and the Catholics and the Christians are just tossing them aside. You’d think they’d make natural allies. Go look for consistency in religion.
  20. If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse.
  21. Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: It attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people’s stuff.
  22. So about 80 years after the Constitution is ratified, the slaves are freed. Not so you’d really notice it of course; just kinda on paper. And that of course was at the end of the Civil War. Now there is another phrase I dearly love. That is a true oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one: “Civil War.” Do you think anybody in this country could ever really have a civil war? “Say, pardon me?” (shoots gun) “I’m awfully sorry. Awfully sorry.”
  23. When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.
  24. So maybe it’s not the politicians who suck; maybe it’s something else. Like the public. That would be a nice realistic campaign slogan for somebody: “The public sucks. Elect me.” Put the blame where it belongs: on the people. Because if everything is really the fault of politicians, where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans who are ready to step in and replace them? Where are these people hiding? The truth is, we don’t have people like that. Everyone’s at the mall, scratching his balls and buying sneakers with lights in them. And complaining about the politicians.
  25. Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.
  26. I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
  27. I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos,” take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.
  28. They say rather than cursing the darkness, one should light a candle. They don’t mention anything about cursing a lack of candles.
  29. Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.
  30. Some people dream of things that never were and ask, “Why not?” Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that shit.
  31. I don’t understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn’t selling fucking legal? You know, why should it be illegal to sell something that’s perfectly legal to give away? I can’t follow the logic on that one at all! Of all the things you can do, giving someone an orgasm is hardly the worst thing in the world. In the army they give you a medal for spraying napalm on people. In civilian life you go to jail for giving someone an orgasm.
  32. Comedy is filled with surprise, so when I cross a line, I like to find out where the line might be and then cross it deliberately, and then make the audience happy about crossing the line with me.
  33. There are over seventeen thousand golf courses in America, they average over one hundred and fifty acres a piece. That’s three million plus acres, four thousand, eight hundred and twenty square miles. You could build two Rhode Islands and a Delaware for the homeless on the land currently being wasted on this meaningless, mindless, arrogant, elitist, racist, there’s another thing; the only blacks you’ll find at country clubs are carrying trays. And a boring game. A boring game for boring people. You ever watch golf on television? It’s like watching flies fuck!
  34. I am perfectly willing to share the room with a fly, as long as he is patrolling that portion of the room I don’t occupy. But if he starts that smart-ass fly shit, buzzing my head and repeatedly landing on my arm, he is engaging in high-risk behavior.
  35. And you might have noticed something else. The sanctity of life doesn’t seem to apply to cancer cells, does it? You rarely see a bumper sticker that says: “Save the tumors.” Or “I brake for advanced melanoma.” No, viruses, mold, mildew, maggots, fungus, weeds, E. Coli bacteria, the crabs. Nothing sacred about those things. So at best the sanctity of life is kind of a selective thing. We get to choose which forms of life we feel are sacred, and we get to kill the rest. Pretty neat deal, huh? You know how we got it? We made the whole fucking thing up!
  36. Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.
  37. Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
  38. When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts. Germany lost the Second World War. Fascism won it. Believe me, my friend.
  39. Here’s some bumper stickers I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child whose self esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.” “We are the proud parents of a child who has resisted his teachers’ attempts to break his spirit and bend him to the will of his corporate masters.” “We have a daughter in public school who hasn’t been knocked up yet.” “We have a son in public school who hasn’t shot any of his classmates yet. But he does sell drugs to your honor student. Plus he knocked up your daughter.” “We are the embarrassed parents of a cross-eyed little nit-wit who at the age of ten not only continues to wet the bed but also shits on the school bus.”
  40. People are fucking nuts. This country is full of nitwits and assholes. You ever notice that? Nitwits, assholes, fuckups, scumbags, jerkoffs, and dipshits. And they all vote. In fact, sometimes you get the impression that they’re the only ones who vote.
  41. Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?
  42. Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. You see all, sooner or later. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.
  43. The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.
  44. When it comes to God’s existence, I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic. I’m an acrostic: the whole thing puzzles me.
  45. The things that matter in this country have been reduced in choice, there are two political parties, there are a handful insurance companies, there are six or seven information centers, but if you want a bagel there are 23 flavors. Because you have the illusion of choice.
  46. Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.
  47. Let me get a sip of water here…you figure this stuff is safe to drink? Actually, I don’t care, I drink it anyway. You know why? Because I’m an American and I expect a little cancer in my food and water. I’m a loyal American and I’m not happy unless I let government and industry poison me a little bit every day.
  48. Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.
  49. Religion is nothing but mind control. Religion is just trying to control your mind, control your thoughts, so they’re gonna tell you some things you shouldn’t say because they’re…sins. And besides telling you things you shouldn’t say, religion is gonna suggest some things that you ought to be saying; “Here’s something you ought to say first thing when you wake up in the morning; here’s something you ought to say just before you go to sleep at night; here’s something we always say on the third Wednesday in April after the first full moon in spring at 4 o’clock when the bells ring.” Religion is always suggesting things you ought to be saying.
  50. I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me. […] I look at war a little bit differently. To me, war is a lot of prick-waving! OK? Simple thing. That’s all it is. War is a whole lot of men standing out on a field waving their pricks at one another. Men are insecure about the size of their dicks, and so they have to kill one another over the idea. That’s what all that asshole jock bullshit is all about. That’s what all that adolescent, macho, male posturing and strutting in bars and locker rooms is all about. It’s called “dick fear!” Men are terrified that their pricks are inadequate and so they have to compete with one another, to feel better about themselves, and since war is the ultimate competition, basically, men are killing each other in order to improve their self-esteem! You don’t have to be a historian or a political scientist to see the bigger-dick foreign policy at work. It sounds like this: “What, they have bigger dicks? Bomb them!” And of course, the bombs and the rockets and the bullets are all shaped like dicks. It’s a subconscious need to project the penis into other people’s affairs. It’s called “fucking with people!”
  51. If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.







22 Amazing Quotes from The Master of Sarcasm: George Carlin


22 Amazing Quotes from The Master of Sarcasm: George Carlin

Posted On 12 Jun 2015

George Carlin

Comedy can often be a sword and a shield. George Carlin is one of the few comics that comes to mind when I think of a comedian who could make a point about a touchy subject, and make you laugh at the same time. Carlin had the verbal skill to have you laughing one minute, and the next minute drop an insightful message. George Carlin was a comedian who practically defined the word “edgy”. His material was often political and he was well known for pointing out hypocrisies which earned him the title “Master of Sociological Comedy”. Very few people have had the ability to say the things that need to be said in a way that makes you think and laugh like Carlin could. Carlin’s observations on life, people, politics, and religion will certainly be missed.

22 Brilliant Quotes from George Carlin:

“But when you’re in front of an audience and you make them laugh at a new idea, you’re guiding the whole being for the moment. No one is ever more him/herself than when they really laugh. Their defenses are down. It’s very Zen-like, that moment. They are completely open, completely themselves when that message hits the brain and the laugh begins. That’s when new ideas can be implanted. If a new idea slips in at that moment, it has a chance to grow.”

“If a man smiles all the time, he’s probably selling something that doesn’t work.”

“I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you: ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is: ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality, and integrity.’”

“I do this real moron thing, and it’s called thinking. And apparently I’m not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”

“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. … These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.”

“May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.”

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.”

“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.”

“Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”

“Life gets really simple once you cut out all the bull shit they teach you in school.”

“How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?”

“Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. “

“Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who’s self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.”

“People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.”

“Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

“Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticide grain, for strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain. America, America, man sheds his waste on thee, and hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.”

“Everyone smiles in the same language.”

“We are a nation of sheep, and someone else owns the grass.”

“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”

“This is a little prayer dedicated to the separation of church and state. I guess if they are going to force those kids to pray in schools they might as well have a nice prayer like this: Our Father who art in heaven, and to the republic for which it stands, thy kingdom come, one nation indivisible as in heaven, give us this day as we forgive those who so proudly we hail. Crown thy good into temptation but deliver us from the twilight’s last gleaming. Amen and Awomen. ”




Hippies from A to Z
by Skip StoneFamous Hippies, Friends and Enemies.

The following list of people includes those who influenced or were part of the hippy movement as well as those who sought to repress it. Some of these outstanding individuals have devoted much of their lives to causes that benefit everyone. Many have suffered as a result of their beliefs and actions. We list some musicians here, but for more music go to the Hippy Music with a Message chapter!

Agnew, Spiro: Vice President during Nixon’s reign, he antagonized almost everyone, but especially liberals with his pompous verbal ranting. He claimed the antiwar movement was the work of “an effete corps of impudent snobs.” He survived a bribery scandal but was convicted of income tax evasion. He was forced to resign much to everyone’s delight. Recently declassified FBI files show Agnew did receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks as Governor and Vice President.
Baez, Joan: Singer, songwriter, antiwar activist, called the “Queen of Folk”. Joan was arrested for her participation in antiwar rallies, and her ex-husband David Harris spent several years in jail for draft resistance.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Also know as OSHO. Controversial Indian guru who had a large American following. In his ashrams (communes) in Poona, India and Oregon he taught liberation through the release of personal inhibitions. His methods included gestalt therapy and sexual freedom. Cult members showered wealth upon Rajneesh and he had dozens of Rolls Royces.
Brand, Stewart: A hard working, future looking hippie who blends philosophy with activism. Brand produced the Whole Earth Catalog, The Trips Festival, founded The WELL, the Point Foundation, Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, the Co-Evolution Quarterly. He’s on the board of directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Browne, Jackson: Songwriter, singer, record producer, activist. Browne is a prolific songwriter and has written tunes for The Eagles, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as well as several very successful solo albums like The Pretender, Running on Empty, and Lives in the Balance. He also was involved in organizing rock concert fundraisers for the anti-nuclear movement.
Bruce, Lenny: As a standup comedian in the ’50s, Lenny felt nothing was sacred.  So he joked about racism, drugs, homophobia, nuclear testing, and abortion.  What made him famous was his unmitigated use of profanity.  He was arrested many times, for obscenity and narcotics.  He paved the way for others to exercise free speech, and inspired just about every comic since.
Burroughs, William S.: Beat author wrote autobiographical books like “Junky” and “Queer” about his life as a drug addict, murderer and homosexual. His controversial, cut-up style “Naked Lunch” is his most famous work. Burroughs’ thing was personal freedom. To him this meant breaking all the rules, which he did whenever he could. Burroughs’ talent is undeniable. Despite (or because of?) being a junkie, he was able to convey what it’s like to be living on the dark edge of reality. His intake of all sorts of drugs obviously inspired some people to experiment. Many beats and hippies can relate to Burroughs’ life situation as a social outcast from mainstream American society (remember much of this happened in the 50’s). Burroughs wrote about those things that no other writer of his time (except Allen Ginsberg) would consider suitable subjects. Indeed the publishing and subsequent banning of Naked Lunch turned into a landmark case for free speech in America. Burroughs influenced many around him including other authors and musicians.
Captain Beefheart: Singer, songwriter, sculptor and painter. Beefheart (Don Van Vliet), has had an unusual musical career making very strange music. His extraordinary vocal range includes a deep raspy voice as shown on Frank Zappa’s “Hot Rats”.
Carlin, George: Comedian. George Carlin turned us on with his “Let’s Get Small” routine. He pushed the envelope with his “Seven Dirty Words” and ended up in court on obscenity charges. He’s still doing his shtick, and stirring up controversy.
Cassady, Neal: The inspiration for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and The Dharma Bums, Neal linked the beat generation with the hippies by joining Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on their Bus trip across the U.S. (as the driver!) in 1964. He was part of the famous “Acid Tests.” Neal sought the freedom of the open road and could rap endlessly in stream of consciousness style about everything.
Castaneda, Carlos: An Anthropologist at UCLA, Carlos wrote a series of books about the shamanic tradition of the indigenous people of Mexico. His apparently first hand accounts of life as a sorcerer’s apprentice ignited decades of controversy as to their reality. His portrayal of himself as a bumbling student of Don Juan, the powerful brujo, are now literary classics. The journeys he took on the path of the warrior through the world of spirits inspired many to seek out what lies beyond our perceptions. His books include: A Separate Reality, Tales of Power and The Eagle’s Gift.
Chavez, Caesar: Chavez was the charismatic leader and founder of the United Farmworkers Union. He championed the underpaid, underrepresented migrant farm worker. Chavez organized the five-year grape boycott. Chavez helped to inspire Chicano activism of the 1960s and 1970s, combining the lessons of the civil rights movement and nonviolent protest with Mexican-American traditions and values.
Cheech & Chong: Cheech Marin & Tommy Chong hit it big with their comedy act on several recordings and movies. Their stoner humor made us laugh hysterically, particularly when we too, were stoned. By laughing at them, we laughed at ourselves and for awhile life seemed less serious.
Cleaver, Eldridge: Author of Soul on Ice, written during his nine years in prison. After his release he joined the Black Panthers and became their Minister of Information. Involvement in a gun battle forced him into a seven-year exile.
Coyote, Peter: Actor, author, member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, one of the original Diggers. His new book Sleeping Where I Fall, tells of his days in S.F.
Cronkite, Walter: Uncle Walt was considered the most believable broadcaster in U.S. history. In 1968, he broke the code of neutrality among major newscasters, by opposing the Vietnam War in a national television broadcast. His integrity is still unquestioned.
Crumb, Robert: Famous cartoonist of the ’60s and ’70s, Crumb introduced the world to his somewhat depraved, yet humorous visions via Zap Comics, Mr. Natural, and Fritz the Cat. His inspired and unique style captured the essence of the times. Always the social critic, Crumb used his art to convey the anti-establishment sentiment that swept the country.
Dass, Ram: also known as Dr. Richard Alpert. Author of Be Here Now and Grist for the Mill. Worked with Timothy Leary at Harvard on LSD studies. Alpert was so changed by the ingestion of LSD, he left his post and wandered through India, where he met his Guru and changed his name. Finding enlightenment he returned to write several books and do the lecture circuit.
Davis, Angela: Radical black teacher at UCLA. She was dismissed from UCLA in 1969 due to her radical politics. She was a Black Panther and made the FBI’s most wanted list in 1970 on false charges. She became an icon as an intelligent, outspoken radical young black woman.
Donovan: aka Donovan Leitch. With his song “Mellow Yellow”, Donovan made the music scene in the ’60s. His sensitive voice, spacey lyrics, and unusual arrangements evoke a very hippie feeling. Other hits include Sunshine Superman, Hurdy Gurdy Man and Wear Your Love Like Heaven.
Dylan, Bob: Originally from Nashville, Dylan exploded on the music scene in Greenwich Village in the early ’60s. His blend of rock and folk ballads took everyone by storm, and in turn inspired just about every rock musician who was to follow in his footsteps. His early songs “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They are A-Changin'” took the protest song and gave it an edge.
Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: Gilbert Shelton’s popular comic about the adventures of three stoned out hippies.
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence: Poet, publisher and owner of the City Lights Bookstore in North Beach, San Francisco. Part of the beat scene in San Francisco, Ferlinghetti published Allen Ginsberg’s controversial poem “Howl” in 1957, which landed him in jail, but lead to a landmark decision upholding free speech.
Fonda, Jane: Actress daughter of Henry Fonda, Jane made a name for herself as a political activist when she married Tom Hayden, one of the Chicago Seven. Jane was also outspoken and made a controversial trip to Hanoi, North Vietnam during the war. Now married to CNN creator Ted Turner.
Gandhi, Mahatma: Once a lawyer in South Africa, Gandhi came to India and fought British oppression through the pioneering use of non-violent protest. His methods were adopted in the ’60s by the civil rights and antiwar movements. The confrontative, yet passive techniques are now the standard for peaceful protest.
Garcia, Jerry: Musician, songwriter, artist. Jerry was a founding member of the Warlocks and Grateful Dead. His varied musical influences including Blue Grass, Rock, and Jazz enabled him to establish his own genre of music. With the Dead, the ultimate hippie band from San Francisco, he became a cult figure and was worshipped by fans. His laid back attitude and lifestyle was a sharp contrast to the lives of many egotistical rock stars. For thirty years Jerry Garcia and his faithful band brought hallucinatory music to their legions of fans.
Gaskin, Stephen: Stephen gained famed for his Monday night classes at San Francisco State where he talked about hippy values. When he took to the road his students followed and soon there was a caravan of wandering gypsies, 400 people in 60 vehicles. He eventually settled down with them and started The Farm, an ongoing Tennessee commune which pioneered organic and alternative methods of agriculture, education and social interaction.
Ginsberg, Allen: Controversial Beat poet from the ’50s who wrote about following your instincts and free love. “Howl” (1956), is one of Ginsberg’s most famous poems. Along with his friends Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, he helped define and document the activities of the Beat Generation. Ginsberg was active in the anti-war movement appearing at rallies and also the Human Be-In. Ginsberg is credited with coining the term “Flower Power”.
Graham, Bill: Rock impresario whose Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, and Fillmore East in New York highlighted the best rock acts of the sixties including the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane and more.
Gregory, Dick: Comedian, author, black activist survived more than 100 hunger strikes to protest discrimination, the Vietnam War, and drug addiction. His autobiography “Nigger” sold a million copies. Lately he is involved in promoting nutritional solutions to world hunger.
Grimshaw, Gary: Very prominent graphic artist well known for his posters and flyers of rock bands that passed thru Michigan in the late 60’s-early 70’s. His body of work reads like a who’s who in the 60’s music/counter-culture scene.
Guthrie, Arlo: Son of legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, Arlo made a name for himself with his record Alice’s Restaurant. Arlo’s folk rock style combines protest and storytelling.
Harrison, George: Beatle, musician, activist. George was responsible for bringing the eastern influence into the Beatles. He got them to meditate with the Marharishi, use sitar in their recordings, and gave the group a more spiritual focus. George has been active in many causes including the Concert for Bangladesh which tried to raise funds for the flood victims.
Hayden, Tom: Political activist, one of the Chicago Seven, ex-husband of Jane Fonda. Now he’s a congressman from California.
Havens, Richie: A unique style of rhythm guitar combined with his passionate vocals makes for an unforgettable experience. At Woodstock he sang ‘Handsome Johnny’ and ‘Freedom’ to open the event.
Hendrix, Jimi: The greatest guitar player ever. Jimi could coax sounds from his axe that no one had ever heard before. His guitar mastery has impressed every great musician since. His on stage persona and charisma is unmatched. Jimi gave legendary performances at Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and the Fillmore. He died at the peak of his career. Jimi was a great soul who soared so high he was able to take us along for the ride of our lives.
Hoffman, Abbie: Co-founder of the Yippies. Author of “Steal This Book.” One of the Chicago Seven. Outspoken advocate of anarchy, Abbie challenged authority every chance he could. By his outrageous actions he tried to highlight the hypocrisies inherent in the system.
Hoffman, Albert: Sandoz company scientist who inadvertently discovered the mind transporting properties of LSD.
Hoover, J. Edgar: Infamous Director of the FBI who kept an enemies list in the ’60s. Included just about everyone active in the counterculture, even politicians and musicians. If your name was on that list, the FBI was spying on your activities. Hoover ordered many illegal acts to fight the antiwar, black power, and other movements that sought change and a redistribution of power.
Huxley, Aldous: Author of the famous science fiction novel, Brave New World, and the ground breaking Doors of Perception, Huxley explored the inner realms of the mind. His thirst for the insightful psychedelic experience led him to LSD, which he ingested as he lay on his deathbed.
Joplin, Janis: Blues singer extraordinaire. Janis could belt out the blues like no one else. Her performances at The Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock were legendary. With Big Brother and the Holding Company they blew everyone away with their psychedelic blues. Cheap Thrills, their debut album featured a classic cover by Robert Crumb and the hits Summertime and Ball and Chain. Janis’ grief stricken life came to an end with a drug overdose in 1970.
Kerouac, Jack: Beat author wrote “On the Road” and ‘The Dharma Bums’, about the freedom of living each day as it comes. He inspired a whole generation to get backpacks and take to the road. His beat friends Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady appear in his works. Kerouac coined the term “Beat Generation” to describe his friends and the phenomenon.
Kesey, Ken: Famous author, Merry Prankster, Ken wrote: “Sometimes a Great Notion” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” His famous Acid Tests were the first LSD parties with music and light shows. His legendary 1964 psychedelic cross-country trip in a brightly painted bus inspired many hippies to do the same.
King, Martin Luther: Leader of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King was a firm believer in non-violent protest to achieve the goals of integration and economic, political and social equality for all people.
Krassner, Paul: Humorist, founding member of the Yippies, and publisher of the Realist newspaper, he’s been called the founder of the underground press.
LBJ – Lyndon Baines Johnson: He became President of the United States upon the death of John F. Kennedy. Was elected in 1964 and served another four years. This Texas democrat was responsible for the buildup of forces in Vietnam and was in office during the bloodiest fighting. Along with the next president, republican Richard Nixon were considered the epitome of the government run by the military-industrial complex that prospered during the Vietnam war. These two presidents highlighted the generation gap as they found it impossible to see the world from a youthful perspective.
Leary, Timothy: The psychedelic guru, acid impresario, prolific author, unchallenged hero of the free your mind movement. “Turn-on, tune-in, and drop-out.” Those words inspired a generation to experience the mind-expanding capabilities of LSD. Leary’s determination to experiment and turn on people got him kicked out of Harvard and Nixon called him “The most dangerous man in America.”
Lennon, John: Beatle, poet, artist, activist, singer, musician. One of the great figures of the 60s. Controversial, he once said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus (he was right at the time). He sang about love and peace and his music inspired millions. He was murdered outside his apartment building in 1980.
Leopold, Aldo: Naturalist, conservationist, author of “The Sand County Almanac,” a classic in ecology. He helped found the Wilderness society and wrote about preserving the ‘balance of nature’.
Maharaj-ji: Also know as Neem Karoli Baba. Famous Indian guru who established over 100 temples in India. Thanks to Ram Dass, his disciple, many westerners made the pilgrimage to visit this holy man.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: Famous guru to the Beatles, Beach Boys, and other famous personalities. First everyone went to visit him in India, then he bought his teachings to the U.S. Emphasizing the power of meditation, he drew a huge following among the hippie generation.
Manson, Charles: Convicted along with his followers of the 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and the La Biancas. Manson had created his own cult out in the California desert. In his warped mind, he believed that John Lennon’s song “Helter Skelter” was a call to war and mayhem. He used mind control to get his followers to do whatever he wanted. He is still serving his life sentence.
Marley, Bob: Rastaman supreme. The charismatic Bob Marley and his band the Wailers burst onto the music scene in the early 70’s bringing Reggae into the world. His music about love, Jah (God), freedom and equality touched so many people and inspired many hippies to become rastas.
Max, Peter: Hippie artist famous for album covers, movies, paintings, advertising. His colorful, flowing style graphics had a great influence on art in the 60s.
McGovern, George: Democratic candidate for president in the 1972 elections. He lost out to Richard Nixon. McGovern was supported by liberals and hippies. We can only wonder, what might have been…
McKenna, Terence: Ethnobotanist and author of the book Food of the Gods, about organic psychedelics. Terence is a popular speaker and visionary who likes to focus on discovering our place in the universe, our reason for being here, and the future of mankind.
Mitchell, Joni: Famous Canadian singer, composer and songwriter. Joni’s excellent vocal range is evident in music that varies from folk to blues to rock to jazz. One of the great songwriters, her constantly evolving style has resulted in varied success on such albums as “Blue”, “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” and “Mingus”. Most famous for writing the song “Woodstock” which CSN made into a hit.
Morrison, Jim: Poet, anarchist and debaucher, Morrison was a passionate, if somewhat psychotic visionary. See the psychedelic shaman section for more about Jim.
Mountain Girl: Aka Carolyn Adams. One of the Merry Pranksters. She lived with Ken Kesey, and had his child, then married Jerry Garcia.
Nixon, Richard M.: Republican President of the United States from 1968 until his resignation in 1973, after the Watergate scandal led to an impeachment vote. Nixon provoked the anger of hippies with his dirty tricks, refusal to deal with protesters peacefully, ordering the spying upon leaders of the antiwar, black power and other counter cultural movements, as well as the deeds of his cronies.
Owsley: Augustus Owsley Stanley III was the first man to manufacture LSD in large quantities for the market in San Francisco in the 60’s. Colorful Owsley acid is legendary for its purity.
Pryor, Richard: Considered the black Lenny Bruce, Pryor was famous for his standup comedy and movies replete with four-letter words. His humor attacked racial stereotypes. His crack cocaine addiction nearly killed him.
Rubin, Jerry: Co-founder of the Yippies, one of the Chicago Seven. He and Abbie Hoffman pulled outrageous stunts to poke fun and make serious statements about our society. One such stunt was throwing dollar bills onto the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, disrupting trading as brokers got down on the floor to pick up the money.
Russell, Bertrand: British philosopher, anti-nuclear and antiwar activist, logician, essayist, and social critic. In 1954 he condemned the Bikini H-bomb tests. A year later, he and Albert Einstein, published the Russell-Einstein Manifesto demanding the curtailment of nuclear weapons. He was the founding president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958 and designed the Nuclear Disarmament Symbol, now called the “peace symbol.”
Shankar, Ravi: Famous sitar player from India. He wooed the crowd with his mastery at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival and got a very long standing ovation and thus became a legend. He taught George Harrison how to play the sitar in 1966.
Simon, Carly: Singer and songwriter once married to James Taylor. Carly had hits with “You’re So Vain”, “Anticipation” and ‘That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be”.
Smothers Brothers: Famous comedians and musicians of the 60s, Tom and Dick Smothers had a top rated TV variety show until it became too controversial and was canceled by CBS. Seems they spoke their minds too often, usually protesting the Vietnam War, police brutality and racism.
Sinclair, John: A dude from Michigan who got put in prison for ten years for selling two joints to an undercover cop. His conviction was overturned thanks mainly in part to John Lennon and seven others who organized a movement to set him free. Lennon even wrote about him in a song: “It ain’t fair, John Sinclair…”
Snyder, Gary: Beat Poet, Buddhist, professor. Snyder is perhaps most famous for influencing Jack Kerouac and the Beats and turning them on to Buddhism.
Spock, Dr. Benjamin: His baby book was The Bible to mothers of the hippy generation. He was against spanking children, and his non-violent stance carried over when those same children were sent to war. He spoke and marched at many peace rallies and counseled draft evaders. For this he was sentenced to two years in jail.
Steinhem, Gloria: Feminist author, founder of Ms. Magazine.
St. Marie, Buffy: Singer, songwriter, activist. Since the early ’60s, Buffy has been writing protest songs about war (“Universal Soldier”), Indian Rights and the Environment. Her song “Up Where We Belong,” sung by Joe Cocker, won an Academy Award.
Taylor, James: Singer, songwriter. Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” album was a big hit. He was married to Carly Simon.
Tiny Tim: Famous for his one hit record, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” With his shrill falsetto he became a cultural icon of the hippy movement. Popular but unattractive, the mini-ukelele playing Tim eventually found love, Miss Vicki, and got married.
Twiggy: English model who made being anorexic popular in the ’60s. Twiggy modeled the latest colorful, psychedelic fashions on her extremely thin boy like frame. Her slender build, big sad eyes and short haircut set her apart from other models of the day. Today she is an actress and has filled out a bit.
Warhol, Andy: Pop artist supreme, Andy was a scene himself. He took the icons of popular culture and turned it into art. Some of his most famous works feature Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe. Andy filmed several low budget films of questionable quality including: Trash and Frankenstein (in 3D).
Wavy Gravy: aka Hugh Romney, Merry Prankster, Hog Farm leader, clown, Acid Test Graduate, and so much more. A person who embodies the hippy spirit especially helping his fellow man. Now a flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. At Woodstock ’69, the Hog Farm helped feed the assembled multitude. Wavy Gravy announced from the stage, “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000.”
Winwood, Steve: Talented songwriter, singer, keyboardist, Steve played with Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith before going on to a successful solo career. Steve was also a session man and sat in with Hendrix and B.B. King
Yogananda, Pramahansa: Founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, guru, author. Yogananda taught Bhakti (devotional) Yoga and has quite a following. His book “Autobiography of a Yogi” is very inspirational.
Young, Neil: Canadian musician got his big break writing and singing with Buffalo Springfield. His popularity soared when he teamed up with Crosby, Stills & Nash. Neil went on to produce his own great solo recordings including After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Neil’s style ranges from hard rock, blues, folk ballads to country. His heavy rock is credited with inspiring grunge music. Some call him the grandfather of grunge. His slightly off key vocals don’t appeal to everyone, but when he’s singing with CS&N, he fits right in!
Zappa, Frank: Famous musician from the 60’s and 70’s. His group The Mother’s of Invention’s first album, entitled “Freak Out” was very popular and way out, even for it’s time. Zappa’s music was a very wild, creative, but dissonant satire on society. Zappa coined many expressions and became a icon of the lack of respect for the establishment. A popular college poster from the 60’s showed Zappa with his long, wild and stringy hair sitting naked on a toilet. The title was Frank Zappa Crappa. Frank’s children Dweezil (son) and Moon Unit (daughter) have dabbled with music too. Despite Zappa’s outward persona, his real personality was far different and at one point he became a vocal opponent against drugs.

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