Oct 4, 2017

Geoff Nunberg on the Summer of Love and the Linguistic Legacy of the Hippie Counterculture

From Fresh Air, on NPR

50 Years After The Summer Of Love, Hippie Counterculture Is Relegated To Kitsch

By Geoff Nunberg

If you're into counterculture kitsch, you might want to check out the nostalgia-themed resort hotel at Walt Disney World in Florida. It features a "Hippy Dippy" swimming pool, surrounded by flower-shaped water jets, peace signs and giant letters that spell out "Peace, Man," "Out of Sight" and "Can You Dig It?"

Fifty years after the Summer of Love, that's been the fate of a lot of the language we associate with that era — faded psychedelia, sort of like acid rock and tie-dye, except that nobody ever tries to revive it.

Well, slang is like that: The words come in on one tide and are swept out again on the next.... As brief as the moment was, it changed the way we think and talk....

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Geoff Nunberg is an adjunct professor in the School of Information.

Last updated:

October 4, 2017