Hippies are the most disappointing subculture, aren’t they? They always let you down. They cut their hair, become therapists or corporate sustainability advisers, and before you know it these people who wanged on about Woodstock for 50 years are being paid a fortune by The Man to badger me and you. Just look at Neil Young. The one-time cocaine-stained hero of LA’s alternative scene, singer of angry songs about Vietnam and the Kent State massacre, participant with Crosby, Stills and Nash in the Freedom of Speech Tour of 2006, is now basically pleading with a huge corporation to silence people he doesn’t like. From protest singer to agitator for capitalist censorship? What a fall.
But also because it confirms, perfectly and horribly, that to be countercultural today is to be on the side of fear, on the side of censure, on the side of madly believing that vast, unaccountable corporate machines have the right and the responsibility to determine what the rest of us may hear and see. I wonder if the Neil Young who once went on stage with an entire rock of cocaine protruding from his nostril could have imagined that he would one day be begging the powerful to protect the little people from ‘offensive’ ideas?