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The 1990's College Dissenter Essay

1340 words - 5 pages

The 1990's College Dissenter

They're out there. You may not see them at first, but they are they are all around Syracuse University. You might recognize them with their Schine recyclable coffee mugs tied conveniently to their backpacks. They have had various names: Verlain, Rimbaud, Byron, Shelley, Beatnik, Bohemian, Longhair, Flowerchild, Deadhead, but are best known as Hippie. Today, there is a new generation of this species on campuses across the country, and those who do not understand their lifestyle have updated their nickname. Today, they are known as "Crunchy."

The 1990's college dissenter is in a constant state of flux and confusion since its goals are unclear. The name "Crunchy" came from the new generation of hippies that seem to only eat things that crunch: granola, nuts, alfalfa, hay, Grape Nuts and a popular mixture appropriately named Gorp (easy to make: just throw all the aforementioned items in a plastic bag and shake). There is not one great social issue, or leader for a mass of angst-filled Crunchies to rally behind. The nineties have yet to produce a Chicago Seven, a concert relative to Woodstock, a war lasting more than a month, a scandal comparable to Watergate, or anything to truly pique the interest of the masses. Today's college students just don't have the drive or opportunity to protest. There have been glimmers of hope. The Gulf War, for example, gave twenty-year olds the chance to run up to the attic and grab mom and dad's "Make Love Not War" sign, but the thing ended before anyone could dust them off. The recent accusations of President Bush's staff tapping the phone lines of challenging candidate H. Ross Perot sends one reeling back to the grand old party named Watergate, but only a few people really feel sorry for old Ross. Most Americans believed that if Perot got elected, he'd be tapping their phone lines. Incidentally, the beating of Rodney King should have been a moment where all student's would have had a chance to protest their alienation from US government. Yet, the L.A. riots became a rallying cry for African-American students (who, fortunately never stopped expressing their beliefs) and not for white.

What ever happened to the hippie movement? What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding? Where are the communes? What happened? The eighties happened. Those who were fighting the establishment became the establishment and subsequently became clueless about who they should be fighting with and what for. In the sixties, the classroom rowdy was a longhair liberal, spouting anti-government diatribe to a shocked crew cut, pro-Vietnam, pro-Johnson, pro-government professor. Today's radical is a crew cut ROTC, screaming for family values at a shocked longhaired, politically correct, anti-Gulf War, anti-Reagan, anti-government liberal professor.

The eighties taught the hippies that, despite their disgust for the establishment, if they want to eat they had better get a job. Along the way, some...

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