Monday, August 13, 2007

Abbie Hoffman & Mother Teresa

Obviously, these two people have nothing in common. Right? These are the two bumper stickers of

any interest I managed to find yesterday, while motorcycling around Madison.

The Mother Teresa quote, of course, I found at one of the large evangelical churches. It was the sort of thing I expected to find. I love the quote. To associate poverty and selfishness is an example of the Law doing its best kind of humbling, attacking work. I don't know how effective it is.

I rather doubt the second bumper sticker is at all effective, but finding an Abbie Hoffman quote on a car in front of a Target store was too rich to pass up.

You remember Abbie, don't you? The Chicago Seven? Judge Julius Hoffman? Abbie was a well educated (Brandies U, UC Berkeley) young man growing up in the sixties. He started out as your typical, nice hippy boy: you grow out your hair, stop bathing, wear bellbottoms, paint We've Come For Your Daughters on the front of your VW minibus, and take a blue highway driving tour of small-town Kansas. When that fails to start the Revolution, you turn up the heat. In Abbie's case, among many other fine accomplishments, he went to Chicago and tried to undo the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hence the resulting trial overseen, ironically, by Judge Julius--no relation--Hoffman. Later, he organized a little performance art which involved throwing money from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange.

Now, I don't want to give you the impression that I condone this man's behavior. But I do want to point out just how flamboyant and interesting he was in his dissidence. The man had a sense of humor. And he used phrases like "assimilated conformists". I'm sitting here wondering what an unassimilated conformist would be like. Or, heck, an assimilated nonconformist. I suppose that is what happens when you've been a nonconformist so long you become the town joke.

Mother Teresa and Abbie Hoffman. Two people who spent a lot of their lives holding up a mirror to America and asking, "Do you like what you see?"

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