Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 3:52 pm | Fair 62º


Danny Tyree: Did 1967’s ‘Summer of Love’ Really Earn Its Title?

I’ve always chafed at the term “love child” being reserved for the product of an illicit affair, thus implying that children born into a stable, committed home are merely property or tax deductions.

Similarly, I have qualms about designating the warm months of 1967 as “THE Summer of Love.” (As Wikipedia condenses it, the Summer of Love was a social phenomenon involving as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions and counter-culture views, converging in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.)

Was love so rare and hidden in civilization’s previous summers? Early Christians voluntarily shared all things in common. Draftees in World War II loved their country AND wrote home to promise their sweethearts a better world. Countless grandparents, aunts and uncles have gladly taken up the slack in times of parental neglect or incapacitation.

Was love really confined to San Francisco (and London and other trendy metropolises)? I’m sure many young adults were jealous of those who made the pilgrimage to San Francisco. But the millions who CHOSE not to go to anti-establishment events surely included under-30s who loved their jobs, loved their families, loved their farms, loved their communities enough to stick with the daily grind.

(Ironically, activists now look down on “privilege,” but many of the attendees at the Summer of Love could charitably be described as People With Way Too Much Time On Their Hands. I feel a Scrooge-like “Were there no summer jobs? Were there no family responsibilities?” coming on.)

I have no doubt that many of the Flower Children visiting San Francisco five decades ago were sincere about fostering peace and harmony; but just as sports statisticians place an asterisk next to the name of athletes who used steroids or played under outdated rules, you might want to temper your praise for someone who achieved mellowness only through psychedelic drugs.

Does love have to be limited to the airheaded, spacey, “anything goes” attitude that so many of the participants exhibited? Or could love also mean occasionally saying “No” or accepting unpleasant geopolitical realities?

Just as you have to keep an eye on the salesmen and repairmen who brag about how honest they are, the people who pat themselves on the back (or let the media pat them on the back) for being so gentle and open-minded and progressive bear watching.

Yes, for good or ill, the aftershocks of the Summer of Love have left an imprint on modern society. But placing this single event/era on a pedestal does a disservice to the abolitionists, the suffragists and the labor movement, to name a few.

It’s not a compliment to say that some of the self-righteous mixed motives of the 1960s activists (“Come to end a crazy Asian war — stay for the hallucinations and the orgies”) have filtered down to today’s protesters. (“I am bravely marching to protest alleged police brutality — so I’m entitled to snatch a free TV from an innocent merchant’s window.”)

Just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, the rebelliousness of the ’60s managed to produce some positive societal shifts (and some great music), so I’m glad San Francisco and the media aim to spotlight the 50th anniversary. Just don’t whitewash the period.

This summer, by all means “be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.”

But also wear some common sense in your head.

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >