Much of the culture wars of today are a re-hash of what happened during the administrations of J.F.K., L.B.J. and Nixon. Social conservatives hate almost everything from the era.
They hate the women's movement.
They hate environmentalism.
They hate gay pride.
They hate the opposition to the Vietnam war and any war America sees fit to fight. Social conservatives have only had doubts about a few of the stupid wars we got ourselves into over the last fifty years, and those were the ones started and ended by Bill Clinton. They didn't say a peep about the ones started by George W. Bush that he didn't have the sense to know how to end.
Some social conservatives now say they don't hate the civil rights movement, but I was there. They hated it plenty at the time.
And, of course, they hated the hippies.
I was a pre-teen in sleepy old Alameda when the Summer of Love was taking place across the bay in San Francisco. In general, my memories of hippies are fond, with one glaring exception.
I hate patchouli.
Until recently, everyone I ever met who wore patchouli perfume was a flower child or a wannabe.
If you don't know what I am talking about, consider yourself fortunate. Patchouli is the nastiest smell anyone ever put on their own body on purpose. An extract of a plant related to mint, it's like combining the sticky over-sweetness of honey with the acrid sting of paint thinner. The smell lingers in the air like skunk juice does. A professor in the Mills biology department told me that kind of unavoidable smell means the molecules do some kind of bonding with membranes in the nostrils. It's a truly miserable experience.
Yesterday, I was once again inflicted with the cloying stink of patchouli, though there wasn't a hippie in sight. I was on the BART train traveling two stops south of Lake Merritt to the Coliseum station when two middle aged women came on board at Fruitvale. Neither of them had the look of ex-hippies, but one never knows. One of them was wearing patchouli. It wasn't a crowded train, the air circulation system worked fine and the women went for seats in opposite directions of the car. Both of them got seats at least ten or fifteen feet away from me, maybe more. But I could still smell patchouli until I got off the train about four minutes later.
Gentle reader, if you are a user of patchouli, I beg you to stop. Even though the odds are good neither of us will ever smell the other, I consider the readers of this blog to be my friends, and friends don't let friends wear patchouli.
Some fads of the era, most especially patchouli, should remain in the distant past instead of chemically bonding to the olfactory systems of unsuspecting passersby.
Yay, Flags of Many Lands™! Yay, French Guiana!
Someone visited from the capital of the French colony in South America, the city of Cayenne, where I am sure the people are spicy, and hopefully not with patchouli.
I now only need a visitor from Guyana, the former U.K. colony, to complete the set of South American nations.
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