Die, Hipster! Die!

E-Scooters Are Almost a Necessary Condition

Every generation has its own prototypical brand of foolishness. When I was in my twenties, the hippies were in fashion. Unkempt beards. Long scraggly hair. Tie-died T-shirts. Passing joints back and forth.

Was I ever a hippie? Not on your life. My hair was a little longer and less white than it is now, but I haven’t changed much.

Next came the Gen-Xers and the Yuppies. I never was one of those either. After all, my goal in life was not to become a pathetic meme of some sort.

Now the hipsters are in bloom. They are everywhere. Beards are back, but now they are compulsively neat, possibly accompanied by a man-bun. In my part of L.A., they tend toward black T-shirts and pants, with neon-colored Smurf shoes. And there are those damnable e-scooters. As we may remember, the one thing people in their twenties know is that it will be many decades before they have to think about their demise. And, naturally, they do everything they can to bring about that demise by riding at fifteen miles an hour without a helmet, riding on streets, bike paths, sidewalks, wherever they damned well please.

Martine has been close to being run down by hipsters riding their silent electric-powered scooters on the sidewalk and not warning pedestrians of their presence. In general, about half the population are dead-set against these scooting hipsters. Check out the Bird Graveyard @ Instagram for pictures and videos of people—most of them young people—destroying the Bird and Lime scooters that infest West Los Angeles. Several of the videos show nasty falls injuring the riders.

Many cities have taken to banning the devices, or at the very least studying the legal implications of allowing them to take over the streets and sidewalks.


Serendipity: Getting High on … Bananas?

How I Learned About Bananadine aka Mellow Yellow

It was the March 24, 1967 issue of the Los Angeles Free Press that taught me all about how to get high on bananas. You can see the cover of the issue in question illustrated above. Did I run to the nearest supermarket and buy up all the bananas in sight? No, I didn’t. It was just six months after my brain surgery to remove a chromophobe adenoma from the center of my head; and I was not about to go experimenting with psychedelic drugs. I was just finishing my first quarter as a graduate student at UCLA’s Film School. Although I loved the Free Press and looked for it religiously each week, I was both impressed and somewhat repelled by the whole hippie phenomenon.

What is this about getting high on bananas? Just read this excerpt from Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, which reminded me of this news story that happened some half century ago:

Bigfoot had been driving around once a week to Kozmik Banana, a frozen-banana shop near the Gordita Beach pier, creeping in by way of the alley in back. It was a classic shakedown. Kevin the owner, instead of throwing away the banana peels, was cashing in on a hippie belief of the moment by converting them to a smoking product he called Yellow Haze. Specially trained crews of speed freaks, kept out of sight nearby in a deserted resort hotel about to be demolished, worked three shifts carefully scraping off the insides of the banana peels and obtaining, after oven-drying and pulverizing it, a powdery black substance they wrapped in plastic bags to sell to the deluded and desperate. Some who smoked it reported psychedelic journeys to other places and times. Others came down with horrible nose, throat, and lung symptoms that lasted for weeks. The belief in psychedelic bananas went on, however, gleefully promoted by underground papers which ran learned articles comparing diagrams of banana molecules to those of LSD and including alleged excerpts from Indonesian professional journals about native cults of the banana and so forth, and Kevin was raking in thousands.  Bigfoot saw no reason why law enforcement shouldn’t b cut in for a share of the proceeds.

So, as you see, however much I dearly loved the Freep, the whole thing was an early instance of fake news on the (far) left.

The Free Press Called it “Bananadine”

I remember that the Free Press even had a bookstore on Fairfax, specializing in subversive titles, but with enough interesting general literature available to whet my appetite. A big plus is that it was right across the street from Canter’s Deli, which was open all hours, making it a popular nosh stop for film addicts discussing the pictures they had just seen. Martine and I still go there from time to time for their corned beef, pastrami, and other delights.