As a Californian living in Texas, I often have to fight the perception that my homeland is full of hippies and surfers. I had hoped this stereotype of my people would be cast aside by my presence itself – I’m not too much of a hippy, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to the beach twice in my adult life. But alas, to the standard Texan cowboy (because there are oh so many of them in Austin), I might as well be sporting blond dreadlocks and a cannabis tattoo.
So in an effort to prove to the world that California has more than just beach hippies, I bring to you my super-scientific field study on the diverse ecology of California peoples. The results may surprise you. Throughout my many excursions, I have found not only three distinct species of hippy, but three distinct species of redneck as well (which is wonderful considering the California Redneck is an oft neglected object of study). Allow me to show you my findings.
Species: Crazyhippus Bratus
Generic Name: “Feather Moonrise”
Drug of Choice: Pot
Appearance: The Mountain Hippy is your typical hippy: tie-dye shirts, headbands, jeans, and wooden bead jewelry. They’re often found dwelling in old Volkswagen busses. If an acoustic guitar is with or near the hippy, it is most likely a Mountain Hippy. Note – the odor of a Mountain Hippy is more pungent than other varieties of Hippy.
Behavior: Mountain hippies enjoy peace and generally frown upon war. Their civilizations are sustained by arts, crafts, and the illegal cultivation of marijuana. Usually soft-spoken and generally politically inactive, these hippies are amiable and benevolent. That’s why they’re hippies. But beware! – identifying yourself as a logger, republican, rancher, evangelical christian, Texan, or free-market capitalist may bring hostility.
Geographical Spread: Mountain Hippies are found in the coastal range of California, mostly from the Santa Cruz Mountains and northward. Attracted by greenery and Redwood Trees, these Hippies are best known for their Pot Gardens which sustain their way of life (financially and spiritually) in their Humboldt and Mendocino dwellings. Although Mountain Hippies are mostly found inland, the lack of Beach Hippy populations in the North Coast allow the Mountain Hippies to expand westward to the ocean. Mountain Hippies are seldom found in Southern California due to the lack of necessary moisture available to grow herbs and berries, as well as its conservative politics.
Usually heard saying: “Let’s hold hands and sing to Father Jupiter; with togetherness, we can will away all the hate in the world.”
Species: Crazyhippus Litus
Generic Name: “Chaz, but my friends call me Skye”
Drug of Choice: Weed
Appearance: The Beach Hippy is identifiable by its distinct lack of shirt and its sun-bleached long hair, often tied in a ponytail or dreadlocks. Although most often clad in torn jean shorts, the beach hippy is also known to wear cargo shorts occasionally board shorts. While preferring to go barefoot, the Beach Hippy may sometimes wear sandals, but never shoes. Look for overly tan, wrinkly skin and tattoos that may be written in Kanji celebrating peace, love, goodwill, or the liberating freedom of the seas (which is ironic, because the ocean is one of the most inhibitive features on the planet).
Behavior: The Beach Hippy’s appearance and behavior is often hard to distinguish from the Surfer Dude’s. However note that the Beach Hippy’s wind-beaten face is rougher than the Surfer Dude’s well-maintained visage. This is because the Beach Hippy lives and breaths the ocean, whereas the Surfer Dude merely uses it for recreation on Saturdays. The Beach Hippy has a more serene demeanor than its Dude counterpart, but can be more politically outspoken than the Mountain Hippy because of its proximity to influential centers of culture.
Geographical Spread: Beach Hippies are usually found where left wing politics meets the the sandy shore. It is important to note that sand is a fundamental element of the Beach Hippy habitat – they are drawn to the feeling of sand between their toes to enrich their sense of freedom and connection to the earth. For this reason, Beach Hippies are seldom found by the rockier shores and bluffs of Big Sur and the Northern California Coast, with the exception of Santa Cruz, where a strong population has been sustaining itself since the 1960’s. The less-forgiving desert sands in the East repel the Beach Hippies, who require an ocean view to fulfill their need to “hear the waves” and “sense connection to the distant worlds around them.” It is important to note that Beach Hippies require cultural diversity to flourish, which is why the largest populations are found in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara (in spite of the fact that beaches are made up of 90% white people).
Usually heard saying: “The state was doing fine until Reagan closed down all the mental institutions. That’s why the pier has so many impoverished homeless dudes I keep on getting mistaken for.”
Species: Crazyhippus Civicus
Generic Name: “Winston Lazarus”
Drug of Choice: THC
Appearance: Urban Hippies are often indistinguishable from University Graduate Students, and they use this likeness as a defense mechanism from the scrutiny of a disapproving society. However, you can tell the two apart by the noticeable lack of hope in the eyes of the Graduate Student, and the relative passion Urban Hippies express about certain causes like sustainability and free-range meats. Otherwise, look for tight jeans combined with shaggy hair, beards, and Che Guevara shirts. They congregate at hookah bars, but do not confuse them with the Persian Mobster (gold chains and well-dressed).
Behavior: Urban Hippies are the most politically active of all the hippy varieties, considering that they occupy regions with the most social ills, political influence, and media attention. Urban Hippies often appear angry and enjoy holding signs in groups with various causes and demands. Urban Hippies are also the most educated of the hippies. Or at least they pretend to be.
Geographical Spread: Urban Hippies, due to their disapproval of environmentally detrimental suburban development, require compact living spaces and public transportation to feel satisfied with their environment. For this reason, Urban Hippies thrive almost entirely within the compact urban areas of San Francisco and Berkeley (but they may also be found in small pockets around Los Angeles and few have been spotted in San Diego). Urban Hippies are also attracted to institutions of higher learning, which happen to be concentrated in city areas. Frowning upon the employability of practical knowledge, Urban Hippies enjoy the enlightenment of theoretical knowledge often pushed forth by the leftist agenda of elitist university culture.
Usually heard saying: “I didn’t used to eat anything with eyes because I thought eyes were the window into the soul, but Marx says there is no such thing as a soul… so yeah, pass the veal…”
Species: Truckerus Hispidus
Generic Name: “Jimbo Bob McGee”
Drug of Choice: Moonshine
Appearance: Like their hippy counterpart, the Mountain Redneck is the typical redneck. Preferring jeans, boots, beards, and trucks, the California Mountain Redneck is distinguishable from the much better-known Southern Redneck by its lack of beer belly and confederate battle flag apparel. If in Northern California, look for State of Jefferson apparel instead.
Behavior: The Mountain Redneck evolved out of the prehistoric Gold Miner, and thus is fundamentally different from the Southern Redneck, which evolved from Spite and Revisionist History. For this reason, the Mountain Redneck is noticeably less angry, and is otherwise quite content fishing and enjoying the serenity of the wilderness regardless of what the folks in Washington are doing to our country (notable exception: the Jeffersonian Subspecies).
Geographical Spread: The Mountain Redneck is perhaps the most widespread of all the Extremistae family, but their colonies tend to be sparsely populated. Regardless Mountain Rednecks sustain strong and ancient colonies in their indigenous Sierra Foothills, and have spread westward throughout the Cascades and Sacramento Valley (where they are considered an invasive species by the indigenous Valley Redneck populations). Mountain Redneck settlements can also be found in the mountains of Southern California, but many anthropologists are claiming that these specific populations actually originated from the Desert variety of Redneck and have displayed a miraculous form of convergent evolution as a response to their mountainous habitat. The debate goes on as to whether these Southern Mountain Rednecks should be considered their own subspecies due to their evolutionary history and lack of connection to the Gold Miner.
Usually heard saying: “Pa! One of them hawks just took off with ol’ Barker again! Get the twelve-gauge!”
Species: Truckerus Rus
Generic Name: “Jesus Gonzalez”
Drug of Choice: Beer, or some water please
Appearance: The Valley Redneck is usually found wearing dirty jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, gloves, and some sort of large hat to block out the oppressive 115°F sun. The complexion of the Valley Redneck is remarkably more tan than that of the other varieties of redneck, possibly due to the time spent without shade.
Behavior: The Valley Redneck is unique in that the populations congregate around urban centers, in spite of having agricultural tendencies. For this reason, the Valley Redneck yields quite a bit more political influence than the more remote Desert and Mountain Rednecks, and thus has a louder opinion. Valley Rednecks enjoy putting signs up along interstate freeways and state highways voicing such opinions angrily and often bilingually.
Geographical Spread: The Valley Redneck is the most numerous species of the Redneck genus. Requiring agriculture to sustain their colonies, the Valley Redneck is drawn to flatter, irrigated areas with rich soil. The majority of Valley Rednecks are found in the Central Valley, concentrated around the colonies of Fresno and Bakersfield, but populations can also be found in the Salinas Valley and the Imperial Valley. Basically anywhere food grows.
Usually heard saying: “Esos hijos de puta en Sacramento tomó toda el agua! Mata el tren bala!”*
Species: Truckerus Circumforatus
Generic Name: “Tyler”
Drug of Choice: Methamphetamine
Appearance: The Desert Redneck looks very similar to the Average Bloke (that is to say: jeans and t-shirt), but has a distinct and eerie glint in each eye. One glint is boredom, the other is mischief. Note the messy hair from desert winds, hands in the pockets, and a concealed weapon just in case.
Behavior: The Desert Redneck is known for fringe political beliefs and a hatred for the Feds. If lynching were a viable form of vigilante justice, it would find the most support in the arid and alienated regions of the California desert lands. But to be fair, Desert Rednecks have a distinct appreciation for quiet, wide open space, seeing the stars, and you staying out of their damn business.
Geographical Location: The Desert Redneck is found in the remote deserts of Eastern and Northeastern California. This is due to the lack of law enforcement in these areas, allowing the Desert Redneck populations to thrive on gun wielding and meth production. One should note that there are two distinct populations of Desert Redneck: the Mojave Colonies and the Jefferson Colonies. The Mojave Colonies enjoy near complete domination of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts (with only minor conflicts with the Valley Rednecks in the Imperial Valley) and have begun spreading into the Inland Empire where the dry and lawless climate is unsuitable for Hippies and other Redneck populations. The Jefferson Colonies, however, live in territorial contention with the more populous Mountain Rednecks.
Usually heard saying: “I remember when things were peaceful here in the An’lope Valley. That was before them gangs started comin’ over from Los Angeleez. They’re nothin’ but coyotes, ain’t that right. But no worries – I bought us a mobile home near Barstow in case them L.A. street wars take our town. God bless.”
By the way, for the record, Texas isn’t full of cowboys. My opening paragraph is a complete straw man. In fact, Austin is nearly 61% hippies and 24% hipsters. But those are different breeds for different entries.
* Brought to you by Google Translate. I don’t actually know if this says what I want it to say.
P.S. If any bored and lonely artist wants to draw pictures for each of the species described above, à la social studies text book from middle school, I would be most appreciative and would post them in this entry and credit you for the work. However, I have no money, so I can’t pay you for the work. Just a thought.