Tag Archives | hippies

Hippie Crack: The Nitrous Oxide Mafia

5026157.28The Village Voice delves into the dark side of the jam band scene, profiling the “Nitrous Mafia” — a criminal gang that sells nitrous oxide-filled balloons to concertgoers at summer music festivals. Apparently, neo-bohemians can’t get enough of the addictive balloon huffing, casually known as “hippie crack.”

Every morning, the festival campgrounds are riddled with balloons, “like bullet shells on a battlefield,” says a fan. Unlike traditional drugs, which have long-lasting effects and can carry a fan through a concert, the high from N20 is cheap and quick. After that, it’s often back to the end of the tank line for another round. “It’s an instant rush of pure euphoria, but it only lasts for 30 seconds or a minute, and then you want it back,” says Justin Heller, a fan who owns his own biodiesel company. He no longer does balloons, but remembers the days of buying 15 in a row.

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A Political History Of Streaking

Streaking and Politics in the Post-Vietnam Era make be the best-researched analysis ever done on public nudity. The surprise argument is that streaking was a form of conservative protest:

Though late May 1974, a wave of “streaking”—occurred in the United States, primarily on college and university campuses [and] eventually spread around the world. Streaking generated significant press coverage and spawned a plethora of streaker-related consumer items including coffee mugs, t-shirts, “Keep On Streaking” patches…and two dozen novelty singles (one of which, Ray Stevens’ “The Streak,” became a major hit).

Streakers themselves reterritorialized the physical campus, cloaking themselves in nostalgia and a discourse of apolitical “student-ness” in order to deploy an assertive semiotics of white masculinity in the face of threats to white male hegemony within the university setting…

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