Why being high can help the dictionary from stooping too low
I just found this definition of HIPPIE from circa 1970 :
“One of the names adopted by dropouts of the 1960s of the beatnik type. Irresponsibility and drug-addiction are common characteristics.”
The responsibility for this definition falls upon this guy named Ivor H. Evans, so I thought I’d send Ivor a letter. Here it is:
Dear Ivor (may I call you Ivor? Great name, btw! Congrats! Reminds me of Igor, which reminds of Ivan the Terrible. Oh…hold on…Ivan isn’t Igor…still, it’s close…)
I’m writing to let you know that your definition of HIPPIE didn’t stand the test of time. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. I mean, this letter that I’m writing to you, I’m also making public on Instagram, but who knows how long it’s going to remain public because Instagram likes to delete things. Yes, even inane things, like this letter. But I digress. Listen, I just wanted to give you my honest opinion. I think, if you had smoked some pot, you know, detach yourself from the existing conventions, your definition would have been a lot better. Here’s how the definition of HIPPIE sounds like today: “a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.” See? No need to call people irresponsible when they reject conventional values, and so on. Oh, did I forget to mention marijuana is being legalized all over the place? Maybe I should have led with that.
Anyway… I hope you are well. I couldn’t find much about you online, so I don’t know if you’re well enough to read this, or alive, but I wanted to end by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed your definition for IDIOT. You say that originally in Greece, an IDIOT was a private person, one not engaged in any public office, hence an uneducated, ignorant individual. Just wanted to thank you for letting me know that two thousand years ago they knew where idiots belonged. Times are changing, I hope we can at least agree on that.
A very faithful reader of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and especially the edition you’ve revised