Bad hair day

I'll take a pass on this '60s flashback.

By Charles P. Pierce
April 10, 2011

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Dear Diane Paulus: Would it have been that hard to leave Hair where it was – back in the memorabilia closet behind the love beads and the Peter Max poster? Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was Hair that pretty much killed the ’60s, or whatever good it was that came out of that peculiar sociological construct-turned-marketing device. People ought to look back at the ’60s and think about civil rights leader John Lewis on Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Instead, here comes this garlanded dinosaur again to reinforce the image of that time as a bunch of Apostle-looking caterwauling jackasses, singing songs that became hits for such Top 40 lame-oids as Oliver (“Good Morning, Starshine”) and, most horribly, The Cowsills (the, ahem, title track). OK, “Easy to Be Hard” was a hit for Three Dog Night, who were the Rolling Stones by comparison, but the argument still holds. Some people think the ’60s died when so many of the era’s leaders were murdered, or when the draft ended, or when hippies discovered hedge funds. I think it happened when this very show hung the label “The Age of Aquarius” on the decade, thereby attaching New Age gobbledygook to its rebellious spirit. And your comment about how the show “synched up with the zeitgeist” because on the night Barack Obama was nominated for president, people in the audience at Hair applauded the line “I am the president of the United States of Love.” Please. Leave the president alone. He’s got enough trouble.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at

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