When hippies grow up, they turn into ???
August 17, 2009 8:03 AM   Subscribe

What would you call that sweater-loving, Volvo-driving, PBS-donating late 1970s-mid 1980s American culture?

They voted for Jimmy Carter, and they didn't participate in Reaganomics. Instead, they were into organic food before Whole Paycheck Foods existed, they wore glasses with huge lenses, the men had mustaches and beards, and the women preferred a natural look. They bought Save the Whales for their kids instead of Tetris. In New England, at least, this way of life continued well into the early 1990s (which explains a lot of my childhood). I think it may still be alive and kicking its clog-clad feet in Vermont.

I'm familiar with yuppies, neo-cons, and weekend warriors, but what do I call these idealistic, sort of crunchy folk? Is there a name for people like this, beside "late 1970s-mid 1980s liberals"? Can it really be called a culture?

My apologies if this comes off as towing the ChatFilter line-- I don't mean it that way. This has actually been driving me insane.
posted by oinopaponton to Writing & Language (80 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Granola Eaters
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:10 AM on August 17, 2009

oops sorry.

I meant to say:


via wikipedia

via urban dictionary
posted by 256 at 8:12 AM on August 17, 2009

1. My parents.

2. Bleeding liberals
posted by Melismata at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2009

The men I think would be called "Sensitive Men" (possibly also complete with ponytail.
I am not sure about the women though
posted by rmless at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2009

Yippies are close, but the people I'm thinking about gravitate more toward woodsy suburbs like Concord, MA. Less materialism and more felting.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2009

I grew up in a similar fashion, albeit in the South. No sugary cereals or chewing gum, no Kool-Aid, no cable tv, lots of PBS, etc. My mom had a huge garden in the back yard and my dad wore a mustache :-) I describe my childhood as "granola."

On preview: my parents would be completely offended to be called "yippies." Neither came from wealthy backgrounds, and neither ever "dropped out" or were members of the counter cultural movement. Having a garden and not getting cable tv were cost-saving measures in our house, not just lifestyle choices.
posted by junkbox at 8:15 AM on August 17, 2009

In Ohio we referred to people living this lifestyle as "Granolas" and "Tree Huggers".
posted by prettymightyflighty at 8:18 AM on August 17, 2009

Seriously though, they were Granolas in Northern MN.
posted by unixrat at 8:19 AM on August 17, 2009

Totally know what you're talking about. (And I grew up in Lexington, MA.) No sugary food, no TV, composted, harvested and sold dulse, participated in la leche league.

I don't have a name for it - didn't realize it was much more than my parents and their immediate friends.
posted by Amizu at 8:20 AM on August 17, 2009

The men were Sensitive New Age Guys.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2009

Also, agreed - my parents would be offended to be called 'yippies.' They drove a beat up jeep and then a beat up mercedes. Everything was "homespun." They weren't rich, didn't have much of anything new. They weren't 'hip' at all.
posted by Amizu at 8:23 AM on August 17, 2009

Limousine Liberals is what we called ourselves at my small, midwestern progressive college in the mid-80's. Most of us were from Chicago, NYC, the Northeast, and similar areas of traditional liberal parentage. It was a good time.
posted by webhund at 8:23 AM on August 17, 2009

Can you call them "Elyse and Steven Keatons"?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:24 AM on August 17, 2009 [10 favorites]

Aging hippies?
posted by Pax at 8:24 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's one agreed-upon phrase but there's: aging hippy, Massachusetts liberal, or
liberal elite.
posted by That takes balls. at 8:33 AM on August 17, 2009

Check the Preppy Handbook for the chapter on preps-with-kids-and-dogs.
posted by jgirl at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2009

In several books, I've just heard them referred to as Crunchy Granolas (pretty sure a couple of those were T. Coraghessan Boyle novels).
posted by JaredSeth at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2009

I remember this very well. My mom was in this group. There was a lot of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Montessori, earth tone wallpaper, idealism, wheat germ, and experimental Asian cuisine. But my mom wasn't a hippie, didn't smoke pot, didn't quote revolutionary pamphlets, or anything like that. It was a sort of workaday liberalism that I still find rather appealing.
posted by socratic at 8:38 AM on August 17, 2009 [5 favorites]

Can you call them "Elyse and Steven Keatons"?

aging hippy, Massachusetts liberal, or liberal elite.

That's exactly the stereotype I mean. So weird that there's such an easily identifiable set of characteristics but no agreed-upon name.

Anyway, at least I'm not alone in wearing only L.L. Bean clothing for the first twelve years of my life, or thinking that Ghostwriter was the raddest thing on earth.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

And, yes, socratic! Montessori was a big rallying point.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:42 AM on August 17, 2009

If you're talking about the kind of folks who were raising rabbits and then weaving those rabbit's fur into wall hangings, who moved to rural areas and built their own houses and/or telescopes, who wore thick nubby socks underneath their disintegrating old Birkenstocks, and whose 20 year old Volvo was always in the shop, then you're totally talking authentic granola.

'Yippies' are the jerks who did this shit in the suburbs 10 years later, with money to burn.
posted by amelioration at 8:43 AM on August 17, 2009

Odd data point: Sounds like my folks most fronts - we watched no TV but Sesame Street/Electric COmpany/321 Contact, no cable, lots of garden veggies, health food store, no sugary cereals, station wagon. But they're rabid pro-lifers. You figure it out.
posted by notsnot at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2009

Another one saying, my parents too! Most of it was my mom, using cloth diapers, cooking from Moosewood cookbooks, shopping at a co-ops and farmer's markets before they were so popular. Though it was my father who had the beard and built the three-stage composter in the backyard and our treehouse.

But as others point out they weren't "limousine liberals" or the "liberal elite" I grew up in the rust belt, my mom came from a working class family, we had Hondas that we would keep for ten years, and I went to public school rather than a Waldorf or Montessori school.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 8:57 AM on August 17, 2009

Nthing everyone who said granola. Hippie or yippie or not, this all sounds very granola to me.
posted by asciident at 9:01 AM on August 17, 2009

I grew up amongst adults like this in Columbia, SC. They were called "Unitarians" or "UUs" there.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2009 [6 favorites]

In New England, at least, this way of life continued well into the early 1990s

and in Madison, Wisconsin, it's alive and well.

I agree that "crunchy," "Granola," or, for extreme cases, "crunchy Granola," are captures some of it. But I think this a little closer to folks who made their own Granola, or who raised rabbits in the backyard, or composted. The class of folks OP's talking about is much wider, including lots of very straight middle-class suburban families who ate granola bought from the co-op grocery RUN by the "crunchy Granolas," whose kids might have gone to Montessori or Waldorf preschool but public regular school, who had that book of non-competitive games for kids (Viva Earthball!) but didn't actually send their kids to the summer camps where such games were played.

I don't really know what to call them either.
posted by escabeche at 9:10 AM on August 17, 2009


To me that's a resolutely 60s term; died with the Revolution roundabout 1968 ... although a quick wikipedia check does provide this morsel:

"Yippies are essentially the 20-40 year olds who drive their Priuses to Starbucks and camp out sipping their soy lattes while on their Macbooks blogging over the newest iPhone application or the best local co-op. They're the in-betweeners. Not quite sell outs, not quite social rejects."

I do think I know what you're getting at though: people like the parents in FAMILY TIES. A show I hated. I remember for a while we (ie: my crowd of post-punk malcontents) dismissed them as "far too warmly liberal".

How about The Warm Liberals?
posted by philip-random at 9:12 AM on August 17, 2009

Not Yippies. Yippies didn't survive the 60s. Yippie women wouldn't shave their legs or armpits: the women you're describing would feel guilty whether they shaved or didn't shave.

Granola is a little off too, as that skews more communal and rural than the affluent group you're describing.

These people weren't living off the land in communes, but they weren't buying all the plastic junk they could, either, and did make some efforts to be green, non-sexist and thoughtful about their place in the world.

"Granola yuppies", maybe?
posted by maudlin at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2009

Bo-Bos, burgeouis bohemians. It was a book too, if memory serves.
posted by fixedgear at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2009

Yuppie is Young Urban Professional. Yippies were a political group. Loosely, I'd call this group, with which I identify, hippies. Tie-dyed, organic granola-eating, recycling, peace-loving, social justice- promoting hippies.
posted by theora55 at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2009

Now I'm trying to think of a term for this, damn it. Assuming we're talking about the same thing, which it sounds like we are, "granola" doesn't really sound right. I mean, my mother was all about natural foods and taking hikes in the mountains to pick strawberries, but there were no drum circles, birkenstocks, or unshaved legs. Not so much "back to nature" as "back to simple." But not a sacrificial simplicity, either. More of the simplicity where you value a deep breath of mountain air more than you value a new iPod, even though you might still have an iPod because it's convenient.

So, liberal, practical, motivated by simplicity, but still embracing modernity.
posted by socratic at 9:29 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I remember that subculture, too. I was a kid from a working-class family, but I went to school with the children of those types; my working-class neighborhood also bordered neighborhoods where they were plentiful.

My recollection from the Buffalo area: they were not just into Volvos, but they liked other oddball foreign cars like Saabs, Peugeots (a favorite of professors at UB), Alfa Romeos and Fiats. Usually Unitarian-Universalist or liberal mainstream Christian (Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, etc.); occasionally Catholic, almost never Jewish. They tended to live in upper-middle class urban or "village-y" suburban neighborhoods that were developed before World War II (Parkside, Elmwood Village, and Nye Park in Buffalo; Eggertsville, Snyder, Williamsville and East Aurora in the 'burbs). Their kids attended either BPS magnet schools, non-parish-affiliated Catholic schools or high-end private schools, and played soccer long before soccer moms became a mainstream part of American society. Their kids also enjoyed toys that were either "educational" or from Europe.

I can't remember a name for them, but I'd call them Progressive Trad; a variant of New England-ish Ivy League/Trad culture.
posted by elmwood at 9:31 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

As another child of parents who fit into this as-yet unnamed group, I'll chime in with another data point: we were not allowed any toy guns.

My suggestions for a name is Dukakisian. His run for president was arguably the peak of the movement and its been all downhill from there.
posted by Xalf at 9:38 AM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

Hippies, flat out. Or: counter-culture. It has roots in the back to the land movement of the late 60s and early 70s-- the Whole Earth Catalogue, "Are you ready for the country", etc. There was a lot of pastoral fantasies kicking around in the early 70s; those that moved to the country and made a go of it would have been these parents, as would those who stayed in small towns or located in small towns and brought Hippieness with them.

Back in the day (late 70s West Coast hippie-dom), one of the worst things you could say about someone was that they were "a city person". Being a "city person" meant caring about flash and money and mass culture and corporate culture, etc. etc. You can fill the gaps yourself. Being a country person meant being close to the earth, to all the good energies (until you dug your outhouse too close to your water supply and everyone got hepatitis, like some of my parent's friends) of the trees and woods and macrame and women being earth mothers and stuff.
posted by jokeefe at 9:43 AM on August 17, 2009

^^ "were a lot of pastoral fantasies"
posted by jokeefe at 9:44 AM on August 17, 2009

To clarify-- as a set of values, there was much from the hippie side; as a set of practices, descended from bohemia at least back to the 50s-- in the 50s Scandanavian toys for children were very popular, so there's an whole undercurrent of education reform here too.
posted by jokeefe at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2009

...also they wore Berkinstock sandals with white tube socks. Nowadays they drive Subarus.

My parents were a bit old for it (and rather more practical---we were undifferentiatied free-range nerds), but I have at least two uncles who fit the type. They were hippies when they were kids, but when they had kids they became Granolas. Every gen-xer would know exactly what you meant by that term. They are Boomers, and our older cousins and/or aunts and uncles.
posted by bonehead at 10:00 AM on August 17, 2009

The whole foods movement existed in the late 70's and 80's, exhibited by this 1979 treasure I found hidden away at my dad's house.

'Granola' seems to be the most fitting term, with a lot of the same peace-loving, organic-eating, montessori-schoolin', volvo and stationwagon driving habits, but spanning across some diverse demographics. My family was Muslim granola. My siblings and I were all born in Massachusetts, we all went to montessori, we were heavily involved in our local mosque, wore shalwar kameez regularly, voted Dukakas, my parents drove a volvo, often ate a macrobiotic diet (though, mostly this went into effect after my mom was diagnosed with cancer), were only allowed to watch PBS (as a child, I secretly wished my dad was the dad on Family Ties instead). When we moved to VA, my mom got involved at a local Co-op, where we got 95% of our food - the rest was from the Halal meat market. Definitely no sugary sweets - my favorite snack as a child was dried seaweed. Looking back on it, we were upper-middle class - but I never knew it. All of my clothes up until the age of 10 were hand-me-downs or sewn by my mom, we were not at all spoiled with gifts and toys, but instead of going to the Cape, we'd fly every two summer's or so to Pakistan to hang out with relatives for a month.

Yes, granola... a mix of this and that and the sometimes very odd other, mostly pulled from the same pool of ingredients, but with a very identifiable consistency of what the fuck.
posted by raztaj at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Liberals, hippies (but not dirty hippies), granolas.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:07 AM on August 17, 2009

Another child of as-yet unnamed parents here. In my case, my parents were about 10 years too old to be hippies, and certainly never were that. They used to make their own granola and rallied against the construction of nuclear power plants. They limited how much non-PBS TV we got to watch. We attended urban public schools and they were enthusiastic supporters of the court-ordered desegregation implemented in Denver in the 1970's. They *still* garden, compost, drive old cars into the ground, meditate, conserve water, and their TV is permanently tuned to PBS.

Despite all this, my mother still identifies as "Republican" even though she's voted Democratic more often than not.

More than anything, the descriptor I would apply to my parents is relentlessly "earnest."
posted by ambrosia at 10:16 AM on August 17, 2009

My family fit (fits) this and they were counter-culture back-to-the-landers.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:24 AM on August 17, 2009

"Hippie" to my parents means a very specific group of people in the 60s which they were not part of even though they were part of the counter culture in the Haight Ashbury in the early sixties. Of late they've mostly given up that semantic fight and call themselves hippies if someone not of that culture asks. I call myself a hippie kid, even though they weren't technically hippies. Everyone knows what I mean.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2009

relentlessly "earnest."

Nicely put. All hippie, no freak. But responsible and all so consciously, self-righteously so. Exactly the kind of people that took punk rock as a personal insult and thus guaranteed the perpetuation of the "Generation Gap".

BJ Hunnicut from MASH was another role model. Actually, the whole MASH TV show was a microcosm: from it's anarchic anti-authority stance at the outset to the warmly liberal (there's those two words again) pablum they were serving up by the end. Man, I hated MASH's final episode.
posted by philip-random at 10:32 AM on August 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

James Taylorites and Carly Simonists.

But really, growing up in that area I don't remember a real group name for them other than Volvo drivers. "Granola" was sort of a late 80s term.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

fwiw, in my small, polarized town, we just "lefties." It never occurred to me that there were other kinds of lefties til I moved out.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:38 AM on August 17, 2009

Chiming in here as well. Graduate degree parents living in suburbs in Columbus, OH. We had a garden and composted. PBS only, except for Saturdays, when I could watch a set amount of cartoons. I could pick out my own cereal, but only if it had x number of fewer grams of sugar. My dad walked to work and we had one car. No cable, lots of books, very frugal with money. Trips to local farms for produce. Both wore giant glasses, Dad had a beard until I was 8. However, my mom is (relative) liberal Catholic and is a single issue voter. Dad is now out as an atheist and even talked about possibly voting for Obama when he got drunk at our wedding.

I just chalk it up to being products of their depression raised parents and being relatively older when they had children.
posted by lizjohn at 10:41 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I certainly first heard the term Granolas in the mid-eighties. It certainly wasn't a term they used to descibe themselves, except later. It was often used as a mild put-down by straighter, Pinker, Yuppie-types. The word has since lost whatever sting it had.

It's true that they are earnest though---it's one of the things that jarringly separated that subculture from the later gen-x who are so soaked in irony that fridge magnets stick to them.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on August 17, 2009

Ha! Their kids also enjoyed toys that were either "educational" or from Europe.

And ha! Yes, granola... a mix of this and that and the sometimes very odd other, mostly pulled from the same pool of ingredients, but with a very identifiable consistency of what the fuck.

And ha ha! they were not just into Volvos, but they liked other oddball foreign cars like Saabs, Peugeots (a favorite of professors at UB), Alfa Romeos and Fiats.

I also went to Waldorf (and almost everyone there fit these descriptions to a t) and many friends went to Montessori.

I'd disagree about no Jews - my parents' circle was very multi-ethnic (all part of the 'embracing the world' ethos).

It's entertaining and disconcerting to know that so much of what I consider my parents' (and their circle's) quirks are/were actually a trend. "Hippies" is not quite accurate - we wore more LL Bean sweaters than tied dyed shirts. We sang quaker songs and european folk songs, not kumbaya. They spent real money on violin lessons (not sure if that's a hippie thing). I grew up understanding that my parents were once hippies (when they had really long hair, my mom didn't wear makeup or shave her legs, etc.), but weren't anymore.
posted by Amizu at 10:43 AM on August 17, 2009

My folks are still hippies. I guess I am one as well.

My foster mum's best friend has long grey hair and a long mandarin-style moustache. She's beautiful. I look forward to being like her.
posted by reflecked at 10:47 AM on August 17, 2009

I'd guess our circle was about a third not-very-observant Jewish, heavy on the kibbutzniks.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:50 AM on August 17, 2009

As another child of parents who fit into this as-yet unnamed group, I'll chime in with another data point: we were not allowed any toy guns.

Or Barbies.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:00 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

We always called them beardos, because the male of the species inevitably had a beard. Not some unkempt hippie beard, but a beard nonetheless (think latter day Kenny Loggins, rather than earlier).
posted by electroboy at 11:26 AM on August 17, 2009

Just another data point: I grew up living some variant of this lifestyle, too. And like you mention in your profile, oinopaponton, I'm also an INTJ, interestingly.

Things from my childhood that seem relevant and/or echo themes mentioned above: Ghostwriter; L.L. Bean; those colorful mid-'90s Birkenstocks (bought via the L.L. Bean catalog); two station wagons --> full-size van --> a series of three pickup trucks; thrift-store clothes and hand-me-downs; little to no sugared cereal (except mixed with "healthier" cereal); no soda; 321 Contact; chasing chickens around the yard as a baby; given art supplies from a very young age; a 3/4-acre yard with a lot of flowers and vegetables and fruit trees and a grapevine; told from young age that my teachers weren't very smart; no toy guns or pointy-tipped toy knives or fireworks (though my brother and I each got our own pocketknife when we got old enough); the Whole Earth Catalog and Edmund Scientific and a million other "world's weirdest stuff" catalogs; Girl Scouts; walking whenever possible; vacations/family field trips to caves and historical sites and museums; attempting to sing and play music together as a family (ugh); no church, kids raised to be suspicious of religion; symphony season tickets; no movies with sex or violence; Odyssey and Zillions and Disney Adventures magazines; independent voting; a mother who plays guitar and flute, went to art school (minored in Asian art history), grew up Unitarian and Biosophical, makes textiles and pottery; small-business-owner artist parents who made a hobby/cause of guerilla tree-planting on public and private property; made kids do Adopt-A-Road and (sigh) lug buckets of water and mulch; and I seem to remember the term Montessori bandied about when I was little, though I never attended a Montessori school as far as I know.
posted by limeonaire at 11:28 AM on August 17, 2009

Oh, and we played Atari 2600 and Pong—my brother and I scoured flea markets for old cartridges—and were only grudgingly (and way after everyone else) allowed to get an NES and N64.
posted by limeonaire at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2009

And like Amizu, I understood that my mom was once a hippie, but wasn't anymore.
posted by limeonaire at 11:31 AM on August 17, 2009

Also, we never had baby dolls—I think because fetishizing motherhood was, like fetishizing guns-and-knives violence or religion, verboten by some series of agreements between my parents.
posted by limeonaire at 11:35 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I narrowly missed full beardohood on account of my Vassar-attending, Carter-supporting mother was neatly counterbalanced by my raised-in-rural poverty, ironworker father. We still had to suffer through a brief period of frozen yogurt and wheat germ "desserts", however. But we also got to shoot that propane tank with rifles until it exploded.
posted by electroboy at 11:44 AM on August 17, 2009

We also made "family crafts" for fun (think yogurt cups and popsicle sticks), went hunting for rocks and minerals and fossils as a family, had a lot of books about science, read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and Boxcar Children books, learned to cook (but only with close supervision), went on long family bike rides, and played a lot of board and card games. Dad bought a quasi-legal VHS tape decoder/copier box and built a whole movie library that way.
posted by limeonaire at 11:45 AM on August 17, 2009

But we also got to shoot that propane tank with rifles until it exploded.

Yeah, my dad was in the Marines stateside during Vietnam, so we also had our share of weird DIY experiences attached to that.
posted by limeonaire at 11:46 AM on August 17, 2009

Growing up (born '82), we all just called our parents "hippies." It was understood by us kids that they were mostly too young to have been original 1960s hippies, but they carried on with enough aspects of the hippie culture to earn that label. I still refer to my Mother as a hippie, with the understanding that now it refers to a way of thinking rather than belonging to a specific subculture.

Also, reading the answers to this question has basically been a scrapbook of my childhood. No TV, no sugary cereals, lots of camping trips and stays on sailboats, evangelistic socialism, organic gardening, casual pot use, no bras (still!), NPR and CBC, vegetarianism, nutritional yeast, passionate animal rights beliefs, encouraging us kids to grow up to be artists (just like Dad!) etc.

and in response to Xalf: my Mother was in a group that protested outside Toys R Us with signs reading "Santa doesn't like war toys." Hilarious!
posted by rhinny at 11:49 AM on August 17, 2009

Another name I just remembered:

Kids in Somerville, MA circa 1989 would call these type of folks who lived in next-door Cambridge, MA "barneys". Apparently its etymology was something like Harvard Yard = barnyard = barney.

And here it is in Wiktionary. Except there are no trolley barns near Harvard, and as far as I know there never were.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:11 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wow, everyone has described my childhood: Newton, Mass, compost, real basement food co-ops, 1976 Volvo station wagon, not much tv, no white bread, soda or sugary cereals (my mom did make yogurt, bread and granola), no guns, no Barbies...

I'm going to stick with aging hippies. My parents were married the weekend of Woodstock, so they were "real," at the time before I was born, at least generationally. They chanted Peace Now in the 60s. I never heard the expression "crunchy" or "granola" until much later.
posted by Pax at 2:05 PM on August 17, 2009

Ooh! Ooh!

If you're of the Jewish persuasion, this meant lots of living room Shabbat services and vegetarian potlucks. Also: wooden toys, the Moosewood Cookbook, and gentle guys with ponytails hugging each other in joyful greeting.
posted by awenner at 5:04 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just made my family a quinoa and broccoli casserole for dinner in honor of this thread.
posted by escabeche at 5:11 PM on August 17, 2009

Also, if you're Canadian, you can call them David Suzukis.
posted by awenner at 5:13 PM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

Reading this has brought back many wonderful memories of my own childhood; vegetables from the back garden, educational toys, strong value lessons about life... (but my parents drove a VW van).

Thanks for taking me back
posted by JV at 6:07 PM on August 17, 2009

(Cough) You know, some of the people in the room live lives even now that substantially resemble what you're describing.

I will also note that those of us manifesting the modern granola lifestyle may very well have embraced alternative lifestyles and hellraising and punk rock and all that crazy shit until the earnest responsibility of childrearing rested its weight upon our shoulders. Betcha a dollar quite a few of those square mamas and papas could tell you stories (and just might if you loosened them up with a few drinks, now that you're an adult).

I also might add that what you're describing seems rather less smirkworthy to those of us who enjoyed (sic) less thoughtful and attentive childhoods.

In other words: YOU KIDS STAY OFFA MY LAWN!!!!!
posted by Sublimity at 6:17 PM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

I also might add that what you're describing seems rather less smirkworthy to those of us who enjoyed (sic) less thoughtful and attentive childhoods.

Oh, I'm not smirking-- I wouldn't trade my granola (which seems to be the most common and apt term), sharing-is-caring childhood for anything, even if it did set me up for a particularly awkward adolescence. In fact, I agree totally with JV-- thanks, everybody, for your responses. Even if I didn't really get an answer, reading over this thread felt like snuggling up in my mom's basket of yarn after a hike around Walden Pond and a snack of apple cider and fat-free organic brownies made with yogurt instead of oil.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:22 PM on August 17, 2009

I think Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley, Amherst & Northampton in particular, must have one of the highest densities of Volvos and Subaru wagons per capita on Earth, complete with liberal bumper stickers. I find it somehow comforting!
posted by usonian at 6:39 PM on August 17, 2009

Berkeley and Boulder have to be up there, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:49 PM on August 17, 2009

So the Typical MeFite is a mostly-caucasian college graduate with granola parents who had interesting, often-nerdy jobs & interests. What a surprise.
posted by djb at 6:12 AM on August 18, 2009

Crunchies, granola or crunchy granola. Earth mother, was a subset, at least in Ann Arbor and the Happy Valley (Amherst, Northampton).
posted by QIbHom at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2009

So the Typical MeFite

You're using these threads to describe the "typical mefite"? Aren't there about 40 thousand users?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:21 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Chiming in to say that I have used "hippie" and "crunchy" to describe myself and my parents, who fit the general "omgyeahmetoo!" descriptions of this thread. And while both seem inaccurately extreme to me, I often have people react to my lifestyle and my parents' as though it is extreme (no tv? no dryer? you *walked* here?! they don't have *air conditioning*?!? etc.).

On the other hand, I seem to have managed to surround myself with friends who are yippies (in the "yuppie-hippie this cycling get-up cost me $5k oh and where did I leave my free trade latte?" sense of the word) (thanks, SF and academia), who I love and scorn simultaneously :p

Honestly, I usually think of the people you're describing as "middle-class-ish people who became adults/parents in the 70s -- and their children who chose not to rebel" and leave it at that.
posted by obliquicity at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2009

I love dryers. And electricity. And having a phone. And I still feel like pointing out the miracle of drinkable water from a tap to whomever's unfortunate enough to be standing nearby when I turn it on. "Dude! Check this out!" "What?" "Water! In right in the HOUSE!" "Um. Yeah." "Dude! It's POTABLE!"
posted by small_ruminant at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2009

I was born in the early 80s - in Canada we had many close family friends whose families were of this ilk - I remember one of my dad's bar buddies referring to that type as "Bulgur Eaters". Which made no sense to me at the time but which I now find funny. We weren't exactly that type of family but had a lot of their habits influence ours - which is why we would say things like "we can't eat white bread at the so-and-so's because they're a health food store family."

When I moved to New Hampshire towards the end of elementary school it seemed that for every "my dad is in the union and drives two hours to work in Mass" type family there was a health food store family. My mom, who is kind of old-school despite a 1970s ivy college education, would call them "Vermont granolas" (whether they lived in VT was irrelevant). People in town would throw around the term "crunchy granola" quite a bit. If they were a little more disingenuous about it, ie: they ate organic but also had three jet skis, they would get the more withering moniker, "Connecticut types". They usually were the ones where the mom stayed at home painting naked pictures for the local art gallery.
posted by SassHat at 12:31 AM on August 19, 2009

I can't believe that 1) I forgot, and yet 2) am the first person to mention singalongs from "Rise Up Singing" accompanied by bearded dads (in Pendletons!) playing their acoustic guitars. Oh, 1984, you were a good year for (7 year old) me. Brown rice casseroles and all.
posted by amelioration at 2:30 PM on August 19, 2009

My parents weren't, but I remember going to a friends house and learning about "not flushing the toilet" accompanied by images of sewage waterfalls. My mom never let me go back.
posted by iamck at 2:26 AM on August 20, 2009

Did anyone else have a Free to Be You and Me album in the house?
posted by small_ruminant at 9:41 AM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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