turn on, tune in, drop out, write new catchphrase

posted by tom / September 05, 2005 /

Catherine and I ran into some hippies in Georgetown on Saturday, right in the middle of DC's Republican heart of darkness; it was weird. We had been biking on the Capital Crescent Trail and decided to catch the Circulator back home. At Wisconsin and M, there they were: dirty, dirty hippies. Actually, I had run into these same two guys before, over by Farragut North. Both times they were hawking t-shirts bearing the slogan "Stop Bitching, Start A Revolution", and trying to interest passers-by by asking, "Would you be interested in some revolutionary art?"

This sat the wrong way with me. The "Stop Bitching" slogan is something we've all seen on somebody's crazy aunt's bumper, right next to "Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History". I wouldn't call it revolutionary, per se, although I'll grant that technically speaking it is of or pertaining to a revolution. Anyway, it seemed very weird to see two twentysomething guys selling these and only these little swatches of banality. Don't they know the astounding advances in clever t-shirt technology that our ironic-silkscreenologists have made over the past decade?

But today I followed the URL on the shirt — zendik.org — and it turns out that these shirts are probably the original medium for the Stop Bitching slogan. Apparently they're sold in support of an "artist's community" in West Virginia called Zendik Farm. So it's just a bit dated, not really the colossal catchphrase miscalculation that it at first seemed to be.

Shit like this still puts the members of this particular commune on my bad side (Zendik's deceased patriarch sounds a little like L. Ron Hubbard without the paranoid schizophrenia). But at least it's all a bit clearer now. Has anybody else run into these guys?


I've seen them on L St. by Connecticut, or by that Borders there on L, they're usually a fun bunch...just a bit odd.

Posted by: Tom Bridge on September 5, 2005 11:34 AM

I saw them at Wisconsin and M on Friday, the guy came up and talked to me while I was waiting to cross the street. Apparently he could detect my latent disaffected, ironic alter ego beneath my conformist shell. But he seemed harmless enough, and was really enthusiastic about the whole artist's colony thing, so I gave him $3 for one of his magazines. Kind of rambling stuff, it seems like the two people who run the place are 60's radicals who haven't really moved on, but it's not bad.

Posted by: Matt F on September 5, 2005 02:10 PM

Wouldn't buying/selling those shirts/stickers count as bitching via another medium?

Posted by: rj3 on September 5, 2005 02:24 PM

I see these people in Dupont too. I can't stand them. Can't put my finger on it; maybe I just hate anyone that makes me try and take off my headphones so that they can ask for money.

Posted by: the ghost on September 5, 2005 04:33 PM

It makes me happy to see people in this city who are clearly removed from the great homogeny of status quo-ism. They remind me that the world isn't entirely dominated by institutionalized cynicism.

Posted by: ogee on September 6, 2005 08:43 AM

Yeah, I had the same reaction as you did the last time I saw them. Almost.

The "Stop Bitching" slogan is something we've all seen on somebody's crazy aunt's bumper

Only in Vermont. You see, Susan's sister's "Texas Democrat" bumpersticker is still the subject of a lot of gossip.

Posted by: Kriston on September 6, 2005 09:27 AM

After a sinus-infection-medication-induced psychotropic journey through the Zendik website and music, or what they pass off as music, and viewing their television show for five minutes...I conclude that they're holdovers from another age and a parody at that. That fact that they put so much faith in the writings of Wulf, and none on any of their own is the first giveaway. Secondly, there are much more self-sufficient communes on the planet. The fact that they have to sell their wares in the world that they supposedly dropped out of, under the cover of "outreach" of course, shows the failure of the very thesis they're promoting. But they're making cheese now. So maybe they'll make a go of it yet. Capitalism will save communism...or something like that.

Did you read about the sex shack? See nobody's supposed to be separated or sleep alone but when it's time for loving, you go into a specially built hut for privacy. ... Wulf's idea. It's all about Wulf.

Posted by: jscott on September 7, 2005 12:28 PM

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