Hippies, Vietnam, and the 1960s

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The Death of the 60's and the birth of the 70's

  • People were very optimistic about the prosperity that the 60's would bring, but it wasn't quite as good by the end as it was supposed to be.
  • The Vietcong started to really destroy American forces and people started to believe that the war was impossible to win.
  • 1966 the Black Panther Party emerged in Oakland, California and was a black revolutionary socialist organization
  • Originally founded to protect black neighborhoods from police brutality
  • The Black Panthers were involved in the Black Power movement which was a political slogan for various ideologies aimed to achieve self determination for those of African decent
  • Movement was very big the the 60's and early 70's emphasizing racial pride and the creation of a black political culture.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were both assassinated in 1968.
  • Violent antiwar protestors took to the streets
  • Woodstock happened in 1969 which was a peaceful, harmonious three days of 400,000 people of the best that the peace and love generation had to offer.
  • The "silent majority," which was the new right wing, started to come into power because people were sick of the antiwar protests, the urban riots, government interfering in their lives, and a government who favored poor and black people.
  • Minorities still continued to fight for their right
  • 1972, Congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment, but it did not become law because not enough states ratified it
  • The antiwar movement continued and Nixon did not want to retreat because he did not want the country to look weak but he limited the draft and gave much of the burden of war to much of the South Vietnamese soldiers
  • 1972, Watergate scandal
  • Nixon resigned in 1974 and people pretty much gave up politics and took up pop culture, yoga, racquetball, and smoked more pot than they did in the 1960's. After 1974, the 70's became an extremely happy decade.

Robert Kenneth "Bobby" Beausoleil

  • Born November 6, 1947 in Santa Barbara, California
  • Former associate of the Manson Family
  • Serving a life sentence for the murder of Gary Hinman, who was a former associate, on July 27,1969
  • Was aspiring to have a career in film and/or music
  • Some material in which Beausoleil was in includes: Lucifer Rising, The Ramrodder (a softcore porno), and a band called Love

Truman Capote's interview with Bobby Beausoleil

TC: What is your own sense of morality? How do you differentiate between good and bad? RB: Good and bad? It's all good. If it happens, it's got to be good. Otherwise it wouldn't be happening. It's just the way life flows. Moves together. I move with it. I don't question it. TC: In other words, you don't question the act of murder? You consider it "good" because it "happens." Justifiable. RB: I have my own justice. I live by my own law, you know. I don't respect the laws of this society. Because society doesn't respect its own laws. I make my own laws and live by them. I have my own set of justice.

  • What kind of argument does Beausoleil really have against his reason why he doesn't follow societies laws? According to his argument, if society makes laws, and they happen, isn't that the way life flows and he's supposed to flow with it and thats a good thing?

TC: Tell me, Bobby, how do you view yourself? RB: As a convict. TC: But beyond that. RB: As a man. A white man. And everything a white man stands for.

  • Arent these people supposed to be hippies? Wouldnt this go against all of the rights that "hippies" were fighting for in the 60's and 70's? Is this a perfect definition of hypocrisy or is he crazy? And arent they supposed to love everybody? Do you think he believes in the "Helter Skelter" end of all wars on Earth like Manson?

TC: Why? RB: For the same reason he snuffed Kennedy. Recognition. Half the people who snuff people, that’s what they want: recognition. Get their picture in the paper. TC: That’s not why you killed Gary Hinman. RB: (Silence)

  • Did Manson want recognition as well as power? Why did Bobby kill Gary if not for recognition?

TC: Did you see Manson as a leader? Did you feel influenced by him right away? RB: Hell, no. He had his people, I had mine. If anybody was influenced, it was him. By me. TC: Yes, he was attracted to you. Infatuated. Or so he says. You seem to have had that effect on a lot of people, men and women. RB: Whatever happens, happens. It’s all good.

  • Manson had a lot of influence over a lot of people and yet Bobby influenced him enough to try to get him out of jail by committing murders similar to what happened to Gary Hinman. Bobby and Manson seemed to have similar effects on people but its never explained why.

RB: I said: Who says they were innocent? They burned peo­ple on dope deals. Sharon Tate and that gang. They picked up kids on the Strip and took them home and whipped them. Made movies of it. Ask the cops; they found the movies. Not that they’d tell you the truth.

  • This surprised me and even though I don't really think its true it does make me think that the victims might not have been as innocent as they were set up to be, although they definitely didn't deserve what they got. If Sharon Tate and her friends were really not innocent, would it make what happened to them any less horrible?

Leslie Van Houten: A Friendship

  • Leslie was born August 23, 1949
  • She met Catherine Share and Bobby Beausoleil in San Francisco in 1968
  • Manson wasn't very interested in her and treated her as if she "belonged to Bobby"
  • She felt a strong need to prove herself to him
  • She has applied for parole 20 times and has been denied each time but will be able to apply again in 2018

"I almost went into cardiac arrest. God! The Manson Family looked just like my friends at the time!..."The Manson Family" were the hippies all our parents were scared we'd turn into if we didn't stop taking drugs."

  • John Waters talks about how much him and his friends reminded him of the Manson Family. With a different set of circumstances, John and his friends could have been the ones to commit the murders.

"Sexy, scary, brain-dead, and dangerous, this gang of hippy lunatics gave new meaning to "folie à famille", group madness and insanity as long as the same people are together and united."

  • "Folie à famille" means madness of many. It follows the idea of group think, which is the desire for harmony or conformity in the group that results in an unquestioned belief in the morality of the group. Which explains why some of the followers followed Manson so blindly and then later on without the influence of the group they realized what they had done.

Manson and His Girls

  • First of all it was an interesting point brought up how during Manson's trial, he was not only on trial, but so was the American youth.

I think you need to be careful about those over generalizations because we seem to think of this time period of the entire country being hippies, antiwar protesters and liberals. But that it is obviously not true because there was the silent majority that seems to get overlooked, but with Nixon winning the White House by a landslide, is it fare to say that at least part of the youth didnt subscribe to this hippieism because the obviously had to vote for Nixon?

  • Manson was able to control his girls in multiple ways. One being by his musical abilities. Today dont we see girls fall in love with musicians the way Mansons girls fell in love with him? Is today's generation pretty similar to the youth of the 60's to 70's?
  • Manson was able to make his girls believe that sex is love. During intercourse he would have the girls pretend they were having sex with their father's if they were having problems with them. This got the girls to believe that Manson was their dad and they wanted their "father" freed.

Is it fare to say that a fatherly figure can exert complete control over his daughters? and if they really believed that sex is love and they were having it with their "father" than can that sort of love get someone to do anything for you?

  • Most of the Manson family women were very insecure about themselves, and Manson had a very motherly nature about him. The fact that he could make women feel loved gave him extreme control over them. Dont we see this happen all the time? Where someone who is insecure about themselves will join a group to feel good and now the group leader has control over the person?
  • Why do you think that the views of the male and female college students on the Manson women were so different? The women believed that the girls saw protection and security that Manson could give them, while the men thought the girls were stupid and gullible.

The Family and the Girls


On p.345 of "Charles Manson and his Girls" the author notes that the "girls are of such a nature that they are particularly responsive" to Manson's requests

  • Manson had a "hypnotic" or "magnetic" quality - perhaps due to his musical ability
  • He offered "unqualified love" to the girls (yet, in the other readings, it is said that once the girls were locked up, Manson "disowned" them)

p.346 - "Charlie was always talking about love, and we were all caught. The girls particularly."

  • Had the power to seduce even the men
  • This quote also shows how everyone noticed the girls being put in some sort of "Manson trance"
  • Going along with this, noted on p.347 "It's not hypnotism,' one of them said, following this theme. 'It's making good love to the girls.'"

p.346 - "The consequences of being totally, blindly in love, then, could be interpreted as insisting upon an abdication of will. As one of the Manson girls said about an earlier episode in her life: 'I was just insanely in love with Al, would do anything for him...anything.'"

  • Goes along with what we talked about last class - could the girls be going so far as to kill just to gain Charles' affections?

Any thoughts on the spirituality of the situation? Could it be considered their "religion?"

The LSD/Marijuana subject on p.347 was brought up last class

  • Could these drugs really bring a person to believe all of this and feel so strongly about Manson as to kill for him?

The Application of Sociological Theories

  • Labeling Theory: When a person is "defined as bad, they come to see themselves as bad" Manson and some of the other family members had been in jail before the murders and society did not hold them in a high regard. Even when Manson was small he had to deal with that starting with when his grandparents couldn't give him presents for Christmas
  • “If you keep pushing something off on a person, pretty soon that person stops fighting the reputation and becomes everything he is accused of being. It has proven itself out over the years. You start to think, ‘Fuck them. If that’s what they think I am, and I have to bear that cross, I got nothin’ to lose in being all they think I am’”
  • General Strain Theory: Manson didn't receive a lot of love from his mother and his family which is one of the three sources for strain. She abandoned him many times which is the removal of positive stimuli. He also wasn't able to achieve a lot of his goals. Negative stimuli was in his life a lot especially at the Indianapolis School for Boys. Charles Watson, Leslie Van Houten, and Lynette Alice Fromme did not have financial strain but they had other strains.
  • Social Learning Theory: This says that that a person’s likelihood of engaging in deviance or crime increases as he or she is around people who commit crime. Starting from the Gibault Home for Boys Manson was around people that taught him about crime. Watson, Van Houten, and Fromme surrounded themselves with people that had an interest in crime especially Manson.

From the Blogs

  • Jack was surprised that Manson looked up to Beausoleil
  • Bridget: It’s interesting to see Manson obsessed with someone other than himself, when he thinks of himself as Jesus.
  • Chelsea: This probably was left out to make the Manson family seem even more evil, so that it would look like they just killed for the sport of it when in reality it was to save a loved one, although still not acceptable it seems more reasonable.