Ed Driscoll

Where have all the Crusties Gone, Long Time Passing?

Back in 2007, Michelle Malkin spotted an unintentionally hilarious story in the L.A. Times. Under the headline of, “Hippie backlash in Haight-Ashbury,”as Michelle wrote, “It’s the story of aging hippies in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district who are now upset with the homeless loser punks who’ve taken their place.” The L.A. Times reported at the time:

They’re known as gutter punks, these homeless kids with dirty dreadlocks and nose rings, lime-green mohawks and orange spray-painted faces, who panhandle with cardboard signs that riff on their lifestyles. “Please Help Us Get Un-Sober,” one reads. Another: “Please Give Us Weed, Beer or Money.”

Sometimes aggressive, they block sidewalks as they strum guitars or bang on bongos. Gangs of them skateboard down the middle of Haight Street. Some throw used hypodermic needles into a nearby pond they call Hep-C Lake.

Evans, 64, says they should get help, clean up or go home.

“I used to be a hippie. I wore beads and grew my hair long,” he said. “But my generation had something these kids do not: a standard of civilized behavior.”

Panhandler Jonah Lawrence, 25, insists it is residents who need civilizing. “They say, ‘Get a job!’ ” he said. “And I say, ‘You got clothes for me? Or a place I can take a shower so I can look for work?’ It’s so bogus to tell me to get a job if I have nothing.”

As Michelle quipped at the time, “What comes around, like, goes around, dude:”

“I’m sick of stepping over gangs of kids, only to be told ‘Die, yuppie!’ A lot of us were flower children, but we grew up,” said Robert Shadoian, 58, a retired family therapist. “There are responsibilities in this world you have to meet. You can’t be drugged out 24/7 and expect the world to take care of you.”

Flash-forward to 2011 and on the other side of the nation. In New York’s East Village, what comes around, like, also goes around, dude — until it doesn’t, Tim Blair writes this week:

The New York Times reports:

For years, warm weather in the East Village has been heralded by an influx of young, tattooed visitors carrying backpacks and bedrolls and wearing clothes so stiffened with grit that they have come to be known in the neighborhood as crusties …

But this year, they have not materialized.

Good. NYC has become appreciably cleaner in recent decades, but could always do with fewer lice hosts. Yet the Times finds some who miss East Village’s seasonal bench rats:

“It’s like the birds aren’t migrating this year; the salmon aren’t swimming upstream,” said Chris Flash, an East Village resident who runs a local bike courier service and an underground newspaper called The Shadow. “The whole ecology of the neighborhood is out of whack.”

You bet it is. We’re in 2011 and someone still runs an underground newspaper.

Heh. Besides the Times, of course.

Incidentally, is it possible that Obama’s policies, which have greatly ramped up unemployment, including amongst the youth of America, has reduced their disposable income –whether earned or from mom and dad, and that’s reducing the number of “crusties” making their annual pilgrimage to New York?

Such heretical questions are deemed unworthy of being pondered by the true believers in the newsroom of the Times.