May/June 2000 | Volume 51, Issue 3
There are two: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. The original “shock jocks,” these manicdepressive, self-styled revolutionaries led a generation in circles. Masters of the political prank, they were at their best while on camera. Whether tossing dollar bills from the visitors’ gallery onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, trying to levitate the Pentagon with their mental energy, sending thousands of marijuana joints to people selected at random from the New York City phone book, or wearing American-flag diapers, Abbie and Jerry were always amusing. In spite of their wit and charisma, however, they really had no plan on how to lead a generation of kids into a new America. Instead they became professional dissidents, opposing all, with no particular idea of what they wanted except to see their faces in the paper. Their publicity-seeking excesses turned many grownups against their own children, and the resulting generation gap caused enormous hurt and misunderstanding. Although fondly remembered by many, Hoffman and Rubin were, to paraphrase a Southern adage, responsible only for a heap of stirring and no biscuits.
Stewart Brand. His Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly had an enormous impact on society. Brand was responsible for making alternative thinking in the fields of nutrition, medicine, and spirituality into accepted parts of our culture.