Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dennis Hopper: Liberta E Paura

As I have proselytized in past posts, Dennis Hopper is, and should always be remembered as a true American hero (ironically, it was Peter Fonda's character in Easy Rider who was named "Captain America").  Not just because he was a gifted artist -- which he most certainly was -- but because he refused to take any shit from anyone; he stood up for what he believed in -- for what we all believed in but didn't have the balls to do or say.  In fact, I will go as far as stating that without him (and I'm including his ideals, his attitude and of course, the films he bestowed upon us), the "Summer of Love" and on a wider scale, the entire hippie/counter-culture movement, might have been relegated to one forgotten footnote in the short history of this country  (Easy Rider was released about 2 months before Woodstock occurred and many of the attendees, especially those from the East, would not have been exposed to what was going on out West but for the film's penetrating message).  I firmly believe Hopper epitomized the true essence of being an American:  liberty, fearlessness, and rebellion (yes, our country was more or less founded on these principles).  And for this, I think we owe him a great debt -- or at a minimum, the proper recognition he deserves. 

I will not attempt to eulogize Hopper here because there are far better websites and other outlets where you can read detailed accounts of his life and achievements.  But I'll leave you with a quote from Easy Rider, where in his infinite wisdom, acute foresight, and comic irony, Hopper sums up nicely the significance of the counter-culture movement and even more, why this country would never be the same again thereafter:

George Hanson [Jack Nicholson]:  They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em. 
Billy [Dennis Hopper]:  Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.

Well put.

Clip from Easy Rider that brought our namesake, The Weight, into national prominence:


1 comment:

WeightStaff said...

nice post, but what are these "far better websites" you're referring to??

really enjoyed the clip too. i didn't realize how much our banner epitomizes that scene.