HAVE HIPPIES REPLACED punks in the overall scheme of youth rebellion culture? Until I see the freak-folk equivalent of the Warped Tour, I shall remain unconvinced. Still, while the tweens and teens are not biting, the young adult indierockers and punks are a whole 'nother story.

Is there an inherent conflict between being a punk and a hippie anymore? Punk may have started as a nihilistic response to the excesses of boomer culture, but that response came within a decade of hippie-dom's peak. In the rock oeuvre, punk reached the age of "maturity" without much challenge to its status as default rebellion. With punk's increasing legitimacy and sense of self-importance, it is starting to resemble the doughy behemoth it once fought.

There have been waves of punks-gone-electronica, punks gone alt-country, and most recently, punks gone acoustic/folk. None of these necessarily fall under the rubric of "becoming what you hate," but for some reason, hippies and punks have always been set up as a dichotomy, a yin-yang dyad. Hard drugs and hard music versus soft drugs and soft music. The rash of indie-folk could be read as a response to punk's negation, violent sarcasm replaced with doe-eyed sincerity, but this conflict feels like an imposed artifice. That might be because it's difficult to take nouveau folk as authentically hippie, or even authentically post-punk. Committing to one or the other, repping pure "punk" or "hippie," is a mind state, but it's also like immersion in a dead language or a dying tribe.

If you were ever a punk, you may eventually turn into what you once despised—but maybe you are supposed to. It ensures that your kids, and all kids, will have something to rebel against.