Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the Algemeiner, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Independent Journal Review, American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, Jewish Press, J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and many others.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rethinking the Summer of Love

My latest SFGate column reexamines the social and political legacy of the "Summer of Love" and delves into my own connection to the flower power generation (here's a hint: it's all in the name):
This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called Summer of Love, that mythical three months in 1967 in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood when visions of peace, love and harmony -- aided by bountiful quantities of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll -- reigned supreme.

The Summer of Love has since become legend-- an expression of countercultural revolution, particularly in the minds of those recollecting the glory days of their youth. However inaccurately, this three-month period encompassing a tiny fraction of the population and an eight-block stretch has become a symbol for the entire decade.

Among '60s disciples, it's an article of faith that everything that came out of that summer was a boon to American society. This has certainly been the impression conveyed through popular culture. Rarely are the more pernicious
of the social and political experiment known as the Summer of Love referenced in the glowing and groovy portrayals seen on PBS and the History Channel.

But in its haste to dispense with all tradition that came before, the Summer of Love generation threw out much of the good along with the bad. The attempt to live in a manner that is essentially unsustainable led to a proliferation of divorce, drug use, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, and all the perils and problems associated therewith. Too many people left their families, became addicts, and in some cases, lost their lives.

When all social boundaries are tossed aside and self-fulfillment becomes one's raison d'etre, society breaks down and, with it, all sense of morality. Seen in this light, the Summer of Love starts to seem more like the Summer of Folly.
Continue reading "Rethinking the Summer of Love"

Update: Quite a few readers have pointed out a Ted Nugent article at on what he terms "The Summer of Drugs." While I take a more libertarian approach to illegal drug use, like other vices, I'm loathe to see it elevated to the mainstream. Or, as in the case of "Summer of Love" nostalgia, romanticized needlessly. It is what it is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of the many people who drank that electric Kool-Aid and discovered that though it went down sweet, it had an extremely bitter after taste! Thankfully I survived, learned, changed. Sadly many of my friends did not. If not dead from drugs, Aids, STD's or mishap, they are misguided and aimless in a rapidly changing world. They long for a bygone era that never really existed except in their drug induced dreams.

Great article! Thanks for writing it. (I can't believe the SF Chron printed it...)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Article in SF Gate!
It lead me here to your blog.
Very well written & balanced overview of the era.

Enjoyed it very much !!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too grew up in Marin, graduating in 2003, and suffered a serious reality check when entering the real world. Now I live in Texas, and though Austin is liberal as well, I have abandoned all of my childish utopianism and, for the most part, leftism. Great article!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 2:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember it well and I have mixed feelings about its legacy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 2:41:00 PM  
Blogger D.M.C. said...

I found you on SFGate, through the link on and just wanted to say that I thought your article was well written, interesting and refreshing. In California we rarely get any sort of balanced look at this generation, and many of us are forced to reckon the differences between the experiences of our parents and the stories we read/hear/see through print, audio, and television media. So, again, thanks for the entertaining read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 3:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your article of piece of writing! Keep up the good work.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 7:39:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Ms. Stillwell seems to impart a lot importance to a moment she herself acknowledges as relatively insignificant. A few middle class white kids in San Francisco getting high and having sex does not the world change.

In fact the world has become increasingly conservative since. We were told that as the country became more conservative and less support came from the government the institution of the family would be strengthened.

The reality is that the decline of the family has only increased in the last 27 years. The final insult has been the conversion of marriage as institution of love and commitment to an institution of hate and exclusion by the religious right.

The fact is that the participants of the summer of love where more conservative in their family values than people today. They almost all envisioned having a nuclear family, while today few couples who aren't college educated and vaguely rich have such thoughts.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The final insult has been the conversion of marriage as institution of love and commitment to an institution of hate and exclusion by the religious right."

Yes it was so much better before when homosexuals could marry. Oh wait....

Friday, July 27, 2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, July 27, 2007 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

The fact is that marriage was conceived of as spiritual bond between two people created by God. Christian fundamentalist have redefined it as a group of tax breaks and health benefits that are only meaningful in that exclude others whether it be gays, roommates, or siblings living together.

They have insisted that marriage is only meaningful in that it excludes others. They have proudly declared that they don't trust God's blessing of their unions. Totally lacking the faith in the God the pretend to worship, they have to have the state discriminate against other expressions of love or fraternity for their marriages to be meaningful.

They have robbed God of his power to unite loving couples and insisted that marriage can only be accomplished in a state where health insurance is denied to people that aren't in heterosexual marriages including (meaning of course excluding) not only homosexuals but spinster sisters, mothers who are cared for by their loving sons, roommates who have chosen a life of celibacy and any one else who by their choice or situation does not marry.

This blasphemy is but the most outrageous assault on marriage over 27 years of conservative rule.

One gets the feeling that a thousand years from now conservatives will still be telling horror stories of hippies. Well at least they won't be forgotten

Friday, July 27, 2007 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you say "Christian?" Does that mean any other definition of married is allowed among Muslims? Let's hear you give it to the Muslims.

Don't include your address though.

Friday, July 27, 2007 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...


While some advocate abandoning ones true adversary to start irrelevant fight with someone else, I find this strategy perplexing. As I have pointed out "Christians" have stated that their beliefs in marriage require them to advocate certain changes in the law which go well beyond the mere definition of marriage. "Christian" conservatives self identify as potent political force in the United States. No Muslim group appears to have wide political sway. Really, why should I care what they think? I don't mind people thinking horrible things in the privacy of their homes or places of worship. I care about people who might actually effect a change in government.

Friday, July 27, 2007 4:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author can't be taken seriously while citing such "authorities" as the Nixon library, Westmorland papers, Melvin Laird and The Family Security Matters Foundation, Inc. There's no agenda involved with THOSE sources, right..?

This renders the entire article as just another personal opinion. Perhaps Cinnamon is still mad at her mom for not giving her a Mustang for graduation...or maybe just for naming her Cinnamon.

Thursday, August 09, 2007 10:16:00 AM  

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