togged themselves from the L.L. Bean catalog, the unwashednfought over polyester shirts on sale at Zeller’s, andnso on through all the objects and rituals of a complexnmodern society, the highest on the list of taste tests beingnthe pastoral myth itself which, in its 60’s form, allowed itsnbelievers to think of themselves, even vicariously, as unimplicatednin gross contemporary society while enjoying all itsnfruits.nI thought that the popularity of Country Fakery ranndeeper than the motivation of flattery would suggest, and itnwas another discovery about the Woodwrights that providednme with the beginning of an answer. I had known Mrs.nWoodwright’s brother Jack before we moved to Vermont; itnwas he who attracted us there and had secured the leasenfrom the distant Mr. Simple Living. Both he and thenWoodwrights had very small herds of Jersey cows, and theynseemed quite self-reliant to me: They cut their own lumbernand firewood, they tapped their maple trees, and so on.nBecause their operations were so small, I thought theirnknowledge would be relevant to our situation, and I wasncounting heavily on being able to rely on their advice andnguidance. One day I hurt myself, and Jack kindly drove mento a doctor. On the way, I explained how anxious I wasnabout my health, because for the first time in my life I wasnindependent, the sole support of my family. Jack, who wasnin his late 30’s, cheerfully replied that he had never beennindependent because his wealthy mother gave him a generousnallowance. She had bought the cows and paid for thennew well and bought the truck. My heart sank. It droppedninto my boots when he told me that his sister also received anlarge allowance. But the Woodwrights pretended that theirnBeautiful Simple Life all came out of the milk check.nUnderstand me: I had no objection to the Woodwrights’nway of life, and I couldn’t care less where their money camenfrom, but the pretense bothered me. Why couldn’t they benhonest and admit that they could afibrd to farm in annagreeable, easygoing way (with much help) because theynhad an outside income? There was nothing shameful aboutnthat. After all, even the most cursory observation of thenmany farmers in the area showed that while it was possiblenin those days to make a living with a small herd of Jerseys, itnwas hard, hard work, and there was damned little beauty innit. I had to meet a lot of hippie homesteaders and people likenthe Woodwrights before I was able to understand that thenreason they lied (and most of them probably deceivednthemselves, too) was that their imaginary position gaventhem an extraordinary sense of freedom from constraint.nLook at it this way: If the Woodwrights had been candidnabout their income, then their achievement on the farmnwould not have seemed nearly so impressive, because itnwould have been realized that, far from performing somenextraordinary feat of legerdemain, they had merely purchasednthe means to do the work. The amount of labornremains the same, but now the farmer can linger over thenteacups with visitors because he is paying someone else tonmow his hay. Now what if you’re a Country Fake and younconvince yourself that your outside income doesn’t reallyncount, is insignificant, and that the entire operation isnfinanced by farm sales? (I have known hippie homesteadersnwho claimed that a garden the size of my kitchen paid forneverything, including a new four-wheel drive truck.) Andnyou have spare time, you entertain visitors, and you readnbooks? Don’t you see that it must seem as if you havensuspended some physical laws? That was the imaginarynposition, the freedom that so exhilarated the Country Fakes.nIncidentally, that’s why they scorned the methods ofnefficient modern agriculture — machinery, fertilizer, herbicidesnand pesticides, hybrid seed—because they had abrogatednthe laws of practical farming reality.nThen there was another group of 60’s people closelynrelated to the hippie homesteaders, the “revolutionaries.”nMorris Rosen (known to all as Momo), one of my formernstudents, came to me for tutoring in the summer of ’63. Henwas a scholarship boy who had quickly attached himself tonhis richer classmates, so I was little taken aback when he saidngrimly, after a tour of the farm on his first morning, that itnwould be a good place for guerrilla training.n”Cuerrilla training?”n”Yeah. I know some of the top cats in Progressive Labornwho’d really dig this joint for maneuvers.”nI laughed uneasily. I needn’t have worried; Momo wasnreally flexing his poses, as I realized in a moment when hentold me about his “dilemma”: Should he, or should he not,ncome the imminent revolution, shoot his parents, who were,nas he finely phrased it, “petty bourgeois to their fingertips”?nI tried to change the subject by suggesting that it was really andelicate personal matter, but Momo would have none ofnthat.n”It’s not personal,” he sternly pointed out, “it’s a matternof revolutionary justice!”nHe dragged his dilemma around for a couple of days untilnmy wife told him to shoot the old folks and shut up about it.nThat produced massive sulks, something that always happenednwhenever Momo suspected that we weren’t takingnhis preposterous routines seriously enough. One hot nightnwe were sithng around the kerosene lamp reading, sweating,nswatting mosquitoes, and listening to my wife express hernyearning for cooling drinks, iced sherbet, and other bourgeoisnfrivolities (we had no refrigeration), when Momo,nhitherto absorbed in a deathless pamphlet by V.I. Ulyanov,nsuddenly slapped it on the table and bellowed, “What thisncountry needs is a LENIN!”n”Yes, damn it,” my wife sourly retorted, “a Lenin ice.”nSulks again, and then more sulks when we were lukewarmnin our enthusiasm for the awful stories — seamlessnimaginative fictions, dedicated to proletarian culture — thatnhe was writing in his role as Revolutionary Artist. I will sparenyou my memories of the stories, but I can’t resist a bit of hisnpoetry:nYes the people the workers I am with younblack yellow red I am with younthe machine guns stuttering stitching red kissesnon the bodies of the ruling class and its runningndogs yes . . .nI have treated Momo with levity because he seemednabsurd, posing in one self-regarding role after another. Nonone took him seriously—but that was in 1963.nMomo compares revealingly with another former studentnfrom the same college, Mike, who turned up towards thenend of the 60’s with his wife, Rachel. They disclosed that, asndedicated members of a faction from SDS, their job was tonnnFEBRUARY 1988 / 27n