Abbie Hoffman


In my previous posting, I commented on The Pursuit of Happyness, a film I could not bring myself to see because of its apparent celebration of Wall Street values. After I wrote that, I thought about Abbie Hoffman, who once, in 1967, protested against American corporate injustice in a typically Hoffmanesque way: he threw money down to the traders from the galley of the New York Stock Exchange, and then watched them scramble to pick up the bills. Wall Street greed was never spoofed more effectively. Abbie Hoffman knew how to speak truth to power in ways that were both hilarious and evocative.

If he hadn't taken his own life, he would be in his seventies now. Because he died prematurely, he is forever frozen in time as a much younger man. The last images we have of him are from a time when he was middle aged. And the funny thing is, in those images that we have, he bore an uncanny physical resemblance to Jesus. Or, at least, to one particular image of Jesus.

Cynthia (Reverend Mom) has written an entry in her blog in which she presented several images of Jesus, including this one, which is an artist's rendering of what he might have looked like, "given his ethnic background and recent paleoanthropological studies":

And the funny thing is, he kind of resembles Abbie Hoffman from late in his life:

Abbie Hoffman was a remarkable social activist, although of course he was quite human, which meant that he was also a flawed, complex person. One thing he did have in common with Jesus, though, besides his looks, was that he spoke truth to power. Jesus overturned the moneychangers at the temple in Jerusalem, while Abbie Hoffman threw money at the contemporary moneychangers in the American temple of capitalism.

I think we could use more people like Abbie Hoffman.