Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hoffmann + Hoffman (for Hoffman or Hoffmann)

On August 24, 1967, Abbie Hoffman and his merry band of "Yippies," less flippantly known as the Youth International Party, threw a pretty excellent one when they started throwing both real and fake dollar bills down from the viewing gallery of the New York Stock Exchange, causing trading to temporarily grind to a halt as brokers scrambled all over themselves trying to pick them up. C'mon now, that's still funny, and would probably go down exactly the same way, and be just as funny (or sad) today. Hoffman said they had no intention of alerting the press ("media events" hadn't been invented yet), but the story was nevertheless reported all over the world. Funny but frugal, the Yippies supposedly spent between $30 and $300 on this valuable stunt. On the other hand, the stock exchange subsequently laid out twenty grand to enclose the gallery in bulletproof glass. Don't get greedy now, but today's typo is worth 450 hits in OhioLINK, and 22 in WorldCat—in 1967 alone (with "too many records found for your search" otherwise).

(Abbie Hoffman visiting the University of Oklahoma to protest the Vietnam War, circa 1969, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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