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April 1 , 2004

Slang of the Week: crunchy-granola (adjective)
Embracing 1960s styles and values

Janet knew John was crunchy-granola when he came to pick her up in a rainbow colored 1974 VW Microbus.

Celebrity quote:
“Then again, Julie and I are probably the crunchiest — as in granola — conservatives we know (hey, my bride even makes her own granola). In some respects, the life we live and the values we share have more in common with left-wing counterculturalists than with many garden-variety conservatives.”
- Columnist Ron Dreher, The National Review Online

I first came across this expression while attending in college in the “Happy Valley” of Western Massachusetts. At the time, crunchy-granola students (named for the food they ate) could be easily identified because they were the only ones wearing Birkenstock sandals.

Nowadays, lots of people wear Birkenstocks, but it’s still pretty easy to spot crunchy-granola types. Also called earthy-crunchy, they wear natural fabrics (especially hemp) and long hair, sometimes in dreadlocks. They tend to be vegetarians, shop at the whole foods market and give money to Greenpeace.

A related category is the tree hugger, a person who has strong environmental beliefs and works to protect forest lands. More extreme than the tree hugger is the tree sitter. These environmental activists build platforms in trees and sit on them in order to prevent the tree from being cut down. The most famous of these is Julia “Butterfly” Hill, who sat in an ancient redwood tree in Northern California for over two years in the late nineties. Unlike crunchy-granola and tree hugger, which are derogatory, tree sitter is a neutral term.

What’s new at Slang City?
In Music, we translate the slang in Tipsy, by J-Kwon. Watch out - This song has a lot of bad words!