Abbie Hoffman Pays a Call at the Kennedy Library and Basks in His Bamboozling of the Feds
He stood outside the gleaming new John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, a rumpled figure in a yellow T-shirt and green corduroy pants. Behind tinted glasses his eyes sparkled—still furtively—and a straw hat was pulled low on his forehead. While a reporter was snapping his photograph, he struck up a conversation with an elderly couple. "Are you from Massachusetts?" he asked. "Everett," they told him. The man in the straw hat grinned. "I used to date a girl from Everett," he said. "I'm from Worcester."
They say you can't go home again, and nobody should know it better than Abbie Hoffman, but there he was—big as life and as cheerfully outrageous as ever. Arrested more than five years ago in New York for selling three pounds of cocaine, the onetime Yippie leader jumped bail soon afterward and has been living on the lam ever since. Estranged at last report from his wife, Anita, forgotten by many of the counterculturists who once hung on his diatribes, Hoffman faced perhaps the most frightening sentence of all to him: becoming yesterday's news.
Anonymity may be the one insult Abbie won't tolerate, so he has written a book about his travails to be published next spring, and ultimately to be made into a movie by Universal Pictures. A few days ago he met at the Kennedy Library with Dan Kaplan of Worcester magazine. Now 42 and showing signs of road wear, Hoffman endorsed Ted Kennedy for President ("There aren't any skeletons left in his closet"), speculated on his prospects for beating the drug rap ("I'm innocent; I would have a 50-50 chance") and tried to assess his position in history. "I could be the most famous Jewish outlaw next to the Maccabees," he says modestly. "There were four of them, but they didn't have a contract with Universal." Throughout the interview, says Kaplan, Hoffman talked "as if he were going in 20 directions at once," but was otherwise lucid. How has he evaded police for so long? "I've got a lot of friends," Hoffman told Kaplan. "I think I've been spotted by 26,000 people."
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