One knows an era is definitively over when its iconic films are shown as latelate movies. One night, I channel-surfed into the middle of Easy Rider. There was a fat Dennis Hopper and an anorexic Peter Fonda low-riding and looking for America. When I tuned in they had just arrived at an example of that period's social formation, the commune. Women cooked, cleaned, fucked; children gamboled; everyone was high. As urbanites scattered seed to the wind, apparently in an effort to plant a crop, the commune's guru spoke earnestly of the land and its fruits. A sensible Hopper asks the guru if it rains much there in the high desert and observes that in the circumstances they are unlikely "to make it." "They'll make it," Fonda insists, his eyes shining, though whether with dope or a vision of the future it is impossible to say. Shortly thereafter a cherubic-looking Jack Nicholson joins the heroes and together all three ride the limitless highways of America on their way to that festival of life and death, Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Over a campfire discussion en route, Nicholson is praised as a "dude." "Dude?" he says in surprise. "What's he mean, 'dude,' dude ranch?" "No, no," Fonda replies. "Dude means, urn, nice guy. Dude means a regular sort of person."