Beating up on the beats

Something for ageing hippies to remind themselves of the contribution to the culture war by Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac et al.

But I have to admit that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a hoot when I read it for the first time last year.

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7 Responses to Beating up on the beats

  1. Tom

    Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas eclipses anything concocted by Ginsberg or Kerouac — a timeless high-energy classic that is only party fiction. That is, some of the outrageous stunts in the book may have actually happened. Highly recommended reading at least once every 10 years for everyone who loves the English language.

  2. nilk

    I’ve never felt any desire to read any of the Beat writers, even though my Year 11 English teacher once accorded me the praise of reminding him of Kerouac with my writing. At the time I was a prolific writer of angsty poetry

    Thirty-something years down the track I think I may just get around to reading some. I don’t expect it to measure up to my favourite Prufrock, though. Nothing can do that.

  3. dragnet

    Ginsburg was a degenerate, in both the literary and political sense, but I do have a soft spot for Kerouac whose main failing was his self-centredness and solipsism.
    I can’t do the linky thing on my phone, but there is a great vid of (a quite drunk) Kerouac on William F Buckley’s show in 1968 giving Ed Sanders the radical hippy a mouthful of abuse, Kerouac disowned the hippues and the leftist counterculture.

  4. Tim Neilson

    “On the Road” was a thoroughly pointless book. “Hey man, let’s go to the west coast”…. many chapters later “hey man, let’s go to the east coast”… etc. ad nauseam, with no sort of theme, progression or raison d’etre. In other words it can serve as the archetypal “beat” literary work.

  5. JohnA

    I suppose the best that can be said of them and their ramblings is that they form a cautionary bad example of what parental and self-indulgence can produce.

    Well, there’s several hours of reading time saved.

  6. Rabz

    The “Beats” were largely apolitical hedonists with nothing of any great import to say to anyone, except perhaps, “I’m really stoned, man”.

    Yawn. I’d rather read some Vogon poetry than try and wade through “On the Road” again.

  7. Awake

    Kerouac’s writing was cute with his stream of consciousness type of writing but really nothing to see there sort of writing,

    Agree, Ginsberg was a hedonist degenerate whose poetry was overrated.

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