Wednesday, June 04, 2003


I've been reading "On the Road", by Jack Kerouac. It's a little over the top how much praise this book has garnered as an icon of the beat culture, but it is an enjoyable read, and, I suppose at the time it must have come on as gangbusters. It can be read on several levels - certainly as a basically factual account of a period of time in a young man's life, it can be read as the beginning of the breakdown of the suburban world, it can be read as a modern day Huckleberry Finn.

A fair amount of evidence exists in the text that it is not a breakdown of suburban life, but a failure of suburban life to completely tame the american spirit. The hoboes predate the suburban existence. The beats continue on, during the heyday of the suburban world. A world exists out there, atavistic and ready to steal your car, even while America pretends to settle down. Jazz is played by black men in the night of America.


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