Sunday, June 22, 2008

Interesting essay on Kerouac's On the Road

Roobin's got an interesting take on the novel over at Lenin's Tomb. Over five decades later, we're still feeling the influence of that book, as well as the writings of numerous other beats. Heck, it was through my association with the punk and industrial subcultures back in the 1980s that I first got turned on to the work of Kerouac, Burroughs, Bukowski, and others; with the rise of acid jazz and underground & alternative rap at the end of the 1980s, we were treated to an update and refinement of the beat poetry tradition (seriously, check anything Digable Planets or A Tribe Called Quest did during the era - or Guru for that matter, or in the current decade Antipop Consortium, Beans, or Electric Barbarian). The beats opened a space for the gonzo journalism of Hunter S. Thompson, the dispatches from Chiapas by John Ross, the magazine Adbusters, etc. The cut-up technique was manifest in sound in the form of sampling and breakbeats. The nonconformity genie was summoned out of the bottle, and in spite of the oppressive forces at work today in the age of The War on Terra, shows little sign of being contained.

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