4 Comments

Yeah, every time the "Boomer" argument comes up, I've learned to say, "Every generation has its assholes."

And, leave it at that.

Because if you weren't there when Grace Slick hit the chorus, you missed it.

There was magic in Led Zeppelin's first albums, too. Sure, they were more "commercial" but they also didn't give a crap about "making it". Pete Townsend thought he'd grow up soon enough, put down his guitar and get a "real job". They made the music. It didn't make them. It was the copy cats who made it look otherwise. Pink Floyd told us all about it.

I doubt any of this was "Beat", but we saw "the Man" for what he was in Viet Nam, bombing Viet Namese villages. Today, it's the Palestinians. If you didn't know that the outrage on Oct 7 would turn 180 dgrs. on Oct 7, you missed it again.

Conservative Inc. rushed to Ayn Rand, spieling the old "rags to riches" sort of "individual". Today, they say, be a plumber. It's too easy to make lots of money The caste is closing its doors.

Of course, doing your own plumbing was always a good idea. just because it is. It always was.

IF there was ever anything "Beat" in me, it's gone on to Ernst Junger and Julius Evola. The ultimate rebllion is that I don't even believe in that anymore.

Keep the rifle and wrench handy. You just never know. Take your best shot at everything.

Maybe, someday, I will throw the radio into the bath tub with my 300 pound Samoan attroney.

But the reality, is that the best in every generation never had a chance.

Expand full comment

This was a wonderful essay. I knew I was among friends when 'Dharma Bums' was 'Beat 101'.

Expand full comment

When you write "I care for brotherhood, friendship, and authenticity," then sign off with what seems to be a pseudonym (Marlin, Esq), you elide much of your attempt. Not unlike Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, your refashioning of an American identity admits something very different than Townes' mad method of punching so that your own, real bones can feel it. You lean into the open market as a production, a cushioned commodity always ready to shipout to a buyer eager for a new symbol of something real, but not something really human. That said, reading the best of 60's Americana as something other than "progressive" and peacenik is spot-on and a welcome take on looking back to look ahead.

Expand full comment