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07 August 2008 @ 11:51 pm
so dizzy i don't know how to get straight  
FOR MY OWN REFERENCE: FINISHED ON 31 JULY 2008

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Or, as I came to think of it, 'the stoned and drunk lj entry that never ends.'



I felt like I was reading this forever, so when I came to part five and saw that I had only five pages to go, I said - out loud - "Thank god." And when I finished those five pages I said, "OH my god." Yet again I've read a book where the effort that went into finishing it - to keeping up the necessary concentration levels in a morass of boredom - far exceeded any enjoyment gained by so doing. And I didn't enjoy this even slightly. In fact hurt my eyeeeeesssss.

At the beginning I was mad at this book. Oh, I was so mad. Honestly? I was biased against it just from the blurb - how I hate those things - because I seriously detest literary drug-taking. You could say it's a sure-fire squick of mine. The only druggies I want to see are reformed ones, or ones who die in the end. Nothing about On the Road enticed me over to the side of the druggies. Clearly I have the wrong kind of brain. (No corticobasal degeneration, for one thing.)

Some quote from the cover said: 'It made me yearn for fresh experience.' That's just it: the last thing I'd want, even beyond eating raw eels or setting my hair on fire, is to have the kind of experiences described in the book. The most basic of those - hitching rides to places you're going to for the hell of it - horrified me. I never leave the house without knowing exactly where I'm going, how long I'll be, and how I'm getting back. I certainly have a touch of the OCD about me. But I'd rather be on the highest dose of imipramine than be anything like Sal Paradise or Dean Moriarty.

Despite that, my anger fizzled out towards the end. Mainly because I was skimming over the endless Paragraphs of Stupid so I'd finally get it the fuck over with. I've never before read a book where there's so much reference to talking and so little dialogue.

The story is told from a first-person POV, which can be tricky - at least for me, in the sense that I come to equate the 'I' of the narrative with the author, as opposed to the narrator. For all intents and purposes Sal and Jack are the same person.

It's dreadfully written, aside from every consideration about the actual content of the story. There're paragraphs and paragraphs of description about, like, fucking HORN players. At no point does Sal/Jack bother to sell the reader on the amazingness of horn players; it's assumed that of course I love horn players! And jazz! Otherwise I wouldn't be reading this book! Also, he calls music 'bop.' I MEAN SERIOUSLY. There must have been a whole five minutes in history when it was cool to call music bop, after which people woke up from their dope haze and realised their horrible mistake. Jack took those five minutes and turned them into a whole book. I have serious doubts about the authenticity of this book in emblemising everything that was cool about a generation. Any generation.

(don't even get me started on 'tea')

The question that must be asked is: was jazz ever cool? In the way that rock and roll was cool, in the way that punk was cool, in the way that hip-hop was cool? I think not. Mainly because, I imagine, FUCKING HORN PLAYERS. I just don't CARE about their spit, I'm sorry.

There's no effort made to round out any of the characters. Dean Moriarty is a saint and an angel, huh? Excuse me while I BARF. Kerouac clearly graduated from the Stephanie Meyer school of characterisation: I say it, therefore it must be true! Dean was a total dick. I have no sympathy for men who fool around on their wives and have babies with no consideration for their welfare. Granted, the women must take equal responsibility for this, but in the fifties it was probably more of a given that the man you married was supposed to stick around and support you. It's not like the career woman thing was due to take off for oh, another THIRTY YEARS. I'm pretty sure women couldn't even go to Harvard till sometime in the seventies.

Speaking of, though, half the book is a tract to the ideal woman, who waits on her man 'hand, foot and finger' (to quote Charlotte Church, who is clearly a time-travelling alien from Dean Moriarty's BRAIN). The second page started the ball rolling:

Dean [...] decided the thing to do was to have Marylou make breakfast and sweep the floor.

This, mark you, after Dean and Sal and a bunch of their mates stayed up all night, drinking and smoking and generally trashing the place. I just can't get behind the idea of one person cleaning another person's mess, regardless of who the people in question are. It gave me a good heads-up as to what I could expect from the rest of the book. Halfway through I stopping marking passages of hate to quote and literally gave up in disgust; there are just too many. But here's some of the prime examples:

'You got any money?'
[...]
'I know where I can get some. [...] Anywhere. You can always folly a man down an alley, can't you?'


'Isn't this great?' Tim Grey kept saying. 'Using the opera stars' bathroom and towels and shaving lotion and electric razors.'

I took the cover off the chocolate ice cream and stuck my hand in wrist-deep and hauled me up a skewer of ice cream and licked at it. [In his place of work, which he regarded as a free buffet. Riiiight.]

There's this endless sullen sense of entitlement from everyone in the book. They do absolutely nothing with their lives except drink, fuck and get high, yet they expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter. Maybe I have an old man's perspective on the world, but that shit just don't fly. I tried to figure if I was jealous of their free and easy ways (and sexually transmitted diseases, and cirrhosis, and gynaecomastia, and COPD, and hepatitis). Maybe I'd like my life to be a little more hedonistic, but if the price you pay is becoming Dean Moriarty, then no. These people are the worst kind of scabs on society. It made my blood boil when these fucking scavengers stole cars or ice cream or towels that other people worked their asses off to earn, to buy. This is no Robin Hood scenario. This is stealing from the hard-working to give to the bloody useless.

...always covered with butts and spit and they give a feeling of sadness that only bus stations have.

At least bus stations are cleaner now, I guess.

Sex [...] is beautiful. I wanted to prove this to her. She let me prove it, but I was too impatient and proved nothing.
[...]
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.


The thing that horrifies me most about this passage is that people might have read the latter part and gone, 'Why yes! He's so right!' without copping the fact that Sal - the hero - couldn't be arsed to employ that ethos himself. As long as he got his jollies, he didn't care. He felt a tad guilty and tried to justify it as a failure on the part of AMERICA, when in fact his dick was a bit too trigger happy. That's some beautiful projection right there.

He even admits his own denial - too late in the book for me to be pleased, but still.

'Nothing in this lousy world is my fault, don't you see that? I don't want it to be and it can't be and it won't be.'

Let me introduce you to this word. It's called NO.

I swear to god, everything is someone else's fault! Look:

I got drunk. I drank so much I had to go to the men's room every two minutes [...] Everything was falling apart. [...] Remi would never talk to me again.

HEY HEY MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE GOT DRUNK ALL OVER HIS BELOVED STEPFATHER? HOW 'BOUT THAT SELF-CONTROL?

The woman prowled upstairs; she threatened to call the police. 'Oh, shut up, you old bag!' yelled Greb. I wondered how he could live with her like this.

I wondered how SHE could live with HIM like this. She owns the goddamn fucking house, she's completely entitled to be annoyed when her shiftless useless loser of a nephew throws a party without her consent or even asking her beforehand.

She was determined to catch up with Ed because she loved him. I went upstairs and told Big Ed. He sat in the chair with a worried look, an angel of a man, actually.

At this point I started wondering if Sal was ACTUALLY delusional - to feel that a man who married a woman to get a hundred bucks off her, then dumped her in a motel when she wanted to spend said money on starting their life together, could be called an 'angel'; or if Jack was, to feel any sane reader could believe it. Either way, I wanted to kill them both. With my HANDS.

All the women in this book do, aside from not give Dean and Sal enough sex on tap, is cook up tremendous breakfasts. Also, no one on the Road is a woman. This is incredibly irritating; I really think any woman with an inkling of feminist ire couldn't and shouldn't find anything that's not totally reprehensible in this book. (On a side note, it really puzzles me when a woman is described as a 'feminist' or a 'card-carrying feminist'. Surely every woman is a feminist, just by virtue of being a woman? Surely every woman appreciates her own value as being at least equal, if not superior, to any given man? Surely? SURELY?)

See here, for the main gauche:

There's real woman for you. Never a harsh word, never a complaint, or modified; her old man can come in any hour of the night with anybody and have talks in the kitchen and drink the beer and leave any old time.

Yeah, sure, if she's DEAF. I mean, what the fuck? Women are people too. Why aren't they allowed to get annoyed when you act like the shithead you are, Dean? The idea that men should never even countenance the possibility that they are at fault really, really, really ... LOOK, I JUST FROTH AT THE MOUTH. WATCH ME FROTH.

The American police are involved in a psychological warfare against those Americans who don't frighten them with imposing papers and threats.

Huh, or maybe they wants to stop people driving 110 miles an hour because that ENDANGERS THE LIVES OF OTHER ROAD USERS? Just a thought.

Bull got only fifty dollars a week [...] he spent almost that much per week on his drug habit. [...] Their food bill was the lowest in the country; they hardly ever ate; nor did the children - they never seemed to care.

THEY CARE. TRUST ME, THEY CARE. KIDS LIKE TO EAT ROUGHLY FORTY-SEVEN TIMES A DAY. AS DO I. AS DO MOST PEOPLE. BUT ESPECIALLY THE ONES WHO AREN'T DONE GROWING YET.

I SWEAR TO GOD. NOT ENOUGH CAPSLOCK IN THE WORLD.

'I love cats. I especially like the ones that squeal when I hold 'em over the bathtub.'

Darling Sal/Jack FREQUENTLY exhibits this FUNDAMENTAL MISUNDERSTANDING about the world, to wit: if you profess to LOVE cats, you do NOT - repeat, do NOT - hold them over a BATHTUB to make them SQUEAL.

My thought process at that point in time was approximately this: '!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

Please bear in mind that I hate multiple exclamation marks, too.

I lugged watermelon crates over the ice floor of reefers in the blazing sun, sneezing. In God's name and under the stars, what for?

Um. Let's see.

TO MAKE MONEY, YOU FUCKING DIPSHIT.

The end was insane. It was literally like he said, "Hey, bored of this now," and just had Dean wander off the wilds of ... San Francisco. Never to be seen again, because despite Sal having been to San Francisco a million and seventy-one times, a magical forcefield called 'Kerouac's brain on drugs' stopped him doing it again ever. He should have just written 'and Sal and Dean skipped off into the sunset to have plenty of gay buttsex and mpreg babies that they used as slave labour to roll their joints for them, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!' C'mon - I can't be the only one thinking that the only reason those two weren't fucking is that they were too stupid and/or stoned to get it.

My final comment: Kerouac, Kerouac, Kerouac. I know you suffer from multiple and varied delusions but - Jesus. You know Jesus? He wasn't born in Mexico. I am not even lying to you, dude. Bethlehem isn't so much as on the same CONTINENT as that.



Since I finished this a week ago, I've been using the phrase 'dig it' waywayway too much. KEROUAC HAS INFILTRATED MY MIND, SEND HALP

Previously, on Book Glomp 2008:
Middlemarch
Invisible Monsters (this I did not hate!)
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Love in the Time of Cholera
Oscar and Lucinda
Kim
Breakfast at Tiffany's (this I even mildly liked!)
Atonement
To the Lighthouse (this I 28% appreciated!)
 
 
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: this probably requires bob marley, requisite stoner music y/y?
 
 
 
OkyDokyokydoky on August 7th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I had to read this last year for a class at uni.

I feel your pain.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: rose petal bowlscoradh on August 7th, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
Now I MUST know, what on earth were they using it to teach? Non-Life Skills 101?
(no subject) - okydoky on August 7th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 7th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on August 7th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - okydoky on August 7th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
jehnt: st - ds9 - kira - up in flamesjehnt on August 7th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
ahahha, I love your reviews.

Surely every woman appreciates her own value as being at least equal, if not superior, to any given man? Surely? SURELY?

Sadly, no. I know some of them. It's disgusting.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Pretty shoesscoradh on August 7th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Really? One of these days, I think, I might offend someone. Who really loves crap books what.

But - NO, how? What? NO. +++OUT OF CHEESE ERROR. DOES NOT COMPUTE+++
(no subject) - jehnt on August 8th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehnt on August 8th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jehnt on August 9th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 9th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: hipposcoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
WAIT WHAT? THEY WERE ALL REAL PEOPLE? HA, I KNEW IT!

SAL/DEAN. The one mildly - milder than a sneeze masquerading as a cold - redeeming factor.

Nope. See, I'm one of those people - like in Starter for Ten - who just doesn't see why people like jazz. It's okay, though. My favourite band is Fall Out Boy. You can totally give me up for lost, music-wise.
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(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tieleen on August 9th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 10th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tieleen on August 11th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - scoradh on August 10th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - scoradh on August 11th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
trichinopoly ash: dumbledore: well shitaldehyde on August 8th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
eheh oh noes, i was HUGE on beatnik literature when i was in high school. i pretty much devoured anything and everything beat, although my personal fave was always william s. burroughs. i don't think i could enjoy that genre very much now though.

on the road, in particular, was a favourite of the guy i was enamoured with for like..4 yrs. he turned out to be a giant prick, but i loved how he could quote kerouac ad nauseam ;)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: socksscoradh on August 8th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
To quote Frank Iero, I was uncool before being uncool was cool. Of course, no one in my school read at all, so that was quite enough 'uniqueness' for me to handle - even if it was just due to Jane Austen.

I'm not sure what there is to quote here, though. 'JAZZ ROCKS!' 'MAKE ME A TREMENDOUS BREAKFAST, WUMMAN!' Of course, there is the inevitable 'dig it,' which has eaten a small part of my corpus callosum.
Cearesceares on August 8th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
Lol! I admire you, I tried to read it earlier this year and totally never made it through(I'm one of those people that only reads so far, and if I still don't care/like-screw it), but at least I can cross it off my list. I chalked it up to my general dislike of style, but yeah, the characters didn't exactly engage either.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: butterfly bookscoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
I was absolutely one of those people too. Hence the thirty-book dogpile of unfinished works I found littering my room. I took a Vow to finish them all and lo, I shall! Probably.

I don't think there WAS a style, unless it was the style of suck. The characters were made of fail. I don't think I can put it more succinctly than that. ;D
themadpokerthemadpoker on August 8th, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for the warning. I had this on my list because it was quoted in Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. :( Cory Doctorow, how could you lead me wrong like that?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Pretty headscoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
There is one rockin' quote: about how the only people for me are the mad ones, bursting like rockets etc etc etc. It's on the second page, so it's not even like you have to trawl through the whole book to get it. My theory? He nicked it from someone else.
(no subject) - themadpoker on August 8th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tieleen on August 9th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 10th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on August 11th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tieleen on August 11th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
moocow: [txt] nudge nudge wink winkmisconstrue on August 8th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
Because I am a sick little sadist I found great joy in your review. I've NEVER finished reading this book before, ever, and the only way I got through a Kerouac piece was by listening to it. And it made me want to kill myself too! Shallow! Self-centered! Pointless! Pretentious! TERRIBLE! I concurr completely.

But in regards to two things you mention: one, jazz was, at one point, as revolutionary and wowee (to steal a Beat phrase) as he makes it out to be. It was one of the defining things of the Beat movement of which Kerouac is the addled literary leader. Allen Ginsberg is another big Beat artist he has some absolutely fabulous poetry and kept writing after the movement was over. But the thing about jazz was that it was all about Black culture with a lot of Black artists and this is 1950s segregated America so it was rather counter-cultural. Some people were convinced that the slow seductive tones of the saxaphone in particular would cause white woman to RIP OFF THEIR CLOTHES AND SEX BLACK MEN IN THE STREET. And, as we all know, that is just a terrible travesty.

And the whole submissive women thing is also a tie to 1950s America with white picket fences and women returning to the home now that all the men are back from war. And there are far too many women I know who aren't feminists. I wish I could share your disbelief that such people are out there, but unfortunately my own experiences have been to the contrary.

I can't believe he ended it like that too. If I remember correctly he does the same thing at the end of Dharma Bums, significantly shorter and with some nice bastardization of Buddhism to make it suit the main character's own selfish desires (so basically On the Road + Buddhism! there's even a possibly homoerotic friendship, hitchhiking, drugs, sex, obedient/used women, and food that comes and goes). Let's just have people walk into the sunset la la la because I HAVEN'T A FUCK'S CLUE WHAT TO DO WITH THIS NON-PLOT. *smacks*

But thank you for putting yourself through that, if only so we could read the commentary and laugh. That is really taking one for the team.

What're you planning to read next?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: PATD: er Spencer/Ryanscoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
IT WAS! REALLY REALLY BAD! There's no fallback. You can't say 'Well the story sucked by the styling was great' or 'The story was awesome, pity about the characterisation' - because it was all D minus dreadful.

Oh god, wowee. Beat really is the antithesis of cool.

Also, I don't think jazz has aged well. The LAST thing it'd make me do is rip my clothes off. Unless it would stop the noise.

I am currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is FUCKING AWESOME so far. Ergo, I will have little to nothing to say about it. Woe.
(no subject) - misconstrue on August 8th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 8th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - misconstrue on August 9th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
kestrelsparhawkkestrelsparhawk on August 8th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
I agree -- the only good thing about On the Road is that it gave you a good subject to dissect, cheering me right up! I think we share the same tastes in literature -- at least what we DON'T like!

The Beat generation and the men it bred (ie 60s boys) can actually be credited for helping spark the radical feminist movements. The women who at 15 were intrigued by these books (in my case, Catcher in the Rye, Herman Hesse, Kurt vonnegut were the gods) looked up and noticed that they were expected NOT to have narcissistic adventures and thoughts, but cook and clean the communes and crash pads. Wham! and women were walking out of male-dominated groups everywhere. and the men were screeching in high voices, because who would take care of them?

I just finished reading Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment. It's hysterically funny, a good send-up on war and peace (especially American wars) and comfortingly in the feminist continuum. Try it -- it'll scrub the bad taste out of your mouth.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Discworld: Mobscoradh on August 8th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
It was extremely enjoyable to tear it apart, but that did really make up for the week of pain.

HA HA HA SUCKERS. Tis only what they deserved. There might be something to be said for after-the-event editing - like, stripping this book of the 'tremendous breakfasts'. It would be so much less offensive to read thus.

I have read everything Pterry ever wrote, twice. MR was a slow-grower, but it's pretty amazing. My favourite part was Sam Vimes not letting on that he's a Duke, the way he does. *loves on Sam Vimes*
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every Starbucks should have a polar bear: bands: FOB: Dumbledorescoradh on December 21st, 2008 09:52 pm (UTC)
Ha! Much time and effort has gone into my loathing for Jack K; I'm glad to see it appreciated.
Blindmouse: Yuukoblindmouse on June 4th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Sex [...] is beautiful. I wanted to prove this to her. She let me prove it, but I was too impatient and proved nothing.
[...]
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk.


This made me so furious. Seriously, some amorphous demand of sophistication didn't pressure her to have bad, painful sex with you, you fucker. YOU pressured her to have sex, so how fucking dare you be tragic about her experience now?

Anyway, yes. And you hit most of the low notes in your marvellously vitriolic review, but also:

Here Ray called the waitress a whore. A group of sullen men were ranged along the bar; they hated tourists. One of them said, 'You boys better be out of here by the count of ten.'

Yes. That was why they told you to get out. Because they were sullen and hated tourists.

If there was any sense at ALL that Kerouac recognised that Sal was delusional and self-entitled and misogynist simultaneously intellectually conceited and anti-intellectualist ... then it would maybe have had a point as a book.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: collapsingnight: pink legsscoradh on June 5th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
HA, I missed that bit about Ray. I'm glad you pointed it out, because any extra hate in this post is GOOD HATE.

Yeah, like - if a bunch of hardworking normal people whom Sal had fucked over along the way came and killed him with sticks. I would have LIKED that.
real men love discotakkatakkatakka on August 14th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
I've never before read a book where there's so much reference to talking and so little dialogue.

EXACTLY. Especially in the first few chapters before he gets on The Road and spends a night with Carl and Dean, 'watching them have a philosophical conversation.' What?

It also pissed me off how the book was supposed to start just after 'Sal' had left his wife but there was almost absolutely no mention of her. He was married to her! For at least a year! (I don't know, maybe he mentions her later on. I only ever got half way through.)

That said, I did find his descriptions of scenery and travel quite pretty:

'I heard you' she said across the lovely Gulf morning from the kitchen door. Great beautiful clouds floated overhead, valley clouds that made you feel the vastness of old tumbledown holy America from mouth to mouth and tip to tip.

And this:

What is the feeling when you're driving away from people and they reced on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

He should have stuck to nature and left people to the experts. Lines like those ^^^, while good, aren't enough to sustain a reader through all the dross in between.


Also, about Snow and Dirty Rain, I think I was sold at this part;

My dragonfly, my black-eyed fire, the knives in the kitchen are singing for blood, but we are the crossroads, my little outlaw, and this is the map of my heart, the landscape after cruelty which is, of course, a garden, which is a tenderness, which is a room, a lover saying Hold me tight, it’s getting cold. We have not touched the stars,
nor are we forgiven, which brings us back to the hero’s shoulders and the gentleness that comes,
not from the absence of violence, but despite
the abundance of it. The lawn drowned, the sky on fire, the gold light falling backward through the glass of every room.

Such pretty imagery. I want to eat it.
real men love discotakkatakkatakka on August 14th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
shit, sorry, my html is a hot mess.
(no subject) - scoradh on August 14th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
meddie_flowmeddie_flow on August 17th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
Well, I'm only at page 60 or so, but I said, "let's see if scoradh has read and reviewed it". Till now, I like it. It's a book about THINGS THAT ARE and I do not need to see him condone them or disapprove of them. I find Dean Moriarty a giant prick as well. IMO, him and Marylou sort of deserve one another.

But the thing is, I find Sal Paradise a bit likable. I mean, he sees the world a bit like Sartre saw it, pointless and absurd. He lives by inertia, and, let's face it, people who run jobs from 9 to 5 live by inertia too, just that they don't see it or they can't find a way to break the cycle.

That thing, about moving crates: that was pointless, IMO. He was NOT saving lives, he was not teaching children, he was moving crates. No matter how much he was paid, it's mindless grunt work. Somebody has to do that too, I know, but I still find working like that and limiting your existence like that kind of sad.

Till page 60 I do not get Sal's attraction to Dean. Or Carlo Marx's, who at least is artistic about doing nothing.

It's a book about escapism and about trying to find sense in a life that doesn't have it. Of course, they are sort of self-centered and egotistic in their relationships, that thing about the girl who didn't get to find out that sex was beautiful was a pretty fucked up thing to do.

In a way, this is Sal's big adventure. He's got no money and since we live in a money-conditioned world, hitch hiking is his only way to travel. I am actually a pretty big supported of hitch hiking. If A was going somewhere and has the place and the will to do so, he can very well take B along, and he may even get an interesting conversation out of the deal. Of course I don't practice it, being a young, defenseless woman who doesn't want to get raped :D

I'll be trying to read some more of it. Reading about the sexist acts is somehow like reading about Raskolnikov's crime. Or, have you seen "A Clockwork Orange?" My only objection would be that people could read it and think that it was okay. Which it isn't, but some of us can't tell the difference, unfortunately.

So, just because Sal is so enthusiastic about Dean and about using other people's things, doesn't mean WE should condone it, or even that Kerouac does. I didn't see it as a manifesto, just as the fresco of an era. And I liked all the information about the beat generation etc.

That being said, the consumerist society IS a jungle where you really have to use your utmost abilities to survive (aka=to make money). And those abilities include opportunism and manipulation. I see why people hate the system, though it could be much worse. I live in a post-communism country, and before there was organized hell, now it's chaos and no man's land, but it still is preferable.
meddie_flowmeddie_flow on August 17th, 2009 08:42 am (UTC)
the him in the first paragraph refers to Kerouac, not to you, whom I recognize as a fellow woman :D
(no subject) - scoradh on August 17th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on August 17th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC) (Expand)