Sunday, June 19, 2011

On The Road

On the Road: 40th Anniversary EditionOn the Road: 40th Anniversary Edition by Jack Kerouac

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Awful. Full of grammatical errors, On the Road chronicles the stream-of-conciousness of Jack Kerouac (thinly veiled as the fictional Sal Paradise) as he travels with insipid friends, and reveals himself as a handsome bore. Kerouac profoundly lowered American literary standards, and as I read this rambling mass, the criticism of Capote -- that this was less a book than typing-- rang true.

To break new ground in literature; to defy convention, one had better have some power of insight. Without said insight, one may come across as merely disrespectful rather than innovative. Written with the vocabulary and style of an uninspired grade-schooler, Kerouac clearly lacks the genius to successfully depart in the radical new direction he attempts.

I remember as a teen the "grunge music" of Nirvana, and how it seemed so fresh. And it was fresh when compared to the pop music of the time. Now grunge music is considered an artifact that was hyped beyond it's cultural relevance factor. Time will pass, and certain artistic movements become esoteric, and certain people who can't move on become laughable. Think girls with Bettie Page hairdo's and rockabillies in general. Think Beat Generation, hipster moron's with Kerouac at the forefront.

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