Sunday, February 6, 2011

What will we do if On The Road is a hit?

We may be facing a dilemma. What will we do if the movie version of On The Road is a big hit and America gets all Kerouac-y? It reminds me of Barbara Mandell's hit, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool." Part of the beat allure, at least for me, is that it's on the fringe in a lot of ways. Yes, Jack enjoys quite a bit of literary acknowledgement, but he likewise suffers a lot of abuse at the hands of critics and the public (especially if the latter is uninformed).

I'm not sure how I'd feel if loving Kerouac becomes mainstream, even for a time. What could be worse than a bunch of people running around idolizing Kerouac simply because they jumped on the latest Hollywood bandwagon?

I doubt the movie will be a critical or a popular success, but I do wonder about the results of such an outcome, particularly popular success. Don't forget, fame helped drive Jack to an early death. What might it do posthumously?

1 comment:

Clelia Sweeney said...

I think that any exposure the Beats get that will perpetuate their glory in the public eye is a good thing. "Howl" has enjoyed a lot of fanfare recently -- with the James Franco movie and the graphic novel. The anguish and exaltation of their writings are still very relevant and relatable today. My friend came up to me yesterday all excited because she had found Jack Kerouac's list of thirty "Essentials for Spontaneous Prose". She read them aloud to me as we sat in the hallway of my building.
The stuff still resonates.