Sunday, October 11, 2015

Salon's David Krajicek gets in a long line of detractors who just don't get Kerouac (and never will)

A recent (Sunday October 11, 2015) Salon piece (click here) doesn't cover any new territory in terms of Jack Kerouac criticism: he was misogynistic, blah blah blah, etc. However, its primary source -- a 1962 letter from Kerouac to fellow Beat luminary Lucien Carr -- is included as a link and is worth the price of scrolling through author David Krajicek's hack journalism. Or, don't bother with the Salon piece and just click here.

The letter is clever, funny, brilliant, creative, ribald, and edgy. It even references -- without naming her -- Natalie Jackson, Neal Cassady's girlfriend who fell (jumped) off a roof to her death in 1955 (Kerouac immortalized her as Rosie in The Dharma Bums and she appeared in other Kerouac works as well).

Kerouac knew full well that his written correspondence might well become public some day -- he kept it immaculately organized just in case -- so it's hard to defend this as private thoughts between friends. Instead, it's easier to see it as just another creative piece by this genius author, using the recent death of a major celebrity to spur a riff full of literary and other references it will take a month of Sundays to unravel.

Raging alcoholic or not, Kerouac often reflected the male attitudes of his time, but to screen his legacy through today's values is an exercise in retroactive stupidity. He wrote some of the most beautiful prose ever to see ink, and even this 1962 frolic, while perhaps misguided by today's cultural standards, stands as an illuminating part of the Kerouac oeuvre.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an idiotic essay. I'm not even going to begin to address the theme, but just say that pretty much everyone in this world, including David Krajicek, has uttered a misogynistic statement, perhaps pointing out a "nice ass" to a friend about some woman passing by on the street, but because they are not famous, or brave enough to hold their correspondence up for public scrutiny, they will not be judged publicly as this hack has done to Kerouac.

Richard Marsh