Monday, January 23, 2017

Has Trump been reading Kerouac?

I made a connection today while re-reading On the Road for the umpteenth time (this time, again, in preparation for my Kerouac class tomorrow: reading assignment = PART ONE Chapters 1-5). I was at the beginning of Chapter 4 and these words resonated (Kerouac is describing the hitchhikers on the flatbed truck driven by two young blond farmers from Minnesota -- "the greatest ride in my life"):
I looked at the company. There were two young farmer boys from North Dakota in red baseball caps, which is the standard North Dakota farmer-boy hat, and they were headed for the harvests;.... (Penguin, 1976, p. 24)
Of course, given current events, the image of a red baseball hat representing heartland America was already burned into my brain by media coverage of Trump rallies. And a question arose in my Kerouac-obsessed brain: When the Trump campaign was looking for the perfect hat on which to emblazon its motto, "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN," did they pick a baseball hat for its ubiquitousness among the disenfranchised middle class and the color red for their anger?

Or, had somebody been reading On the Road?

We  know it wasn't the President because he's never read a book, let alone a Kerouac novel. But it could have been a staffer tasked with coming up with something to capture the zeitgeist of the campaign in an American wardrobe staple.

We'll probably never know if there was a Trump-Kerouac connection here, but I wish I could un-know the possibility.

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