Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac hang out with New York's beats, 1959


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Kerouac seems to be a physically attractive guy (he looks much like an ex-boxer turned artist friend I used to know). I wonder how much influence he carried with looks vs. personality?


I think the takeaway here is that if you equate ‘counterculture’ with ‘aesthetic fashion choice’, then you’re going to get coopted. Fashion isn’t really transgressive, or it doesn’t stay that way very long. Burroughs dressed like a square and he was one of the most transgressive people ever.




Subcultures of the future will remain secret so as not to be co-opted.

They probably already exist as such.


Based on the short video clip, it looks more like “Kerouac mansplains to NY beats”.


As someone who has first-hand experience with many people who were an actual part of the Beat Generation I can say that the “beatnik beret and bongo” imagery is wholly manufactured. Even the name beatnik was largely considered pejorative (even though many took ownership of the name later). Most of them were young and ordinary people from disparate backgrounds united by common ideals.

There’s also the irony in the Beat counterculture eventually being co-opted into the mainstream but that’s another topic for another time.


I think a lot of his influence and popularity was based on his looks. I think many male readers of On the Road were as fascinated with the fantasy of being him – including of looking like him – as they were with the adventures it depicted.


Kerouac was a beautiful young man and a fine athlete in his youth. He ran track and played football, earning a scholarship to Columbia for his skills on the field. He fell apart as he kept drinking that sweet Tokay.


Poor kids, always having to watch out so they don’t get jabbed by a cigarette.


That was cool.

Unless I’m mistaken, here’s how that corner where they were hanging out at looks now:


I saw Ginsberg in Austin years ago. He picked a cute (well, of course) homeless guy and had him play guitar while he spoke some of his stuff. I gather that he’d throw dollar bills behind his back in New York City, just to see what mayhem he could cause. I’d like to see the likes of him again, but that probably ain’t happening.


Well, I dressed in a suit and tie to see Jimi Hendrix. I figured that that would be the oddest thing to wear at a Hendrix concert. Tulsa. Somewhat sparsely attended so I got out of my nosebleed seat and stood in front of the speakers. Yes, I am partially deaf. The Sex Pistols did not help that at all.


Uh, I think I am the only person alive who can say they’ve seen Jimi, The Sex Pistols AND Benny Goodman. I’m old.


I always get weirded out by the frequent presence of children in '50’s and 60’s counterculture images.

Being a drug-fucked outcast is one thing, doing it with kids in tow is something else.

Hooray for birth control.


So now I’m dying to know how you dressed at the Sex Pistols concert? I assume it was when they came through Texas? Please help a punk historian out!

I think that just makes you cooler than the rest of us, TBH!



I’m jealous.

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