Notes Sitting Listening
as an historian, McNally tries to "put phenomena in context"
~ artists as "antennas of of the human race"
~ in the 1950s "Communism" was just a code word for the modern world in general; in the 1950s there was "an overwhelming pressure to conform."
THE ALTERNATE VOICE - everyone that didn't fit into mainstream conceptions of normal American life.
- religious skepticism
- individual value over the corporation/state
- sexual freedom & sensuality
- American Bohemian Tradition consistently demonstrates an attachment to African-American cultural breakthroughs (jazz in particular)
Bohemian life = a "life protest" to counter the "soulless, flat corporate world."
(In the Q&A after the talk someone asked if there is a Bohemian culture today and McNally hesitated, shook his head, and basically said "it's hard to be a Bohemian in today's world.")
Kerouac's great gift? His "naive defenselessness." Meaning, the beautiful wonder with which he saw the world. He investigated the soul and the idea of endless eternity, "the void," instead of distracting himself with the usual politics business stock market book review Literary Canon orthodoxy. He was already living in eternity while the culture around him grew sillier and more irrelevant.
|Jack Kerouac's Grave, Edson Cemetery, Lowell, Ma|
October 2, 2010