Jack Kerouac Reads from On the Road and Visions of Cody

Sheer genius. A Great Drunken Boddhisattva, the Great Rememberer of ecstatic insane meetings and parties where geniuses of a generation, musicians, bums, petty criminals, and junkies indulged in everything “mad to live, mad to talk” and chronicler of everyday life in the conservative America of the late 40s and 50s from the point of view of someone who was thoroughly outside the mainstream, yet wrote love letters to that age in America, before the interstate highway system, before franchised stores destroyed the unique things in unique places that he found, when people still placed importance on LIVED experiences rather than passive consumption of mass media images and thoughtless consumption of unneccesary commodities. When music was visceral, exciting, dangerous. When being a hipster wasn’t a mere clothing choice, when the shackles of western monotheisms where being cast off. When being a rebel was dangerous but a path to freedom. When the spontaneous outpourings of words became the written equivalent of the dangerous and subversive jazz music he adored. So enjoy this video clip, but really – read his books. He may have failed to attain the enlightenment he always sought and self-destructed owing to the commodification of his art and person, the weight of having to live up to mass media hyped images of him and the burden of Catholic indoctrination, but he remains a compassionate teacher and brilliantly used his skillful means in writing to jolt people out of theirapathy, their mere acceptance of what is (getting them to ask “Why not?” and “Do I Have to be ”’normal”?), and while he was devoted to his Buddhist studies, he wrote the first great American sutras, setting more people onto the path of the Buddha, taught many to accept and enjoy living without a plan and embrace just hitting the road, rather than remain lost in the conformity of the masses.

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