The Hipster, The Hipster, and That

"The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way--a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word 'beat' spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America--beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction--We'd even heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer--It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn't gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization--the subterraneans heroes who'd finally turned from the 'freedom' machine of the West and were taking drugs, digging bop, having flashes of insight, experiencing the 'derangement of the senses,' talking strange, being poor and glad, prophesying a new style for American culture, a new style (we thought), a new incantation--The same thing was almost going on in the postwar France of Sartre and Genet and more we knew about it--But as to the actual existence of a Beat Generation, chances are it was really just an idea in our minds--We'd stay up 24 hours drinking cup after cup of black coffee, playing record after record ofWardell GrayLester YoungDexter Gordon, Willie Jackson,Lennie Tristano and all the rest, talking madly about that holy new feeling out there in the streets- -We'd write stories about some strange beatific Negro hepcat saint with goatee hitchhiking across Iowa with taped up horn bringing the secret message of blowing to other coasts, other cities, like a veritable Walter the Penniless leading an invisible First Crusade- -We had our mystic heroes and what's wrote, nay sung novels about them, erected long poems celebrating the new 'angels' of the American underground--In actuality there was only a handful of real hip swinging cats and what there was vanished mightily swiftly during the Korean War when (and after) a sinister new kind of efficiency appeared in America, maybe it was the result of the universalization of Television and nothing else (the Polite Total Police Control of Dragnet's 'peace' officers) but the beat characters after 1950 vanished into jails and madhouses, or were shamed into silent conformity, the generation itself was shortlived and small in number." -Kerouac

Now we wear expensive jeans, cheap t-shirts, dabble in music, drugs, life. no one takes things too seriously. we try to represent a culture- or the future of our culture, for that matter- it is too dangerous to dedicate oneself to anyone thing because nothing is perfect enough. our tastes and ideas have been gentrified. we pout when we play music. the things bought for us are the best because we don't have to analyze their value long enough to devaluate it as a worthwhile belonging or statement. spiritualism is a struggle for a minority of the hidden psuedo-free-spirited. 
hedonism has overcome mental expansion. we take drugs to relate to the finite not the infinite. the "hipster" thinks he's someone else. self-worth is no longer internalized (self-appreciation too, for that matter); self-worth is determined by how others judge you and you judge them. we judge others and ourselves, nothing is sacred except that intangible critique. 
this mentality is internalized in us when we are growing up in that cliché privileged and bigoted suburban coming-of-age. we get educated. by a system. we learn to think outside the system (as much as it allows us). 
to the bottom line. (a bonfire of the vanities? a bonfire of vain persons?)

what this generation lacks is sincerity, honesty, first-hand experience, internalized experience, a sense of gentle humor, compassion, introspection, calls for change...
The real hipsters were "jailed and sent to mad houses." But what is so wrong with searching? Have things really changed that much where we can be free to think and do what we want to do, not hurting anyone, just being kind as much as possible? I think things haven't changed that much, and thats why our generation is the way it is. because we know deep inside what is actually out there and we are up against the walls in the last fortress of what we know: ourselves and the culture we dip our feet into once and a while, and our impulses too. we are limited to those, how they shape us.

we need to look into crystals and forget what's not important. who cares? I want to create. Let the critics be who they will, those who are afraid to create. To the bottom line. Is it enough? Is that enough?

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