On the Road Again?
I probably won’t be checking out The Hobbit this weekend, as the reviews are dreadful and I didn’t even care for the bloated Rings trilogy. However, there’s an upcoming release that does attract my interest, a remake of Jack Kerouac’s masterpiece On the Road, a book that launched thousands of teens on vision quests around the world to find their true identities, while searching carefully for any potential sacraments that might aid in that mission.
Today a lot of people complain On the Road is meandering and structureless. They fail to understand the book introduced a new zeitgeist and trumpeted the appearance of an emerging counterculture that had been incubated inside the jazz scene for a century. Kerouac found an edge where Zen met Congo Square, and the two cultures were essentially revealed to have the same foundations. The counterculture actually began in Congo Square in New Orleans and the one element it prizes above all else is unfiltered, improvisational energy. On the Road was the literary equivalent of a wild jazz solo. And just as important, the book introduced tribal and Eastern concepts of spirituality which allowed a new spiritual vocabulary to emerge, one that dealt with vibrations and telepathic energies.
The Beats were inducted at the 12th Cannabis Cup, and Carolyn Cassady, the great love of both Jack and Neal, was the High Priestess. The thing Carolyn most wanted to convey was that everyone was extremely conservative in the 1940s, including the Beats, most of whom had conventional ideas about love and marriage. Jack’s biggest accomplishment, according to Carolyn, was his ability to inject meaning into everyday life and to treat every moment as a sacred experience.
By the way, if you attempted to read On the Road and were turned off because the narrative wasn’t pronounced enough for your taste, I suggest you pick up Big Sur, Kerouac’s greatest masterpiece. You won’t be disappointed.
The 12th Cannabis Cup provided a huge jump in terms of the video I was self-producing on limited budget because that year iMovie was released, giving me an opportunity to really delve into non-linear editing. Check out the short highlight reel I produced that year: