Ever wanted to travel across America with nothing but a leather jacket, cheap pack of cigs, distressed jeans, and an equally cheap gang of Hardy Boys? Well, now you no longer need to when you just need to read this book.
On the Road is funny bad prose from a traveling hobo. I’ll be honest and say it was an amusing read particularly because of this for a while, but chapter after chapter you start to get into serious deja vu as Kerouac (“Sal Paradise” is his name in the novel) keeps going back and forth across America and experiencing, well, virtually the same things. Personally, I feel the work is severely overrated given so many people’s mid-life crises during its published generation; it must be like the 1950’s version of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.. At least Howl had some wicked cool metaphors. It also helped that the author was batshit insane. In here however, nothing really happens save for Kerouac documenting his mundane journey with pen names for the people in his life (it turns out he really wanted to fuck over their privacy and publish their real names, but fortunately his editor was a little smarter than that and realized how not to get your ass sued).
On the Road‘s textual subtleties are nil, and it wrongly perpetuates the American standard of ‘cool’ that remains pernicious in modern culture. Sex, drugs, racism, raving madly in jazz clubs, and having a Devil’s threesome—some of these are not things to flaunt (and do so pretentiously), and yet Kerouac feels his three-week-written novel is boastworthy because of how little time he spent on it. The homoerotic nuances were interesting at least; his passages feel more passionate talking about Dean than any of the bimbos he screws. Let that last thought sink in. For a homophobic class which worships this novel so blindingly, that implies somethings about the American populace, doesn’t it?
As a melodramatic idiot back in high school, I did aim to hitchhike across the
galaxy world at some marker in my life. However, I later arrived at the sounder conclusion that it simply isn’t worth it. Ever see that episode in the latest Arrested Development season where Lindsay and Tobias go on separate “soul-searching” journeys to India, and only perchance on colossal failures of an enlightenment? That’s how I feel it would be like. It’s really quite unproductive; starters questions like “What is the meaning of life?” won’t get any closer to be solved when you spend months, or even years in Kerouac’s case, talking with bumbling idiots and taking half the time sitting on dirt roads with your pitchblack thumb whicketing in the air. What an American dream.
You may be asking what the hell I’m doing writing about a novel when this is supposed to be an anime blog. Well, it turns out I’m taking the GRE tomorrow morning which I’ve been studying my ass for this whole week, and I can’t be arsed to watch any anime at the moment. This is a nice break from my GRE self-study sessions, and will at least tide things over when I can get started (hopefully) writing about Monogatari next week.