Hipsters, Beatniks, and Romantic Racism: Subculture Trinity

The title of this post–while somewhat ridiculous–pretty much sums up what I’ll be examining for the next few months.  This week, I’ve gone about the business of selecting and acquiring some texts that I’ll be analyzing: Kerouac’s The Subterraneans, and an article by  Norman Mailer, entitled The White Negro. Does that last one sound revolting? Absolutely; its content is even worse than the title–and that article is almost essential when it comes to dissecting the mess of 40’s-60’s (white) subculture in america. In my opinion, Mailer’s article is a beatnik manifesto.

Why are you studying this?
I’ve been asked this question a handful of times already, and my reasons & answers keep evolving. Honestly, towards the end of summer, I doubted the validity of taking this on. I worried about my area of interest being too small to thoroughly examine; let alone allow me to produce a body of work in response.  I mean, how effectively can you really research some old subculture?
Boy, did those insecurities clear up quick. Like into thin air.
In less than four days, I discovered so much stuff that I can barely keep track of it–and am now firmly convinced of not only the substantiality of my research area, but of its relevancy to my own generation. Oh the connections! Oh the uncanny parallels! (I must admit, I’m super excited, but not too shocked.)

I’ll spare you the details (just this once) because it’s time for dinner, but needless to say, I will be diving into the bulk of my research with enthusiasm.

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