Friday, March 3, 2017


F LoBuono
When I'm in a mood like the one I happen to be in tonight, I think of the word BEAT to describe it. I mean it in the same sense that the great author, Jack Kerouac, did when he was writing his seminal work "On the Road" in the early 1950's.  Kerouac, and his compatriots had just witnessed the near destruction of civilization in WWII. Many of them, like Kerouac, served in some capacity (Kerouac was in the Merchant Marine) and experienced the horror of the war firsthand. They returned to civilian life changed men. They saw that the "old way" of doing things was just leading to more death and destruction. It created a weariness in them of heart and soul that was palpable. Kerouac said that they were beat down by their experience. There had to be a better way - and, it could only be achieved with a new type of free thinking. He (and many others) swore to tune in, turn on, and drop out. They were determined to find a new path, a brighter light to guide them into the future. If that meant being "anti-social", then so be it.  They simply would not return to the old ways. And, the Beat Generation was formed.

Now, many people today see the Beat Generation as "beatniks", the precursor to the so-called Hippie Generation - you know folks with long hair, beards, and beads, playing bongo drums and saying "cool man" and "peace" while holding two fingers up in an inverted "V". This is true, but only superficially. The real change came from within. There was rebellion against the authority that had created the whole mess in the first place. The writing of men like Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso crystallized this new way of thinking. They were mad as hell and they were not going to take it anymore!

Well, tonight, I'm beat. Yes, I am physically tired but that's not the weariness that I'm talking about. I'm beat in the sense that my soul aches from what seems to be a constant barrage of negative thoughts and images. Today, exacerbated by a new administration supported by millions of my fellow Americans, fear and loathing rather than love and compassion seem to dominate our thinking. Our President and his supporters seem to seek out the worst in people instead of the best. Hate crimes of all nature seem to be on the rise (statistics are supporting this assumption). Fear and distrust of strangers, i.e. immigrants, is becoming common place. Laws protecting our environment are being rolled back. Billions more will be spent on the military rather than on schools and care for our veterans and elderly. Hard won gains in the LGBT community are being reversed. Health care is being obliterated. It's enough to make my fucking eyes bleed!

And, I'm not sure what to do about it. Writing helps, but is it enough? I'm tired of dealing with trolls, i.e. people with small minds and even weaker constitutions. They are the ones who accept the lowest common denominator simply because it's the easy way out. I wish that they would all just dry up and blow away. I don't want to stop caring. I can't. It's not within me to do so.

I suppose the best thing to do when I get in a mood like this is to follow Stella's advice : Frankie, hang in there. Tomorrow is another day. I can always trust (and, hope) that it holds the promise to be better than today.

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