DAILY BRIEFINGThe Moron's Daily Briefing
Mar. 12 - At the end of the second world war, America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Each bomb killed so many people so quickly and made the world so safe for peace-loving democracies that America began feeling pretty good about things and forgot all about being Depressed, etc. This caused the hula-hoop, the soda fountain, and Annette Funicello.
Not everyone could master the hula-hoop, however, and the alienation experienced by those who couldn't resulted in the development of an American counterculture.
Scoffing the traditional values of mainstream America, the counterculturalists experimented with bold new ideas. They forsook the established middle-class pleasures, such as wine, woman, and song, in favor of radical new ones, such as sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll.
Born 81 years ago today, Jack Kerouac was a child of the Depression and a veteran of the second world war. He was therefore torn between these competing value systems and roamed the country aimlessly in search of grammar and punctuation.
The adventures described in On the Road were based loosely on his real-life travels with the infamous Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, whose insatiable appetite for borscht led Kerouac to dub them "The Beet Generation."
You can read extracts from my own version of On the Road at GregNagan.com, by clicking on "Excerpts" and then selecting "On the Road."
Along with Jack Kerouac, today is the birthday of Darryl Strawberry (1962), James Taylor (1948), Liza Minnelli (1946), Barbara Feldon (1941), Al Jarreau (1940), and Edward Albee (1928).
It's Renovation Day in Gabon, Independence Day in Mauritius, and Youth Day in Zambia.
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac