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Helping You To Know The News > Are the tea party and the beat generation similar?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Oct 13, 2010 05:20AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments A NY Times columnist thinks so:


In other words, the spirit of Beat dissent is alive (though some might say not well) in the character of Tea Party protest. Like the Beats, the Tea Partiers are driven by that maddeningly contradictory principle, subject to countless interpretations, at the heart of all American protest movements: individual freedom. The shared DNA of American dissent might be one answer to the question of why the Tea Partiers, so extreme and even anachronistic in their opposition to any type of government, exert such an astounding appeal.

What do you think?

message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I think the Tea Party is only after individual freedom for people like them.

message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken (playjerist) | 721 comments I’m aware Lee Siegel specializes in stupidly contrived cultural observation, but this piece of rectal-born baboonery gives inanity a genuinely bad name.

He strains so hard to lift this cumbersomely false analogy off the ground he pops off all the buttons on his shirt and pants. Locating a microscopic sliver of commonality (which one can find in the comparison of nearly any two entities) in a mountain range of contradictions and declaring there to be an analogy is so manifestly hydrocephalic as to cry out for medical care.

The analogizing of the Beats and the Tea Party deserves some sort of negative recognition by the Pulitzer gang: let’s call it the Putzer Prize. In fact, I detest this piece to such a degree, and find its remorseless stupidity so egregiously loathsome that I won’t be satisfied until I’ve beaten the author to a gelatinous pulp in a Walmart parking lot.

message 4: by Félix (last edited Oct 13, 2010 02:38PM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) I think the Amish and the John Birch Society are much alike.

message 5: by Phil (last edited Oct 13, 2010 02:08PM) (new)

Phil | 11694 comments Ken wrote: "I’m aware Lee Siegel specializes in stupidly contrived cultural observation, but this piece of rectal-born baboonery gives inanity a genuinely bad name.

He strains so hard to lift this cumbers..."

Huh huh huh . . .   He said hydrocephalic (snort).

message 6: by Kate (last edited Oct 13, 2010 02:37PM) (new)

Kate (kateharper) | 206 comments I'd agree they're similar in one way (which Siegel doesn't mention). They are long on what they don't like and short on actual solutions.

message 7: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (bonfiggi) The Beat Generation was at least trying to improve things. The Tea Partiers I have seen and heard are racist hatemongers.

message 8: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24355 comments Mod
I believe they are similar; I feel certain the Beat generation did their share of teabagging.

message 9: by RandomAnthony (last edited Oct 14, 2010 09:01AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I'm not a fan of the beat generation, outside of Burroughs, sometimes. So I don't pedestal them at all. Howl is hilariously stupid to me...like it's a parody of itself without even trying. That said, I can see the basic point in this article, but I agree that, if you try hard enough, any two entities can be compared...but that doesn't mean they're more similar than different. A lot of organizations/movements fit under the The shared DNA of American dissent banner.

message 10: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (bonfiggi) So true RA, Howl is stupid. I've no love lost for the Beat poets, I think the dissenters of that time had more credibility than the tea party.
Have you read "Deer Hunting With Jesus?"

message 11: by Ken (new)

Ken (playjerist) | 721 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "I believe they are similar; I feel certain the Beat generation did their share of teabagging."

HA! Indeed.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Yeah, but Kerouac was a jerk. No, seriously, he was.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments You just want the hippies to wash, I'm betting. ;)

message 14: by R.C. (new)

R.C. (rc_kinkaid) | 56 comments Somehow I can't envision a stoic band of Tea Partiers sitting in a bar, wearing John Lennon sunglasses and berets while snapping their fingers to the poetry of an angry woman and how the evil capitalistic society oppressed her into slitting her wrists and killing her puppy. Wait...

If we switch out the berets for Stetsons, the snapping fingers for pints of Bud Light and Marlboro's, evil capitalists for liberals, and the puppy for their now deceased 401k...yeah, I could totally see that.

(and yes, I'm aware those are both stereotypes)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Now I want to be a beatnik for Halloween. :)

message 16: by Félix (last edited Oct 14, 2010 11:24AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Stereotypically so. They make it a lot easier to think.

message 17: by Ken (new)

Ken (playjerist) | 721 comments It’s true Kerouac hated hippies, but most of that had to do with their idolizing of him, constantly seeking him out, and generally bugging the shit out of him wherever he went. Of course, they were a natural evolution of the Beats, but even Beats get cranky at those damn kids.

In his last years Kerouac lived with his mother and drank himself to death, and did once famously appear on Firing Line with William F. Buckley. Those who witnessed it say Kerouac drunkenly attempted to align himself with Buckley, though Buckley had little idea what the hell Kerouac was talking about and treated him as a dipsomaniacal curiosity.

The hippies at least knew how to have fun, and surely despised the right things. At least they weren’t Nixonites, prissy little George Wills, Young Americans for Freedom, or other manifestations of conservative foppery.

But the idea that Tea Partiers, truly some of the dimmest bulbs to inhabit the mortal coil, inhaling oxygen surely better utilized elsewhere, have anything in common with Beats is an offense to sentience. What they have in common is their diametrical opposition.

message 18: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Yes! There are so many similarities if we only look a little closer.

message 19: by Ken (new)

Ken (playjerist) | 721 comments King Dinösaur wrote: "Yeah, 'cause the Beats were into cool, socially-uplifting stuff like heroin, alcoholism and misogyny.


Further demonstration of their dissimilarity with the Teabag set: Poets, novelists and intellectuals, and other than Ginsburg, largely apolitical, whose drug use, itinerant lifestyle and overall pursuit of far-ranging experience and extremity contrast severely with clay-footed entitled older folks befuddled by the issues, teed about the changing complexion of America and the crushing threat to freedom represented by the lowest tax rates in more than 70 years.

The Beats can be the most overrated artists and the most hideous human beings ever to respire, and it has no bearing whatsoever on the extraordinary banality of this comparison.

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