Kerouac and the Beat Generation

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”Jack Kerouac, On the Road

PART 1 Dear students, it’s the end of our  English class together and  (quoting Shakespeare) “the wheel has come full circle”. We ended up last year with the Romantic poets like Blake and Shelley so dear to the beatnik writers. We started our new year with O. Wilde.

As usual while I was preparing your next lesson I had a look at You Tube and found some incredible videos. I find it so amazing when I can “give VOICE, MUSIC & FACES” to all the concepts and books I had studied and read but never … seen alive if not in my imagination. Your approach to this topic and this last author of ours is going to be so different from mine. You can now hear Kerouac’s voice while he reads his own work ( so fundamental to appreciate the “beat” and flow!), you can  see him and the images of New York in the background, you can have it explained sitting at your desk and have a taste of Jazz music. I really hope you’ll appreciate all this and one day…while driving around the USA, you’ll … remember your “crazy” teacher of English 🙂

Dal programma Cult Book in italiano ( la pronuncia di Kerouac e’ errata. Corretta = Keruac) una breve introduzione in italiano.

The next videos an American introduction to the author and book. ““I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” TAKE NOTES to report in class

PART 2 JACK KEROUAC AND ON THE ROAD:

This is the link to the GOOGLE MAP of Kerouac’s On the Road

http://tiny.cc/mwo25y

Jack Kerouac, interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr. from a documentary on the soul of the Beat Generation. Beat, (a)politics, (non)hippies, drunkenness and television.. “Everything is going to the beat — It’s the beat generation, it be-at, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like old-time lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat…” Jack Kerouac – Desolation Angels

Kerouac reading the last page of “On the Road” with pictures of Jack and Neal.

I even came across a video of Johnny Depp reading Kerouac ( you never know what you’ll end up with while searching YouTube!!), a strange interpretation of his philosophy of  living for “kicks”. It certainly conveys that psychedelic atmosphere. The first line is Ginsbergs America, the rest is Depp reading Kerouacs Mexico City Blues Chorus 113″ (an excerpt from the film the United States of Poetry by Washington Square Films.)

Un articolo del Corriere della Sera come doveroso omaggio a Fernanda Pivano che ci ha lasciati il 18 agosto 2009 e grazie alla quale l’Italia ha conosciuto gli scrittori e la letteratura americana. Una grande donna, non so se ne parlerete mai in Italiano ma non può venire dimenticata! Famosa è la sua intervista a kerouac ubriaco.

I cannot help adding also some stunning photos of Big Sur. I drove from L.A. to San Francisco in 1988 and still haven’t forgotten those fantastic views. Should you go to California one day you cannot miss the City Light Bookstore in San Francisco

Trailer of the movie (2012) directed by Walter Salles featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen.

PART 3: I’m now adding two videos we’ll watch in class. The first is the poem AMERICA by Allen Ginsberg with the music of Tom Waits.

The next “Howl” is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation. “Howl” was originally written as a performance piece, but it was later published by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books. The poem was originally considered to be obscene, and Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged with its publication. On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene.

TASK: After finishing our module on the Beat Generation leave your “last optional” comment of your High School English literature class 😉

Thanks a million! Cimy

Recycling

Hi! After having learnt in class the new vocabulary about the environment and seen the video on Global Warming I would like to share with you a video that reminds us of how we are destroying our planet because of our consumerism. It’s THE STORY OF STUFF.

The next is a very interesting video from Ted, a nonprofit you’re already familiar with devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading that started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. The video by Mike Biddle is about recycling plastic. It’s pretty interesting and it well introduces the idea and goal of our module.

  • Take down some notes: Have you learnt anything new or anything you hadn’t thought about before?

Now let’s listen to the funny video by Jack Johnson THE 3 RS which is right about the topic of recycling. Just fun 🙂

I took the next photos while I lived in Ireland but I’m sure you can find similar depressing sights also here in Italy or in Pordenone. I really hope they will make you think over the  importance of cooperating to preserve our environment, to reduce pollution & make our planet a better place. It’s not that difficult if you spread the word as regards the utmost significance of recycling not only paper, glass & plastic but also all electrical appliances. It’your right to have a better future  and to say NO to this shame.

HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES DUMPED at the side of the road.
HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES DUMPED at the side of the road.
A fridge stranded on Howth beach. What a shameful sight!
A fridge stranded on Howth beach. What a shameful sight!

Now have a look at two stunning photography websites by Chris Jordan. The first is called Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption & left me speechless. Each image portrays a specific quantity of some kind of waste such as e-waste, mobile phones, cigarette butts, cell phone chargers, circuit boards, bullet casings, diodes, glass you name it!: VISUALIZING MERE NUMBERS MAKE THOSE REALITIES SOOOOO DAMN REAL! It thus makes us realize how important it is to preserve our environment!

The second website depicts images of MASS CONSUMPTION like the  one million plastic cups, the number used on airline flights in the US every six hours or the 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every thirty seconds or 400,000 plastic bottle caps, equal to the average number of plastic bottles consumed in the United States every minute. Choose the photo on the right, click and then ZOOM in the image. It’s just amazing!!

Here’s a British GUIDE TO RECYCLING. Have a look! You can find a lot of new words you may need. I’m also adding some videos on HOW Electronic waste WEEE ( Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment) can be recycled.

I want to end this post by publishing 2 videos that I hope will make you think twice before dumping in the bid an old electric appliance. Please keep in mind that all this only happens when electrical waste is handled illegally. And that is exactly what the European Commission wanted to stop by implementing the WEEE  European directive.

E-waste in Ghana. Every year, tons of used electronics from North America, Europe and other industrialized parts of the world end up in countries like Ghana. This is where televisions, computer monitors and VCRs smuggled illegally come to die. Largely the business of boys and young men, electronics are torn apart, their plastic shells discarded or used as stools or buckets. The guts of computers hold copper, aluminum and other metals that can be sold for money. A kilogram of copper sells for about $4 – over half of Ghanaians live on less than $2 a day.
Electrical wires and cables are some the main components holding the precious copper. To separate the metal from its plastic or rubber enclosure, fire is the fastest solution. Boys set ablaze the plastic casings of computers, sometimes throw in Styrofoam from old refrigerators to increase the intensity of the flames. They then throw in the wires or other components to burn off the plastic. The fire spews a thick, black smoke, releasing not only toxic fumes but chemicals that seep into the ground, meters away from the basic homes of Agbogboloshie, one of Accras poorest neighbour-hoods.
According to a Greenpeace study, some of the chemicals released during the burning process can affect childrens developing reproductive systems, brain development and the nervous system. Ground samples collected from the area were found to contain toxic metals, such as lead, in quantities exceeding one hundred times background levels. Other chemicals such as phthalates – some of which are known to interfere with sexual reproduction – and chlorinated dioxins – known to promote cancer were also found in some of the samples.

Hoping you have found this post of some help and interest I hope YOU WILL TAKE ACTION as the future of our planet depends on you. YOU CAN STOP ALL THIS! Thanks for your attention & remember that with a small action you can contribute to a sustainable future, guaranteeing good quality of life and a more efficient use of our planet’s resources 🙂 Leave a comment if you feel like.


cimy