|American Antibeats at Dharma Beats|
This cosmic baseball game was played in memory of Jack Kerouac who would be celebrating his 75th birthday today (March 12, 1997) if he hadn't died in 1969.
One of the first reviews of Jack Kerouac's second novel On The Road called it "an authentic work of art". Gilbert Millstein's praise for the novel in a daily edition of the New York Times was unusual. More typically, reviewers launched broadsides blasting the book and the generation it was supposed to depict. The Beat Generation vortex was morally decadent and corrupt. Established arbiters of opinion, writing in various magazines and newspapers such as Time, The Nation, The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, Partisan Review and so on, decried the philosophy they found embedded in the novel. The Beat Generation with its roots in Spenglerian historical analysis was an affront to the status quo. These sensitive but, for the most part, mainstream reviewers, were frightened by the anarchy bubbling just underneath a society that was frightened by the reality of the times. On the other hand, their political fears prevented them from appreciating the freshness and newness of the form. Gerald Nicosia, one of the best of the Kerouac biographers gets it just right when he writes: "The majority of reviewers sensed the vastness of Kerouac's talent but lacked a means of approaching it, so great was the gap between his technique and that of previous American novelists."
|1||James Wechsler||SS||New York Post editor. One of four participants at a November 1958 conference entitled "Is There a Beat Generation?" (Jack Kerouac, Ashley Montegu, and Kingsley Amis were the other participants.) Wechsler called the Beat Generation a "joke" provoking Kerouac to snatch Wechsler's hat and mimic the old radical's posture. In response to Beat literature, Wechsler said "Life is complicated enough without trying to make it a poem."|
|2||Robert Brustein||CF||Literature and theater critic. Critical of the Beat vortex and its anti-heroics he wrote: "Kerouac, McClure and the others fling words on a page not as an act of communication but as an act of aggression."|
|3||Ashley Montagu||3B||An anthropologist, Montagu called the Beats "the ultimate expression of a civilization whose moral values had broken down."|
|4||John Updike||1B||Author. In a satirical piece called "On the Sidewalk" published in the New Yorker on February 21, 1959, Updike ridiculed the Beats and their contemplation of "holy hydrants."|
|5||David Dempsey||C||New York Times Book Review columnist who reviewed On The Road in a September 8, 1957 column entitled "In Pursuit of Kicks". Dempsey was critical of the moral neutrality he found in Kerouac's novel.|
|6||Herb Gold||2B||The moral decadence of the Beat Generation was also Gold's subject in the article "Hip, Cool, Beat- and Frantic" published in The Nation magazine on November 16, 1957.|
|7||Carlos Baker||RF||After reading On The Road critic Baker said he felt "sad and blank."|
|8||Dan Jacobsen||LF||In an essay called "America's Angry Young Men" published in the December 1957 issue of Commentary magazine, Jacobsen berated the Beat Generation's moral positions. He wrote that the Beats "indulge in... violent and delinquent activities."|
|9||Norman Podhoretz||P||One of the Beat Generation's fiercest critics. Writing for the Partisan Review (No.25, Spring, 1958) an article called "The Know-Nothing Bohemians" Podhoretz lambasts Kerouac and the Beat vortex for its anti-intellectual characteristics: "Even the relatively mild ethos of Kerouac's books can spill over easily into brutality for there is a suppressed cry in the books: 'kill the intellectuals who can talk coherently.' " The Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, will speculate that Podhoretz's venom is rooted in a personal bitterness dating back to their college years when Ginsberg, as a literary editor at Columbia, rejected Podhoretz's poetry.|
|1||Lucien Carr||SS||Beat Generation muse; see CBA Player Plate|
|2||Elise Cowen||RF||Beat Generation poet; see CBA Player Plate|
|3||Joyce V. Adams||C||Beat Generation muse; wife of William Burroughs; see CBA Player Plate|
|4||Jack Kerouac||LF||Beat Generation writer; see CBA Player Plate|
|5||Jan Kerouac||3B||Writer; daughter of Jack Kerouac; see CBA Player Plate|
|6||LuAnne Henderson||1B||Beat Generation muse; wife of Neal Cassady; see CBA Player Plate|
|7||Levi Asher||2B||Beat Generation archivist; see CBA Player Plate|
|8||Lawrence Ferlinghetti||CF||Beat Generation poet; see CBA Player Plate|
|P||Beat Generation muse; see Cassady CBA Player Plate|
Beat Generation poet; see DiPrima CBA Player Plate
DP-Double Play; E-Error; FO-Fly Out; GO-Ground Out; HR-Homerun
K-Strikeout; LO-Lineout; T-Triple; W-Walk; - Single; = Double
Antibeats-2 at Beats-4
AB-At Bats; H-Hits; HR-Homeruns
RBI-Runs Batted In; B AVE-Batting Average
W-Won; L-Lost; IP-Innings Pitched; H-Hits
R-Runs ER-Earned Runs; W-Walks; K-Strikeouts
|Doubles||Podhoretz (2), Elise Cowen, David Dempsey, LuAnne Henderson, Jack Kerouac|
|Umpires||William Buckley, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal,|
|Game Time||3 hours, 21 minutes|
|Most Cosmic Player (MCP)|
Well, up until the seventh inning the answers were probably a tentative "yes". But Jack's daughter, Jan Kerouac, in one hell of a birthday gift, knocked a 3-run seventh inning homerun to catapult the Beats into the lead of a game which had until then been dominated by the Antibeats. Through six innings Antibeat starting pitcher, Norman Podhoretz, allowed only two Beats on base. He had a perfect game through four innings. In the fifth, LuAnne Henderson hit a solid double to rightfield and in the sixth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti drew a walk. That was the sum and substance of the Beat offense. But in the seventh, Elise Cowen whomped a double, Joyce Vollmer Adams walked to firstbase, and Jack Kerouac belted a double to get Cowen home to even the score at one run apiece. And then the daughter stepped up to the plate and blew the game open. Podhoretz stayed in the game getting the next six batters out in order. But the damage had been done.
Beat starting pitcher Neal Cassady had a rocky outing for the Beats but in one of the most defensively astute games ever played by this or any other cosmic team, the Beats turned four doubleplays shutting down their critics whenever and wherever they threatened. The Antibeats fought right up to the very end and Beat manager Robert Kelly was forced to bring in Diane DiPrima to sew the game up once and for all. Cassady had been running out of steam for most of the game. DiPrima did her job and the Beats beat the Antibeats.
If it is true, as traditional baseball philosophy suggests, that good pitching will beat good hitting, then an exceptional game like this surely proves the rule. Podhoretz was masterful on the mound, but it must have been something like the faulty karma of the Antibeats that let a team with only four hits beat them on this day.
Well, whatever. Happy birthday Jack.