Reason Podcast

What the Battle To Publish Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' Means to Today's Free-Speech Struggles

The People v. Lawrence Ferlinghetti explains how America embraced free speech—and how we're ready to throw it away.

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I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…

Those are the opening lines to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" (1955–56), a poem which helped kickstart a major cultural and legal transformation in America, one that made our country looser, hipper, and much more at peace with all sorts of alternative lifestyles, libertine sexualities, and, perhaps most important, speech that was profane, raucous, inventive, and unrestrained—what Ginsberg's fellow Beat Jack Kerouac called "spontaneous bop prosody."

Immediately upon the debut of "Howl" in print, Ginsberg's publisher—Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books—was hauled into court on obscenity charges in San Francisco, a town that was at the time known to be particularly uptight and conservative. The trial, which ended in a surprising verdict of not guilty, helped to usher in a new era of free speech in America.

But is the era of free speech ending? Everywhere we look, it seems, there are more and more attempts to shut down offensive and provocative speech. Sometimes, this is done in the name of protecting kids or the sensibilities of marginalized ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. Other times, calls for censorship are made in the name of protecting the political process from "dark money" or foreign influence, or in the name of national security.

On today's podcast, Nick Gillespie speaks with Ronald K.L. Collins, a lawyer and scholar at the Newseum's First Amendment Law Center and the author of a weekly blog called First Amendment NewsHe's also the co-author with David M. Skover of The People v. Lawrence Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," a fast-paced history of the obscenity trial that ended in a watershed victory for free expression. A poet in his own right—his A Coney Island of the Mind has sold over one million copies—Ferlinghetti remains at 100 years old an amazing character: a World War II battle veteran turned pacifist, a civil libertarian, and a socialist. Gillespie talks with Collins about the enduring relevance of Ferlinghetti's trial to contemporary attempts to shut down speech and expression that some people find offensive.

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

 

 

 

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  1. San Francisco, a town that was at the time known to be particularly uptight and conservative.

    Newsflash: It still is, just for different shit.

    1. Do you have to be so literal?

      1. This is a terrible insult to San Francisco prosecutors, who have never been “uptight” or “conservative.” Today both the left and the right agree that certain “free speech” limits must not be transgressed, and that violators belong in jail, not in college classrooms and libraries. The San Francisco DA did the right thing by bringing charges against the publisher of Howl, and it’s not his fault that the case was wrongly decided.

        In New York, we had better luck with our nation’s leading criminal “parody” case, which was prosecuted not to protect “marginalized” ethnic groups or “kids” as the article above wrongly implies, but to rightly defend the reputation of one of our most dignified faculty members here at NYU against inappropriate accusations of plagiarism that we have done our very best to suppress ever since they first emerged many years ago. See the case documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        1. The San Francisco DA did the right thing by bringing charges against the publisher of Howl, and it’s not his fault that the case was wrongly decided.

          Why do you come to a libertarian site looking for sympathy for this view?

            1. Thank you for joining my anti-troll campaign, and far from me to seek “sympathy” for the truth. Here at NYU, we smelled a Dead Sea troll, and we knew exactly how to take care of it. Fortunately, we had direct contacts with the right law enforcement officials. It’s easy to talk about “free speech” in the abstract, but when you are confronted with someone “stirring up controversy” that nobody wants on a quiet college campus, then you will realize that the so-called “first amendment liberties” are nothing but a nuisance and a scam that the courts know how to get around when they have to.

          1. I think it might be some very deadpan parody. Assuming he’s the guy behind the blog linked to his handle.

            1. I smell a student. Meet me at the orifice on campus? I’ll be moving back in soon. There will be no more “Title IX complaints,” and when we start classes again, be sure to quote me and Derrida in your term paper in accordance with departmental guidelines, and you will do okay.

    2. The idea that Progressives are anything but reactionary conservative fascists is remarkable for its longevity.

      1. That is because the truth lasts forever.

        1. I wouldn’t be so sure.

          1. It disappears for a while but it always comes back.

            1. I think what Mr. Umlaut was saying is that an untrue idea is remarkable for its longevity. I.e., the idea that Progressives are not reactionary conservative fascists.

              1. Yes, and the irony is that they are just that and the claim is absolutely true and always has been.

                1. “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” Nietzsche

  2. Did he coin the term “hipster”?

    1. “How can twenty-five men keep Chicago dry, when it would take that many to watch the hipsters in one hotel dining room?” This is the question heard among those who already have obtained table reservations.
      —New York Tribune, 22 Dec., 1920

  3. Supression of speech by the government in the form of obsenity laws is about as relevent today’s politics as how to overhaul an engine in a Model T is to automechanics today. The threat to free speech today comes not from laws but from corporatism and angry mobs.

    If something as offensive to today’s mores as Howl was to the mores then were written, there is no law to prevent it from being published. Unlike Howl, however, something that offensive to today’s mores would never be published. Suppose you wrote some horribly racist and anti homosexual novel. No publisher would touch it. No online platform would allow you to self publish. Any place that allowed you to speak would be overwhelmed by mobs of angry retards the way speeches by Ben Spapiro and Milo Yianopolis are.

    We have lost our free speech. And we lost it because we allowed a bunch of bullies to take it from us. We only have ourselves and the bullies to blame. This is one time the government isn’t the problem.

    1. There’s your problem with the public vs. the private sector. Given the convergence of the both of them, is there really a distinction? Other than the fact that the private sector isn’t obliged to respect your constitutional rights, that is. Very handy for governments looking for somewhere to offload their dirty work.

      1. It has become a distinction without difference, especially when you consider the amount of corporate merging that has gone on. I would rather have a hundred local DAs trying to censor my novel or video than Google deciding to do so.

        1. I would rather have a hundred local DAs trying to censor my novel or video than Google deciding to do so.

          Good Lord, John, that is nuts even for you.

          If you try to publish something offensive, that Google doesn’t like, what is the worst Google can do? Deplatform you.

          If you try to publish something offensive, that your “100 DA’s” don’t like, what is the worst they can do? Throw you in jail, deprive you of liberty, force you to pay court fees and lawyer costs and fines, and compel you to defend yourself against their attempts to deprive you of your liberty.

          For all the power that Google has, it is still less than even that of a local DA when it comes to coercion and force.

          And by the way this is not a defense of Google deplatforming anyone. This is just about putting things into perspective. Google cannot throw you in a cage and force you to defend yourself against obscenity charges. The most they can do is simply not amplify your voice, not take your voice away the way the state can.

          1. Good lord jeff, your post is stupid and tone deaf even for you. If my goal is to get my message out, the DA’s in bumfuck can’t really stop that. They can throw some poor bastard in jail for reading my book in public but they can’t keep people from reading it. Google in contrast can erase it from existence. Make it impossible to find its serch engine, ensure that no one publishes it and so forth. That is a much graver threat to free speech than a hundred communities setting crazy obscenity standards, which are impossible to enforce now anyway.

            Is there any subject that you are capable of understanding and saying something intelligent about rather than jumping in with a complete misunderstanding of the issue followed by something completely stupid and disengenious? Just one? Baseball perhaps? Something, anything.

            1. They can throw some poor bastard in jail for reading my book in public but they can’t keep people from reading it.

              They, along with the other coercive instruments of the state, can throw YOU in jail for writing it, they can ban the book from their jurisdiction, they can force Google NOT to publish it even if Google wants to, they can force all other publishers not to publish it.

              Google in contrast can erase it from existence.

              No it can’t. Google can throw your publication off its platform. Granted that’s a big platform. But they cannot delete your publication from existence. The libraries are full of books that Google has no record of. And yet they still exist.

              1. They, along with the other coercive instruments of the state, can throw YOU in jail for writing it, they can ban the book from their jurisdiction, they can force Google NOT to publish it even if Google wants to, they can force all other publishers not to publish it.

                No they can’t. That is not how obscenity law works. You can never be prosecuted under an obscenity laws for writing something or reading something in the privacy of your home. The problem becomes when you sell it or display it publiclly.

                And yes Google can make it impossible for my book to be distributed or for me to make a living or any money from doing so. You deny it because you like the people they are screwing. When they screw someone you like and they will, you won’t like it so much.

                1. I’m not just talking about obscenity laws, John. Look at the totalitarian regimes around the world. Heck just look at the official state censorship and book bans that have occurred from time to time in this country. THEY are the ones that can actually take away your voice. Not Google.

                  And yes Google can make it impossible for my book to be distributed

                  How? Can Google stop you from printing copies of your own book?

                2. The state CAN prevent you from printing copies of your own book.

              2. DA’s still have to fight in court and win. Google can be the DA, judge, jury and executioner all in one.

          2. I wouldn’t mind you geting things so wrong if you were not such a smug douche bag. You really are a person who has no idea what you don’t know. That is something that just drives me up the wall.

    2. And if you are going to throw around terms like free speech, you should be more precise in your definitions.

      Do you mean the term free speech in the constitutional meaning of the term? If so then the prohibitions against restricting speech apply only to the government. So it is thus a tautology that the threat to free speech, understood in this sense, comes only from the state.

      Or do you mean more of an *ethos* of free speech, where, beyond any sort of formal government rule, individuals are encouraged to promote an open expression of ideas? I broadly agree with such an ethos, but then again, such a spirit should be subordinate to private property rights. If Google doesn’t like what you are saying, provided they are not breaking any contracts or violating any of your rights, they should have the liberty to utilize their private property rights to kick you off their property – in the *exact same way* that if you invited some stranger onto your property, and the stranger then started speaking in a manner that you didn’t approve of, you should have the liberty to utilize your private property rights to kick the stranger off *your* property.

      1. Nothing you are saying here has any relevence to my point. It is so not relevent and such a waste of time, it is hard to know where to even begin.

        Suffice it to say that property rights have nothing to do with this. If your society and media are controlled such that you can’t voice an unpopular view without losing your job and having your life ruined, you are not free. The fact that society at large and a few powerful corporations are doing it rather than the government makes no difference. You are still not free in both cases. Moreover, private property rights do not make that situation any better. Free speech and property rights are two different things that can exist equally.

        No, I am not talking about the first amendment. I didn’t define it explicitly because anyone with an IQ above 100 making an honest reading of the post can see that.

        1. Suffice it to say that property rights have nothing to do with this. If your society and media are controlled such that you can’t voice an unpopular view without losing your job and having your life ruined, you are not free.

          It has everything to do with the conflict between private property rights and the ethos of free speech. And if your position is that if your employers should not have the liberty to kick you off their property for whatever reason they choose, up to and including disagreement with your unpleasant views, then you are advocating for subjugating their private property rights. You can’t get around this.

          Either you must use the state to compel all employers to continue to employ certain employees against their wishes (i.e., deprive them of their property rights) even if they find their employees’ views repugnant, or you must acknowledge that however laudable an ethos of free speech might be, it must take a back seat to the enforcement of more concrete private property rights.

          1. Jeff you can’t be as dumb as you appear. You are just a dishonest asshole. No one is talking about government coercion. We talkign about a situation where a society becomes oppressive such that you are no longer free to express unpopular ideas. And you know it. But you support a society like that and are too dishonest to say so. So instead you strawman and try to change the subject to government coercion.

            You are just an asshole. Everyone here sees through your bullshit and can’t stand you for good reason.

            1. No one is talking about government coercion.

              Okay, then you tell me how you plan on forcing employers to continue to employ individuals who espouse “wrongthink”, at least in the eyes of the employers.

              1. I missed where he said he was planning on using force.

                1. Okay, so what’s the plan then?

                  If the plan is “I don’t want to use government force to stop employers from firing people who express opinions they don’t agree with” then great – we agree! But that means that people WILL get fired for nothing more than offering unpopular opinions, which John is opposed to and has said that this practice makes him less free.

                  So what’s the plan?

                  1. Calling out bad behavior in society where we see it? I’m thinking you don’t understand the difference between libertarian and libertine. I’m allowed to call out behavior I think is immoral without wanting the state to enforce it for me. You seem confused between the two.

        2. Moreover, John:

          If your society and media are controlled such that you can’t voice an unpopular view without losing your job and having your life ruined, you are not free.

          Your definition of “free” sounds a lot like how an Ayn Rand novel’s villain might define it: that your freedom must entail *someone* (but totally not the government!) violating someone else’s property rights on your behalf.

          1. I missed where he said “entail”.

    3. Publishers have always had that power. I’m sure there were plenty of things in 1950 that couldn’t find a platform anywhere.
      The power that Google and others have is troubling, but I think you go too far in saying that it is worse than government censorship and criminalization of publishing certain things. Google isn’t everything. And it won’t be dominant forever.

      1. I know, right?

        This is John giving Google MORE power than they actually have. Yes Google has a really big platform but ultimately they cannot completely take away a person’s voice, like the state can.

        The cynical part of me says that this is John just trying to create a strawman-bogeyman out of Google in order to justify advocating later about how much they need to be punished by the government. Knowing John, the cynical interpretation is probably true.

  4. “dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix”

    “Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs”

    “suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal”

    “who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma”

    “who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup”

    “you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha”

    Never mind the mid-50s – would this poem be okay in SF today?

    1. Hell no it wouldn’t. I don’t think it would be published today. We are much less free now than we were then. The howling mobs of SJWs have infested nearly every institution in society. That is much worse than a few local yockels declaring something obscene.

    2. Never mind the mid-50s – would this poem be okay in SF today?

      No. But suggesting so is “being literal” or something.

    3. Although to be fair it wouldn’t end up with an obscenity trial because that racket has been outsourced to the tech sector now.

      1. Nuh uhh. Property rights.

  5. The People v. Lawrence Ferlinghetti explains how America embraced free speech—and how we’re ready to throw it away.

    ———-
    ‘We’re ready?’ Speak for yourself.

    1. And “America” never embraced free speech in the sense Nick is talking about. A few activist judges did. And it is not at all clear they did so out of a love for free speech or the desire to use free speech as a means of tearing down society.

      Indeed, the intellectual descendents of the judges who gave up The People v. Lawrence Ferlinghetti decided that the right to “free speech” doesn’t include all forms of political speech or the ability to donate to or advocate for a political candidate without government interference.

    2. Had it not been for a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court in Citizens United (a majority that would have ended after the death of Antone Scalia had the Republicans not refused to confirm Obama’s nominee or if Hillary had won the 2016 election), all political speech in this country short of your private conversations would be subject to some form of government regulation. When you consider how close we were for it being illegal to make a movie about a political candidate, it is hard to see how “America” ever embraced free speech whatever that means.

  6. after the death of Antone Scalia

    Antone Scalia the hip hop artist? That Antone Scalia?

    (j/k)

  7. “But is the era of free speech ending? Everywhere we look, it seems, there are more and more attempts to shut down offensive and provocative speech.”

    As a left-libertarian, I think this is a good thing. See Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky’s piece Is the First Amendment too broad? The case for regulating hate speech in America.

    #LibertariansAgainstHateSpeech

    1. Why is everyone named Noah seem to be such a douche?

      1. how do you follow the O.G.? there can be only one Noah.

    2. Furthermore, we Koch / Reason libertarians have additional motivation to support hate speech laws. We could classify all opposition to our open borders agenda as hate speech (because immigration restriction is inherently racist), thereby effectively outlawing alt-right white nationalism.

      #ImmigrationAboveAll

      1. “We could classify all opposition…as hate speech.” The real agenda; thank you OBL.

    3. No one who wants to regulate speech is a left-libertarian.

  8. >>>hauled into court on obscenity charges

    what *was* obscene is now less so if not at all = no words are obscene and never were

    1. But now they ARE violence.

      1. lol. can’t believe it got that far.

  9. Regardless of the varying opinions of Alan Ginsberg, we can all agree that his greatest work was the spoken vocals on Ghetto Defendant, by The Clash.

    1. hooked on necropolis.

      1. I wasn’t a big fan of Combat Rock when it came out (Give em Enough Rope is my favorite), but looking back on it they had a lot to say.

        1. I always liked that one a lot. I would take it over Sandanista any day. Really though, I hardly ever listen to their studio records anymore. They did a live compelation in the late 1990s called “From Here to Eternity”. I always listen to that. I think every song on it sounds better live than the studio version. They were a great band but I think they were let down by their producers.

          1. I have From Here to Eternity. Fantastic live album.

            1. The version of I Fought the Law on that record is as good of a straight rock song ever done. I could live to a hundred and still enjoy listening to that as some obscene volume. It is just great.

        2. I wasn’t a big fan of Combat Rock when it came out

          Me, neither. First album is the only one I liked without reservation. Even London Calling only grew on me over time. Sandinista could have been a great double album, instead it’s a mediocre triple-album.

          And can they be forgiven for Cut the Crap?

          1. Cut the Crap isn’t a Clash record. I prefer to think of it as a tribute band.

            1. Fair enough – no Mick Jones and a clearly incoherently-drunk Strummer. I suspect they did it for contract reasons, or maybe just for the cash.

              1. Strummer fell under the spell of a first class evil manager. Jones got fed up and left the band. Strummer had such a big ego, he thought he could go on without the band, big mistake. By the time he figured out the manager was a crook and Jones was right about him, Jones had already formed Big Audio Dynamite. The story is that Strummer went and found Jones in Jamaica to apologize and invite him back to the band and Jones said he was already too far down the road with Big Audio Dynamite to come back and that was it.

                Strummer and Jones were the Jagger and Richards of punk rock. It is a real shame they screwed it all up.

                1. >>>Jones got fed up and left the band.

                  Big Audio Dynamite was all over KROQ when i was a senior.

                  1. Big Audio Dynamite was all over KROQ when i was a senior.

                    My favorite KROQ promotional segment was from Andy Partridge: “Andy Partridge here to ask you to listen to KROQ and other Russian swear words.”

                    1. yes. lol.

        3. siriusxm plays them all day on the Marky Ramone canal – 712

          i like to ski to them … Clampdown and Death or Glory are good for tempo

          1. Complete Control really swings. It also has the great lyric “Jump on the bodies, just to make sure”. The other one that never gets played that is great is Career Opportunities. The lyrics are funny as hell and it is just a great rock and roll song.

            I always thought the Clash were too clever and too good of players to be considered a punk band. Punk as a general rule is shitty music played by people who made a fetish out of being shitty musicians. The Clash were the polar opposite of that.

            1. “Punk as a general rule is shitty music played by people who made a fetish out of being shitty musicians.”

              The reminds of an interview Chrissie Hynde gave about punk music (paraphrasing here) –

              “Most punk bands just went away because they weren’t serious. The ones that were serious learned how to play instruments and write lyrics, and at that point punk was dead.”

              1. at that point punk was dead

                Except for Bad Brains. Best blend of musical virtuosity and hardcore punk. Them and the Toy Dolls.

                1. Minor Threat –> fugazi

                  East Bay Ray w/Dead Kennedys is a favorite guitarist … but yeah Chrissie was mostly correct

            2. The other one that never gets played that is great is Career Opportunities.

              Do you wanna make tea at the BBC?
              Do you wanna be, do you really wanna be a cop?

              I always thought the Clash were too clever and too good of players to be considered a punk band.

              Indeed they weren’t really a punk band – almost none of the first wave of British punk really were. The Stranglers were another case of that – they were already a band when punk exploded and so they dirtied up their sound a bit, lied about their age, and passed themselves off as punks.

              As Stuart Copeland said at some point, in the late ’70s you either went punk or you went reggae. Since The Police mainly wanted to show off, they chose a big dose of reggae in their early stuff. The Clash went “punk” at first, but by Sandinista they were doing full blown disco.

              IMHO, the only of the original British punk bands that I would call truly “punk” was The Damned. And, yes I’m including The Sex Pistols.

                1. Well, now you’re talking American punk, which is a whole different thing. Stooges, New York Dolls, MC5, Richard Hell, Ramones.

                  British punk was only ever an imitation of American punk. The Damned succeeded by sticking to those roots.

                  1. yeah sorry wrong continent. love MC5 and NY Dolls … and Fear was awesome. let’s have a war.

                    1. let’s have a war.

                      Clean out this place!

                2. Ironically, The Sex Pistols actually stole their shtick wholesale from a concept album put out by a prog-rocker (founder of Van der Graaf Generator) where the concept is about what a stupid and annoying marketing trick punk rock is (in his opinion).

                  1. I saw an interview with John Lydon a few years ago where he talked about how he famously said “you ever feel like you have been cheated?” at the end of the last Sex Pistols show at Winterland. He said people always took that line to mean he was taunting the audience for taking their money. He said he was talking about himself and the band. Lydon said they wanted to be a real band but were made into a circus act by Malcolm McClaren. Lyndon said that because he felt like McClaren had cheated them out of their ambition to make them a clown show. I thought that was a very astute observation.

                    1. Yeah – McClaren is a super-sleaze. IIRC, he was the one who pushed them to fire Glen Matlock, who could play bass, with Sid Vicious, who couldn’t, because he knew Sid would generate the most press (which per Hammill’s “Three Spectres” is how you win).

                      He moved on from the Sex Pistols to Adam Ant, who also was too clever for him, so he moved on to exploiting a 14-year-old.

                      Lydon’s a smart guy (I snark, but I think he was genuinely sympathetic to the point Hammill was making, rather than simply being a thief), but by his own admission he’s talentless. I’ve often reflected that Public Image, Ltd., would have been a great band with a different singer.

                    2. Agreed. His work with Public Image Ltd is a major step up from the Pistols.

              1. I hate civil service rules
                I won’t open letter bombs for you

                That whole song is just great. Could there be a cleverer line than “Career opportunities the ones that never knock”?

                1. I don’t wanna die fighting in the Donegal Heath

                  I don’t wanna die fighting in the Falklands Strait

                  Depending on the version you’re listening to.

      1. kewl i did not know that existed.

  10. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix…”

    “best minds of my generation” seems to be a very debatable assertion.

    College professors slobbering all over Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs has made me think that the “Beats” were only great in the minds of their sycophants.

    1. Kerouac wrote one great novel, On the Road, and then went mad. Burroughs interesting and very strange novels. I wouldn’t call something like Naked Lunch great but it wasn’t bad.

      Ginsberg, however, was just a loser. Keith Richards has it about right when he describes Ginsberg as “an old gasbag”. Ginsberg wrote nothing of value.

      1. Burroughs interesting and very strange novels. I wouldn’t call something like Naked Lunch great but it wasn’t bad.

        I remember Burroughs described right here on Reason some years back as a little too creepy even for the beats.

        The only work I’m familiar with from Burroughs is some kind of Christmas tale about a junkie which I thought was very good and powerful and of course The Naked Lunch which I don’t have much of an opinion about.

        Regarding his personal life? Dude was grade A fucked up.

      2. Burroughs’s novels are a bit difficult, but he was a very interesting and smart (and creepy and totally fucked up) guy. I’d recommend checking out some of his essays and short fiction if his novels are too much. One of my favorites is about what he thinks literary criticism should be like.

        1. One of my favorites is about what he thinks literary criticism should be like.

          Can you give the twitter summary?

          1. Basically try to get subjective opinion of the reviewer out of it and actually look at what the author was trying to do and how well he accomplished it.

    2. “best minds of my generation” seems to be a very debatable assertion.

      Indeed. Here’s a pointed parody.

      Of the lot of “the Beats,” Burroughs was the only with appreciable talent, and I don’t think he really thought of himself as a ‘member of the group.’ They were just some dorky guys who insisted on hanging out with him.

      Kerouac is probably the most over-rated novelist of the 20th century if not of all time. IMHO, his books are deadly dull. I *like* Ginsburg better than I like Kerouac, but he’s also a very over-rated poet. “Howl” is pretty much the only noteworthy thing he ever did, and that was really more notoriety than it was sincere respect and appreciation.

      It’s not a coincidence that Ginsburg was in marketing before he re-branded himself as a “Beatnik.”

      1. Paul Bowles had a lot of talent. I think The Sheltering Sky is a great novel. I would take that over anything Boroughs wrote.

    3. I don’t recall who originally said this,but i’m inclined to believe that the Beat Generation was Kerouac and five of his friends.

      1. Maynard G Krebs.

        1. Good Lord, L — how old *are* you?!

          1. Old enough to have purchased coffee for five cents a cup AFTER I graduated college and went to work.
            I can remember when the Republicans were for individual liberty, and Democrats were concerned about the deficit.

  11. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

    1. That article contains so many lies and distortions it would make Orwell bluch. The worst one is this

      The YouTube move comes after a report in the tech news website The Verge documenting harassment of a journalist based on his race and sexual orientation by right-wing commentator Steven Crowder.

      Crowder didn’t do anything except ridicule the creepy little bastard. It wasn’t harrassment. These people are evil.

      1. I haven’t seen the piece that they are referring to, but Crowder doesn’t do that. I don’t always agree (conservative vs. libertarian) but it doesn’t fit with what I have seen. He does make fun of people when they say or do stupid things, but I have never heard him ridicule someone because of their race or sexual orientation.

        1. Crowder did refer to the Vox kid as “a lispy queer”. Whether it crossed the line should be up to the viewers. Considering the Vox dude calls himself a queer, repeatedly I think Crowder’s label loses some of its edge.

          I don’t think there’s much evidence that Crowder hates gays or there was really any invective in it, but of course, that’s in the ear of the beholder.

          I agree with Tim Pool… Crowder was dancing on the razor’s edge, but banning him would have gone too far.

          1. PS, in keeping with the point of this entire post, Ginsburg would be called an alt-right yokel today.

          2. People should probably know better than to say things like that these days. All the people looking for an excuse to dismiss you will jump at the chance.
            But unless you have shown some pattern of actually being a bigot, it’s just being uncouth, and it’s ridiculous that people get banished from polite society. Sometimes rude people, or people with views you find offensive have things to say that are worth hearing.

            1. Crowder in my opinion is really in the same league as the Daily Show (used to be). I’ve watched a few Crowder videos and as someone who takes comedy very seriously, he’s actually pretty good. Some of his parody videos are top notch with excellent production values. One of his best was his parody on To Kill a Mocking Bird regarding the #MeToo movement.

              Also, the other day he put out an apology video which I clicked on thinking it would be an actual apology to the Vox dude, but it ended up being a comic rundown on every insult he’s ever thrown at people and I must say, his Insult Comedy is top fucking shelf.

              “…he’s the kind of guy that shows up uninvited to a party carrying a warm case of Zima…”

  12. Free speech for me, not for pee.

    :: drops mic, bends to pick up mic, peaks under OBL’s dress ::

  13. I like The Jacket’s – and probably the other Reason writers’ – take on culture.

  14. People saying it’s not the same, because SJWs might not like free speech but they aren’t banning it.

    Bullshit. The are most certainly banning it in the areas over which they have control: College campuses. There’s is not a live and let live philosophy where they will just wag their finger at you if they disagree but otherwise let you get on with your life. Nope, their entire philosophy of the universe is about employing the power of government to control the lives of others. You can sse this in everything they write. If they had the power to ban books like Howl, they most certainly would do so.

    But even if they never get that power, they will still do their upmost to stop publishers, shut down venues, disrupt traffic, engage in uncivil disobedience, throwing feces at those who disagree, etc. They are petulant children who scream to get their way.

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