And certainly I've read The Subterraneans: all of his crap for that matter. The man is an ass, a mystic boob with intellectual myopia. The Dharma thing was quite as bad as The Subterraneans and they're both withered appendages to On The Road - which isn't even a novel in the first place. As the Siamese say, "Pea rattles loud in empty head." And so much for Mr. K. - who found a way out of it all. Bully for him...And all his lemmings.
Now I want to tell you....In fact he (Kerouac) was a great influence on me....So now I wanna put out my poem...This is my Ode to Jack Kerouac, who remains one of my heroes...Uhhhh...How about this...
This is called, let's see...This is called 'Hippy Ode To Jack'...
"Four dogs went to the wilderness, Only three came back.
Two dogs died from Guinea Worm, The other died from you.
Well, Jack was not innocent. He ran over dogs...Just think of it...OK...That's enough of that for now...Thank you very much.
And....Ahhh...Ya, well...Jack was an artist in every way...I admire the dog thing most of all.
You know, after reading a bunch of his letters, I get the impression that Thompson was one of those people who was born old and then got younger with age.
In 1958 he was just three years removed from being thrown out of his high school literary club (and high school itself) and into jail. His out was the air force, where he learned to become a sportswriter of sorts while he still harboured desires to be the next JP Donleavy.
Of course, in the end Thompson, like Kerouac before him, could never write a decent straight novel*. But both could, when pushed, almost instantaenously convert what was in their head and in their eye into gold on the page.
Was Thompson addled at age 60 when he babbled on about the much less mythical Kerouac?
Of course he was.
But, clearly, he wasn't joking about the hero stuff.
Which you can almost see in the younger kid's begrudging, backhanded acknowledgement of the greatness that was the new journalism of 'On The Road'.
Not that the old man Thompson would know anything about that.
The blessing and the curse of that new journalism gig, I mean.
*And while I had a passing young man's flirtation with 'The Town and The City', I see it for what it really is now...A half-baked attempt at spontaneous prose wrapped in a straight narrative bit of T. Wolfe (the first) flim-flammery...Not that that is necessarily a totally bad, or even a completely failed, thing or anything...