William F. Buckley Meets (Possibly Drunk) Jack Kerouac, Tries to Make Sense of Hippies, 1968

The first mod­ern use of the word hip­pie can be traced back to 1965, when Michael Fal­lon, a San Fran­cis­co jour­nal­ist, used the word to refer to the bohemi­an lifestyle emerg­ing in the city’s Haight-Ash­bury dis­trict. (Appar­ent­ly, Fal­lon took the word hip­ster used by Nor­man Mail­er and then short­ened it into hip­pie.) By 1967, the mass media could­n’t stop talk­ing about hip­pies. It was the Sum­mer of Love in San Fran­cis­co, the defin­ing moment of the coun­ter­cul­ture, and the rest of the coun­try was scratch­ing its col­lec­tive head, try­ing to make sense of it all. Who bet­ter to do it than William F. Buck­ley, the emerg­ing voice of con­ser­v­a­tive Amer­i­ca?

In this clas­sic 1968 episode of Fir­ing Line, Buck­ley tries to demys­ti­fy the hip­pie move­ment with the help of three guests: Lewis Yablon­sky, a pro­fes­sor of soci­ol­o­gy and crim­i­nol­o­gy at Cal State-North­ridge; Ed Sanders, the activist poet who helped form The Fugs; and then Jack Ker­ouac, author of the Beat clas­sic, On the Road. In many ways, Ker­ouac inspired the hip­pie move­ment. And he, him­self, acknowl­edges the rela­tion­ship between the Beats and the hip­pies. But, in watch­ing this clip, one thing becomes clear: in style and sub­stance, he and the hip­pies were also worlds apart.…

Don’t miss Yale’s lec­ture on Ker­ouac and On the Road here.

via Bib­liok­lept

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jack Ker­ouac Reads from On the Road (1959)

Ken Kesey’s First LSD Trip Ani­mat­ed

William F. Buck­ley Flogged Him­self to Get Through Atlas Shrugged

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Comments (10)
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  • Olivia says:

    (Ker­ouac’s name is spelled incor­rect­ly in the URL and the title of the post …)

  • Dan Colman says:

    Ah, but I got it right in the post where it real­ly counts!

    Thanks for catch­ing the typo.

  • “Pos­si­bly drunk”? I like when his eyes roll back in his head at one point while he’s try­ing to untie his tongue.

  • Thorn says:

    How things change is equal to how they stay the same. Four views from dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al / world view inter­pre­ta­tions all find­ing it hard to walk in each oth­er’s shoes. ( includ­ing inter­view­er )
    Except Karu­ac who was pos­si­bly have trou­ble with his own. Though to be fair he has all the hall­marks of been here, seen this, done that, now pay me my fee so I can go back to bar.

  • Thorn says:

    Excuse my dic­tion, I’m defi­nat­ly feel­ing a tad Karoaced right now.

  • James R. says:

    Actu­al­ly Buck­ley should’ve loved Ker­ouac, as both were right-wing Roman Catholics, though by 1968 I think Ker­ouac may have been fur­ther right than Buck­ley was will­ing to go. I’ve no doubt Ker­ouac was brought on that pro­gram in full knowl­edge that he was an alco­holic has-been and in full expec­ta­tion that he would act accord­ing­ly and hope­ful­ly dam­age the hip­pie move­ment there­by.

  • Houndog says:

    Total­ly a cal­cu­lat­ed move on the part of WFB.

  • Paul R says:

    This could’ve been great as a con­ver­sa­tion between two kings of eru­di­tion, but it was an ill-con­ceived pan­el dis­cus­sion. It turned out OK if you con­sid­er how bored Jack must’ve been.

  • Elaine Williams says:

    Jack Ker­ouac “pos­si­bly drunk” Seri­ous­ly!? He was fucked up and act­ed like an ass­hole. I always thought he was an over rat­ed ass­hole.

  • Gerald Kolpan says:

    The use of “hip­pies” is WAY old­er than 1965.

    Just one exam­ple: the Orlons’ 1963 hit, “South Street” which begins…

    “Where do all the hip­pies meet?
    South Street, South Street…”

    And Black Amer­i­ca was using the phrase decades before that.

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