in Secondary, Works

58.4a

“Hip Mailer Talks to Orwell Forum; Defines American Beatnik Generation.” John C. Wellington, Yale Daily News, 9 December 1958. Wearing a beard and sitting cross-legged on the stage of the Yale Art Gallery auditorium, Mailer answered questions about “The White Negro” (57.1), hipsters and beatniks. The beatniks, he said, were partially a result of the “oppressive” life of the Negro in America, who looked for new means of expression in language and action to combat it. “This life is not casual. But it is brave, as the beatniks live with danger. It is not a cheap or passive decision.” The creative powers of people were curtailed, and the new life the beats lead is necessary, even if it is “somewhat insulting and mocking” to an ordinary person. The inner life of hipsters, he continued “is different than going to an analyst. It is going against the state. Going against what is socially acceptable.” He went on to say that the country “is getting sicker. Television plays are phony, filled with lies.” He also blamed the lack of creativity on the Cold War.

Norman Mailer (1958)