Wait, Did He Really Call the Beats ‘Whores’?


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

October 5, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 50

The Notnik

Dear Sir:

Once I was so broke that Joe Gould bought me a beer. I’ve lived in the Village for 15 years. I’ve been a faithful reader of The Voice since the first issue. I’ve watched the invasion of Our Cherished Community by hordes of tourists, and whores of beats playing up to them. I’ve even read some of what Beats have written. At last it’s beginning to make sense – I’m getting a clear picture of the present-day Notnik. Here is a portrait of He, She, or It:

He giggles delightedly at thieveries from others, but loans his pad to casuals in the mystic belief that nothing will be stolen. Guess what?

He is a pacifist/vegetarian but approves of Castro’s firing squads.

He says he wants the Truth, and thus excuses all lies.

He resorts to drugs, but castigates the squares for escaping to TV.

He despises the middle class, but rushes to any scene where he may cavort for is amusement.

He professes to be beyond moral codes, yet constantly make anguished moralistic denouncements of anyone who ventures to write or say anything.

He preaches for more and better orgasms, but avoids every commitment, nuance, finery, permissiveness, affection, desire, etc., that might produce one.

He chooses the role of the tapeworm, then complains about all the crap in our society.

He believes in the billion-monkey theory of writing — if he just writes long enough, he will be bound to find something worth saying. (But a billion monkeys writing requires at least one monkey reading.)

He thinks he is being daring when he throws punches at himself and then pulls them.

He objects to practice for getting off the streets in event of air raids, and then leaves town to avoid the raids.

He thinks the society is not worth saving, and then tries to save it from nuclear weapons.

He wants to join the Negro as a virile outsider, and collides with the Negro who wants to join the whites as a virile bourgeois.

He is constantly confessing his weaknesses, but it never occurs to him to confess the weakness responsible for his hatred of the culture he lives in.

He believes that unrestrained subjectivity excuses all ignorance of history, literature, and law. He is like a painter who rejects all that men have learned about mixing colors — preferring the discovery that mud (and other substances) provides the color brown.

He is very, very Sincere.–Ted Golas, West 10th Street.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 1, 2009


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