Buckley, Kerouac, Sanders and Yablonsky discuss Hippies
February 4, 2018 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Ah yes, the Summer of Love. All of us just-barely teenage hippies at the time watched that live, and quoted from it the next day in the Junior High lunchroom.

And that one guy, who was for some reason allowed to wear a brown shirt and Nazi armband to Public School classes (different times), was the only one sticking up for Buckley. Although I did kind of like Buckley's style in a way, but just not his message.

We the hippies thought our side won that one. My father disagreed.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:09 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

That's Ed Sanders, not Bernie, or Harland, or Richard (aka Les Nessman), definitely not Sarah, or Larry (of the fictional Show), or Chris (Disney animator and voice of Stitch... he would've been 6 years old at the time and probably have made the discussion more fun) or any other Ed Sanders (Wikipedia has 3, plus an Edward and an Edmundo).

My strongest memories of 1968 was having been taken out of the L.A. Public Schools in favor of a 'rotten rich kids' Private School where I was bullied by the son of a television legend who later wrote about his failures as a parent, and a U.S. History class with a teacher/coach who 30 years later could have been a star on Talk Radio. So, no hippie influence here.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:48 PM on February 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

The irony is that you have three of the most brilliant writers of their generation (and I include Buckley, an amazing person in his way) in the same room, and they all they can do is talk stupidly about a stupid topic. I blame the medium.

What would have been interesting would have been a discussion between the Roman Catholic Buckley and the Zen Roman Catholic Kerouac, and the future historian of Charles Manson (Sanders) on the subject of God or sin -- or even literature. Anything but this.
posted by Modest House at 3:55 PM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

I can see your point, Modest House, but you should also understand how important this show in particular seemed to us at the time.

We had made it onto Dad's favorite show. We could not be scoffed at and marginalized any more, and, what they don't get into here, is that the primary hippy ethos was anti-war, and that message was somehow legitimized by this mainstream recognition.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:01 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

far fuckin' out man
posted by mwhybark at 4:39 PM on February 4, 2018

I fucking hate Buckley with the fire of a thousand suns

but the older I get the wittier he seems

never trust anyone over 30 amirite yo
posted by mwhybark at 4:42 PM on February 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

I had forgotten the way Buckley licks his lips like some sort of evil dragon.
I can't figure out if I hate the smart conservatives more than the dumb ones, but at least he seemed to know what he was talking about.
posted by MtDewd at 5:10 PM on February 4, 2018

That transatlantic accent really oozes from Buckley doesn't it? Like some uninspired Bond villian.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:24 PM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

We the hippies thought our side won that one. My father disagreed.

um, nobody won the 60s - i was 11 at the time of this interview, so i do remember the 60s, but not the interview

buckley's a prig, of course, but unlike today's brand of conservatives, he actually seemed interested enough in what his guests had to say to let them talk - sanders made some very good points, but didn't really seem to understand that hippies weren't just a media creation but a self-identified movement - and, damn, he really should have in his position - yablonsky gave me the impression of someone the hippies felt was too boring to dose ...

... and kerouac - it is so sad to see him like that, so sad to see the feelings of betrayal and self-betrayal covered with a smart-assed demeanor and lots of alcohol - he may have been a bit of a bad boy when he was younger (actually he was a misogynic jerk), but he was a patriotic bad boy who loved america and didn't really understand what was happening to it - even as he understood that the new generation was better than his - even if he saw, rather brilliantly, that both sides in the vietnam war wanted our "jeeps" - the north wanted our anti-colonialism and development and the soutn wanted our "freedom" and development - just look at how our countries are relating today - they do, in fact, want our jeeps - and some protection from the chinese, which anyone who's studied their history could have guessed - they've been fighting for 2000 years

and the irony of his telling ed sanders about ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing - that's the charles manson story right there - i would hope sanders remembered that as he was writing his book

meanwhile ginsburg is looking on, concerned and sad - part of me wishes he'd been up there instead, as he would have probably had more coherent things to say - but maybe not as pointed
posted by pyramid termite at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

and there's even more - i also watched ginsburg's interview about this and i'm afraid kerouac gets anti-semitic, another fault of his ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Buckley speaks the language with great skill, he make sexy uh huh through this whole thing, (he musta had sumpin' goin' on the side, at the time.) The Fugs guy did well in this and Yablonsky. The snorting fool seated by Buckley, just like what man? To paraphrase the Moody Blues, "William F. Buckley's dead, oh oh oh oh, he's on the outside, looking in." Buckley is always such a good watch and listen, his brilliant theater and vocabulary use, oh and the pure insolence.
posted by Oyéah at 6:55 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the (apparently) official link that pyramid termite found is much better, and contains the full segment.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:01 PM on February 4, 2018

I had to stop watching when they got to Kerouac. Holy jeezus, he was only in his forties then? I mean, I heard he fell apart, but I didn't realize it was so (relatively) early, or drastic.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 9:44 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

he was dead within a year
posted by philip-random at 10:51 PM on February 4, 2018

sanders made some very good points, but didn't really seem to understand that hippies weren't just a media creation but a self-identified movement

If you turn something into a product and advertise the shit out of it, it's inevitable that you'll have customers.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:34 AM on February 5, 2018

I had to stop watching when they got to Kerouac.

I used to have a tape of this interview and I recall having a similar reaction when I first saw it. I think it was doubled down for me because he looked a lot like my late alcoholic grandfather. Both French Canadians from similar backgrounds. Watching it now, all those familiar mannerism my grandfather had and the handsome features made worse by drink - its reminding me about a lot of stuff I don't care to remember... In anycase, Kerouac (and frankly most of the Beats) though problematic could usually be counted on to offer an insight or a clever turn of phrase that came from left field as pyramid termite points out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:26 AM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

sanders made some very good points, but didn't really seem to understand that hippies weren't just a media creation but a self-identified movement

albeit one that officially pronounced itself dead a year previous to this discussion.

Death of Hippie was a mock funeral staged on October 6, 1967 meant to signal the end of the Summer of Love. Organized by the Diggers to convince the media to stop covering the Haight, attendees burned underground newspapers and hippie clothing. Leaders carried a coffin down Haight Street and the crowd stopped for a “kneel-in” at the corner of Haight and Ashbury.
posted by philip-random at 8:56 AM on February 5, 2018

I found a transcript which might be easier than watching drunk Kerouac.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:24 AM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

What a bunch of assholes.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:05 PM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

This discussion is somewhat less stupid than I'd expected. I really hate Buckley because he's a dirty rhetorician in his other political debates, but here he's just snide and let's everyone explain without interrupting too much. Kerouac is drunk, ill, and dying, but gets a few odd zingers in through the haze.
posted by ovvl at 6:47 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

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