American Antibeats at Dharma Beats

March 12, 1997




Lineup Card Linescore Scoresheet Boxscore Pitching Notes MCP Comments




This cosmic baseball game was played in memory of Jack Kerouac who would be celebrating his 75th birthday today (March 12, 1997) if he hadn't died in 1969.







One of the first reviews of Jack Kerouac's second novel On The Road called it "an authentic work of art". Gilbert Millstein's praise for the novel in a daily edition of the New York Times was unusual. More typically, reviewers launched broadsides blasting the book and the generation it was supposed to depict. The Beat Generation vortex was morally decadent and corrupt. Established arbiters of opinion, writing in various magazines and newspapers such as Time, The Nation, The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, Partisan Review and so on, decried the philosophy they found embedded in the novel. The Beat Generation with its roots in Spenglerian historical analysis was an affront to the status quo. These sensitive but, for the most part, mainstream reviewers, were frightened by the anarchy bubbling just underneath a society that was frightened by the reality of the times. On the other hand, their political fears prevented them from appreciating the freshness and newness of the form. Gerald Nicosia, one of the best of the Kerouac biographers gets it just right when he writes: "The majority of reviewers sensed the vastness of Kerouac's talent but lacked a means of approaching it, so great was the gap between his technique and that of previous American novelists."






The publication of Jack Kerouac's On The Road in late summer of 1957 came five years after John Clellon Holmes wrote for the New York Times Magazine an article entitled "This Is The Beat Generation". In the article Holmes identified Kerouac with the term and the movement. In 1952 Kerouac had already written two versions of On The Road. Describing "beat" as a "nakedness of mind" Holmes' article attempted to show the positive and spiritual aspects of the Beats. But when On the Road made its public appearance these spiritual facets were ignored. Instead, the culture at large, itself spiritually confused, reflected back that which had already been reflected. By 1958 it was no longer appropriate to discuss what the movement was all about. The November 1958 conference entitled "Is There A Beat Generation", assembled three wits who thought at least there shouldn't be such a generation and one alcohol-preserved poet who symbolized the generation. This conference made it clear that the powers-that-manage-the-status-quo had already mobilized its forces against the reflection. But if you turn off the light, does the reflection go away?







Lineup Cards

American AntibeatsPosInfo
1James WechslerSSNew York Post editor. One of four participants at a November 1958 conference entitled "Is There a Beat Generation?" (Jack Kerouac, Ashley Montegu, and Kingsley Amis were the other participants.) Wechsler called the Beat Generation a "joke" provoking Kerouac to snatch Wechsler's hat and mimic the old radical's posture. In response to Beat literature, Wechsler said "Life is complicated enough without trying to make it a poem."
2Robert BrusteinCFLiterature and theater critic. Critical of the Beat vortex and its anti-heroics he wrote: "Kerouac, McClure and the others fling words on a page not as an act of communication but as an act of aggression."
3Ashley Montagu3BAn anthropologist, Montagu called the Beats "the ultimate expression of a civilization whose moral values had broken down."
4John Updike1BAuthor. In a satirical piece called "On the Sidewalk" published in the New Yorker on February 21, 1959, Updike ridiculed the Beats and their contemplation of "holy hydrants."
5David DempseyCNew York Times Book Review columnist who reviewed On The Road in a September 8, 1957 column entitled "In Pursuit of Kicks". Dempsey was critical of the moral neutrality he found in Kerouac's novel.
6Herb Gold2BThe moral decadence of the Beat Generation was also Gold's subject in the article "Hip, Cool, Beat- and Frantic" published in The Nation magazine on November 16, 1957.
7Carlos BakerRFAfter reading On The Road critic Baker said he felt "sad and blank."
8Dan JacobsenLFIn an essay called "America's Angry Young Men" published in the December 1957 issue of Commentary magazine, Jacobsen berated the Beat Generation's moral positions. He wrote that the Beats "indulge in... violent and delinquent activities."
9Norman PodhoretzPOne of the Beat Generation's fiercest critics. Writing for the Partisan Review (No.25, Spring, 1958) an article called "The Know-Nothing Bohemians" Podhoretz lambasts Kerouac and the Beat vortex for its anti-intellectual characteristics: "Even the relatively mild ethos of Kerouac's books can spill over easily into brutality for there is a suppressed cry in the books: 'kill the intellectuals who can talk coherently.' " The Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, will speculate that Podhoretz's venom is rooted in a personal bitterness dating back to their college years when Ginsberg, as a literary editor at Columbia, rejected Podhoretz's poetry.


Dharma BeatsPosInfo
1Lucien CarrSSBeat Generation muse; see CBA Player Plate
2Elise CowenRFBeat Generation poet; see CBA Player Plate
3Joyce V. AdamsCBeat Generation muse; wife of William Burroughs; see CBA Player Plate
4Jack Kerouac
LFBeat Generation writer; see CBA Player Plate
5Jan Kerouac3BWriter; daughter of Jack Kerouac; see CBA Player Plate
6LuAnne Henderson1BBeat Generation muse; wife of Neal Cassady; see CBA Player Plate
7Levi Asher2BBeat Generation archivist; see CBA Player Plate
8Lawrence FerlinghettiCFBeat Generation poet; see CBA Player Plate
9Neal Cassady
Diane DiPrima
PBeat Generation muse; see Cassady CBA Player Plate
Beat Generation poet; see DiPrima CBA Player Plate







Linescore

Inning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Runs Hits Errors
American Antibeats 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 12 0
Dharma Beats 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 - 4 4 0










Scoresheet


Antibeats-2 at Beats-4

KEY
DP-Double Play; E-Error; FO-Fly Out; GO-Ground Out; HR-Homerun
K-Strikeout; LO-Lineout; T-Triple; W-Walk; - Single; = Double













Boxscores


Antibeats-2 at Beats-4

KEY
AB-At Bats; H-Hits; HR-Homeruns
RBI-Runs Batted In; B AVE-Batting Average












Pitching Details

KEY
W-Won; L-Lost; IP-Innings Pitched; H-Hits
R-Runs ER-Earned Runs; W-Walks; K-Strikeouts












Game Notes




Homeruns Jan Kerouac
Triples none
Doubles Podhoretz (2), Elise Cowen, David Dempsey, LuAnne Henderson, Jack Kerouac
Errors none
Doubleplays Antibeats-1
Beats-4
Left-on-Base Antibeats-10
Beats-1









Stolen Bases none
Caught Stealing none
Umpires William Buckley, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal,
Game Time 3 hours, 21 minutes
Attendance 10,007
















MCP

Most Cosmic Player (MCP)
Jan Kerouac







Comments




Was there really ever any doubt about the outcome of this game? On Jack Kerouac's 75th birthday, did anyone really think the Beats were going to let some of their harshest critics defeat them?

Well, up until the seventh inning the answers were probably a tentative "yes". But Jack's daughter, Jan Kerouac, in one hell of a birthday gift, knocked a 3-run seventh inning homerun to catapult the Beats into the lead of a game which had until then been dominated by the Antibeats. Through six innings Antibeat starting pitcher, Norman Podhoretz, allowed only two Beats on base. He had a perfect game through four innings. In the fifth, LuAnne Henderson hit a solid double to rightfield and in the sixth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti drew a walk. That was the sum and substance of the Beat offense. But in the seventh, Elise Cowen whomped a double, Joyce Vollmer Adams walked to firstbase, and Jack Kerouac belted a double to get Cowen home to even the score at one run apiece. And then the daughter stepped up to the plate and blew the game open. Podhoretz stayed in the game getting the next six batters out in order. But the damage had been done.

Beat starting pitcher Neal Cassady had a rocky outing for the Beats but in one of the most defensively astute games ever played by this or any other cosmic team, the Beats turned four doubleplays shutting down their critics whenever and wherever they threatened. The Antibeats fought right up to the very end and Beat manager Robert Kelly was forced to bring in Diane DiPrima to sew the game up once and for all. Cassady had been running out of steam for most of the game. DiPrima did her job and the Beats beat the Antibeats.

If it is true, as traditional baseball philosophy suggests, that good pitching will beat good hitting, then an exceptional game like this surely proves the rule. Podhoretz was masterful on the mound, but it must have been something like the faulty karma of the Antibeats that let a team with only four hits beat them on this day.

Well, whatever. Happy birthday Jack.





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Published: March 12, 1997

Copyright © 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association
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