Tag Archives | beats

Beat Punks: A Brief History of the Counterculture from William S. Burroughs to Kurt Cobain

PIC: Beat Punks (Da Capo Press)

PIC: Beat Punks (Da Capo Press)

An interview with Victor Bockris on his book Beat Punks

by Phil Weaver

I’m a huge fan of Victor Bockris’ book Beat Punks, a collection of interviews and photographs documenting the relationship between the Beat generation and the punk movement in the 1970s downtown New York scene. The book does a great job of illustrating the cross-pollination of two generations (’50s Beats and ’70s punks) that resulted in one of the most extraordinary cultural flowerings of the 20th century. I recently talked to Bockris about some of the ideas behind the book, and I was pleased to hear he’s about to begin work on a follow up with interlinking prose. He didn’t want to give away too much about the forthcoming book, so I proposed a general interview on the history of the counterculture’s clashes with the establishment in the mid-to-late 20th century. Burroughs was the through-line in a cultural revolution that began in the ’50s with the Beats, blossomed in the psychedelic explosion of the late ’60s, peaked in the ’70s with the Beat-Punk fusion, burned out in the neoconservative revolution of the ’80s and was briefly revived by Kurt Cobain and the alternative wave of the early ’90s.… Read the rest

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DisinfoCast: 70: “Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’” – David S. Wills

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David S. Wills is the author of “Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’”, a book that explores the mostly lost history of Burroughs’ involvement with the Church of Scientology. Wills is also the founder of “Beatdom” (www.beatdom.com), a magazine devoted to Beat history and culture. Note: David called in from Cambodia and didn’t have a strong enough connection for a video interview.

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The Time William S. Burroughs Became a Scientologist (And His Subsequent Dismissal of the Religion)

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 11.16.25 AMWilliam Burroughs first became attracted to the Church of Scientology because of its claimed ability to extinguish the wounds of bad memories. For nearly a decade (also what most consider his least artistic years), Burroughs followed the churches teachings in much the same way he sought out other “mind-expanding” techniques such as hallucinogens.

It would be L. Ron Hubbard’s “fascist tendencies” which led Burroughs to finally denounce Scientology via the Los Angeles Free Press.

You can read his collection of criticisms of the church in a free PDF: Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Excerpt:

Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties. It is based on a tight ingroup like the CIA, Islam, the Mormons, etc. Inside are the Rights with the Truth. Outside are the Commies, the Infidels, the Unfaithful, the Suppressives. Rarely has this formula been expressed with such consummate effrontery, like you go into a store to buy a suit the clerk puts you in a Condition of Doubt, you work all night in the stock room and go around with a gray rag around your arm and petition the entire store to let you back in so you can buy something.

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