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Norman Podhoretz and Jack Kerouac

January 24, 1987

I am fascinated by the enduring power of the celebration of life that was Jack Kerouac's vision. His continued condemnation by critics is strong testimony to that vision.

Kerouac painted a vivid word picture of an America evolving in ways that were--and still are--unsettling to those with an idyllic dream of a secure and unchanging nation. It's ironic that in his lifetime he was criticized for being a "typist" and a "reporter"; now he and Ginsberg are being denounced for having consciously helped to shape an entire generation's disaffection.

There is not space available here to even begin to list a significant portion of the world's great authors who have focused on characters and milieus apart from "normal life and common decency." Nor is there room to start a discussion of why some people find it necessary to pin our great country's ills on selected artists and "the universities." I offer instead that Kerouac's works live on because they were written with skill, love and enthusiasm by a writer who used his time on earth to push his art form to new limits.

KIM STEVEN KETELSEN

Pacific Palisades

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