In this 1968 episode of Firing Line, William F. Buckley and sociologist Lewis Yablonsky attempt to put Hippie-ism, in the persons of a gooned and pugnacious Jack Kerouac and Ed Sanders of the Fugs, under the microscope. A stilted sort of hilarity ensues. Buckley smirks, Kerouac blunders, swinging wildly, Yablonsky drones and Ed the Fug, alone, emerges with personal dignity intact.
Via Open Culture
William F.: Do you draw any generalities on the basis of the behavior of the Soviet Union [in Czechoslovakia] which instruct you in assessing other political situations…
Ed the Fug: Yeah, like Mayor Daley in Chicago.
William F.: What are those?
Ed the Fug: Those are, when you attempt to, essentially peacefully, gather together to press a point about a war, about freedom, or about freedom of journalism, that you are confronted by people like the Soviet leaders, like the leaders in Chicago, namely Mayor Daley… …you’re confronted with essentially the same position. No, you’re not allowed. You are clubbed. You are maced. You are gassed, freaked, zapped, pushed over. If you are an old lady, you get thrown through a plate glass window. If you’re a cripple, you are thrown against a street light. If you are a peaceful, long-haired, loving protestor, you are smashed and knocked down. If you are a camera man, you are bricked and your camera is destroyed, and your blood is splattered all over you… I mean it’s a nefarious scene.
There’s all kinds of correlations. And the lesson you would draw would be to prepare yourself – and if you’re a non-violent, like I am, and if you believe in pacifism – you will attempt to create a body of love and light, so that thing can’t happen. There will be so many loving people there that you will have a festival of life in all its attributes. And you can do that, by praying together, by loving together, by… …Allen [Ginsberg] was singing ‘Om’ in the streets which is the Hindu benevolent word. By getting together and creating love, I think it’s a great force at least in allowing you to demonstrate in the United States against Daley who is, uh, Al Capone…
William F.: Yeah, sure.
Contemporary relevance? I’d say so. The Fugs did attempt to enter Czechoslovakia later in 1968, to perform in Prague and bolster resistance to Soviet occupation, but they were – predictably – turned back at the West German border.
Much to the consternation of the machine-gun-toting guards, members of the band, standing safely in the West, allegedly protested the interdiction by stripping at the border and committing the sexual acts they had planned to perform before the Soviet tanks.
-Ryback, Rock Around the Bloc
Allen Ginsberg had had immense influence on the youth culture of the Czech capital. He’d stayed there for 2 months in 1965, been much feted, imitated, and was ultimately crowned the King of May. But the authorities were less than amused, and they expelled him for his baleful influence on the nation’s youth, his narco-mania and his homosexuality.
Issues of Sanders’
Fuck You gutter expletive: A Magazine of the Arts are available for download here.
Kinetic loathing and fear of typography
The Fugs ~ Nothing
Originally posted May 31, 2012