Beat News: December 15 1999

The new millennium is coming and … novelist Joseph Heller has died. I recently reread Heller’s classic World War II black comedy “Catch-22”, and found it funny and rewarding — a cry against conformist thinking that stands alongside Kafka’s “The Castle” and Orwell’s “1984” and also seemed very much related to Ken Kesey’s contemporaneous “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. I’m sure this book will continue to be read by generations to come.

I was also sorry to hear of the ailing health of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, who announced that he will no longer be creating new strips. “Peanuts” was a part of America’s post-war countercultural consciousness as much as “Catch-22”, “Cuckoo’s Nest” or even “Howl”. I always thought the little kids would have grown up to be beatniks … Schroeder would have moved on from Beethoven to Lennon and Dylan, and the way Linus always quoted scripture, I’m sure he would have gotten into I Ching and Zen. Charles Schulz never used the strip to air his political or societal
beliefs — but hey, we knew what he meant when he named the bird “Woodstock”.

The new millennium is coming … and if Charlie Brown will really be gone, I think the 1950’s are now truly over. I wonder what will come next?

Happy New Year everybody! Literary Kicks will be changing a lot soon. See you on the other side …

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