Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chapters 25-27 (The End)

The Prankster scene has come down to Mexico!  A couple of the most important Pranksters to Kesey have come down to Mexico for a little while to visit their leader, their guru, the man, the myth, the legend.  They meet a strange man who they think is an federal agent, and they think he is taking pictures of them.  Babbs confronts this man only to realize he is a local authority and has no interest in their group, but does enjoy a couple of beers with Babbs.  Anyway, the Pranksters do their usual routine, and get some locals to past the Mexican Acid Test, and then they are back off to California where we see the "Cops and Robbers Game."

Kesey likes to interpret everything as a movie.  The Mountain Girl being pregnant movie, the Hell's Angel Movie, the fugitive on the run movie, and now the cops movie.  Kesey thinks he has control over this movie until the movie takes a turn of events after Kesey publicizes himself.  He makes it known that he will remain a fugitive in the U.S on national TV, and the federals catch him shortly after.  Now comes into play the whole idea of the book.  The Acid Test has been given to teenagers and young adults all over, and now Kesey, the man who is known to have started these Acid Tests presents his theory of going "beyond acid."  He says that acid opens so many doors but than those doors close when you come down from your trip, why not have those doors open all the time.  You have to find what you're looking for without the acid.  This is the new acid test, this is graduating from acid.

Kesey gets off his three felonies, and has to let the community know that acid is bad, fuck it... He's not going to say it in those exact words.  He goes more along the lines of saying that acid is good, hell acid is even great, but we can do without it.  We are mature enough to cope without acid, and we can have these visions and find what we are looking for without using drugs.  The only people that understand Kesey anymore are the Pranksters, who have in fact become the outsiders again.  The group along Height-Ash bury were not developing whatsoever.  They were basing their principles off only the use of drugs.  They didn't elaborate on this like the Pranksters use to.  These kids weren't creating anything like the Pranksters use to.  The only people who understand are the people in the Prankster inner circle.  The Prankster outer circle doesn't know the true meaning of this lifestyle, and the fad of the Pranksters seems over.  It's just like any other fad, it comes and it passes, and now Kesey and his group are drawn out of the acid loop.  

Chapters 21-24

Times are changing for Kesey, Mexico is a lot different than San Francisco, but I guess that determines who you are.  If you are Ken Kesey you can most likely make anything out of anywhere, especially with the excessive drug use acting as an escape from reality.  It sounds like Kesey doesn't mind being in Mexico too much, he even has the company of Zonker and a new friend, called Back Maria.  We hear that the rest of the Pranksters are struggling without Kesey up in California, the group is slowly deteriorating but Kesey doesn't tend to think of them too much.  He thinks of his new life, sitting on the balcony getting drunk, smoking grass and staying at a $80 a month place.

In these chapters we hear that Mountain Girl goes to court, and her lawyer and the media create an elaborate sob story in order for her to get off charges.  She is around 7 months pregnant, and is only 20 years old.  Her story is that she didn't know what she was doing, she got involved in this lifestyle because it was the thing to do at the time and the demon, Ken Kesey, sucked her further into this lifestyle.  Then when it truly came time for Kesey to help her out, when they got caught with the four grams of weed, Kesey fakes his death and disappears to Mexico, which the media soon finds out about.  Kesey had to do it in order to avoid serving five years minimum in jail, I hope the Pranksters aren't actually upset with him because he is looking out for everyone's best interest.

In these few chapters it is finally obvious that this young rebellious group is truly filled with a bunch of outsiders.  That these people are lonely, but Kesey wonders how they can be lonely.  First Black Maria points out that she is lonely, than Kesey wonders is Mountain Girl lonely?  Would she ever feel lonely? Would she ever feel desperate?  All these teenagers are leaving their friends, their families, their jobs, and their educations in order to find beautiful people like them.  These beautiful people though are truly just a bunch of lonely souls who end up leaving everything they have and in most cases regretting it eventually.  Of course they are lonely they've never lived away from home before.  Kesey thinks they are truly out-front people doing so many things together and getting high together all the time, this doesn't mean they're not lonely though.  Most of them are probably hiding their inner feelings, and are scared shitless at the fact that one day this adventure will be over, and reality will hit them hard.             

Chapters 17-20

Kesey and his group were becoming a huge sensation all throughout California.  The outsiders were progressively becoming the insiders.  The hip new fad that all the young adults were grasping with the up most respect.  Only problem is that they were getting too well known, not just by the rebellious young culture but the authorities as well.  These "Acid Tests" that the Pranksters put on were publicizing the fact that they take Acid and the promote the use of Acid.  They wanted to test the young uprising culture by seeing how they would handle a trip with the high amounts of authority figures around.  If one could have a good trip while this is going on than they have passed the Acid Test.

Kesey hooked up with the Grateful Dead and this was even better than the Pranksters experience with the Hell's Angels.  The use of Acid was unbelievable while partying with the Dead, the kids on Height-Ash bury that weren't accepted into the middle class society.  Well you know what, fuck the middle class wine drinkers, lets drink beer and trip on acid and show these people who we are and what we stand for.  Lets start a revolution, lets start our own form of music.  That is what they did, and it became known as "Acid Rock."  Which also influenced the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and several other artists during the time.

Unfortunately all this publicity for the Pranksters had negative effects.  I had mentioned that law enforcement became more concerned with the Pranksters, eventually leading to Kesey's second marijuana offense.  He was going to serve at least 5 years in jail so he decided to fake his death and flee to Mexico.  This fucked up the Prankster group completely.  I question the idea of the Pranksters in general after this happens.  They do not act like Pranksters anymore, they shun Pancho out of the group and the question Maggie.  Their mindset is all fucked up and a decent amount of them even end up splitting up.  Everyone takes their own paths in this crazy new world, they are not a whole anymore, they are dissolving into the outsiders that they were before this whole movement, before this whole revolution.     

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chapters 13-16

Kesey and the Pranksters go through quite a bit throughout these couple of chapters.  They meet the Hell's Angels and become great friends with them, they meet the Young Turks, a religious group and develop on their ideas, they attend a Beatles concert and encounter a butch of "teeny freaks," and they go to an anti war rally that ends up getting tear gas'd at the end.  A peaceful group that encounters crazy things indeed.  Kesey is not afraid of anyone, he will try to make friends with whoever in order to spread his ideologies.  The Hell's Angels are an intimidating group of bikers who are constantly getting into trouble and bashing people's heads.  Kesey has no problem introducing himself and the Pranksters to them however, he even changes their perceptions.  They spend six-seven weeks doing drugs and drinking beer together and the Angels love it.  They love everything about it and Kesey certainly grew on them until Kesey questioned their moral values.

Kesey questioned the fact that these Angels were real, he referred to one of them as being fake.  The Angels took this to offense and said that all of the Angels were 100% real no if ands or buts.  Kesey said that this one in particular was fake though, because he truly "knew him."  Nobody really got what this meant but I interpreted it as this.  Kesey often looks beyond a person's exterior, their portrayed personality in society.  Kesey can see through people, he can interpret people at a different level than the norm.  In fact he can interpret anything at a different level.  Kesey and the pranksters don't look at a toaster and say, "oh it's just a toaster."  They see a toaster as an infinite amount of possibilities.  This toaster can be developed into an unlimited number of thoughts and ideas.  Someone outside of this group might think this is strange but for people like Kesey they are the intellectual ones, and the drugs are helping them see past everybody elses' thought process.   

A 30 year old man named Owsley introduces himself to Kesey.  Not knowing who the hell Owsley is he describes to Kesey that he is one of the largest acid distributors that Kesey will ever encounter.  Kesey learns slowly that this is true and that Owsley in fact ends up starting a music group known as "The Grateful Dead," solely playing a form of music known as "Acid Rock."  What I want to talk about here are inspirations.  What inspires people often differs, for some people it is friends and family, for some people it is a maybe a lover, and for some people drugs has a heavy influence on their inspirations.  These people may be considered strange and weird, such as Owsley, Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, etc. but they are legends in the music history books.  They have created movements, movements of outsiders that can connect with each other and become the majority, dominate the "normal" and become the "strange."  Inspirations don't have to be positive influences, they can also be negative.  Kesey and his group know that the war in Vietnam is wrong, and they even protest against it.  But it is quite possible that the war has created this population of rebellious, hippy drug takers in the first place!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chapters 9-12

This book is about a group of revolutionaries, of group of crazy individuals who all want the world to be the way they see it, they may be the outsiders, but they are perfectly fine with that.  They want to convert the whole up growing population to be the outsiders in society.  The merry pranksters want to envision the world differently, they take hard drugs in order to escape reality.  A group like this during the 1960s was very common, especially in San Francisco, New York, and LA.  In these cities this group of people may be considered the majority, but still the outsiders being in that they are going against the social norms that have been established by "the man."

LSD, speed, and marijuana are very common drugs in this group, but throughout these chapters they start talking about the use of DMT.  The effects of DMT are unbelievable... Literally people have described it as entering a fourth dimension.  You entire a completely different universe, your heart beats faster and faster and you see and experience stuff that you could never imagine.  I mentioned earlier that this kind of lifestyle was very common during the 1960s, it's actually surprisingly popular in this day and age as well.  A music movement known as Dub-step is influencing drug use, there is in fact a Dub-step artist that calls himself Run-DMT.  If you see someone on LSD or DMT they are a completely different person.  You could even say that there is a monster trapped inside their body.  The merry pranksters all get along great with each other because they always trip together.  This group is always there for each other, often when individuals trip in front of a person who is sober they have a bad trip, because there are "bad vibes."

Kesey and his group want to get the movie all put together, they spent at least $103,000 on it.  Police were becoming more and more aware of Kesey and his group and eventually raided his house and busted him even though he didn't have drugs on him at the raid in 1965.  The aspect I really appreciate about this book is that you would expect this group to be a bunch of bums, like a usual homeless person or a hippy, but they are in fact pretty productive.  They want each other to be productive and encourage it, in fact Bradley yells at Norman because all he does is read and smoke cigarettes.  They want each other to paint, write poetry, film, etc. because it displays their overall progression as a group.  A group of outsiders, but a group of intellectual outsiders who are living on the edge.  Who are experiencing new things that no "normal" individual will experience.      

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chapters 5-8

Nobody is ready for this traveling group of "white crazies" going across the United States popping more speed, acid and smoking more grass than ever imaginable.  What Kesey and his group are doing can be considered revolutionary or ground breaking, like freedom fighters on a mission.  Or they can be considered crazy lunatics who do not belong in a "normal" society.  Kesey, Cassidy, Paula, and the rest of the group are all sick of the ordinary.  Their sick of living up to everyones expectations, they want to show the world what their made of.

Kesey said he's sick of what is expected of a human being growing up.  He says, "The youth had always had only three options: go to school, get a job or live at home... And how boring that was!" He compares this given perception on the youth versus his perception living the experience of the infinite.  Instead of principles learned through school and society why not live by the principles of me & us.  In society we are expected to get a job at some point in our live, in order to live, in order to provide for ourselves and sometimes others.  Kesey wants to prove that they do not need jobs to survive.  Living in and out of buses, gas stations, and hostels may be a tough experience but it is an adventurous one, and it can be done, the Merry Pranksters prove it.

One of the most interesting connections I have made in this book so far is that the buses name they use to travel across the U.S to the New York World's fair is named "furthur."  When I read the name furthur I thought it was interesting because there is a jam band, created by two of the members of the Grateful Dead named Furthur.  The Grateful Dead were associated with the Merry Pranksters and I thought it was interesting that two of their members titled their new band Furthur.  I'm wondering if they got the name from this book.

This book is really good so far, I like reading about the interesting acid trips that they are having, like when Zonker's whole world turned orange, and all the black people dancing around the bus were all orange.  Then when he came down from his trip everything turned brown.  I also appreciated the use of the character "Stark Naked," which was her movie name.  After she ran off the bus everyone came to realize that nobody even knew her.  Living this lifestyle this tends to happen, you run into people you don't know when you are on drugs and sooner or later you are traveling across the country with a naked lady that sits crouched in the corner staring into nothing.  This book defines the typical drug user of the 60's, outsider are not these people are very interesting to read about.    

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chapter 1-4

The 60s was an era of rebellion, a groovy time were many teenagers had their hearts set on going to San Francisco to find themselves, and find the people who they could experience a new life with.  This time of new experimenting and adventuring was highly associated with drug use, the most common drug during the time being LSD or Acid.  Acid differs your perceptions on the things around you, and even on your life and the life of others, not only when you are on the drug but also off of it.  This book explores a deeper understand of the drug and of the era of it's use.

A popular author of the time known as Ken Kesey is the main focus of our story, the narrator and every other character in the book tends to worship Kesey as their god.  Kesey's most popular work being One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1962).  Kesey and his group, the Merry Pranksters who were also highly associated with this era are a group of freedom activists who feel that it is necessary to explore new cultures, new meanings, and new drugs without feeling afraid to do so.  Legalizing Marijuana and LSD plays a big role in doing this, and the Merry Pranksters really try to convince Kesey to publicize this, but he does not want to go back to jail.  In the second chapter one of the Merry Pranksters talks to Kesey saying people are afraid to do Acid in the privacy of their own homes because they may get a knock from the police, especially on Ashbury-Haight.  People are having bad trips because of this and these bad trips need to stop.

People that take Acid feel like they know more than people who refuse to take it.  They feel like Acid is the key to unlocking the rest of their mind.  Our mind is developed by the society around us, and our mind develops at the rate that the government and the corporations set for us, that is a continuous theme in this book so far.  Acid can help us escape this society around us and help us see the truth.  People like Kesey who have taken Acid, and even Peyote have experienced these mental processes and have even been analyzed by psychiatrists.  Who are the outsiders of the 1960s?  Are the outsiders the people that are taking the LSD, and refusing to cooperate with the law and order around them?  Or are the outsiders "the man."  "The man" was a term used during this time referring to the one in charge, it could refer to a parent, an authority figure of the law, a cooperation, etc.  Does Kesey really believe that he has "graduated from LSD."  Or is it all a big hoax so the law will get off his back?  I'm sure I will be discovering the truth within reading the next couple of chapters.