[sixties-l] a cultural note

From: Ron Jacobs (rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu)
Date: 10/31/00

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    Shifting gears here a bit.
    Recently, Oxford University Press published a volume titled The Grateful
    Dead Reader.  This book is a collection of articles, interviews, musings,
    and excerpts from ficitonal narratives concerning the music, personalities,
    and subculture that the band represented and were a part of.  I won't go
    into the band-oriented stuff, but do want to mention an excerpt from a book
    by the counterculture author William J. Craddock titled Be Not
    Content(1970).  Craddock also published another book entitled Twilight
    Candelabra in 1973 which was considerably more occultish and obscure, even
    within the context of countercultural literature.
    Anyhow, this excerpt details an acid test experience through the minds-eye
    of the novel's protagonist and is quite well done.  I re-read the book last
    week after getting it through our library's interlibrary loan service and,
    appropriately enough, it was like having a flashback.  In the same way that
    Mark Vonnegut's Eden Express gives one the feeling of a schizophrenic
    experience, so does Craddock's book give one the feeling of taking lsd,
    especially the final chapters wherein the protagonist fills up a couple
    quart jars with liquid acid and drinks the stuff over a period of a few
    days (one assumes).  Writers of all types have attempted to chronicle the
    lsd experience both as reportage and fiction (and as sensationalism or
    science) and none that I can think of come as close as Craddock manages to.
     I am reminded of Kesey's Cuckoo's Nest and The Butterfly Kid by Chester
    Anderson, but these two novels have other intentions, which changes the
    focus of the narrative from the drug experience to those intentions.  Of
    course, there are tons of exploitative works, from Go Ask Alice to that
    anti-drug crap they showed in junior high (which, by the way, made me very
    interested in trying the stuff after watching some film in 1968 in gym
    class), but most of these works were, like Reefer Madness, laughable in
    their inaacuracies.  One of the better films has to be the Jack Nicholson
    authored The Trip.
    So, do other out there have their favorite lsd novels, films, exploitative
    fiction, or reportage?  It might be fun to get a list going and compare
    those "works" to the drug/anti-drug stuff since then.

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