Thursday, July 23, 2009

can you pass the acid test?

below is an excerpt from tom wolfe's "the electric kool-aid acid test" (1968, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) on the topic of the characteristics of the new "heads" generation whose appearance was born out of the introduction of acid (LSD), primarily coming from Haight-Ashbury, in San Francisco.

"...Kesey and the Pranksters had been so cut off they got almost no news from San Francisco. It was all perfect Devil's Island down there. They had only a dim idea of what was going on among the heads in Haight-Ashbury. But now, like, you don't even have to look for it. It hits you in the face. It's a whole carnival...All you have to do is walk up into the Haight-Ashbury--and Kesey chances a run through... Hell, in Haight-Ashbury a muscular guy in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat--he...looks healthy. The cops are busy trying to figure outh these new longhairs, these beatniks--these crazies are somehow weirder than the North Beach beatniks ever were. They glow blue like a TV tube. The hippie-dippies...their Jesus hair, men with hair falling down to the shoulders and beards to their chests, all lank and thin and limp like...lungers! Sergeant, they're lollygagging up against the storefronts on Haight Street up near that Psychedelic Shop like somebody hocked a bunch of T.B. lungers up against windows and they've oozed down to the sidewalks...And a lot of weird American Indian and Indian from India shit, beaded headbands and donkey beads and temple bells--and the live ones, promenading up and down Haight Street in costumes...

...The cops knew drunks and junkies by heart, and they knew about LSD, but this thing that was going on...The heads could con the cops blind and it was wild...

...and all of a sudden it was like the Acid Tests had taken root and sprung up into people living the Tests like a whole lifestyle."

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