LIKE IT MEANS NOTHING

No Beatniks have yet appeared in our split-level community. We read about them, though, with morbid fascination. According to Time (February 9) this cult of the beat generation is now the rage of the literary upper crust.

The studied dishevelment in dress and speech which appears to be the rigid norm of Beatnik conformity will no doubt furnish another high school fad. In fact, samples of beat babble suggest that its incoherence is an aggravated form of prevailing adolescent jargon. Some statements are a little ponderous for a high school senior to bring off: “Fried shoes. Like it means nothing. It’s all a big laughing bowl and we’re caught in it.” Those shoes are presumably French fried in the existentialist manner. But the “crazy like a daisy” phrase, and the “drag-creep” vocabulary are standard speech at the American secondary level.

I therefore shudder to note the publicity given a leading Beatnik who has never combed his hair. After the duck-tail and the flat-top, the beat-mop!

Beatnik exhibitionism may be juvenile as well as delinquent, but its very superficiality makes it a thin disguise of real demoralization. The bleary irrelevance of Beatnik verse is more significant, and more human, than the sharp lyrics of a TV commercial. Awareness of despair can be the first step toward the kingdom.

But compassion for sinners lost in despair does not require wearing their fried shoes. I observe with shame that, although my hair is combed, my desk is sheer Beatnik. Disorder and despair go together in the disruption of sin. God is not a God of confusion, but of peace; in the church of Christ all things must be done decently and in order.

The glory of the new order in Christ is that it is an order of the Spirit. ...

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