Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vanished American Hobo

Joshua Snyder quotes Jack Kerouac:
In Brueghel's time children danced around the hobo, he wore huge and raggy clothes and always looked straight ahead indifferent to the children, and the families didnt mind the children playing with the hobo, it was a natural thing. But today mothers hold tight to their children when the hobo passes through town because of what newspapers made the hobo to be -- the rapist, the strangler, child-eater. -- Stay away from strangers, they'll give you poison candy. Though the Brueghel hobo and the hobo today are the same, the children are different. -- Where is even the Chaplinesque hobo? The old Divine Comedy hobo? The hobo is Virgil, he leadeth. -- The hobo enters the child's world (like in the famous painting by Brueghel of a huge hobo solemnly passing through the washtub village being barked at and laughed at by children, St. Pied Piper) but today it's an adult world, it's not a child's world. -- Today the hobo's made to slink -- everybody's watching the cop heroes on TV. (Read entire post.)
Jack wrote this about forty years ago and things have changed. Not only the children are different, but the hobos, too. Share

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