When I read this morning that it was William S. Burroughs‘ birthday today, I thought that maybe we should pay homage to the Beat Generation of which he was a part with some ‘beatnik’ style.
Although the Beat writers were pretty much an ‘old boys’ club’ that not only didn’t let the few female contemporaries of the time shine, but the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Burroughs also stuck to stereotypical 1950’s women when it came to conceiving female characters in their work. Whether or not we can attribute this to the sexism of the time or the sexist mentality of this group as a whole is up for debate, but no matter what side you’re on, you have to agree the Beat Generation made a huge mark on literature and society, as well as fashion.
So on this birthday of Burroughs — he would have been 98 today — let’s put any and all controversy about the man aside. Instead of mentioning how he killed his wife during a drunken game of William Tell, let’s relish in the fact that he not only gave us such works as Naked Lunch, but was part of a literary circle that made a lasting impact on fashion.