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The Cynic's Dictionary Back in the days before anyone had heard of the internet, January 16, 1986 to be exact, the author was browsing through The Devil's Dictionary, that masterpiece of cynical lexicography by Ambrose Bierce and a light bulb flashed in his head: Why doesn't somebody write a Devil's Dictionary for our times? ...

Beatnik art by Jeffree Benet
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For any one who has lived in the Czech Republic long enough and asked "What Is A Bohemian?"

Well my friend, a Bohemian is one who doesn’t let society slow him down. One that doesn’t worry about minor things that most others fret about all the time. By eliminating such distractions, Bohemians can allow their minds to wander and go in the direction of their individual souls.

So, you see, this uninhibited “mental nakedness” is what causes the true creativity and expression to surface and makes one Bohemian appreciate the creative work of others.

Bohemians develop artistic philosophies. They see all sides of thought and discard nothing; be it people, methods, or perspectives because who knows, it could be the right one. Bohemians are enlightened but misunderstood people; free thought is some times seen as ignorance and their starving-artist lifestyle is seen as vagrancy.

“Everybody seems to think I’m lazy. I don’t care, I think their crazy. Running everywhere at such a speed. Until they find, there’s no need.” -John Lennon

Creative people are in touch with the earth, nature, and simplicity. Bohemians are a part of history.

The original members of the Beat Generation like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and some others, were poets in Columbia University and were in solidarity with the oppressed students in Communist Czechoslovakia.

They came from poor and troubled families, they were beaten-down by life. During a NY Times interview in 1948, Jack Kerouac used the word beat to describe himself and his friends. Their writings and even movies became popular during the 50s when their followers started to assemble. In 1958, the term Beatnik was coined to replace Bohemian and here we are.

So if you’re not Czech, but you feel it, you’re boheme.


Interview with a Beatnik by Daniel Kenny

Last night I got into a conversation about what constitutes "poetry".

I want you to read a piece and tell me your thoughts:

A young Man asked a father forhis daughter's hand,
And received it in a box
- her Left hand.

THE BOX FATHERED THE HAND OF THE DAUGHTER RECIEVING THE MAN WHO ASKED

That's an interesting response. Actually I was trying to define what makes "poetry": form or content? My "piece" was basically the first sentence in a short story by Patricia Highsmith which reads: "A young man asked a father for his daughter's hand, and received it in a box - her left hand."

What are your thoughts on all this "poetry" running amok in Prague's Xpat scene?

AS A WRITER WRITES SO SURELY A POET POETS AND HOW TO TELL A POET BUT BY HIS FORM, OR PRAPS (ALMOST A DECLENSION OF PRAHA, BUT NOT QUITE) HIS GEOGRAPHY

So, if I understand your last point on geography correctly, a "management consultant" in, say, San Francisco, could suddenly become a "poet" in Prague without necessarily having any innate talent?

AS AN ARTIST ARTS SO I FART, THE CLOUD MAY FORM ACCORDING TO THE PREVAILING WIND

It certainly is a cloudy and windy issue - all this "art" talk. Surely as the poet poets and the writer writes and the artist arts, it could be suggested that the quality of the verb determines the identity of the subject? This gets into a deeper question: which comes first; the Noun or the Verb?

TO BE OR A BEING WHETHER THE SEEING REQUIRES THE BEING OR TO HAVE SEEN IS TO HAVE BEEN

Your enigmatic statements refuse to give a conclusive answer. . .How god-like of you. Your Zen style answers are merely a restatement of my original question, which I'll rephrase for you in Western terms: "In the Beginning was the Word" - but was it a Noun or a Verb?

WHAT IS A WORD WITHOUT BEING HEARD IS THE SPEAKER A PART OF THE JOKE, OR JUST HE THAT SPOKE

I detect a certain synthetic, dialectical answer in your words, which I like very much. It suggests that God needs an audience to join in the applause when the curtain falls. . . Would that be an accurate assesment of your views?

IS AN ARTIST APART FROM HIS ART ARE THE CLAPS BUT THE START IS A FART BUT A PART

. . . of the beginning of the shit that fertilizes the earth to grow crops of hops that brews the stews of happy beers for our satisfied hearts?

OR THE ART THAT STARTS AND PARTS AND DEPARTS TO RESTART

Thank you for your illuminating thoughts. To sum up this conversation, I suppose we can conclusively agree that shit is a necessary part in the process of artistic creation?

ART IS SHIT BUT IS SHIT ART?

TO NAME IS THE GAME,

THE WINNER LOSES.


- Artwork: Jeffree Benet, a true boheme
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