The Informative American’s Guide to the Ills of the Beatnik Menace (originally published October, 1959)

“Hey, smoking tea, hitting bongo drums, berets eh?”

~Beatniks, probably

Pictured bottom, left

We’ve mentioned the roots of America Fun Fact of the Day previously, we at AFFotD fear the future, and long for the warm, comforting, alcohol-hazed memories of the past.  Beer’s been around for 11,500 years, really good beer’s been around two hundred years, and moonshining has been around just about as long.  What else do we have to look forward to?  Science has already made it abundantly clear they don’t care about our Back to the Future 2 desires for a hovering skateboard, so why should we give a crap about the future?

The “future” means “this terrifying soulless object is going to kill us all.”

So, like most Americans with an archive of company material and a kegerator full of Everclear at their disposal, we’ve decided to go back into our 1950’s archives, when life was simpler and alcohol came without surgeon general’s warnings.  We’ve already given you an inside look into 1950’s parenting styles, as well as a helpful guide how to spot communists.

As it turns out, in the 1950’s AFFotD, previously known as “The Informative American” had a lot of helpful guides about the menaces of society.  Which makes it remarkably comprehensive, because apparently in the 1950’s everything was a menace.  Communists were a menace, cars from Japan were a menace, stores that chose to stay open during Sundays were a menace.  And in this instance, the menace we were reading up on came from a 1959 article decrying the latest “menace” to hit American popular culture.

Today, we have hipsters.  In the 70s, we had hippies.  But back in the Leave it to Beaver age, the most terrifying thing imaginable was…running into a Beatnik, the stereotypical archetype that exhibited the more superficial tendencies of the Beat Generation.  Berets, coffee, bongo drums, bad poetry, basically we’re dealing with Ned Flanders’ father here.

Well, we thought it was interesting to hear why they were everything wrong with America, so that’s why we present to you, straight from our archives…

The Informative American’s Guide to the Ills of the Beatnik Menace (originally published October, 1959)


“What are you doing to Kermit, you damned beatnik!?”

Greetings, enterprising American.  No doubt, you have seen this influx of “coffee shops” and “local parks” where the newest menace has been flocking to our fair cities, spreading from San Francisco in an effort to poison your daughters’ minds with fairy tale nonsense like the notion that they could make intellectual contributions to our collective American culture.  The nerve.

Yes, the Beatnik is ransacking our society and our youth with their gaudy facial hair and their striped shirts.  We started a campaign when we first became aware of this problem called “Beat a Beatnik” but apparently assault and battery is still enforced even if the victim doesn’t shower.

The Beatnik is easy to spot.  In fact, we almost feel that we shouldn’t even answer you when you ask us what to look for- if you ever find yourself inexplicably filled with rage, despite the presence of ample alcohol and tobacco in your system, either you are in the general vicinity of a Beatnik, or your teenage daughter is holding hands with a Negro.  And since, as a true American father, you no doubt had a fresh padlock installed on your door and window of your daughter’s room as soon as she turned 13, you must be near a Beatnik.  Like this one, who we captured by planting some fake cannabis under a box marked “tea.”

He has holes in his shirt, he’s banging a bongo drum, his hair is unkempt, and his face has a scraggly patch of facial hair on its chin that belies that, unlike true Americans, he is unable to grow rich, hearty facial hair at whim.  Take a good look, boys.  This is the enemy.  Even founding members of the so-called “Beat Generation” despise this type of creature, as Jack Kerouac, staunch conservative and American alcoholic, has publically attempted to distance himself from these absurd youths.

In fact, here is a list of what we know about the Beatnik, as backed by science.

o   The Beatnik does not consume meat, and instead feasts on foul, monstrous looking items called “vegetables” that we are told grow only when your son begins to question his sexuality.

o   The Beatnik is physically unable to commit acts of violence.  However, this does not stop the Beatnik from spending every evening outside your window with a guitar playing an insufferable racket.

o   The Beatnik does not enjoy watching organized sports, instead preferring to attend “Poetry Readings” which of course is a slang term for homosexual intercourse.

o    Beware that smell!  The Beatnik smokes a breed of Cannabis that turns teenagers into idle drones.

o   Did you ever step in what you thought was dog feces?  We hate to break it to you, but that was in fact left by a Beatnik!

o   Most Shockingly, the Beatnik cannot be killed in conventional methods, and can only die through a combination of black arts and a really sharp machete.

So, they are in your town, but how should you deal with the Beatnik menace?  Steer clear of them and pretend they don’t exist?  This is America, goddamn you, we don’t stand for that shit, we take matters into our own hands.  Below, see a list of ways to chase the Beatnik from your neighborhood and back to the murky depths of San Francisco.

1.       Learn What a Beatnik Consumes, Add Cayenne Pepper To It

According to our legal department, it’s not poisoning if a Beatnik doesn’t die from what you slip him.  And even if he is deathly allergic, as long as you don’t have previous knowledge of that, you should be right in the clear.  The Beatnik consumes many things.  French cigarettes, coffee,  Cannabis, and bongo drums are the most prevalent, but there are also black turtle necks and black berets.

There is a reason why the Beatnik dresses as a Frenchman.  It is because they are just as cowardly.  Go through your town and find all of these items that a beatnik might procure and douse them in the powder of the hottest pepper New Mexico has to offer.  Beatniks are notoriously terrified of spicy foods.  While American stomachs are pickled from constant exposure to alcohol, these youngsters drink less and spend their time smoking their “tea” or their “Mary Jane” which weakens their lungs and makes them more susceptible to the effects of Cayenne Pepper.

However, if you feel uncomfortable using a product from a state that is named after a lesser country, there are other ways to approach the Beatnik menace.

2.       Set Fire To Every Book Store In Town

These Beatniks claim they like their works of fiction and poetry.  But what has literature ever done for us?  Why, all it did was distract Hemingway from his true calling as a bull killer as it slowly drove him to madness.  That is why, in a step that frankly was long overdue, if you find your town overrun with Beatniks, cut the head off at the source.  Destroying all the book stores will leave them bored and unable to find gatherings to spout their Socialst verses, so they will amble away to the nearest city.

Even if you don’t have Beatniks, you could be the next town they go to!

Burn all the books!  Burn them all!

Honestly, that’s our goal in publishing this shocking account of Beatniks…burn down the bookstores!  Do it for America!  Books are awful!

One response to “The Informative American’s Guide to the Ills of the Beatnik Menace (originally published October, 1959)

  1. Pingback: Jack Kerouac Drank Himself to Death | affotd

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