Posted by site admin under Archive - Beat Generation
, Jason M
, Jason Ma.Comments Off
After first reading Norman Mailers “The White Negro”, I was somewhat confused over Mailer’s ideas about the hipster, the psychopath, and the psychotic. Mailer begins this complicated section by defining the hipster as a “philosophical psychopath, a man interested not only in the dangerous imperatives of his psychopathy but in codifying, at least for himself, the suppositions on which his inner universe is constructed (588).” What I think Mailer means in this statement is that the hipster is like the psychopath in that both develop their own unique modes of thinking and both choose to live by these modes of thinking despite pressures from society to change. However, unlike the psychopath, the hipster does not seek immediate gratification, or the “orgasm” that the psychopath strives for. Nor is the psychopath like the psychotic. Mailer states, “The psychopath is legally insane, the psychopath is not; the psychotic is almost always incapable of discharging in physical acts the rage of his frustration, while the psychopath at his extreme is virtually as incapable of restraining his violence (589).” The psychotic is unable to perceive the world he or she lives in while the psychopath is fixated solely in his or her self-created nervous system. The psychopath cannot receive treatment like the psychotic because the psychopath does not desire to change. This unwillingness to conform is like that of the hipster, yet the hipster and the psychopath share very different values.
Though confusing, Mailer’s short article was very intriguing. His ideas concerning the hipster and the psychopath really made me think about the fine line that exists between the two.