Slog tipper @boygobong reminded me that today is William S. Burroughs' 100th birthday. The Guardian posted a quiz to celebrate the day. I was introduced to Burroughs by friends in high school, but he was also pretty prevalent in popular culture in the 90s thanks to the album he cut with Kurt Cobain and his Nike commercial:
My favorite Burroughs books are the more traditional narratives: I like Junky, Queer, and, especially, Exterminator! The cut-up novels tend to lose me unless I'm staring, white-knuckled, at the page. And Burroughs is a challenging figure. You really shouldn't write about the man's legacy without bringing up the death of Joan Vollmer, which in a sick way has added to his outlaw mystique. And like Bukowski, it's hard to separate the man's work from the work of later generations who are "inspired" to write awful, nonsensical drivel about drugs and sex.
This is a shitty celebratory post, in part because there's a lot about Burroughs that I don't want to celebrate. What do you think?