Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

The What Youth Syllabus The books we’re assigning for the fall semester

What Youth Syllabus, Books

If you go to school, or went to school or tell people you go to school, you’ve seen a syllabus. A paper full of shit you’re supposed to read. You get it the first day of class and when you do you feel jazzed and promise yourself to read them all. Get A’s. Participate. Get smart. But that dream quickly fades. Usually by 3 p.m. that same day. And for the most part — aside from a few hidden gems — you might actually be OK. I’d personally recommend you do your fucking homework. But if you don’t, at least do ours. The world has a lot of problems and I’m starting to learn that deleting distracting apps and settling in for a few hours to read every day might be the only thing that saves me (and us all) from a series of serious panic attacks caused by mutilated social media brains and a world losing it’s fucking mind outside. So, here’s our medicine.—Travis

Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear

1.) Kingdom of Fear by Hunter S. Thompson

“There is a huge body of evidence to support the notion that me and the police were put on this earth to do extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with each other, except at official functions, when we all wear ties and drink heavily and whoop it up like the natural, good-humored wild boys that we know in our hearts that we are. These occasions are rare, but they happen — despite the forked tongue of fate that has put us forever on different paths…”—from Kingdom of Fear

Might wanna tell your “Social Studies” book to fuck off for the year and try this instead. Your teacher and the world at large (some of them) will thank you. And me. This book might be the closest thing we have to a memoir from Hunter. More or a less a paraphrase of his evolution and life as one of the most fascinating writers, journalists and political gatekeepers our world’s ever seen. All just a few years before he shot his head off and asked Johnny Depp to fire his ashes out of a cannon as a funeral — no time like today to realize Hunter was right all along, and this time it might be too late. But it’s always worth a shot. Or two.

David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I"ll never do again

2.) A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

“I have felt as bleak as I’ve felt since puberty, and have filled almost three Mead notebooks trying to figure out whether it was Them or Just Me.”—from A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

It is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. The late (yes, him too :/) David Foster Wallace’s tone is as if he’s in your mind pulling out a narrative you wish you could relay but have always held inside. Dillon Perillo once told me, “Everything is so agreeable that you feel like you’re the actual author as you read him. You almost have to snap out of it.” And that’s a great way to put it. His writing is clearly genius, but he taps into observations and allows them to crystalize into paragraphs full of context and depth in the grand scheme of life when the thing he’s telling you about is the flush from a toilet on a cruise ship. This book is full of essays and I recommend every single one of them. Especially the one about the cruise ship at the end. His great novel Infinite Jest is for the avid fan, and takes a serious commitment to putting your phone down. If you can read it, I will give you a hug and we will have a drink together discussing it. Call me if you do. I’m serious.

Barbarian Days, William Finnegan

3.) Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

“What could rightly have worried my dad about me and surfing was the special brand of monomania, antisocial and ill-balanced, that a serious commitment to surfing nearly always brought with it. Surfing was still something that one did — that I did — with friends, but the club thing, the organized-sports part, was fading fast. I no longer dreamed about winning contests, as I had dreamed about pitching for the Dodgers. The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization. Robinson Crusoe, Endless Summer.” —from Barbarian Days

I hate reading about surfing in my “free time.” Usually. I spend a lot of my time doing it, and maybe that’s why, and it’s rarely (if ever) been documented all that well. There are a whole bunch of dudes out there who coined the worthless and self-entitled thing that is “surf journalism” which is as phony and pretentious as anything (see The Inertia). And it’s always left my mouth feeling icky. But then, then there is William Finnegan. I have never read passages as on point, sophisticated yet simple on a topic that has long avoided great prose. Surfing and traveling and figuring out existence. He’s got it all in there. Obama’s got it on his list, and it’s on the What Youth syllabus too. You’ve probably heard of this book, and now it’s time you read it.

Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog From Hell

4.) Love is a Dog From Hell by Charles Bukowski

“there is a loneliness in this world so great

that you can see it in the slow movement of

the hands of a clock.

people so tired

mutilated

either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other

one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich

the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us

that we can all be

big-ass winners.

it hasn’t told us

about the gutters

or the suicides.

or the terror of one person

aching in one place

alone

untouched

unspoken to

watering a plant.” —From Love is a Dog from Hell

Charles Bukowski is cliche by now. And his novels are great, sure. Pretty entertaining reads. Simple. But effective. But it’s his poetry books and anthologies — which, yes, you’ll have to find in the poetry section — are where his words will leave you in a puddle of candle wax and wine. He will cut you down, build you up and pluck emotions out of your heart that you wish you didn’t know existed, but are happy to have revealed once the wine goes down. I’ve spent hours and hours and finished these books in one sitting and a bottle and a half of wine. All of them are good and necessary. There have been tears. Inspiration. Sadness. Laughter. Joy. And heartbreak. It’s like living a whole life in one bottle of wine and a few poems.

Kurt Vonnegut, Deadeye Dick

5. Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut

“My wife has been killed by a machine which should never have come into the hands of any human being. It is called a firearm. It makes the blackest of all human wishes come true at once, at a distance: that something die.”—from Deadeye Dick

I haven’t read much Vonnegut. But I read this one and a few others, but it’s still my favorite. Audacity, existential questions, morality, humor and politics, all rolled into one very clever book. And in a time when these choices and issues regarding guns, politics, race and kindness are all called into question, every single day, very few have put perspective around it like Kurt Vonnegut. Let’s keep trying.

 

 

WHAT YOUTH EATS: RAW The first in a Series: Albacore Crudo

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going raw. This isn’t some nonsense trendy food fad out of Beverly Hills: this is all about efficiency and simplicity. Efficiency because eating raw means less time in the kitchen and more time outside shredding through summer. Simplicity because I won’t have to develop complex sauces and spend…

what youth dead writers shirt

The WY Dead Writers T-Shirt Before it’s gone here’s why it exists

We still read…actual books even. And while a lot of our favorite writers are long gone, their influence is still smothering us. They’ve left us with piles and piles of great reading, insight, fucked up situations, and maniacal living to read about. This shirt is an ode to them. Here’s a run through who they…

what youth drinks tequila

What Youth Drinks: The Paloma Cuz it’s just so damn hot outside

It’s officially summer now. And since we’ve already taught you how to order a margarita the right way here, now it’s time to learn how to make the G of all tequila cocktails best drank in the sun: The Paloma. If the margarita is the popular girl in high school that everyone knows, then the Paloma…

Radical Class, What Youth Eats

What Youth Eats: Huevos Rancheros Your weekend mornings are now better

Huevos Rancheros hold a special place down deep in my gut. Growing up, when dad wasn’t at work on weekend mornings, we’d wake up early to surf the Cliffs, then he’d take me to Georges Mexican Food right by our house in Huntington Beach for breakfast. Every time the order was the same: two orders…

What Youth, Radical Class, Paul Brewer

WHAT YOUTH EATS: WITHOUT RECIPES Try this, then go rip into it

Learning to cook and make cocktails is a funny process. We read cookbooks, we watch TV shows, maybe we try a recipe or two from whatyouth.com. For the most part, we get set up with a list of instructions, and we’re expected to follow it closely or else it will be ruined. That’s a process that’s…

what youth eats our veggies

WHAT YOUTH EATS: OUR VEGGIES Skip the Meat with Grilled Mushroom Risotto

You’re eating your veggies, right? For those of you who just need meat with your meals, may I offer mushrooms instead. Here, the mushrooms are grilled to give a deeper, nuttier flavor, and combined with creamy rich risotto. Once you get the hang of risotto, it can be a quick dinner. Until you get the hang of…

what youth memorial day

Radical Class: On Memorial Day Celebrating and Remembering in Equal Parts

These days, Memorial Day is all about burgers and beers, beach days and maybe some deeply discounted retail shopping. But, of course, it isn’t. It’s about war and the people who fought in them — namely the Civil War, where 620,000 Americans died. Where today’s Memorial Day is little more than an excuse to party…

What Youth Eats: On a Trip Bridging the disconnect between great waves and crappy food on surf trips

I haven’t been lucky enough to be on a fancy boat trip with a private chef, but I have been on plenty of surf trips where we’re in the middle of nowhere without so much as a taco stand in sight. So what to eat? Usually it’s an early question on that road between the…

What Youth Eats, Tools

WHAT YOUTH EATS: TOOLS OF THE TRADE 10 Inexpensive and Essential Kitchen Tools to get you Cooking

Have we gotten ahead of ourselves? We’re here telling you how to sear scallops and make cioppino, but what if you don’t have a pot to cook in? How can you prep, sear, steam and eat without a couple of basic kitchen tools? While the internet is full of “must-buy” lists for the kitchen, most…

What youth Drinks: The Margarita How to order them this Cinco de Mayo and forever

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner (a week from today in fact!) and we need to get one thing straight:  Cinco de Mayo is NOT the celebration of Mexican Independence — as many have been led to believe. It is a celebration in remembrance of when the French were defeated in Puebla. And in Mexico, Puebla is…

What Youth Eats: The “Couchella” Menu Since we moved on from attending, here’s what we’re eating while we stream

I don’t have the time or the patience or the money to spend this weekend in the desert. (We actually officially moved on from Coachella last year). But I do have time and patience and the money to park it on my couch and watch it all weekend on my internet TV. And while my Coachella viewing…

What Youth Eats

What Youth Eats: Turkish Kebabs Now that we’ve graduated from our tour through Europe, let’s cook what we ate the whole time at home

Now that we finished up our three city tour through Berlin, Cologne and Amsterdam, its time to shine a light on the one common thread that has kept us alive for these past few weeks of travel and will through pretty much any trip you take to Europe. The “donner kebab.” This is a Turkish style kebab,…

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