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

WHAT YOUTH EATS: WHAT YOU’RE GIVEN Make no substitutions, please.

Is your stomach closed-minded? Are you the picky one? Try to eat or drink what you’re given. And like it. It was like traveling with a 4 year old who only likes mac and cheese. Here we are in the Dominican Republic, first night, ready to find waves in the morning, and our gracious host…

what youth radical class europe

Radical Class: Going to Amsterdam Eat, drink and wander through Europe (Pt. 3 of 3)

Stepping off the train at the Amsterdam Central for the first time is overwhelming. You emerge from this historic building doubling as a train station and step right in to a beautiful array of chaos. Tourists everywhere, business people rushing, stag parties commencing and Heineken tours being planned. Its hard to figure out which way…

what youth radical class cologne germany

Radical Class: Wintering in Cologne Eat, drink and be blown away by the countries that like it cold. (Pt. 2 of 3)

You’ll remember we started this frozen journey through Europe in Berlin. Today, we’re taking a ride to Cologne. A quick hour flight from Berlin will take you to Cologne, in northwest Germany. A couple days in Cologne is a perfect amount of time to see the city. Like Berlin, Cologne is chalked full of history, but…

Mount gay Rum for breakfast, what youth eats, french toast

What Youth Eats: Rum for Breakfast, Please Weekend French Toast with Mount Gay Rum Bananas Foster

As a rule, French toast on the weekend is a good call. If you can pile some layers of decadence on top, all the better. Berries, whipped cream, bananas. Here, bananas foster goes on top, making it slightly over-the-top, but that’s what weekend breakfast is for. Then there’s the rum. This is special because it…

what youth drinks radical class craig anderson chippa wilson kai neville

What Youth Drinks: All Day! In it for the long haul? We’re here to help.

There’s not a lot better than when the daytime festivities bleed right into some nighttime fun. Some sun, some drinks, some bros, some babes, some waves — it don’t get no better, except when all that rolls into dinner and drinks and beyond. But making that marathon till midnight doesn’t come easy. It takes stamina…

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: THE BROWN DERBY Three ingredients to make a perfect blend of sweet and sour.

It’s a drink that throws back to LA’s golden age (though, as we showed you in issue 2, LA is pretty damn golden these days). The Brown Derby, a nice blend of bourbon, citrus, and something sweet, was named after the famous Brown Derby restaurant, and invented in the `30s at the see-and-be-seen Vendome Club….

what youth radical class berlin

Radical Class: Wandering in Berlin Eat, drink and be blown away by the countries that like it cold (Pt. 1 of 3)

Travis told me to tell people about all of the cool shit we get to do (Editor’s Note: Yes, I did). Cool shit like going to visit Europe in the dead of winter. And trust me, visiting cities in Europe in winter is very underrated, because there are several countries that are very good at being…

Cilantro Margarita, What Youth Drinks, Paul Brewer, Herbs

WY Drinks: Herbs in our cocktails Herbs plus booze to raise your cocktail game

When you think of herbs, you generally think of food. And when you think of cocktails, you generally think of booze. That is, the spirit: gin, vodka, tequila, and so on. But combining the two, we don’t see that a lot. I heard of herbs in drinks long ago, but wrote off the idea. (Except…

the what youth guide to cuba

The WY GUIDE: Cuba Now that the red tape is mostly gone, should you go? Well, we did, here’s what we found.

It’s hard to have a conversation about traveling without someone bringing up Cuba. It’s long been the Holy Grail of American travel because, well, we couldn’t go there. But before heading out on his global kite surfing mission with Richard Branson, President Obama restored diplomatic relations with the Cuban government for the first time in over 50 years. A very…

Radical Class: Layover in Paris A guide to 48 hours in an overwhelming city

A lot of times when we travel, we’ll try to tack on a bonus location. A quick layover somewhere just because it’s the right thing to do. And during a recent trip to Amsterdam we tacked on 48 hours in Paris, just because. We happened to be with Adam Warren who writes the What Youth food…

what youth mexico city scott chenoweth

How To Drink Mezcal in Mexico City “For every ill, mezcal — and for every good as well.”

When you go to Mexico City, don’t order tequila. Or a margarita for that matter. Order mezcal. It’s the drink of choice and will earn you immediate respect from the locals. Mezcal is smokier than tequila, but with similar effects, and it pairs nicely with the spicy food and the flavors Mexico City is known…

what youth radical class book review alison gibson

Another What Youth Reading List This time with no dead white guys!

After checking out (and nodding along with) Travis’ recent fall syllabus featuring the literary heavy-hitters many of us have returned to again and again for inspiration, I had the urge to put together another reading list for you guys, made up of authors you maybe haven’t yet read or even heard of. With two Pulitzer…