Originally Jack Kerouac and his friends of the "Beat Generation" such as Allen Ginsberg, Ken Kesey, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso were held in abject horror by mainstream America. But as Jack and his buddies were largely apolitical and few in number, they soon became more the objects of amused derision than of fear and loathing. Then with the appearance of the likes of Maynard G. Krebs in popular entertainment, the "beatniks" were quickly dismissed as a passing fad.
That said, it can't be denied Jack's book On the Road has evolved from a mere bestseller into a true classic with the dubious virtue of being required reading for middle school English classes. But like most - quote - "classics" - unquote - opinions of its actual literary merit were and remain well mixed. Yes, there are people who see it as a book that changed their life and philosophy, but others turn the last page and are convinced the King of the Beat Generation is an emperor who is rather scantily clad.
The King of the Beats, did we say? Hunh! The "King of the Bums", we should say. Jack didn't always treat his friends or family as expected of a sensitive poet and author. For a little elaboration on this topic (and a bit more about Jack in general) click here.