Fear, loathing, and Hunter Thompson

By Christopher Harper

Fifty years ago, Hunter S. Thompson became the father of Gonzo journalism, an irreverent brand of reporting that influenced many young writers, including me. 

Thompson and artist Ralph Steadman “covered” the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan’s, a small, progressive magazine.

Thompson, who grew up in Louisville and hated it, described the focus of the story as “the vicious-drunk Southern bourbon horse-shit mentality that surrounds the Derby than in the Derby itself.”

In an excellent article in Quillette, author David Wills described Thompson’s approach of Gonzo, a reference to a song he played regularly on the 1968 campaign trail:

“He tended to insert himself into the prose as observer and participant, embark on weird and irrelevant digressions, recount conversations and events that probably never happened, discard any pretense of objectivity, lurch erratically in and out of hyperbole and paranoia, and dust his prose with a litany of stylistic quirks and a peculiar lexis that included words like ‘atavistic,’ ‘swine,’ ‘savage,’ and ‘doomed.’ It was a subjective, chaotic, and messy approach to journalism.”

Wills captured the essence of the Derby article:

“The first half recounts Thompson’s arrival in Kentucky, a prank played on a gullible racist at the airport, and then his meeting with Steadman. The second half is a disjointed but somehow intensely personal account of a day spent staggering around the Derby in an inebriated state, terrifying attendees, and spraying a restaurant full of patrons with mace. Thompson and Steadman didn’t bother to actually watch the race they had been sent to cover…. It was a highly unusual piece of writing that trashed the conventions of traditional reporting in favor of a freewheeling rock ‘n’ roll antagonism. It was funny but aggressive, satirical and cruel, and only loosely factual. It was neither exactly journalism nor exactly fiction.” See https://quillette.com/2020/05/02/decadence-and-depravity-in-louisville-kentucky/

As a young journalist, I loved that Thompson did everything I was told NOT to do. His articles were like the Playboy and pack of Old Gold cigarettes you kept hidden from your parents as a teenager. I first read Thompson in Rolling Stone, where he offered some of his most famous prose, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1971 and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail in 1972. 

In Las Vegas, Thompson was investigating the killing of journalist Ruben Salazar, who died covering an antiwar protest in Los Angeles. On a side trip, Thompson and attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta arrived in Sin City, where they indulged in psychedelics, an activity they repeated when they returned a month later to cover a conference on the nation’s drug problem. Eventually, Thompson wrote about drugs in the United States, which became an epitaph for the 1960s. 

Heavily inspired by J.P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, it offers a wild and funny story of sports journalist Raoul Duke, Thompson alter-ego, and his attorney running amok in Las Vegas.

Although many people think the 1972 campaign book is his best—and it was quite good at the time—Vegas was Thompson’s masterpiece. 

From the mid-seventies onward, however, his output became progressively weaker as Thompson turned to cocaine. As Wills put it: “The one-man literary genre was soon washed up, sold out, and left to reflect upon chances missed. Thompson had earned his place in the literary canon with staggering innovations in form, but he burned out and stopped pushing…. [W]hen a great writer can no longer write, and when even the possibility of turning out another great book no longer exists, there is little else to do.”

Thompson committed suicide in 2005. He was 67, a year younger than I am now. Per his wishes, Thompson’s ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend Johnny Depp and attended by friends, including then-Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson. 

Great Minds Thinking Alike Don Surber & DaTechGuy

Last month at DaTechGuyblog:

The supposed reason is they are afraid of deaths from the Corona/Wuhan/CCP virus (although they aren’t apparently afraid of deaths from surgeries that don’t happen, or other side effects of an economy crashing and burning) but I submit and suggest this is not the case, because people are making an assumption that I don’t think is true.

The assumption people are making is that the people outraged by this move have the same goal as the Governor, the ability to safely re-open the economy without dying by the virus. I think this is not the case.

I don’t think they are afraid of people dying from the Corona/Wuhan/CCP virus, I think they’re afraid they won’t!

What happens if some business open and things work out? What happens if the supply chains are able to supply, people are allowed to shop, eat or function as normal and the economy roars?

Then Americans go back to work, then unemployment drops, then wealth returns to the middle class without government aid. While this would be a great help to the vast majority of the American people, who does it hurt?

The Democrats and the left, because if all these things come back then they are in the same spot that they were in two months ago, facing a president with a booming economy, foreign policy success and the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment in history in an election year:

The Left Isn’t Afraid Georgians Will Die, They’re Afraid they WON’T 4/23/20

Don Surber yesterday:

Its list of scary stories included CNN reporting, “As some Southeastern US states start to reopen, Georgia is projected to see its number of daily Covid-19 deaths nearly double by early August, according to a model shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and created by independent researcher Youyang Gu.

“The epidemiological model, which provides projections for 40 countries and every US state, has been included among the seven models CDC highlights on its website for Covid-19 forecasting.

“Gu said Tuesday that his model is based on an epidemiological methodology called SEIS, which stands for susceptible, exposed, infectious, susceptible modeling.”

It is not August, of course, so there is a possibility that we are all going to die but deaths are not what is feared by the media subsidiaries of globalist conglomerates such as CNN owner AT&T.

They fear life.

The Nurse Ratchets of the media fear that if the good people of Georgia start walking on sunshine, everyone will. Why, there may be surfing safaris and the like. We cannot have such behavior.

And so the Guardian reported on April 21, “Georgia mayors alarmed by governor’s ‘reckless’ plan to reopen economy.”

Three weeks later, the worst fear of Democrat mayors in Georgia is coming true. The people they held hostage through fear and intimidation are not dying.

They are living.

The fear is not that people will die; it’s that people will live Don Surber 5-11-20

Once again the left’s projections of doom become a bust

And what happens if in lets say two weeks, Red States with GOP governors are open and thriving and blue states with Democrat governors or veto proof democrat legislatures don’t? I suspect stuff like this:

And this (also via Don Surber)

ITEM 17: The Denver Post reported, “A Castle Rock restaurant drew crowds Sunday when it reopened fully for Mother’s Day in defiance of Colorado’s public health order that limits restaurants statewide to takeout and delivery services.

“Customers packed C&C Coffee and Kitchen on Trail Boss Drive Sunday, filling tables, a patio and forming a line out the door for dine-in service.

“Gov. Jared Polis’ office on Sunday issued a statement calling such conduct illegal and dangerous.”

Illegal?

Good luck finding a jury that will uphold his imperial order.

The worst part for the left will be the knowledge that they did this to themselves.