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text 2017-03-20 18:20
Reading progress update: I've read 215 out of 592 pages.
Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson - Hunter S. Thompson,Jann Wenner

You can see, university started again for me, so there’s hardly any time for reading the books I want :(


But every other day or so I manage a couple of pages of Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone and every time I sit down and read it, I realise, just how much I have missed Thompsons writing! Although this book conatains some excerpts of books I have already read (Fear and Loathign in Las Vegas or on the Campain Trail ’72), I still love it!

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review 2016-09-26 03:34
As Your Attorney ...
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson,Ralph Steadman

I have been meaning to get around to reading this book for quite a while especially since I delved into a couple of Thompson's other works such as [book:Hell's Angels]. However this book sort of sits apart from not only his other works, but other works of non-fiction, though I would probably not go as far as calling it 'non-fiction' because technically the story did not pan out the way Thompson has described it. Sure, he did make a couple of trips to Vegas as a journalist, but his Samoan attorney (who seems to provide legal advice for anything and everything that doesn't have anything to do with the law – as your attorney I advise you to have the chilli burger) never actually existed. Actually, in real life Hunter's companion on the trip to Vegas was Oscar Zeta Acosta, a Mexican activist and lawyer.




In a way this book is somewhat of a laugh – it is about how Thompson, under the alias of Roaul Duke, travels to Vegas with his attorney to first of all cover an off road car race (the Mint 400), and then the District Attorney's conference, but rather than actually doing what he is being paid to do, he simply goes around consuming copious amounts of drugs and causing heaps of trouble. Then again, isn't that what one is supposed to do in Vegas – take drugs and cause trouble? Isn't that why there is a saying that goes along the lines of 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas'? Anyway, when I think about it, what does one expect to happen when you give people money and tell them to go to Vegas to do something – I would say not what you have instructed them to do.



The weird thing about this book is that I kept on getting it mixed up with another story about a trip to Vegas – the Hangover. Yet it sort of makes me wonder whether one can actually have any other story set in Vegas that doesn't involve gambling, drugs, and getting yourself into no end of trouble. Well, one sort of wonders whether it is possible to get oneself into trouble in Vegas, particularly since Thompson suggested that he managed to catch a plane by doing an illegal u-turn on the expressway, crashing through the fence, driving down the runway, and then proceeding to drop his attorney off behind a baggage truck. Actually, I'm not sure if you could get away with that these days, not with all the added security around airports, but this was 1971, and people could get away with a lot more back them.


The other rather amusing thing is that before I started reading this book I had just finished another book on American culture – The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Normally I don't read two books of a similar theme in a row, namely because it can lead to a bit of confusion, but this is what I did, and in a way this is what happened. Well, not really, but it was interesting to see two different perspectives on the American way of life – from from the view point of a child in the fifties, and another from a drug addled journalist in the early seventies. Mind you, both writers are no doubt contemporaries, yet Bryson and Thompson couldn't be more different, not just in their outlook on the world, but also in the way that they describe it – but while they are quite different, in many cases they are simply saying, and perceiving, the same thing.



Well, it does make me wonder a bit because it all boils down to the concept of the American dream, and Bryson in a way saw it in action, and being fulfilled, as he grew up in Des Moines. This is the idea that if you work hard, and are persistent, then anybody can share in the country's prosperity, and if you don't end up sharing in this prosperity then it must be something that you have done wrong. Well, Thompson looks at the other side of this belief, but in a way it is what has come of the dream after the upheaval of the sixties, and if one can point to a result it clearly comes down to one word – Vegas. You see what Vegas represents in the dark side of the American Dream – it is not a question of working hard and living a prosperous life, it is a question of never being satisfied with what you have and always wanting more, and the blowing what you have on incredibly risky ventures so that in the end you have something.



Yet it is also the idea of how one can only participate in the American Dream if one is the right type of person. This is shown with this idea of North Vegas, the part of Vegas where everybody who does not fit the image of what Vegas is supposed to be about lands up. Take for instance the Longhair who was wandering down the strip, and is then arrested for vagrancy – he doesn't fit the image that is trying to be displayed, and because he doesn't fit the image he is taken out of the picture and kept locked up, and is only let out if he can show that he has money. Well, even when he gets money, they decide to take a bigger cut than they are entitled too, and there is little that he can do about it. This in a way also paints the picture of the viciousness of American capitalism – it is not a question of working hard and getting ahead, it is a question of have you got what it takes, and are you willing to tread on anybody and everybody to get ahead.


The American Dream of the fifties is dead, even if it was ever actually in existence – if you were a Negro, or Hispanic, then the American Dream certainly didn't apply to you – only if you were white, and male. However things have changed, and if you don't have the right connections, are not born in the right family, or even have the charm and charisma (or the ethics) to move into the upper classes, then you are probably going to find yourself falling further and further behind. Sure, we may live in an era where those of us in the west are wealthier than anybody has ever been before, but we are also witnessing the slow death of the middle class, and the gap between the haves and the have nots grows ever and ever wider.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1763563541
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quote 2016-03-29 23:31
I decided that any team with both God and Nixon on their side was fucked from the start.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

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review 2016-03-29 14:28
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo take on the 1972 presidential election was such an obvious choice for this year I thought I’d have to start bribing some young journalism majors who snagged it for class back in September months before we really thought the chaos would endure past Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m sitting on a pile of to-read books and put in an order for one of the few copies at the Free Library of Philadelphia figuring by the time it worked its way through everyone who wanted some context for the apocalyptic panic gripping our country’s leading television correspondents and party leaders I’d be in the market for a new read and it might even align with the conventions which could get into some very ugly business.


I don’t harbor a belief that any voice from the past would have kept this election on the rails—and I have to imagine Thompson would just be lumped in with the heated rants writ large—but when the dust clears in 2017 who else could describe the freakish and ugly nature of the 2016 election? Who else will have the language to describe “Bernie bros,” Clinton’s duplicity, the Republican clown car, and everything and anything about Donald J. Trump?


Few memories of the 1972 election survive. The 1968 Democratic convention was much more dramatic and even the crook Nixon was old news, he’d already been in power four years and things kept chugging along. Two Rolling Stone  writers emerged with new insights on the process even during what seems to be a pretty tame election. What would a gonzo journalist make out of 2016?


Somehow Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 makes this all seem familiar, even Trump... almost even Trump. Before he even gets out of the primaries, which is really most of the action is in '72, we see all the molds in which we cast candidates to this day: The Shameless Politico, the Radical Bigot, the True Believer, the Zodiac Killer, the Ibogaine Freak. At times it seems eerily prescient and has made me question my  own stances in the election—not the big obvious stuff like opposing a guy who has taken multiple op-eds out against innocent men suspected of a brutal crime and one against them even after they were proven innocent but about what we can or should aspire to—and how I look at the politics and the process. Plus, when he levels an insult he commits.


“Hubert Humphrey is a treacherous, gutless old ward-heeler who should be put in a bottle and sent out with the Japanese Current. The idea of Humphrey running for President makes a mockery out of things that it would take too long to explain or even list here.”


The 40th Anniversary Edition comes with a helpful introduction which, good as it is, I can't help but think it a shame that we need Matt Taibbi to explain that Thompson isn’t a mere drug-addled frat-boy sent to freak out the squares, but an original voice with insights that are important to explore. A letter from your younger self except more clever, more cutting, more daring and, perhaps for those reasons, less able to just cope with the compromises we have deemed necessary for the adult world. Maybe that’s what draws him to McGovern.


What’s the importance of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72? Same as any historical book, perspective. Seeing the pitfalls ahead, and maybe making it a bit easier to know that shit has gotten strange and dark before. We should stand up to it, but we don’t have to panic. Also it’s hilarious and well written. It does feel long for what it is, but then it’s a collection so that can’t be helped (it originally ran serialized in Rolling Stone during the election).

Read. Enjoy. If your city has better sense than Philly and it is hard to get, it will still be valuable later. Thompson's guy lost so there is a whole lot on coping and several post-mortem interviews. Good luck in November.  Unless you’re voting for Trump. The man has been scum my entire life.

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quote 2016-03-18 13:59
The root of the Wallace magic was a cynical, showbiz instinct for knowing exactly which issues would whip a hall full of beer-drinking factory workers into a frenzy--and then doing exactly that, by howling down from the podium that he had an instant, overnight cure for all their worst afflictions: Taxes? Nigras? Army worms killing the turnip crop? Whatever it was, Walllace assured his supporters that the solution was actually real simple, and that the only reason they had any hassle with the government at all was because those greedy bloodsuckers in Washington didn't want the problems solved, so they wouldn't be put out of work.

The ugly truth is that Wallace had never even bothered to understand the problems--much less come up with any honest solutions--but "the Fighting Little Judge" has never lost much sleep from guilt feelings about his personal credibility gap.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 - Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

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