Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson, Rest in Crankiness

Good morning, oh my devoted readers.
It's another depressing day in the Heartland. Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide last night. When I was in highschool in Chapel Hill. I spent many an insomniac night reading The Great Shark Hunt which I'd gone to straight after Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What I remember best about Thompson was his description of watching the Watergate hearings, funneled through his alter-ego, Raoul Duke,

"The slow-rising central horror of Watergate is not that it might grind down to the reluctant impeachment of a vengeful thug of a president whose entire political career has been a monument to the same kind of cheap shots and treachery he finally got nailed for, but that we might somehow fail to learn something from it. Already - with the worst news yet to come - there is an ominous tide of public opinion that says whatever Nison and his small gang of henchmen and hired gunsels might have done, it was probably no worse than what other politicans have been doing all along, and still are. Anybody who really believes this is a fool -...What almost happened here- and what was only avoided because the men who made Nixon president and who were running the country in his name knew in their hearts that they were all mean, hollow little bastards who couldn't dare turn their backs on each other- was a takeover and perversion of the American political process by a gang of cold-blooded fixers so incompetent that they couldn't even pull off a simple burglary...which tends to explain among other things why 25,000 young Americans died in Vietnam while Nixon and his brain trust were trying to figure out how to admit the whole thing was a mistaske from the start.
Obviously, back then he was at least partially right. People didn't learn from the Watergate scandal, and the scandalousness of his presidency wasn't just the tapes - it was the war in Vietnam. Reading back through this now, it's clear to me that what I loved about Thompson when I was a highschool kid in the empty eighties was partly that intense wordiness and that he made the obsession with politics seem as cool as rock and roll. The drugs were the "excuse" for the excessiveness of the prose, and they became a distraction for the readers. I think the excesses of his lifestyle finally reduced the sharpness of his political commentary in print, and that we had lost him a long time ago. His suicide is very sad and I do want to know what the immediate cause was. I'm sure many will speculate and that the speculations will be facile.

I wish I knew what Thompson would say about the literal prostitution scandal now unfolding? The Gannon/Guckert circus.. There's a good article about it by Gary Leupp in Counterpunch.
Here's another onethat posits a connection between Karl Rove and Gannon.

And finally, here's something that's just silly: Art in the park

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