#1 Posted on 26.2.03 0157.39 Reposted on: 26.2.10 0159.01
For any Hunter S. Thompson fans out there:
I saw HST on Tim Russert's show last week promoting his "new" auto-biography Kingdom of Fear and I was frankly shocked. He was beyond unintelligible. He needed sub-titles for fuck sake.
I've read most of his work throughout the years, and I consider Hell's Angel's, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 and The Great Shark Hunt to be among my favorite books. I have enjoyed reading his brief columns on sports for espn.com's page 2 recently and have looked forward to a new book. The 2 volumes of his collected correpondence have been tremendous, featuring previously unearthed thoughts from his most fertile period, 1958-1976.
So, when I heard he was putting out an auto-biography, I looked forward to it's publication and I finally have it. In some ways, it suffers from the same disease that his last two "non-fiction" books (Songs of the Doomed and Better Than Sex) suffered from: gigantic type face, double spacing, wide margins, tons of photos/illustrations and that overall feeling that the old HST magic had simply disapated. But in this book, Hunter's prose seems to spring to life again, revitalized by whatever tonics may be to his current liking. This memoir touches on many of the classic HST milestones and the author provides fresh thoughts on the proceedings. He also deals with the US and world politics in the post-9/11 era. He hits his stride more often than not, but I just stopped and re-read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 last night, and each page is exciting, visceral, brutal and riveting. Each paragraph he wrote sprang to life and assaulted the reader.
Kingdom of Fear, is possibly his best work since The Great Shark Hunt and HST seems to have tapped the resources that made his work in the sixties and seventies so vital.
Just seeing him as such a inarticulate lump on with Russert kind of freaked me out. But the again, maybe he was just on an ether, amyl nitrate and Wild Turkey binge.
#2 Posted on 26.2.03 0552.03 Reposted on: 26.2.10 0552.31
HST's always been unintelligible. He has his own commentary track on the new Criterion DVD of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Plenty of hooting, banging, hollering, and squealing, but not much commentary.
The effect is not unlike what would happen if the dinner scene in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" had a movie on in the background.
But when the mood is upon him he can still generate some of that wild brilliance. I just think he was waiting for the right moment to reawaken the true Thompson.
And I think I'll have to score a copy of Kingdom of Fear. I really enjoyed the books of letters, especially the second volume. Kinda sad what happened between him and Acosta.
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#5 Posted on 27.2.03 0508.01 Reposted on: 27.2.10 0512.23
I'm with CRZ. He was an unintelligible maniac on Conac, cursing pointlessly and jittering in regard to nothing. The man has probably written five or six relevant paragraphs since the publication of The Great Shark Hunt. Generation of Swine was a total abortion, and the only redeeming factor of Better Than Sex was his eulogy for Nixon, which stole from (and revistited) so many previous themes that it almost served as a eulogy for Thompson himself.
I haven't read his new book, but if it is only more self-indulgent railing at the status quo, surrounded by senseless digressions about race, firearms or booze... thank you, but I've already read that book. September 11, 2001 may have made Thompson suddenly slightly more relevant, but it certainly hasn't made him necessary.
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