Friday, March 28, 2008

63 Years of Sociopathy


I'm not usually fond of serving as a conduit for other people's brilliant observations, but Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution" recently uncorked an old quote from the late Hunter S. Thompson that seemed so fitting for our present circumstances I can't help but pass it along.

Thompson, by the way, besides being a self-styled "Gonzo" journalist, was a world class drunk, druggie, gun nut, and raving psychopath. He once threatened to shoot my friend Art Kunkin, the founder of the Los Angeles Free Press, and a mild and harmless person.

But he was also a brilliant chronicler of the pathology of postwar America, and in 1972 was following presidential candidates of both parties around the country, pestering them for interviews and harassing them from the press sections of their buses. The result was "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail," which contains this memorable passage:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

The tragedy is not that Thomposn's diagnosis was devastatingly accurate, but that it's just as true today as it was 36 years ago.

Actually, that's been our story, our mentality, and our M.O. since the end of World War II. I only disagree with Barack Obama about one thing: it's not time for a change, it's way past time.

3 comments:

Joe said...

I was writing to an Internet chum about what could happen here with all those guns if we have the total economic meltdown that is possible.

This post about Hunter Thompson was interesting.

I had noticed a change of format at LA Free Press. I quit going there when I saw no sign of you contributing there any longer.

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

Ha! I didn't know they were still publishing.

Art has nothing to do with it any more. He's busy promoting his new book on alchemy, which he spent the last 6 mos. finishing.

I really liked writing for Art. He is the Free Press really, and up until now was the sole proprietor from 1963. It just isn't the Freep any more, even if it still exists.

He's a person worth knowing, and is still vigorous in his 80th year.

Joe said...

Ahh, my post is still not here.