Farewell to Dr. Thompson PLUS: [Un]Wise

"It is a nervous thing to consider: Not just four more years of Nixon, but Nixon's last four years in politics - completely unshackled, for the first time in his life, from any need to worry about who might or might not vote for him the next time around. If he wins in November, he will finally be free to do whatever he wants...or maybe 'wants' is too strong a word for right now. It conjures up images of Papa Doc, Batista, Somoza; jails full of bewildered 'political prisoners' and the constant cold-sweat fear of jackboots suddenly kicking your door off its hinges at four A.M."
--Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail

Read this message from the grave. Read it and cry bubba, because only a few weeks back Bill Clinton was on Air America explaining in vivid detail the many reasons why Richard Millhouse Nixon was a bleeding-heart lefty compared to the flag-waving, Bible thumping, whore humping yahoos who’ve hijacked our nuclear joystick. And now Hunter S. Thompson -the great chronicler of American political weirdness- has swallowed a bullet. I guess I should have seen it coming. The old dog was half crippled and had to put himself down before the rats got strong enough to eat him alive. Or maybe, after all these years, the medicine just went bad.

Oh for fuck’s sake, it was never about the goddamn drugs. Of course he used them, and he wrote about using them. Drugs are a convenient excuse for some excellent swinery: A little chemical collateral for the Woodstock Generation, and for X-ers who like to slurp down a latte or two while buying their rebellion off the shelf at Barns & Noble. That’s the method. But there was also madness.

Thompson didn’t invent Gonzo, he was Gonzo. His formula was too easy to suss: Go to the horse track and describe everything you see in grotesque detail except for the races which must be ignored at all costs. Hacks concern themselves with who’s ahead and who’s behind; whores flock to the winner’s circle. Doctors of Journalism only want to see the accidentally good staring down the intolerably wicked in an all-holds-allowed battle for the cosmos. Fuck the horses man; where the hell are the trainers (they’re holding the good shit, I just know it)--and what does a man have to do to get a Goddamn drink around here, piss on a jockey?

Like Jackson Pollock, the action painter whose insane splatters earned him the nickname “Jack the Dripper” Thompson’s best work seemed scattershot--something any monkey might produce given enough time and mescaline. But the Gonzo was camouflage for the author’s studied craftsmanship. This mad style of New Journalism required a scribe like Thompson who was so obsessed with the musicality of language that he retyped page after page from Hemingway and Fitzgerald like a crazed cartographer determined to know every bend, twist, and sandbar in the great river of American literature.

I met and studied briefly with another counterculture hero-- Alan Ginsburg--back when I was a freshman in college. During a particularly foul wine and cheese-cube mixer, A.G. started talking about his guru. If I understood the conversation correctly said guru--fully licensed I presume--thought that people with subversive spirits should dress more like bankers. I was soused and thought this was the funniest thing I’d ever heard. “So what are you now Alan, some kind of spook?” I asked. “Because that sounds like cloak and dagger talk to me--real cold-war commie tactics.” If the old poet was amused he didn’t let on.

Funny. Now it seems like Thompson--who let his freak flag fly like a March fart--may have been the real spy in the game. His famously awful behavior--so predictably chaotic--gave the old addict a fool’s platform and the ability to speak truth to power. That was always Thompson’s cover--and his trump card.

"But our trip was different,” he wrote in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. “It was to be a classic affirmation of everything right and true in the national character. A gross physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country. But only for those with true grit."

The good Doctor’s last wish? He wanted his charred remains shot out of a cannon in one final act of weirdness and revolution. I’m sure going to miss that gritty sonofabitch. I’ll miss him like a sonofabitch.



Newsguy blogger Darrell Phillips has an e-mail response from Andy Wise concerning the Wise one's recent tent-revival... I mean interview with Claudine Marsh, Mayor Willie Herenton's baby mama. Here's some of it:

When I wrote Claudine Marsh seeking an interview, I didn't know at the time whether she had a personal relationship with Jesus. I was hoping to talk to her and give her an opportunity to set the record straight on whether or not Mayor Herenton was holding up his end of the bargain in the care of their son. Then she answered the letter, and we met, and it immediately became clear to me that she was a woman of faith, and not only did she want to set the record straight on Herenton, but she also felt moved by God to use her mistake, which she clearly took responsibility for, to encourage other young couples to abstain from sex until marriage...I am convinced that we made a connection through the Holy Spirit... I have been taught that we are supposed to be bold in our faith. Because it was clear to me that God had arranged this meeting with Claudine for a bigger purpose, I felt compelled to give him the glory on television.

Damn! Jesus Christ Superflack--- who knew?

Weird stuff too since Jesus makes it pretty dawgone clear that believers should be bold in their works but HUMBLE in the outward display of faith--- that's why he regularly gives those gaudy, garment-rending Pharisees "the business." Now if only the Nazarine would consider work as a station manager...

Okay, really: WTF? “It was clear to me that God had arranged this meeting with Claudine for a bigger purpose." What makes that so clear Andy? And don't say, "a still small voice inside," because that's not good enough to make it past the first edit... unless, that is, you've got that burning bush on the record, and on the freaking camera, know what I'm saying?

All these painted strumpets prancing around the new Temple of Jesus Christ Evangalist are truly insulting. They waste all of our time "putting God back in the equation," when their beloved Bible clearly provides that God is the equation... or else he's nothing at all. If everything you do his in HIS name, you better choose your shoutouts wisely Andy Wise.

Give HIM the glory... for reporting laundromat gossip fuel about a single mom's awkward relationship with her baby daddy--the MAYOR? It's more like he's placing the effing blame. I swear to God.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (August 16-22)

News Blog

REI Opens Next Friday

News Blog

Stat: Gun Crimes in Shelby County

News Blog

State Review of School Security Nearly Complete

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

This Week At The Cinema: The Good, The Bad, and The Anime

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Aaron James

© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation