It’s a damn shame that he’s no longer around. I think the Trumpf Presidency needs a Hunter S. Thompson to penetrate through to the squirrely nature of it all. I have just finished reading his Generation of Swine: Tale of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s, also known as Gonzo Papers Vol. 2. And he was talking about the last years of the Reagan Presidency, what with Iran-Contra, Oliver North, Ed Meese, and that whole ball of wax. That was nothing compared to what is happening now! Yet Thompson kept rising to the occasion:
Huge brains, small necks, weak muscles and fat wallets—these are the dominant physical characteristics of the ’80s … The Generation of Swine.
Things are a bit different now: The brains are tiny, what with Kellyanne Cowgirl and Sean Sphincter.
I could see the CBS man through the warped convex glass of the peephole, and I yelled at him:
“Get away from here, you giddy little creep! Never bother the working press. Spiro Agnew was right! You people should all be put in a cage and poked with sharp bamboo sticks.”
I called hotel security and complained that a drug dealer was hanging around in the hallway outside my door. They took him away within minutes, still jabbering about freedom of the press. I went back to bed and smoked Indonesian cigarettes until the evening news came on.
Now there you have an example of the man’s trademark gonzo journalism, in which the journalist himself is a character. And is the story 100% accurate? No, of course not, but there is enough truth there to be (1) wildly entertaining and (2) basically true. About the Presidency (and remember: he was talking about Ronald Reagan):
There is no need for the president of the United States to be smart.
He can be hovering on the grim cusp of brain death and still be the most powerful man in the world. He can arrest the chief of the mafia and sell the Washington Monument to Arabs and nobody will question his judgment.
Yeah, well, he should be around to see Trumpf and his Billionaire Boys Club. One final clip:
October in the politics business is like drowning in scum or trying to hang on through the final hour of a bastinado punishment…. The flesh is dying and the heart is full of hate: The winners are subpoenaed by divorce lawyers and the losers hole up in cheap motel rooms on the outskirts of town with a briefcase full of hypodermic needles and the certain knowledge that the next time their name gets in the newspapers will be when they are found dead and naked in a puddle of blood in the trunk of some filthy stolen car in an abandoned parking lot.
Are you listening, Hillary?
Unfortunately, it was just too difficult for Hunter to remain in character at age 67. One February day in 2005, while on the phone with his wife, he blew his brains out with a shotgun.
Oh, by the way, he frequently ended his stories in this collection with the legal phrase res ipsa loquitur, “the thing speaks for itself.” Too bad he’s not around to bring it to our attention.