What’s the big deal about Hunter S. Thompson?

(This has been a major project for months now. And this file has remained on the desktop for a good long while.  In between, I made a sort of audio recording of a chapter from the book, and do not remember where I uploaded it right now. Also a lot of points below should be linked up to here and there. Do not have the time since the laptop is gone in a couple of hours and I doubt I shall ever have the time or inclination to finish this. So here goes)

Isn’t he the drugged out guy? From the 60s. Wrote a couple of books. Killed himself.

Didn’t he write in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, infact sent this to his editor to print, handwritten script in torn pages from his notebook,



The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers . . . and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.

He is also the guy who wrote Hell’s Angels, a tome for the word Gonzo. Understand how it is done. What it means to get into the centre of a thought process and take it in. And then make other people understand it that clearly, as if the writer is speaking in their heads. Seriously.

This was the acknowledgement mentioned in the book

To the friends who lent me money and
kept me mercifully unemployed. No
writer can function without them. Again,

Page 67 The Making of the Menace, Chap. 5

He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots
And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back.
He had a hopped-up cycle that took off like a gun,
That fool was the terror of Highway 101. –
Juke box hit of the late 1950s.

The california climate is perfect for bikes as well as surfboards, convertibles, swimming pools and abulia. Most cyclists are harmless weekend types, no more dangerous than skiers of skin-divers. But ever since the end of the second world war, the West Coast has been plagued by gangs of young wild men on motorcycles, roaming the highways in groups of ten to thirty and stopping whenever they get thirsty or road-cramped to suck up some beer and make noise. The hellbroth of publicity in 1965 made the phenomena seem brand new, but even in the ranks of the Hell’s Angels there are those who insist that the outlaw scene went over the hump in the mid-fifties when the original faces began drifting off to marriage and mortgages and time payments.

The whole thing was born, they say, in the late 1940s, when most ex-GIs wanted to get back to an orderly pattern: college, marriage, a job, children – all the peaceful extras that come with a sense of security. But not everybody felt that way. Like the drifters who rode west after Appomatox, there were thousands of veterans in 1945 who flatly rejected the idea of going back to their pre-war pattern. They didn’t want order, but privacy- and time to figure things out. It was a nervous, downhill feeling, a mean kind of Angst that always comes out of wars….a compressed sense of time on the outer limits of fatalism. They wanted more action, and one of the ways to look for it was on a big motorcycle. By 1947 the state was alive with bikes, nearly all of them powerful American made irons from Harley-Davidson and Indian (now defunct).

Next line,he switches on right into a bite from a news story

Two dozen gleaming, stripped-down Harleys filled the parking lot of a bar called the El Adobe. The Angels were shouting, laughing and drinking beer – paying no attention to two teen-aged boys who stood on the fringe of the crowd, looking scared. Finally one of the boys spoke to a lean, bearded outlaw named Gut:’We like your bikes, man. They’re really sharp.’ Gut glanced at him, then at the bikes. ‘I’m glad you like them,’ he said. ‘They’re all we have.’ September 1965

Page 76

For a lot of reasons that are often contradictory, the sight and sound of a man on a motorcycle has an unpleasant effect on the vast majority of Americans who drive cars. At one point in the wake of the Hell’s Angels uproar, a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune did a long article on the motorcycle scene and decided in the course of his research that

‘there is something about the sight of a passing motorcyclist that tempts many automobile drivers to commit murder.’

Nearly everyone who has ridden a bike for any length of time will agree. The highways are crowded with people who drive as if their sole purpose in getting behind the wheel is to avenge every wrong ever done them by man, beast or fate. The only thing that keeps them in line is their own fear of death, jail and lawsuits…which are much less likely if they can find a motorcycle to challenge instead of another two-thousand-pound-car or a concrete abutment. A motorcyclist has to drive as if everybody else on the road is out to kill him. A few of them are, and many of those who aren’t are just as dangerous – because the only thing that can alter their careless, ingrained driving habits is a threat of punishment, either legal or physical, and there is nothing about a motorcycle to threaten any man in a car *. A bike is totally vulnerable; its only defence is manoeuvrability, and every accident situation is potentially fatal – especially on a freeway, where there is no room to fall without being run over almost instantly. Despite these hazards, California – where freeways are a way of life- is by long odds the nation’s biggest motorcycle market.

* Preetam Bobo tells a story about a man in a ‘big new car’ who forced him off the road on Highway 40 one Sunday afternoon in the 1950s. ‘The dirty little bastard kept running up my taillight,’ said Preetam, ‘until finally I just pulled over and stopped. The other guys had seen it, so we decided to teach the bastard a lesson. Man, we smarmed all over him… We whipped on the hood with chains, tore off his aerial and smashed every window we could reach….all this at about seventy miles an hour, man. He didn’t even slow down. He was terrified.’

-Hell’s Angels

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