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I just found out Hunter S. Thompson killed himself today, Feb. 20, 2005. With a gun, of course. Ironically, it was a Canadian Press story I saw first.
While I'm pretty sure he'd hate any kind of sappy bullshit where we lament the loss of a great American writer, I can't help myself. He wasn't just a writer. He created a whole fucking genre. He kept the knee deep shit of our times real by twisting it in the drug induced blender of fiction, but it poured out more true than journalism ever could. While the fascist, psuedo-religious cults running this plutocracy will celebrate the deep funk that led to this man's demise, those of us who understood his twisted tunnel to the truth will never forget what he did for us, and for that sick sack of shit we call reality.
There's going to be a lot of slack to pick up now that the Dr. is out. There are a lot of cloverleaves just begging for someone to do a controlled slide around them. There are going to be a lot of horrific things that need to be said about the horrific things being done in our name. And, at risk of being dragged out of my home by my balls, and dumped in front of the gates to the White House, as Thompson once suggested Chuck Colson should be, I will continue to say them. The more Gonzo of my free speech, when it relates to the Doctor, will go in my new blog: The Birth of Neo-Gonzo. The rest gets scattered around the other blogs, like the Bush Treason Blog, and Backstage with Supak.
My favorite Thompson quote:
"I returned to the Holiday Inn ?where they have a swimming pool and air-conditioned rooms ?to consider the paradox of a nation that has given so much to those who preach the glories of rugged individualism from the security of countless corporate sinecures, and so little to that diminishing band of yesterday's refugees who still practice it, day by day, in a tough, rootless and sometimes witless style that most of us have long since been weaned away from."
Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
"No sir, not a chance. Mr. Jones does not even pretend to know what's happening in America Right now, and neither does any-one else..."
"We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they're dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It is the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic." - Written in the year 2000.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.—San Francisco Examiner on November 4, 1985 [sometimes quoted as The Music Business, etc.], and reprinted in Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s
I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive. . . ." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas.?/p>
Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.
As your attorney I advise you to tell me where you put the goddamn mescaline.
I always drive properly. A bit fast, perhaps, but always with consummate skill and a natural feel for the road that even cops recognize. No cop was ever born who isn't a sucker for a finely-executed hi-speed Controlled Drift all the way around one of those cloverleaf freeway interchanges.
As your attorney, it is my duty to inform you that it is not important that you understand what I'm doing or why you're paying me so much money. What's important is that you continue to do so.
There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.... And that, I think, was the handle --- that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting --- on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave...
There is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the kind of random revenge that comes with outraging the public decency.
Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
I have always loved marijuana. It has been a source of joy and comfort to me for many years. And I still think of it as a basic staple of life, along with beer and ice and grapefruits - and millions of Americans agree with me.
You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.
Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ''the rat race'' is not yet final.
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of 'history' it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time -- and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.
A word to the wise is infuriating.
America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.
Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism -- and the best journalists have always known this. True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he's writing it -- or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character.
I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.
If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.
Who does vote for these dishonest shit-heads?
No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
Publishers are notoriously slothful about numbers, unless they're attached to dollar signs - unlike journalists, quarterbacks, and felony criminal defendants who tend to be keenly aware of numbers at all times.
The reason most people play golf is to wear clothes they would not be caught dead in otherwise.
That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn't entirely conquer - he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation.
The person who doesn't scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.
We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.
There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would Never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying -- and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida. It was Nonsense, said the Candidate, Utter nonsense. ... Anybody who believed Bush had lost Florida was a Fool. The Media, all of them, were Liars & Dunces or treacherous whores trying to sabotage his victory.
The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now -- with somebody -- and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.
It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. . . We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows?
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed -- for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now.
The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what's coming now. The party's over, folks. . . [Censorship of the news] is a given in wartime, along with massive campaigns of deliberately-planted ‘Dis-information.?That is routine behavior in Wartime -- for all countries and all combatants -- and it makes life difficult for people who value real news.
[T]his blizzard of mind-warping war propaganda out of Washington is building up steam. Monday is Anthrax, Tuesday is Bankruptcy, Friday is Child-Rape, Thursday is Bomb-scares, etc., etc., etc.... If we believed all the brutal, frat-boy threats coming out of the White House, we would be dead before Sunday. It is pure and savage terrorism reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear -- fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.
It is hard to ignore the prima facie dumbness that got us bogged down in this nasty war in the first place. This is not going to be like Daddy's War, old sport. He actually won, and he still got run out of the White House nine months later.. . The whole thing sucks. It was wrong from the start, and it is getting wronger by the hour.
Three journalists have died in Baghdad. . . American troops are killing journalists in a profoundly foreign country, under cover of a war being fought for savage, greed-crazed reasons that most of them couldn't explain or even understand.
What the hell is going on here? How could this once-proud nation have changed so much, so drastically, in only a little more than two years. In what seems like the blink of an eye, this George Bush has brought us from a prosperous nation at peace to a broke nation at war.
But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of '03. The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. . . The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.
The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me. . . The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane, and has literally destroyed the lives of millions of American people and American families. Exactly. You and me, sport -- we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be -- the end of the world as we knew it.
I had a truly horrible dream last night. . . [Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Tyson and I] were on our way to a TV studio for a debate about his long-time working friendship with the powerful Bush family from Texas and how it might affect the next Bush presidency when The Terminator seizes power in Sacramento and tries to hand over the state's 54 electoral votes by election day in 2004. That is the basic plan behind Schwarzenegger running. He doesn't want to be Governor, he just wants the electoral votes to go to Bush this time.
Why are we seeing George Bush on TV every two hours for nine or ten days at a time, like some kind of mutated Mr. Rogers clone? Something is dangerously wrong in any country where a monumentally-Failed backwoods politician can scare our national TV networks so totally that they will give him anything he wants.
I have never had much faith in our embattled child President's decision-making powers ... I know that is not what you want to hear/read at this time, especially if you happen to be serving in the doomsday mess that is currently the U.S. Army.
I take no pleasure in being Right in my dark predictions about the fate of our military intervention in the heart of the Muslim world. It is immensely depressing to me. Nobody likes to be betting against the Home team.
If we get chased out of Iraq with our tail between our legs, that will be the fifth consecutive Third-world country with no hint of a Navy or an Air Force to have whipped us in the past 40 years.
This is no time for the ‘leader of the free world?to be falling asleep at massively-popular sporting events. . .Was [Bush] drunk? Does he fear the sight of an uncovered nipple? Was he lying? Does he believe in his heart that there are more evangelical Christians in this country than football fans and sex-crazed yoyos with unstable minds? Is he really as dumb as he looks and acts? These are all unsatisfactory questions at a time like this.
Is it possible that he has already abandoned all hope of getting re-elected? Or does he plan to cancel the Election altogether by declaring a national military emergency with terrorists closing in from all sides, leaving him with no choice but to launch a huge bomb immediately?. . . Desperate men do desperate things, and stupid men do stupid things. We are in for a desperately stupid summer.
For myself, I would much prefer to be stuck with Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, than stuck with George Bush in the White House. It is the difference between losing your wallet at a cock fight and losing all your credit cards forever, along with your job and your house and your ability to earn enough money to pay off your sports-gambling debts or even a six-pack on game day. . .
The 2004 presidential election will be a matter of life or death for the whole nation. We are sick today, and we will be even sicker tomorrow if this wretched half-bright swine of a president gets re-elected in November.
These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport.
Let's face it--the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do--says what he is told to say--poses the way he is told to pose. He is a Fool.
This is never an easy thing for the voters of this country to accept.
No. Nonsense. The president cannot be a Fool. Not at this moment in time--when the last living vestiges of the American Dream are on the line. This is not the time to have a bogus rich kid in charge of the White House. Which is, after all, our house. That is our headquarters--it is where the heart of America lives. So if the president lies and act giddy about other people's lives--if he wantonly and stupidly endorses mass murder as a logical plan to make sure that we are still Number One--he is a Jackass by definition--a loud and meaningless animal with no fundamental intelligence and no balls.
To say that this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.
Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age Republican whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look like a liberal?
- Some of the above are from Kingdom of Fear : Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century
The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.
Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him. We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it. I am embarrassed and I am pissed off. I mean to say something. I think a lot of people in this country agree with me - a lot than that are saying anything...we'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off next week -- it is always unknown or bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterwards with no witnesses.
One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
My concept of death for a long time was to come down that mountain road at a hundred and twenty and just keep going straight right there, burst out through the barrier and hang out above all that . . . and there I'd be sitting in the front seat, stark naked, with a cast of whiskey next to me, and a case of dynamite in the trunk . . . honking the horn, and the lights on, and just sit there in space for an instant, a human bomb, and fall down into that mess of steel mills. It'd be a tremendous goddamn explosion. No pain. No one would get hurt. I'm pretty sure, unless they've changed the highway, that launching place is still there. As soon as I get home, I ought to take a drive just to check it out.
If you only read one book by Hunter S. Thompson, which would be a real shame, you should read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas : A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.
My Neo-Gonzo Blog is serving up fresh links to all kinds of cool Hunter S. Thompson pictures, videos, and other fun stuff from the world of the professionally weird.
Finally, I'd like to say that I admired HST because he was a tough-guy neo-liberal. My theory is that Progressives don't win elections anymore because people think they're all pussies. Hunter proved that was a lie with every ounce of his being. He understood that the tough-guy counter-culture movement of the sixties, like Hell's Angels, was the antithesis of George W Bush, and yet the baby-boom Harley set voted overwhelmingly for this rich brat who had convinced them, through a massive Madison Avenue campaign of lies and distortions, that he, the draft-dodger chicken hawk, was the tough guy.
And if, after that, you still have the desire to see what an angry, neo-liberal independent publisher like me has to say in these days of political correctness (genetically engineered by the religious right, then blame-shifted, in a magical, Fox News kind of way, sprinkled with scorn, and dumped on the unsuspecting progressive left), visit my progressive environmentalist blog.