UNPUBLISHED: Hunter S. Thompson (19xx-2004)
HTML: HST: LIKE THE ARCHITECT GAUDI AND THE ARTIST SALVADOR DALI
HUNTER S THOMPSON CLOVERLEAF INTERCHANGES
THE ABOVE PHOTOGRAPH: While there may be little remarkable in these two photographs at present, in our lifetimes, this will change. Why ? Because what both Hunter S. Thompson and Steve McQueen are indulging in liberties which will be prohibited and scandalised, made the object of moral opprobrium. Both are carrying firearms, handguns, and in a public place. They have both been driving fast cars while doing so, which by the time of which I am writing, will all be fitted with satellite tracking devices which enable their every move to be tracked. Hunter and Steve, while they never knew it when these photographs were taken, were exersizing two of the great liberties and in grand style. Neither will survive our time.
GONZO: Photographs By Hunter S. Thompson,
Drift all the way around one of those cloverleaf freeway interchanges. ...
Hunter S. Thompson wrote the definitive guide to taking interchanges:
Interchanges are a natural product of the production of divided highways and thus have only been with us since the Sixties.
While the systems of two-lane Blacktops built in the Twenties gave us a twisting, winding, cross-country route which would
hold driving interest through the first day and into the night and out into the second, the divided highways hold little
interest even at tremendous speeds. Interchanges between divided highways add back a little of this lost interest, but do not
replace what we have lost.
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. Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal
speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side when he sees the big red light behind him… and then we will start
apologizing, begging for mercy. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. The thing to do – when you’re running
along about a hundred or so and you suddenly find a red-flashing CHP-tracker on your trail – what you want to do then is
accelerate. Never pull over with the first siren-howl. Mash it down and make the bastard chase you at speeds up to 120 all
the way to the next exit. He will follow. But he won’t know what to make of your blinker-signal that says you’re about to
turn right. This is to let him know you’re looking for a proper place to pull off and talk… keep signaling and hope for an
off-ramp, one of those uphill side-loops with a sign saying “Max Speed 25”… and the trick, at this point, is to suddenly
leave the freeway and take him into the chute at no less than a hundred miles an hour. He will lock his brakes about the same
time you lock yours, but it will take him a moment to realize that he’s about to make a 180-degree turn at this speed… but
you will be ready for it, braced for the Gs and the fast heel-toe work, and with any luck at all you will have come to a
complete stop off the road at the top of the turn and be standing beside your automobile by the time he catches up. He will
not be reasonable at first… but no matter. Let him calm down. He will want the first word. Let him have it. His brain will be
in a turmoil: he may begin jabbering, or even pull his gun. Let him unwind; keep smiling. The idea is to show him that you
were always in total control of yourself and your vehicle – while he lost control of everything. It helps to have a
police/press badge in your wallet when he calms down enough to ask for your license.
Owl Farm. 1278 Woody Creek Rd, Pitkin County, Aspen CO
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It was Hunter S. Thompson who wrote the definitive guide to taking interchanges:
While having an eclectic taste in automobiles he was an accomplished driver and had a sophisticated appreciation of
HUNTER S THOMPSON
The fame of Hunter S. Thompson rests upon his 1971 Novel, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".
His writing was a unique piece of work which blended real events with the way Thompson saw those events and the trails of the
imagined events which these real events provoked within in his mind. It was the ever present threat of these imagined events
and imagined actions by Thompson becoming real which added the tension and excitement to the novel
and to the style of writing which it gave birth to in that moment.
As a result of this bravura piece of writing, Thompson himself became a celebrity whose company was sought out by many who
imagined that Thompson the real author and Thompson the character in the novel were one and the same and that once in the
company of Thompson, it was only a matter of time before the barrier between the real events and the imagined events was
crossed and the wildness of these
This barrier exists in many persons, to an extent, but it is a healthy respect for law, or rather the capabilities of the
forces of law enforcement which prevents this barrier being crossed.
Indeed Thompson the real author and Thompson the character were the same and inseparable. Thompson the real author really was
invovled with experiments with drugs, explosives, firearms and automobiles.
Nevertheless, like most people who are involved in action, derring-doo and adventure, they tend to be involved with relativly
small amounts, which when conveyed to an audience in the re-telling, omit the long periods of preparation, journeys, boredom,
privation or other connective tissue of human endeavour in war, peace and adventure.
This tends to convey a false impression to the listener, without the storyteller having any intention other than to re-tell
the interesting parts of the story to his audience. Thompson did not wake up every morning and start shooting his typewriter
with his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum or throwing empty Whiskey bottles through his windows.
QUOTE: BALLS INTO THE NIGHT
The bulk of Thompson's writing was for magazines which dealt with the domestic US politics or with domestic US Sports. Only a
fraction was similar to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".
Politically, Thompson exhibited strong elements of both sides of the left and right, the Democrat and the Republican.
Firearms ownership, fast cars and behavioral modification of other people by threats of violence were traits more associated
with Republicanism, particularly firearms ownership. But Thompson had a lasting hatred of all the Republican Presidents and
was a supporter of the Democratic Party. It seems likely that Thompson's hatred of authoritarianism was what produced his
hatred of the Republican Party per se. Why Thompson never saw the social control which would be the ultimate result of the
Socialist elements of Democratic Party's aims is not clear. Although for most of Thompson's lifetime, this political element
in the Democratic blend would have been a regressive gene.
Thompson had a strong dislike of the mechanisms of capitalism not as an objection in priciple but because of their effect on
his lifestyle and those who led lifestyles like he his. An example is Thompson's objection to the slow development and
commercialisation of the Aspen valley where he had moved to, to live in privacy on a small ranch in the late Sixties. He
proposed the name of the village be changed from Aspen to "Fat City" because developers would have a hard time selling any
developments in a town called "Fat City". Aspen itself has been used as a training ground for US Army Mountain Troops during
the war and some of them had returned to develop the potential for winter sports in the area. Before this there were only
remote mining encampments and small ranches.
So politically, Thompson was extremely Libertarian. He wanted to be left alone to enjoy performing experiments with drugs,
explosives, firearms and automobiles.
QUOTE: WORKED FOR ME
The sum of Thompson's literary output this breaks down into perhaps Ninety-Five Per-Cent political and sporting essays and
reporting, and Five Per-Cent fictional adventures of which the novel "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is Three Per-Cent.
Thompson's fame resulting from his construction of a new genre of writing (the mixture of the real and the percieved or
imagined being termed "Gonzo Journalism") was such that during the next Presidential election campaign, Thompson would sign
more autographs than the Presidential candidate at the press briefing.
Pounding the automobile across country with a full beer cooler steadily being emptied became impossible as most US States
introduced an Open Container law which prohibited the consumption of alcohol within the vehicle.
The last such journey I can recall was of two friends of mine pushing hard their BMW Batmobile from Spain up through Southern
France back to Switzerland. They topped off a highly alcohol lunch stop with yet more glasses of wine as the barrelled along,
eventually coming off the road into a field of vegetables and breaking the windshield. All was not lost and they pushed the
car back onto the road and took off again at top pace wearing Skiing Goggles until finally coming to rest in a cornfield,
where, too drunk to continue, they lay where they fell and slept it off.
Thompson wrote for much of his life and when not writing articles he was writing letters, some twenty thousand of them. He
used a traditional mechanical typewriter, carbon paper and a fax machine, which meant that the Thompson archive was already
complete upon his death. He did not known anything about personal computers and rarely used the internet.
This quantity of correspondence exceeds even the big names of correspondence such as Winston S. Churchill and T.E.Lawrence.
In a way, Thompson would have been best utilized by having a wealthy patron, who could treat him as an artist. Once Thompson
enjoyed the benefit of this income, he could have been dispatached as an independent journalist to events in all parts of the
world, however remote, and his public could have enjoyed a Thompsonesque view of those events, the elements of Gonzo
Journalism as well as Thompson's highly developed perception of the details of the human psyche.
In the end, the pain and disability of his crippled hip joints wore down his will to live, and unable to enjoy his formerly
active life he succumed to the desire to end it.
What was little know about Thompson until after his death was that not only was he an accomplished author, but he was an
accomplished photographer. Subsquently a monograph has been published of Thompson's photographs. He worked in Monochrome and
Kodachrome, which, after being the mainstay of filmstock of the professional and artistic photographic world for most of the
Twentieth Century, is now out of production and unavailable.
Kodachrome had a magnificent and distinctive color balance and our only hope now is that digital cameras can be programmed to
have a selection which allows a 'Kodachrome' balance in their exposure. Even this may be insufficient to replicate the
results of photography with Kodachrome film.
Comparable Figures: D'Annunzio: Literary, passion, inspired, leadership. Nebulous politically, and endeavours in the real
world doomed for insufficiency in his followers. Attracted a similar following.
Byron: Not really because Byron was pretentious
MacCarthy Page 3 with me a step between the sublime and the ridiculous
Entrants in this event were world wide and included some of the most well-known names from all racing genres as well as the
television and motion picture industry. Indianapolis 500 winners Parnelli Jones, Al Unser, Rick Mears, and Rodger Ward; off-
road champions Mickey Thompson, Ivan Stewart, Jack Flannery, Walker Evans; international off road competitor, Rod Hall; power
boat champion Bill Muncey, movie- and television stars James Garner and Steve McQueen; Comedian, Mort Sahl; Astronaut, Gordon
Cooper, are among the many racing and entertainment luminaries who competed in the Mint 400.
and the series of imagined events which
Fear and Loathing at the Kentucky Derby
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
P J O ROURKE
Hunter S. Thompson "The Hippies"
The Hippies by Hunter S. Thompson
Contemporary writer Hunter S. Thompson is known as the father of “gonzo” journalism, a highly subjective, personal style of writing and reporting that defies many of the rules of traditional journalism. Thompson began his career as a freelance reporter in the late 1950s and went on to write about such diverse topics as bowling in Puerto Rico and the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club. Best known for his intensely skewed, sardonic musings on the American political and cultural scene, the author offers comparatively subdued yet keen observations on the youth movement known as the hippies in this Collier’s Encyclopedia Year Book article from the 1968 edition.
By Hunter S. Thompson
The best year to be a hippie was 1965, but then there was not much to write about, because not much was happening in public and most of what was happening in private was illegal. The real year of the hippie was 1966, despite the lack of publicity, which in 1967 gave way to a nationwide avalanche—in Look, Life, Time, Newsweek, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and even the Aspen Illustrated News, which did a special issue on hippies in August of 1967 and made a record sale of all but 6 copies of a 3,500-copy press run. But 1967 was not really a good year to be a hippie. It was a good year for salesmen and exhibitionists who called themselves hippies and gave colorful interviews for the benefit of the mass media, but serious hippies, with nothing to sell, found that they had little to gain and a lot to lose by becoming public figures. Many were harassed and arrested for no other reason than their sudden identification with a so-called cult of sex and drugs. The publicity rumble, which seemed like a joke at first, turned into a menacing landslide. So quite a few people who might have been called the original hippies in 1965 had dropped out of sight by the time hippies became a national fad in 1967.
Ten years earlier the Beat Generation went the same confusing route. From 1955 to about 1959 there were thousands of young people involved in a thriving bohemian subculture that was only an echo by the time the mass media picked it up in 1960. Jack Kerouac was the novelist of the Beat Generation in the same way that Ernest Hemingway was the novelist of the Lost Generation, and Kerouac's classic 'beat' novel, On the Road, was published in 1957. Yet by the time Kerouac began appearing on television shows to explain the 'thrust' of his book, the characters it was based on had already drifted off into limbo, to await their reincarnation as hippies some five years later. (The purest example of this was Neal Cassidy [Cassady], who served as a model for Dean Moriarity in On the Road and also for McMurphy in Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.)
Publicity follows reality, but only up to the point where a new kind of reality, created by publicity, begins to emerge. So the hippie in 1967 was put in the strange position of being an anti-culture hero at the same time as he was also becoming a hot commercial property. His banner of alienation appeared to be planted in quicksand. The very society he was trying to drop out of began idealizing him. He was famous in a hazy kind of way that was not quite infamy but still colorfully ambivalent and vaguely disturbing.
Despite the mass media publicity, hippies still suffer—or perhaps not—from a lack of definition. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language was a best seller in 1966, the year of its publication, but it had no definition for 'hippie.' The closest it came was a definition of 'hippy': 'having big hips; a hippy girl.' Its definition of 'hip' was closer to contemporary usage. 'Hip' is a slang word, said Random House, meaning 'familiar with the latest ideas, styles, developments, etc.; informed, sophisticated, knowledgeable [?].' That question mark is a sneaky but meaningful piece of editorial comment.
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Everyone seems to agree that hippies have some kind of widespread appeal, but nobody can say exactly what they stand for. Not even the hippies seem to know, although some can be very articulate when it comes to details.
'I love the whole world,' said a 23-year-old girl in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, the hippies' world capital. 'I am the divine mother, part of Buddha, part of God, part of everything.
'I live from meal to meal. I have no money, no possessions. Money is beautiful only when it's flowing; when it piles up, it's a hang-up. We take care of each other. There's always something to buy beans and rice for the group, and someone always sees that I get 'grass' [marijuana] or 'acid' [LSD]. I was in a mental hospital once because I tried to conform and play the game. But now I'm free and happy.'
She was then asked whether she used drugs often.
'Fairly,' she replied. 'When I find myself becoming confused I drop out and take a dose of acid. It's a short cut to reality; it throws you right into it. Everyone should take it, even children. Why shouldn't they be enlightened early, instead of waiting till they're old? Human beings need total freedom. That's where God is at. We need to shed hypocrisy, dishonesty, and phoniness and go back to the purity of our childhood values.'
The next question was 'Do you ever pray?'
'Oh yes,' she said. 'I pray in the morning sun. It nourishes me with its energy so I can spread my love and beauty and nourish others. I never pray for anything; I don't need anything. Whatever turns me on is a sacrament: LSD, sex, my bells, my colors.... That's the holy communion, you dig?'
That's about the most definitive comment anybody's ever going to get from a practicing hippie. Unlike beatniks, many of whom were writing poems and novels with the idea of becoming second-wave Kerouacs or Allen Ginsbergs, the hippie opinion makers have cultivated among their followers a strong distrust of the written word. Journalists are mocked, and writers are called 'type freaks.' Because of this stylized ignorance, few hippies are really articulate. They prefer to communicate by dancing, or touching, or extrasensory perception (ESP). They talk, among themselves, about 'love waves' and 'vibrations' ('vibes') that come from other people. That leaves a lot of room for subjective interpretation, and therein lies the key to the hippies' widespread appeal.
This is not to say that hippies are universally loved. From coast to coast, the forces of law and order have confronted the hippies with extreme distaste. Here are some representative comments from a Denver, Colo., police lieutenant. Denver, he said, was becoming a refuge for 'long-haired, vagrant, antisocial, psychopathic, dangerous drug users, who refer to themselves as a 'hippie subculture'—a group which rebels against society and is bound together by the use and abuse of dangerous drugs and narcotics.'
They range in age, he continued, from 13 to the early 20's, and they pay for their minimal needs by 'mooching, begging, and borrowing from each other, their friends, parents, and complete strangers.... It is not uncommon to find as many as 20 hippies living together in one small apartment, in communal fashion, with their garbage and trash piled halfway to the ceiling in some cases.'
One of his co-workers, a Denver detective, explained that hippies are easy prey for arrests, since 'it is easy to search and locate their drugs and marijuana because they don't have any furniture to speak of, except for mattresses lying on the floor. They don't believe in any form of productivity,' he said, 'and in addition to a distaste for work, money, and material wealth, hippies believe in free love, legalized use of marijuana, burning draft cards, mutual love and help, a peaceful planet, and love for love's sake. They object to war and believe that everything and everybody—except the police—are beautiful.'
Many so-called hippies shout 'love' as a cynical password and use it as a smokescreen to obscure their own greed, hypocrisy, or mental deformities. Many hippies sell drugs, and although the vast majority of such dealers sell only enough to cover their own living expenses, a few net upward of $20,000 a year. A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of marijuana, for instance, costs about $35 in Mexico. Once across the border it sells (as a kilo) for anywhere from $150 to $200. Broken down into 34 ounces, it sells for $15 to $25 an ounce, or $510 to $850 a kilo. The price varies from city to city, campus to campus, and coast to coast. 'Grass' is generally cheaper in California than it is in the East. The profit margin becomes mind-boggling—regardless of the geography—when a $35 Mexican kilogram is broken down into individual 'joints,' or marijuana cigarettes, which sell on urban street corners for about a dollar each. The risk naturally increases with the profit potential. It's one thing to pay for a trip to Mexico by bringing back three kilos and selling two in a circle of friends: The only risk there is the possibility of being searched and seized at the border. But a man who gets arrested for selling hundreds of 'joints' to high school students on a St. Louis street corner can expect the worst when his case comes to court.
The British historian Arnold Toynbee, at the age of 78, toured San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district and wrote his impressions for the London Observer. 'The leaders of the Establishment,' he said, 'will be making the mistake of their lives if they discount and ignore the revolt of the hippies—and many of the hippies' nonhippie contemporaries—on the grounds that these are either disgraceful wastrels or traitors, or else just silly kids who are sowing their wild oats.'
Toynbee never really endorsed the hippies; he explained his affinity in the longer focus of history. If the human race is to survive, he said, the ethical, moral, and social habits of the world must change: The emphasis must switch from nationalism to mankind. And Toynbee saw in the hippies a hopeful resurgence of the basic humanitarian values that were beginning to seem to him and other long-range thinkers like a tragically lost cause in the war-poisoned atmosphere of the 1960's. He was not quite sure what the hippies really stood for, but since they were against the same things he was against (war, violence, and dehumanized profiteering), he was naturally on their side, and vice versa.
There is a definite continuity between the beatniks of the 1950's and the hippies of the 1960's. Many hippies deny this, but as an active participant in both scenes, I'm sure it's true. I was living in Greenwich Village in New York City when the beatniks came to fame during 1957 and 1958. I moved to San Francisco in 1959 and then to the Big Sur coast for 1960 and 1961. Then after two years in South America and one in Colorado, I was back in San Francisco, living in the Haight-Ashbury district, during 1964, 1965, and 1966. None of these moves was intentional in terms of time or place; they just seemed to happen. When I moved into the Haight-Ashbury, for instance, I'd never even heard that name. But I'd just been evicted from another place on three days' notice, and the first cheap apartment I found was on Parnassus Street, a few blocks above Haight.
At that time the bars on what is now called 'the street' were predominantly Negro. Nobody had ever heard the word 'hippie,' and all the live music was Charlie Parker-type jazz. Several miles away, down by the bay in the relatively posh and expensive Marina district, a new and completely unpublicized nightclub called the Matrix was featuring an equally unpublicized band called the Jefferson Airplane. At about the same time, hippie author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1962, and Sometimes a Great Notion, 1964) was conducting experiments in light, sound, and drugs at his home at La Honda, in the wooded hills about 50 miles south of San Francisco. As the result of a network of circumstance, casual friendships, and connections in the drug underworld, Kesey's band of Merry Pranksters was soon playing host to the Jefferson Airplane and then to the Grateful Dead, another wildly electric band that would later become known on both coasts—along with the Airplane—as the original heroes of the San Francisco acid-rock sound. During 1965, Kesey's group staged several much-publicized Acid Tests, which featured music by the Grateful Dead and free Kool-Aid spiked with LSD. The same people showed up at the Matrix, the Acid Tests, and Kesey's home in La Honda. They wore strange, colorful clothes and lived in a world of wild lights and loud music. These were the original hippies.
It was also in 1965 that I began writing a book on the Hell's Angels, a notorious gang of motorcycle outlaws who had plagued California for years, and the same kind of weird coincidence that jelled the whole hippie phenomenon also made the Hell's Angels part of the scene. I was having a beer with Kesey one afternoon in a San Francisco tavern when I mentioned that I was on my way out to the headquarters of the Frisco Angels to drop off a Brazilian drum record that one of them wanted to borrow. Kesey said he might as well go along, and when he met the Angels he invited them down to a weekend party in La Honda. The Angels went and thereby met a lot of people who were living in the Haight-Ashbury for the same reason I was (cheap rent for good apartments). People who lived two or three blocks from each other would never realize it until they met at some pre-hippie party. But suddenly everybody was living in the Haight-Ashbury, and this accidental unity took on a style of its own. All that it lacked was a label, and the San Francisco Chronicle quickly came up with one. These people were 'hippies,' said the Chronicle, and, lo, the phenomenon was launched. The Airplane and the Grateful Dead began advertising their sparsely attended dances with psychedelic posters, which were given away at first and then sold for $1 each, until finally the poster advertisements became so popular that some of the originals were selling in the best San Francisco art galleries for more than $2,000. By this time both the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead had gold-plated record contracts, and one of the Airplane's best numbers, 'White Rabbit,' was among the best-selling singles in the nation.
By that time, too, the Haight-Ashbury had become such a noisy mecca for freaks, drug peddlers, and curiosity seekers that it was no longer a good place to live. Haight Street was so crowded that municipal buses had to be rerouted because of the traffic jams.
At the same time, the 'Hashbury' was becoming a magnet for a whole generation of young dropouts, all those who had canceled their reservations on the great assembly line: the high-rolling, soul-bending competition for status and security in the ever-fattening—yet ever-narrowing—American economy of the late 1960's. As the rewards of status grew richer, the competition grew stiffer. A failing grade in math on a high school report card carried far more serious implications than simply a reduced allowance: It could alter a boy's chances of getting into college and, on the next level, of getting the 'right job.' As the economy demanded higher and higher skills, it produced more and more technological dropouts.
The main difference between hippies and other dropouts was that most hippies were white and voluntarily poor. Their backgrounds were largely middle class; many had gone to college for a while before opting out for the 'natural life'—an easy, unpressured existence on the fringe of the money economy. Their parents, they said, were walking proof of the fallacy of the American notion that says 'work and suffer now; live and relax later.'
The hippies reversed that ethic. 'Enjoy life now,' they said, 'and worry about the future tomorrow.' Most take the question of survival for granted, but in 1967, as their enclaves in New York and San Francisco filled up with penniless pilgrims, it became obvious that there was simply not enough food and lodging.
A partial solution emerged in the form of a group called the Diggers, sometimes referred to as the 'worker-priests' of the hippie movement. The Diggers are young and aggressively pragmatic; they set up free lodging centers, free soup kitchens, and free clothing distribution centers. They comb hippie neighborhoods, soliciting donations of everything from money to stale bread and camping equipment. In the Hashbury, Diggers' signs are posted in local stores, asking for donations of hammers, saws, shovels, shoes, and anything else that vagrant hippies might use to make themselves at least partially self-supporting. The Hashbury Diggers were able, for a while, to serve free meals, however meager, each afternoon in Golden Gate Park, but the demand soon swamped the supply. More and more hungry hippies showed up to eat, and the Diggers were forced to roam far afield to get food.
The concept of mass sharing goes along with the American Indian tribal motif that is basic to the whole hippie movement. The cult of tribalism is regarded by many as the key to survival. Poet Gary Snyder, one of the hippie gurus, or spiritual guides, sees a 'back to the land' movement as the answer to the food and lodging problem. He urges hippies to move out of the cities, form tribes, purchase land, and live communally in remote areas. By early 1967 there were already a half dozen functioning hippie settlements in California, Nevada, Colorado, and upstate New York. They were primitive shack-towns, with communal kitchens, half-alive fruit and vegetable gardens, and spectacularly uncertain futures.
Back in the cities the vast majority of hippies were still living from day to day. On Haight Street those without gainful employment could easily pick up a few dollars a day by panhandling. The influx of nervous voyeurs and curiosity seekers was a handy money-tree for the legion of psychedelic beggars. Regular visitors to the Hashbury found it convenient to keep a supply of quarters in their pockets so that they wouldn't have to haggle about change. The panhandlers were usually barefoot, always young, and never apologetic. They would share what they collected anyway, so it seemed entirely reasonable that strangers should share with them.
Unlike the beatniks, few hippies are given to strong drink. Booze is superfluous in the drug culture, and food is regarded as a necessity to be acquired at the least possible expense. A 'family' of hippies will work for hours over an exotic stew or curry, but the idea of paying three dollars for a meal in a restaurant is out of the question.
Some hippies work, others live on money from home, and many get by with part-time jobs, loans from old friends, or occasional transactions on the drug market. In San Francisco the post office is a major source of hippie income. Jobs like sorting mail don't require much thought or effort. The sole support of one 'clan' (or 'family,' or 'tribe') was a middle-aged hippie known as Admiral Love, of the Psychedelic Rangers, who had a regular job delivering special delivery letters at night. There was also a hippie-run employment agency on Haight Street; anyone needing temporary labor or some kind of specialized work could call up and order whatever suitable talents were available at the moment.
Significantly, the hippies have attracted more serious criticism from their former compatriots of the New Left than they have from what would seem to be their natural antagonists on the political right. Conservative William Buckley's National Review, for instance, says, 'The hippies are trying to forget about original sin and it may go hard with them hereafter.' The National Review editors completely miss the point that serious hippies have already dismissed the concept of original sin and that the idea of a hereafter strikes them as a foolish, anachronistic joke. The concept of some vengeful God sitting in judgment on sinners is foreign to the whole hippie ethic. Its God is a gentle abstract deity not concerned with sin or forgiveness but manifesting himself in the purest instincts of 'his children.'
The New Left brand of criticism has nothing to do with theology. Until 1964, in fact, the hippies were so much a part of the New Left that nobody knew the difference. 'New Left,' like 'hippie' and 'beatnik,' was a term coined by journalists and headline writers, who need quick definitions of any subject they deal with. The term came out of the student rebellion at the University of California's Berkeley campus in 1964 and 1965. What began as a Free Speech Movement in Berkeley soon spread to other campuses in the East and Midwest and was seen in the national press as an outburst of student activism in politics, a healthy confrontation with the status quo.
On the strength of the free speech publicity, Berkeley became the axis of the New Left. Its leaders were radical, but they were also deeply committed to the society they wanted to change. A prestigious University of California faculty committee said the activists were the vanguard of a 'moral revolution among the young,' and many professors approved. Those who were worried about the radicalism of the young rebels at least agreed with the direction they were taking: civil rights, economic justice, and a new morality in politics. The anger and optimism of the New Left seemed without limits. The time had come, they said, to throw off the yoke of a politico-economic establishment that was obviously incapable of dealing with new realities.
The year of the New Left publicity was 1965. About the same time there was mention of something called the pot (marijuana) left. Its members were generally younger than the serious political types, and the press dismissed them as a frivolous gang of 'druggies' and sex 'kooks' who were only along for the ride.
Yet as early as the spring of 1966, political rallies in Berkeley were beginning to have overtones of music, madness, and absurdity. Dr. Timothy Leary—the ex-Harvard professor whose early experiments with LSD made him, by 1966, a sort of high priest, martyr, and public relations man for the drug—was replacing Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech Movement, as the number-one underground hero. Students who were once angry activists began to lie back in their pads and smile at the world through a fog of marijuana smoke or to dress like clowns and Indians and stay 'zonked' on LSD for days at a time.
The hippies were more interested in dropping out of society than they were in changing it. The break came in late 1966, when Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California by almost a million-vote plurality. In that same November the GOP gained 50 seats in Congress and served a clear warning on the Johnson administration that despite all the headlines about the New Left, most of the electorate was a lot more conservative than the White House antennae had indicated. The lesson was not lost on the hippies, many of whom considered themselves at least part-time political activists. One of the most obvious casualties of the 1966 elections was the New Left's illusion of its own leverage. The radical-hippie alliance had been counting on the voters to repudiate the 'right-wing, warmonger' elements in Congress, but instead it was the 'liberal' Democrats who got stomped. The hippies saw the election returns as brutal confirmation of the futility of fighting the Establishment on its own terms. There had to be a whole new scene, they said, and the only way to do it was to make the big move—either figuratively or literally—from Berkeley to the Haight-Ashbury, from pragmatism to mysticism, from politics to dope, from the involvement of protest to the peaceful disengagement of love, nature, and spontaneity.
The mushrooming popularity of the hippie scene was a matter of desperate concern to the young political activists. They saw a whole generation of rebels drifting off to a drugged limbo, ready to accept almost anything as long as it came with enough 'soma' (as Aldous Huxley named the psychic escape drug of the future in his science-fiction novel Brave New World, 1932). New Left writers and critics at first commended the hippies for their frankness and originality. But it soon became obvious that few hippies cared at all for the difference between political left and right, much less between the New Left and the Old Left. 'Flower Power' (their term for the power of love), they said, was nonpolitical. And the New Left quickly responded with charges that hippies were 'intellectually flabby,' that they lacked 'energy' and 'stability,' that they were actually 'nihilists' whose concept of love was 'so generalized and impersonal as to be meaningless.'
And it was all true. Most hippies are too drug oriented to feel any sense of urgency beyond the moment. Their slogan is 'Now,' and that means instantly. Unlike political activists of any stripe, hippies have no coherent vision of the future—which might or might not exist. The hippies are afflicted by an enervating sort of fatalism that is, in fact, deplorable. And the New Left critics are heroic, in their fashion, for railing at it. But the awful possibility exists that the hippies may be right, that the future itself is deplorable—and so why not live for Now? Why not reject the whole fabric of American society, with all its obligations, and make a separate peace? The hippies believe they are asking this question for a whole generation—and echoing the doubts of an older generation.
Source: 1968 Collier’s Year Book.
Hippie; United States (History); Protests in the 1960s; Thompson, Hunter S.
ENDS - THE HIPPIES
BEGIN - THE WAVE SPEECH
The "wave speech"
The "wave speech" is an important passage, at the end of the eighth chapter, that captures the hippie zeitgeist and its end.
“ Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . .
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.
My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights — or very early mornings — when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . .
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. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Some critics and readers believe this wave speech was Thompson’s favourite passage in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the writing of which he was most proud. Thompson often cited it during interviews, choosing it when asked to read aloud from the novel.
END - THE WAVE SPEECH
+ EXTERNAL LINKS
- The Selvedge Yard Blogspot on HST
- The Selvedge Yard Blogspot on HST's Hells Angels https://theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/hunter-s-thompson-hells-angels/
FEARL AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
THE GREAT SHARK HUNT
The Great Shark Hunt - Part One
The Great Shark Hunt - Part Two
The Great Shark Hunt - Part Three
The Great Shark Hunt - Part Four
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