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April 07, 2008


C.S Perry

Thompson was, indeed, a man for all seasons but the demons that “laid him low” were the selfsame demons that made him so much fun to read. I can’t think of any half-bright polemicist writing today who doesn’t owe at least a small debt of gratitude to the Good Doctor (I know that I find it difficult to shake his rhythm and meter when I get rolling) but, yeah-let’s face it, he ended up reminding most of us of all those sad, burned-out hippies who like to look back on the turbulent sixties with a wonton gleam in their eyes and recall how they “almost” changed the world. But we know better, eh? Sure we do. All they managed to do was muddle a lot of important issues for all the wrong reasons and cast the national identity in the starkest and most cartoonish extremes and to confuse any sense of what The American Character should be and it still lingers to this day. Thompson too often cast his lot with the wrong people even for the right reasons. And whether or not he took the appropriate shots at them when the time came…well, he didn’t do much to slow down the Left Train that chewed up so many good people before their prime; including himself. He lived through and reported on an era that has been gone too long to still cast the immense shadow that it does and his writing is but one of many reasons that the Sixties Generation imploded so fast. All they really managed to accomplish, in the Final Analysis, was to speed up the wide-spread use of hard drugs and to multiply the national STD rate exponentially.
While Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 makes for some humorous and interesting reading, its place as a “classic” should be weighed heavily in retrospect. There are a lot of people smarter than we are who might even herald it as “The Beginning of the End.”

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