Friday, September 19, 2008


(in tribute to Hunter S. Thompson)

It's Thompson's pet phrase, 'fear and loathing,' and it captures so well the feeling that one experiences watching those whom HST was fond of calling 'hacks' covering the campaign. Or, if you happened to see coverage of the Republican convention, you might want to recall HST's stunning, and still applicable, description while covering it back in '72:

an ugly, low-level trip that hovered somewhere in that grim indefinable limbo between dullness and obscenity -- like a bad pornographic film that you want to walk out on, but sit through anyway and then leave the theater feeling depressed and vaguely embarrassed with yourself for having taken part in it, even as a spectator.

HST was also one who well understood that oftentimes chemical solutions were the only workable ones. So here's a link that's just what Dr. Duke himself might have ordered, written by Eli Sanders of Seattle's The Stranger. I seem to do well enough without "Electro-College Shock Therapy" (I mean I don't need "Pollzac"), but I am looking into a prescription for "Emmigratol."

Then there's this link, which I read on my friend Andrew Shield's blog. My problem with the mythopoeticizing of Palin and her apostles is that it goes too far into the kind of brainy analysis that can never play out in the Romper Room rhetoric of today's media. But what Crain's post does do well is make the point not enough commentators have made in comparing Palin to W. In other words, you can't underestimate the American people, you can't say any of the bad things about Palin will undo her political prospects. W. lowered the bar so far down that, yes, virtually 'anyone can be president.' That ol' promise of democracy is also its curse: no one needs qualifications, one merely needs to 'convince the voters.' And after seeing what W. convinced them of, anything is possible. Anything.

But I think I'll let HST say it, as he did when he realized that Nixon would win by a landslide in '72:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about 'new politics' and 'honesty in government,' is one of the few men who've run for President of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.

McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.

Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

I'm not saying I know the answer to that last question, since I'm with King Lear: "the worst is not, so long as one can say 'this is the worst.'" But I will say this: come back, Tricky Dick, all is forgiven!

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