Dept. of Missed Opportunities

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In this Rolling Stone essay, Hunter Thompson describes meeting with John Kerry earlier this year:

Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, I had a quick little rendezvous with him on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet with a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. As we rode to the event, I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry quickly suggested that I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972. That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president's lawn.

Link via Tony Pierce.

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  1. “I told him that Bush’s vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him.”

    It was half-way up the ski slope when the drugs starrted to take effect…

  2. Thompson is the second-best example of how fucked up your brain can become as a result of drug abuse.

    Ozzy being the first, of course.

  3. …….”and then I asked Kerry if I could have his stem-cells if they ever assasinated his worthless ass”

  4. Hunter Thompson totally rules. And while Ozzy is totally incoherent and was never really all that intelligent, Hunter is somewhat coherent and very intelligent. I think that even before drugs, he was a little ‘different’, which is probably why he experimented so much and so deeply with drugs.

    Every time I watch ‘Fear and Loathing…’ it makes me want to take drugs, which when it first came out on dvd, my friends and I did frequently. 🙂

  5. So… what this tells us is that even in the privacy of an automobile, a conversation with Kerry STILL turns on Vietnam? The man’s obsessed.

    Oh, and I’ll never understand H. S. Thomspsons ‘greatness’ outside of the very, VERY narrow context of the sixties. OUtside of that, he’s just, well, tedious.

  6. Paul — Both his Fear & Loathing books were written in the 1970s…. I think his peak, which in my estimation was one of the highest, was from 1962-74. And he’s been able to make me laugh pretty consistently for the 30 years since, even if the days of Hell’s Angels are long gone.

  7. Does anyone read his articles on ESPN’s Page 2? At first they were amusing, but yikes, talk about a broken record. FWIW, I loved Fear and Loathing, the book.

  8. “Does anyone read his articles on ESPN’s Page 2”

    I did for a while, until I realized that the accuracy of his sports commentary rivaled what you might get from a drunken Zsa Zsa Gabor.

  9. But Fear and Loathing is a great book. And Where the Buffalo Roam a pretty good movie.

  10. Thompson didn’t like “Where the Buffalo Roam,” saying about Bill Murray, “I thought friends didn’t do that kind of thing to each other” (or to that effect).

  11. I always wondered if the substance abuse bit with him was something of an act. Maybe he’s more like a weirdo who dabbled in drugs and the underlying weirdness makes it seem like he’s dabbled more than he has. Never hung with the dude so I have no idea of knowing. I’m often accused of being on something when perfectly sober.

  12. I think Foster Brooks had a better act than Thompson.

  13. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president’s lawn.

    They should film that heartwarming story and show it every Christmas.

  14. There are two “Fear and Loathing” books by Thompson – “…in Las Vegas” and “…on the Campaign Trail in 1972.”

    They both rule.

  15. “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” was the coolest book ever written, when I was in Junior High in 1979.
    Of course, at that time, AC/DC was the coolest band that ever rocked.
    Both AC/DC and Hunter S. Thompson have, improbably enough, managed to wring a quarter-century of career-sustaining cred out of that one, brief burst of late-70’s coolness.
    Still, who’s bought (or even THOUGHT OF BUYING) any of AC/DC’s new stuff? (Or Motorhead’s, for that matter?)
    Analogously, I ain’t buying what Mr. Thompson’s peddling at this late date.
    And, uh,…Doonesbury fell off a long time ago too.
    And I don’t wanna see the Sex Pistols’ reunion tour, thanks.
    And the Ramones are all dead.

  16. by 1977 ac/dc had already released four albums (high voltage, tnt, dirty deeds, let there be rock) that yeilded some classic tunes (whole lotta rosie, tnt, dirty deeds, it’s a long way to the top, problem child, big balls).

    the “brief burst” of the late 70s of commercial success wasnt just limited to ’79s highway to hell and 1980’s back in black; powerage (’78) is probably their best record, 1981’s for those about to rock is unforgetable,

    and 1990’s the razor’s edge has three songs that youre bound to hear at most sports arenas to this day (thunderstruck, are you ready, fire your guns) and featured the band’s first hit of the 90s money talks.

    so yes, theyve milked 15 years of great songwriting and chunky metal riffs into a 25 year career.

    stupid beatles didnt even do that.

  17. Thompson is the second-best example of how fucked up your brain can become as a result of drug abuse.

    Well, shit, I guess that would make a creep like you an argument for what can happen if you don’t use any: You develop no literary taste.

  18. You develop no literary taste.

    it’s not that hst is above criticism, imo. it’s that not understanding him for what he is — instead believing him to be some addled hippie or thoughtless malcontent because you need him to be — betrays a lack of both historical context and intellectual scope.

  19. Motorhead’s last two albums are among their 10 best. Every Motorhead album is guaranteed to contain at least five songs that will tear the skin right off your face, but the last two (Hammered and Inferno, the latter in particular) are amazing. And if you ever want a good quote, about anything, interview Lemmy.

  20. At my university, we have a required summer reading assignment for incoming freshmen. I have been suggesting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but the other members of the committee think I’m kidding.

  21. “He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead, bleeding rat over a black-spike fence and onto the president’s lawn.”

    i mean, fuck. it may be vulgarity, but the phrasing is SOLID GOLD.

  22. Does the “missed opportunity” refer to Thompson’s well-known hobby of collecting firearms?

  23. Nope. It refers to swapping out the rat and throwing Kerry over the fence.

  24. Now THAT would have been a protest!

    “Screw the medals, I’m *returning* my C.O.!”

  25. I’d love to watch HST, Phil Spector and Bob Barr take target practice together some afternoon.

    On video, not in person.

  26. Echoing dhex re: phrasing, I also love this:

    Houston is a cruel and crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It’s a shabby sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West — which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.

  27. That goddamn swine Duke was vomiting all over himself at his book signing on Monday in Hollywood. High on the LSD, the manager said. Out of his mind, babbling incoherently, half-finished signatures crawling down the pages. Then he left when I was 4 people away from completing my 2 hour wait in the rain. “Just another freak in the freak kingdom”? Ho ho ho, I’ll skin you yet, Mr. Duke. Watch the skies.

  28. MickeyD, that’s a pretty amusing quote re: Houston. Not without truth….

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