Post by Jim Newman
Traveling to the South Shore of Lake Superior I have been having a blast reading Ancient Gonzo Wisdom, edited by Anita Thompson with an introduction by Hitch. First I have to say the intro is not Hitch’s best writing. The two are too different for a sympatico kind of literary clutch. It is summed up best by:
“Hunter and I got on all right: We shared an electric loathing for Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger that was so pure it practically sang.”
He skirts that Thompson considered Nixon to be a saint compared to the Bush’s and considered the younger Bush to be the worst president in history. Nixon, though bad, did start the Clean Air Act. Bush had no redemption whatsoever.
Hitch, several times, notes that he, one, can’t tell when Thompson as being sincere or sarcastic. This clues how far apart they could be. In this sense while both wished to be important, meaningful, and true, Hitch wished to be a literary giant while Thompson wished to cut the legs out from under the pedant called literature. They both struggled with being meaningful and Hitch died writing about politics while Thompson committed suicide as a sports writer. In this way, Hitch sought integrity within his world while Thompson sought the other road of the fork. Best noted by his nod of appreciation from Edward Abbey who called Thompson a “Seer”. Abbey wrote often of taking the other road and Abbey was often confused as to whether he was being sincere or comedic.
Without any introduction to Thompson and his work I want to dive in. Not as a review but as a quick splash and then on with driving this crazy twisted road.
“All that it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
That statement would have been enough for crazies to assassinate Kennedy, two of them even, and I remember a deep sense of loss and fear for our country when he was murdered those many years ago. As a young idealistic kid I had to wake up and realize that this fantasy land called earth was bedeviled with a humorless insanity that could castrate human motivation with the simple expurgation of great men. Yes, I have faith in the people but not trust.
As my brother-in-law, a Phd Psychologists, writes me, enclosing several articles on how religions help humanity, a la Scott Atran, I am left stupified how good people let stupidity occur simply for the wrong reasons: to justify tradition, to justify child hood, to justify education and mentors, to justify family friends, to justify intellectual inertia, to justify publication and career needs, to justify a moribund peace that declines to morbidity. I have to shake off the temptation to congeniality and insist that no, we absolutely must act or we will simply cease to be and we will drag family, friends, and strangers down that rat hole in a smokey haze of apathy and tolerance of intolerance.
Anita Thompson discusses Hunter in the The Gonzo Way. This video is of her talk–sorry you have to follow the link.
Jim Newman, bright and well