Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hunter's Prey

Lately I've been digging back into Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. Part of its appeal, speaking as someone who would not born for another thirteen years after its writing, is seeing contemporary figures, or their forebearers, as they were in their heyday, and often in a very unflattering light.

Here's Thompson on recently deceased racist-as-loveable-curmudgeon James J. Kilpatrick:

The only other person barred from the dining room that night was Tim Crouse, from the Rolling Stone bureau in Boston. Neither one of us was acceptably dressed, they said--no ties, no three-button herringbone jackets--so we had to wait in the bar with James J. Kilpatrick, the famous crypto-nazi newspaper columnist. He made no attempt to sit with us, but he made sure that everybody in the room knew exactly who he was. He kept calling the bartender "Jim," which was not his name, and the bartender, becoming more & more nervous, began addressing Kilpatrick as "Mr. Reynolds."

Finally Kilpatrick lost his temper. "My name's not Reynolds, goddamnit! I'm James J. Kilpatrick of the Washington Evening Star." Then he hauled his paunch off the chair and reeled out to the lobby.

The maker of Mitt:

I went to Nixon's Inauguration. Washington was a sea of mud and freezing rain. As the Inaugural Parade neared the corner of 16th and Pennsylvania Avenue, some freak threw a half-gallon wine jug at the convertible carrying the commandant of the Marine Corps... and as one-time Presidential candidate George Romney passed by in his new role as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the mob on the sidewalk began chanting "Romney eats shit! Romney eats shit!"

George tried to ignore it. He knew the TV cameras were on him so he curled his mouth up in a hideous smile and kept waving at the crowd--even as they continued to chant "Romney eats shit!"

Gonzo style being what it was, these must be taken with large grains of salt. But these are amusing sketches all the same.

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