Who said the dead can’t speak?
FROM THE COLLEGE CRIER
Many of you would equate Hunter Thompson with chemical-induced misadventure as outlined in his most famous work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or the film of the same name starring Johnny Depp. But his most valid claim to fame is as a sportswriter, novelist, and above all, a political journalist. His recent book, Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness- Modern History from the Sports Desk is the unedited compellation of his ESPN sports column. It chronicles the Bush presidency since the election and as it runs its course “on the downhill, hell bound train.”
In his Fear and Loathing books, his words evoke a generation, he appears as a kind of Hemingway of the 70’s: “You could strike sparks anywhere, there was a fantastic universal sense that what we were doing was right. That we were winning…” Times have changed, and we are now in a century saturated with oil, lies, terrorism, the Bush Chaney war machine, and the epidemic of voter apathy. Now his words carry a grim yet prophetic tone.
JLH: After a recent round of censorship, a staffer at a certain major media outlet was quoted saying “Hunter can go too far at times.”
HST: Too far, that’s what it’s about. If you never go too far, you never have a real sense of adventure. What’s too far? It’s a matter of taste; I believe that’s right, a matter of personal choice. I’m a very down-to-earth person, a neighborhood pillar of strength. I’ve lived in the same house for 30 years, so I’m not really as weird as you may have heard. I am a journalist.
JLH: As a writer, what is it that draws you to a subject?
HST: I approach stories that interest me for reasons just beyond simple journalism. Well, this presidential election is one. The presidential election is pretty much going to be a life or death matter for the next generation.
This Bush Cheney machine in the Whitehouse is the most dangerous situation I ever seen in the country. This country is in worse shape today than I have seen it in, and so fast down the same path… if Nixon was running against George Bush. I’d vote for Nixon. Yeah… I never thought I’d say that. Now tell me, who are you going to vote for?
JLH: I’m leaning more towards Kerry; he seems to be the lesser of the two evils.
HST: Well, in this case he’s a lot lesser. I’m gunna vote for Kerry and I worry- I constantly bitch at him for not being more aggressive and simply more fun. No doubt in my mind that Kerry would be a good president, extremely different from Bush. The main thing to understand is that Bush is not some sort of likable cowboy, some aww shucks person who is a man of good will. Compassionate Conservative. NO, he’s a front man for a gigantic combine of religious zealots and oil billionaires, and voting against Bush will stop this whole encroaching glacier or iceberg… meanwhile the machine keeps going. People are just getting poorer- loosing more jobs, more health insurance, more pension funds. Bush has destroyed the economy in the country, but he has not destroyed the economy of Halliburton, the oil company that Dick Cheney was president of before he became the Vice President of the US. Yeah, anyway it’s a matter of personality.
JLH: What would you consider the foulest lie on the campaign trail of 2004?
HST: Well, the foulest lie I believe is the one that says Bush has been a successful president and should be re-elected. That’s absolutely 180 degrees false. He has been a disaster for a president, for the country. He’s been a good boy for Halliburton and the oil industry, that’s what he does, that’s where he grew up. He grew up in the petroleum clubs of Houston, which is a huge power center of world evil. But he’s not god for the country… they come in and steal a trillion dollars from the national treasury in the name of war on the rest of the world.
The lie is the really that Bush and Cheney don’t deserve to be fired and put in jail, they do. And why he would run for president is and be re- elected is almost beyond my ability to comprehend it. The question now is not whether George Bush is a Nazi or whether John Kerry bled real blood in Vietnam or lied. That’s all bullshit; it’s an election year. The question now is whether the American people, the voters want it that way. Do we want a democracy? Do we approve of having a failed creature of the oil industry in charge of the country for another four years?
The first time I saw George Bush, he came into my hotel room in Houston, and passed out in the bathtub. How’s that for a story. He was drunk. He was not invited, he came into the room with some friend of his who was invited and he disappeared, and the next time I saw him he was passed out in the bathtub, he had vomited on his seersucker suit- that’s a good image. I’ve done worse things under a variety of substances, including drink. But to me that’s the most interesting thing he’s done as a human being- wait a minute, did I say that out loud?
JLH: What do you feel would happen if Bush does get re-elected?
HST: Well, the more of the same that’s happening now, this country has gone from a prosperous nation at peace and now four years later we’re a broken nation at war, that’s a huge turnaround. It’s the effects of a failing economy- although the war making machine- Christ, that’s doing better than ever, corporate profits for companies that make airplanes, security devices, and machine guns. Their profits are up 200 percent over the year before.
Looking ahead I don’t think he’s going to win, but if he does get re-elected, all the directions they’ve gone in, all the environmental directions… one of them is putting oil rigs all over Colorado now- giving away all the national parks to mining companies and they’re doing that- putting oil derricks and pipelines everywhere. It’s sucking the energy out of the Earth. It’ll run out in about in about 37 years, according the scientists that measure stuff like that. This might be the last gasoline available maybe ever. We’re running out of jobs, all of the premier airlines are filing for bankruptcy because of the price of fuel.
I think this country is heading into the Dark Ages. I believe George Bush will be seen as the Adolph Hitler of his time. And Dick Cheney will be seen as having committed war crimes worse than Hitler, and they will be put on trial and judged; they’re such religious freaks. What kind of maniac will declare war on the rest of the world? And turn the country into what nazi Germany was…
He’s not a monster; he’s just a nerd… like a drunken kid. He’s not running the country anyway, Dick Cheney is running it…
JLH: Sadly, voter apathy is prevalent among college students today.
HST: I’ve worried about the youth vote for so long. You live in a country and bad things are happening to it, and therefore to you, and you have a chance. This will be the last chance for another four years to kick the bastard out of the Whitehouse, to fire him, and not to vote I think is criminal, it’s stupid, criminally stupid. It’s the last time this oil machine is gunna be stopped in this lifetime.
Apathy is what got us George Bush. Too complicated, too crooked, politics is a vicious business when you’re running for president. The most powerful job on earth- maybe not for long, but right now, and people will kill, that’s what they do in politics. You eliminate people and our chance is now. I’ve been in politics, writing about it and being in it for forty years and I don’t have any cure for what- it’s like having the Hell’s Angles move in and having to kick them out. And this is our chance. Apathy is just stupid. It’s self-destructive.
I’ve always viewed election day as fun, always with a kind of action, pretty girls, getting laid, just fun. The thing to do this year is to get a date right now for Election Day. Bring a date. You have to make politics fun if you’re going to run for office. It has to be fun for people or you’re not going to get elected. It can only be a job for so long… there needs to be some fun in this campaign. Naked voting- yeah, I don’t think there are laws against voting naked- while you’re with a date, yeah, that’s sounds pretty good, or you don’t have to get naked to vote, get naked afterwards, wear an overcoat or a raincoat to vote… I don’t know what the hell I’m saying.. All this talk about politics is getting me excited!