Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Hunter S. Thompson

Great Moments in Presidential Inaugurations – 1

leave a comment »

The shittrain began on November 22nd, 1963, in Dallas—when some twisted little geek blew the President’s head off … and then a year later, LBJ was re-elected as the “Peace Candidate.”

Johnson did a lot of rotten things in those five bloody years, but when the history books are written he will emerge in his proper role as the man who caused an entire generation of Americans to lose all respect for the Presidency, the White House, the Army, and in fact the whole structure of “government.”

And then came ’68, the year that somehow managed to confirm almost everybody’s worst fears about the future of the Republic … and then, to wrap it all up another cheapjack hustler moved into the White House. If Joe McGinnis had written The Selling of the President about good old Ike, he’d have been chased through the streets of New York by angry mobs. But when he wrote it about Nixon, people just shrugged and said, “Yeah, it’s a goddamn shame, even if it’s true, but so what?”

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 commandment 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!”

The mood of the crowd was decidedly ugly. You couldn’t walk 50 feet without blundering into a fistfight. The high point of the parade, of course, was the moment when the new President’s car passed by.

But it was hard to be sure which one it was. The Secret Service ran a few decoys down the line, from time to time, apparently to confuse the snipers and maybe draw some fire … but nothing serious happened: just the normal hail of rocks, beer cans, and wine bottles … so they figured it was safe to run the President through.

Nixon came by—according to the TV men—in what appeared to be a sort of huge, hollowed-out cannonball on wheels. It was a very nasty looking armored car, and God only knows who was actually inside it.

I was standing next to a CBS-TV reporter named Joe Benti and I heard him say, “Here comes the President…” “How do you know?” I asked him. It was just barely possible to detect a hint of human movement through the slits that passed for windows.

“The President is waving to the crowd,” said Benti into his mike.

“Bullshit!” said Lennox Raphael standing beside me. “That’s Neal Cassidy in there.”

“Who?” said Benti.

“Never mind,” I said. “He can’t hear you anyway. That car has a vacuum seal.”

Benti stared at me, then moved away. Shortly afterward, he quit his job and took his family to Copenhagen.

When the Great Scorer comes to list the main downers of our time, the Nixon Inauguration will have to be ranked Number One. Altamont was a nightmare, Chicago was worse, Kent State so bad that it’s still hard to find the right words for it … but there was at least a brief flash of hope in those scenes, a wild kind of momentary high, before the shroud came down.

The Nixon Inauguration is the only public spectacle I’ve ever dealt with that was a king-hell bummer from start to finish. There was a stench of bedrock finality about it. Standing there on Pennsylvania Avenue, watching our New President roll by in his black-armored hearse, surrounded by a trotting phalanx of Secret Service men with their hands in the air, batting away the garbage thrown out of the crowd. I found myself wondering how Lee felt at Appomattox … or the main Jap admiral when they took him out to the battleship Missouri to sign the final papers.

Hunter S. Thompson on the 1968 inauguration, from his book on the 1972 election, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 20, 2009 at 4:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Movie Recommendation Minute

leave a comment »

Movie recommendation minute: Gonzo is fantastic.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 11, 2009 at 6:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Drugs and Literature

leave a comment »

Drugs and literature.

Philip K Dick, speed

The great sci-fi writer’s intensive use of speed and hallucinogens inspired much of his work. One particular drug, Semoxydrine – similar to speed – fuelled him in the manic production of 11 sci-fi novels, some essays and short stories all in the space of one year between 1963 and 1964.

Hunter S Thompson, everything

Thompson, pictured right, wrote the infamous 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, about a road-trip he had taken in 1971. His alter-ego narrator sets out with ‘two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers’.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 18, 2008 at 1:56 am

Obama News!

leave a comment »

I have just a few Obama remainders from the last few days.

* First up, another edition of Veepwatch!, this one making a pretty strong claim for an Obama/Edwards ticket. I’m almost convinced—but the reality is that no one in an age of late-night comics is going to take the VP slot twice. The always-a-bridesmaid jokes write themselves, and as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail sagely reminds us in the comments to the Washington Montly post, Hunter S. Thompson was right when he said Americans hate voting for losers.

I really think we can believe Edwards when he says he doesn’t want the job.

* VeepWatch! Jr.: The New York Review of Books reviews Jim Webb’s A Time to Fight. Since I wrote about The Virginia Strategem earlier in the week I’ve been reminded that Virginia’s Lt. Governor is a Republican, which all but takes Kaine out of the running and raises Webb’s stock considerably, despite the unfortunate two-Senators aspect. Does anyone out there know what would happen if Webb steps down from the Senate to run for vice president? Does Kaine appoint, or is there a special election?

* Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services? The Shadow Cabinet grows…

* Speaking of kos, he’s already made his first major self-inflicted wound of the general election season. Nearly made it 48 hours. Well done.

* Bob Dylan gushes over Barack Obama. So does George Lucas.

* Al Giordano at The Field gushes over the way Obama has already taken control of things at the DNC.

* And at TNR, the view from Africa.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Really the Last Gary Gygax Obit

leave a comment »

I know I said xkcd had the last word on Gary Gygax, but I really like this New York Times flowchart detailing how all nerd culture stems from Dungeons and Dragons. Gygax has reached the Kurt Vonnegut/Hunter S. Thomas summit of Internet grief; it’s a rare thing to have so many nerdy guys mourning at once. Via Boing Boing.

Click
to enlarge…

Written by gerrycanavan

March 10, 2008 at 9:01 pm