October 06, 2010

We are not amused

A while back I listened to an interesting series of lectures from The Modern Scholar series on literary journalism, or what used to be called "the new journalism." Some of the names associated with it are people like Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese et al.

I decided to give Thompson's famous Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream a try. It was interesting in the same way that one has trouble not looking at a car wreck, only much creepier.

It mostly consisted of two grown men acting worse than nightmare teenagers, doing such charming things as operating motor vehicles on public roads while under the influence of every imaginable drug, trashing things, and terrorizing waitresses and hotel maids.

I don't get it. Maybe I missed something. But if one of the themes of the book involves wondering what became of the American dream, maybe narcissistic and self indulgent behavior like that had something to do with it.

SIDELINED. Here's a look at long term unemployment in the wake of the Great Recession.

ONE TO WATCH, METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING. NPR is beginning a new series this week on the state of the American middle class.

MORE JOBS, LESS WAR is an approach to the economy recommended here.

ANNALS OF COMPASSION. It looks like Neanderthals had it before we did.



Hollowdweller said...

Loved that book. Read it the first time when I was about 15.

I always thought the point of it(if there was any point) was to show both the dark side of the establishment of the time, and the dark side of the whole countercultural movement that claimed it didn't have one.

But two of my favorite books of that time, which I always thought were funny and also somewhat self critical were "The High Priest" and "Confessions of a Hope Feind" by Timothy Leary.

Elizabeth Gaucher said...

I have never read, but never wanted to for the reasons you state. Just appears from the outside to be narcissistic self-indulgent blah. I love On the Road, however, and a lot of people say the same thing about that. I do appreciate having one other person who will confess to not workshipping Thompson. Thank you.