Listening to a cassette tape of one of my old radio shows, circa 1987, I ran across this grimly humorous recording of William S. Burroughs from the Giorno Poetry Systems album Better an Old Demon than a New God. It seems chillingly relevant in today’s climate; see if you don’t agree…
Fuckface Von Clownstick has signed a new Executive Order to replace the quotation under the Statue of Liberty with one more up to date. It will be inscribed thusly: “Give me your well-off folks able to support themselves. Don’t send any Bad Hombres or any Muslim Terrorists claiming to be Refugees. And make sure they are Extremely Vetted and speak English as goodly as President Trump.”
America has been breeding mass anomie since the end of World War II. It is not a political thing, but the sense of new realities, of urgency, anger and sometimes desperation in a society where even the highest authorities seem to be grasping at straws.
The above was written in reference to the Hell’s Angels, circa 1966, but just imagine how much worse things have gotten 50 years down the line. Well, I guess you don’t really have to…all you have to do is look around.
My call for a visitation from the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson has so far gone unheeded, so I have decided to embark on a rereading of the complete HST oeuvre, starting with Hell’s Angels. When appropriate, I will share a few choice bits.
Parts of HA seem oddly relevant in the current landscape, particularly the portrayal of people whose politics are consistently at odds with their own self-interest. (“The Angels will be among the first to be locked up or croaked if the politicians they think they agree with ever come to power.”) The following could easily refer to a certain subset of Von Clownstick voters, could it not?
Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentment…and to translate it into a destructive cult.
In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile — and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely. We owe that to ourselves and our crippled self-image as something better than a nation of panicked sheep…but we owe it especially to our children, who will have to live with our loss and all its long-term consequences. I don’t want my son asking me, in 1984, why his friends are calling me a “Good German.”
– HST, 1971
Frequently over the last few months I’ve found myself wondering what Hunter S. Thompson would have had to say about the improbable and terrifying rise of President Fuckface Von Clownstick. We know in general terms, of course: Hunter would have hated him. But how, exactly, would that hatred have expressed itself? Would it have reached the same level as HST’s legendary antipathy to Richard Nixon?
We could really, really use a little of the old gonzo magic right now. I hereby call upon the spirit of Hunter Thompson to visit me in my dreams and tell me his thoughts. If he obliges, I’ll let you know.