Days of Lore
“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
—Hunter S. Thompson
FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE COLUMN TRAIL Yes, it’s been a year since the father of ‘ Gonzo Journalism” took his life with a shotgun at the age of 67. I must say I was disappointed, but not shocked. Thompson was one of the last of a generation that kept authority in check—albeit through a drug and alcohol-induced haze—not to mention one of the great writers of our time. I mean the guy copied F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Ernest Hemingway’s A Call to Arms on a typewriter just to learn about their writing styles for the love of God.
Now as the anniversary of his suicide approaches, Thompson’s widow Anita will post a never-before-seen photo of the writer taken at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. While this news is not overly exciting, I’m sure there are enough freaks that will jump all over it. If you’re one on those freaks, go to gonzostore.com on Feb. 20 when the free download is made available.
WHAT A DICK Speaking of shotgun injuries, news like this is like shooting, ahem, rich 78-year-old attorneys in a barrel. Dick Cheney’s recent quail hunting mishap has made the vice president the prey of news agencies around the world who question why it took a full day to make an announcement. Adding to its woes was the White House’s response to play it off as Texas attorney Harry Whittington’s fault. But being a lifetime member of the NRA (once you’re in, you can never leave), I know the basic rule is that when you have a gun in hand you always need to know your surroundings—otherwise known as common sense. Maybe Whittington is part of the “axis of evil” and ol’ Dick was trying to play the hero.
Now, to make matters worse, the poor guy just suffered a heart attack. Yikes, indeed—more fuel for fringe-liberals and more fodder for Jon Stewart, which I don’t mind one bit.
MR. CHOCOLATE, GIVE ME BACK MY ARM RIGHT NOW! I recently watched Grizzly Man—you know, the documentary about Timothy Treadwell, the guy who spent 13 seasons living among the Coastal brown bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park before ultimately being killed by one in 2003—and I must say, at the risk of sounding morbid and insensitive, I laughed hysterically through most of it.
The film, written and directed by Werner Herzog, can be interpreted a million different ways. Treadwell had issues—a former drug abuser and failed actor who worked at a Gulliver’s Travels theme restaurant before pursuing a career in cuddling up to 800-pound bears and giving them names like Mr. Chocolate and Sgt. Brown.
At times I didn’t know if what I was watching was real or if I was being duped by Christopher Guest. The people interviewed—acting buddies of Treadwell, the medical examiner and an ex-girlfriend—say their lines in bizarre, melodramatic fashion. It’s definitely entertaining—and I found comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one laughing.
ONE MORE THING … I’ve been pushing this on everyone I know, but the latest record from Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog is worth picking up. Breezy ’60s Brit-pop never sounded so good. Thanks to Jason Cassidy for turning me on to it … now I shall turn you all on to it—check out some samples from Easy Beat at www.drdogmusic.com.