The new documentary \(just wanted to get down some thoughts, this isn’t a full breadth review. if you got something to add, please do.)

just got back from seeing “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” in D.C. with Dan. if you need background, check it out here. in short, if you’ve seen “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” the wild caricature Johnny Depp is playing is a fictional but, by all means, accurate portrayal of the legendary writer/journalist/hellion. “Gonzo journalism,” again in short, is typically very subjective storytelling involving the blurring of truth and fiction. i’ve often only seen it in a rant-style format, but i’ll admit i haven’t read much of Thompson’s work outside of some excerpts and articles he’s written for Rolling Stone.

it’s with much excitement that we took in this documentary, for both of us are fans and i would assume interested how applicable Hunter is to the times in which we live. trust me, his stance on the American Dream, its fate, its death, and its hopeful revival is truer now than it’s been since the fall of the 1960s revolution.

the odd mix of conservative patriotism and liberal advocacy that were the hallmarks of a misunderstood, cultish hero like Thompson should not be forgotten. he was the quintessential “walking contradiction,” a man who symbolized the extremes of American life as it was sold and ripped apart through the Vietnam War, civil rights, drug use, political deviancy, and, at its height, a paranoia-inducing police state under Nixon.

so, why should you care? this isn’t a new idea, but George W. Bush, the Iraq war, the “war on terror”…this has happened before. a president who shuts out any sort of unbiased thinking/bipartisan politics in order to maintain his grip on the “Destiny” (Manifest, if you will), his doctrine, to find a Muslim in a Muslim land? Bush? Nixon? talk about mirrors of similar times. whereas Nixon had southeast Asia, Bush has most of the Muslim world.

so, why SHOULD you care? Hunter Thompson made a point to always be outspoken on what he truly believed in. someone in the documentary tonight said that the times in which we live now are just like the ’60s, only the rage and anger were greater back then; people protested for what they believed in, today they idly talk about what they SHOULD do. the correlation that we have been caught napping is sad but true. Thompson, aside from his bravado and mythic status — for which there is endless entertainment to be had — was an advocate of not buying spoon-fed bullshit, especially the All-American kind.

i just keep getting reminded of how idealistic college students got for the Bush/Kerry election. and how disillusioned they were when Bush won, a seemingly incomprehensible reality. “but everyone i know voted Kerry.” yeah…

to me, and i’m sure this empty cause appeared to Hunter S. Thompson decades ago, the desire to participate in politics and elections is fruitless. politicians will never be “true” and fight for the things they should. they’re always in the pockets of this company or this lobby. they have to bend their platforms and beliefs to make both abortionists and pro-lifers happy. the reality of Democracy is that compromise hinders change. it’s nihilistic, but in the long run, i think it’s true. and i think that’s one of the reasons Thompson gave up on politics after the 1970s.

at this point, we should have had dozens of black, latin, female, and so on presidents. we’re American, our leaders should look like us. so rock on with your Obamas, and the next Hilary if there is one.

i guess the real point is that the skepticism one feels about the American Dream in 2008 is right. times aren’t a-changin’. yet.

  • Go check out “Gonzo,” in limited release right now. It’s at the E Street Cinema in D.C. for one.
  • Sorry to bring you down.