Friday, December 4, 2015

Writing With My Middle Fingers

It's two o'clock in the morning and I can't sleep.  I've been reading more Hunter S. Thompson as of late and that's left me missing him more than ever.  This blog post has been needed for a while and now is as good a time as any to hammer it out.

I'm out of booze, though.  I'm out of a lot of things, really.  Poverty sucks.  Thompson's last collection of letters to have been published is basically him bitching about money.  People owed him, he needed more, he spent it way to fast, and had nothing to show for it.  He was pissed.

But at least he had booze and good drugs, which is better than the situation I'm in tonight.
Image result for hunter s. thompson quotes on self-respect
The shooting in California really set me off.  Not the shooting, exactly, but the reactions of the people afterwards.  It was as if an army of ignorant pigfuckers were waiting for another one of these massacres with giddy excitement so they could pounce with their memes and slogans before the bodies stopped twitching.

Shootings don't bother me.  I expect the worst out of humanity and am rarely disappointed.   But stupidity and the slimey capitalization on the bones of the dead with pre-made graphics and canned outrage reminds me of just how depraved and devoid of conscience the world has become.

We're so numb we don't feel the crunch of the dead under our feet while we scream about whatever single issue we're obsessed over.  Every fact is just a lie re-told and whatever side we believe in has been corrupted by the opposing side via slick marketing campaigns, fake videos, paid actors, and bots that post in forums.  Every issue has become a sock puppet show with the same hands inside and similar voices reading the scripts.

But it wasn't like that a few decades ago.  It used to be, men could wield a baseball bat and swing it with a typewriter.  It used to be, words penetrated.

Maybe that's why I loved Thompson so much.  I was eighteen when I first read him.  I had read a reference to him in a blurb buried deep in the Sunday Edition of a Chicago Tribune article.  The only book our local library had was Generation of Swine:  Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80's.  It was a collection of his weekly articles written for the San Francisco Examiner in the mid-80's.  Not his best work, but enough--I was hooked.

Over the course of the next month, I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hell's Angels:  A Strange and Terrible Saga, and On The Campaign Trail in '72.

There were many others, but I was obsessed.  Thompson spoke to my soul and taught me a few things.  Through his work, I learned it was okay to be different, and to see the world for the ugly, festering sore it really was.  I learned to accept that I was alone and it was okay, because I knew I didn't belong, and that wasn't a bad thing.  It made me special.

I've taken two trips to Colorado.  On the first trip, I went to Boulder, where Thompson was known to sell his art at a gallery.  I found that gallery and damn near ran inside.  I asked the guy if he had any of Thompson's work but he didn't.

"There's a guy that just came in," he said while pointing to the back.  "He just got back from Thompson's where he did a photo shoot."

I walked back and in this poorly-lit room was a guy who looked like hell.  He had at least a week's growth of facial hair, his own was badly in need of a comb, and he was wearing dark sunglasses.  I asked him about Thompson and if he had any of his work.

"No," he said.  "But I just took these photos last night."  And the he proceeded to show me several 18 X 32 glossy photos signed by Hunter.  They were of him sitting in a red Caddy convertible (The great red shark itself!) and of him with an American flag wrapped around his neck.  What I hadn't realized was I was one of the first handful of people to see the photos for the dust jacket cover for Thompson's latest book, Better Than Sex.

The importance of this didn't sink in until a few years after.  

I asked the photographer what Thompson was like.  He said those shots were taken at four o'clock in the morning.  "Thompson," he said.  "Was amazing!  He would have three televisions on at once, a radio, a newspaper in his hands, and a conversation going on to the side and he'd keep up with everything with acute awareness."  

The second time I went to Colorado, I made it to Aspen.  I even made it to the Woody Creek Bar, where Thompson drank, and often wrote about.  To my dismay, they closed at nine o'clock, and it was just after that when I had arrived.  

My dream of meeting Hunter S. Thompson, like many dreams, was just not to be.  

I'll admit I tried to write like Thompson.  It's a cheap, horrible thing to do.  To be a writer and copy somebody else's style is childish.  I do what I can now to rid myself of this tendency and I have to be careful because after reading him for a few minutes, it comes out of me naturally.  Thompson's unique style is infectious.  

But he's gone now.  Thompson is gone.  He shot and killed himself.

I'm not sure if I'm sadder because he's gone or if because I don't think he could help us much anymore.  We're pretty far gone, as societies go, and some guy speaking truth would just fade into the white noise we're baptised by in a constant immersion.  We're numb--too numb to know when truth is spoken and too distracted to seek the truth out for ourselves.

But thank God Facebook never lies to us.

Maybe that's why I keep politics off my blog.  Everybody would rather read jokes about necrophilia and cannibalism recipes than read yet another fucking blog about truth.  Everybody has truth.  Deep down, we know the answers to the questions before we even ask them.  Plus, we live in a world that makes us ask questions despite already knowing the answers.

And everybody is full of shit.  There is no truth.  We're self-aware parasites on a cold rock hurling through space that is slowly being consumed until there is nothing left.  Once that happens, we'll consume each other until a handful of wicked and brutish survivors realize the stupidity of it all.  By then, everybody will be bat-shit insane and laughing hysterically because all the truth-sayers were right.

Res Ipsa Loquitor.  The the good times roll.

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