Hunter S. Thompson’s Letters to His Enemies ~ Atlantic

Hunter Thompson The " Gonzo " Journalist Sits At His Desk In His Rocky Mountain Cabin.
PAUL HARRIS / GETTY

If letters made sounds when we opened them, sounds expressive of their contents—if, from the freshly unsealed envelope, there rose a lover’s sigh, or an alcoholic belch, or a rasping cough of officialdom—the letters of Hunter S. Thompson would have released, I think, a noise like nearby gunfire. Like the crackle of some endless small-arms engagement. Pop, pop, pop, deep into the night.

I’ve been diving lately into the Thompson correspondence, via Douglas Brinkley’s superb two-volume edition (The Proud Highway and Fear and Loathing in America), because I’m looking for answers. Answers to what? How about: to the huge, throbbing interrogative that is America at the end of 2019. What is happening? Where’s it going? How do you live in it?

The mid-’60s to the mid-’70s—that was Thompson’s lean and scowling journalistic prime. “This fucking polarization,” he laments to one correspondent, “has made it impossible to sell anything except hired bullshit or savage propaganda.” But he was unstoppable. While researching his book about the Hells Angels, he rode with his subjects for about a year, getting a quasi-ritualistic stomping from them at the end of it; he was assaulted by Chicago cops at the Democratic National Convention in 1968; under wild duress, he composed the immortal hallucination that is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; he covered the Watergate hearings. And while he didn’t perfectly or lucidly see the future—didn’t see us, didn’t see now—he didn’t exactly need to, because in his head he was already here.

The Thompson of the letters is not especially likable. He is hard, compulsive, vengeful, nastily funny, and distended with the grandiosity of true desperation. An extraordinary proportion of the correspondence is concerned with money: claiming expenses, running from creditors, dunning and being dunned. American Express cancels his card; Thompson responds with sulfurous hauteur. “You bastards … You swine … My position today is the same as when this stupid trouble began. I’ll pay the bill if my card is reinstated.”

Friends and enemies are hailed in the same lewd, far-end-of-the-bar voice. “Dear Tom …” he writes to Tom Wolfe. “You worthless scumsucking bastard.” This is endearment. “Dear Sidney …” he writes to Sidney Zion, a co-founder of Scanlan’s magazine. “You worthless lying bastard.” This is abuse. (He goes on to tell Zion: “In ten years of dealing with all kinds of editors I can safely say I’ve never met a scumsucker like you.”) And if he starts to repeat your first name with menacing intimacy—“You interest me, George.”—you’re in trouble.

You could say that he had some very bad work habits. Or you could say that, over the course of a decade’s writing and reporting, he basically donated his nervous system to America. Pre-1974 Thompson was mostly on Dexedrine; after 1974 he was mostly on cocaine. Booze was a constant. Many of the letters have an early-morning-comedown feel: the whitening window, the excess of reality. “Why bother to make it right when nobody knows the difference anyway?” Drugs have their uses, but he saw with terrible clarity the bargain he was making, “willfully trading,” as he wrote to the Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, “time Now for time Later.”

He had a fastidious horror of the mob, be it a circle of leering bikers, a rank of advancing cops, or a throng of inflamed Republican delegates. In one letter he recalled watching Barry Goldwater address the Republican National Convention in 1964, and “actually feeling afraid because I was the only person not clapping and shouting.” Part of his brief, as he saw it, was to track this incoming American atavism. “The Shits are in,” he wrote after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He loathed Richard Nixon, although he made a friend of arch-Nixonian Pat Buchanan (“We disagree so violently on almost everything that it’s a real pleasure to drink with him”).

So the fissures ran deep, in his time as in ours. From the core, from the White House, disruption emanated. My hack brain keeps wanting to write “the parallels are uncanny”—but that’s not it. These are not parallels; this is the same story. Thompson’s letters impart the lesson: Decades later, this is the same America—the America of the raised nightstick, the shuddering convention hall, the booming bike engine, the canceled credit card, and the impossible dream.

Rō’bear Re’por going to the dark side

Unknown.pngDear Readers

Rō’bear is going to the Dark side for a few weeks beginning Sept. 14th. Traveling south to check out rumors of a Deep State in the Central Andes along with some fly fishing and of course observance of the daily Pisco Hour.  He will procure assistance from local personas de mala reputación y conferencistas invitados residing in Rio Blanco, Portillo & Papudo Chile  …  then hopefully return with a few stories early October to share with rŌbert devotees.

While the jefe is visiting the Dark Side you can go to the bottom of each page in the Re’por to Older Posts which will take you back in time to past stories from the bad old days.

“It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen”  Ken Kesey

Seguro, 

The Management

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This is low class basura Republican politics

We have a choice: Will we let socialists like be the face of our future? Or will a new generation of conservatives step up & lead us? We’re launching New Faces GOP to help identify & support the next generation of GOP leaders. Learn more:

Ram Dass is ready

was tripping today when i found this in the NYT

 

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For more than 50 years, Ram Dass has watched as other nontraditional spiritual leaders have come and gone while he has remained. He has been active since the early 1960s, back when he was still known as Richard Alpert and worked alongside his Harvard psychology department colleague Timothy Leary, researching the mind-altering effects of LSD and psilocybin and helping to kick off the psychedelic era. Later, as did many people before him, he ventured east, spending time in India as a disciple of the Hindu mystic Neem Karoli Baba. Upon his return, newly known as Ram Dass, he wrote the philosophically misty, stubbornly resonant Buddhist-Hindu-Christian mash-up “Be Here Now,” in which he extolled the now-commonplace, then-novel (to Western hippies, at least) idea that paying deep attention to the present moment — that is, mindfulness — is the best path to a meaningful life.

Published in 1971, that book, an early classic of New Age thinking, has sold around two million copies, according to his website; Ram Dass, who has since written a dozen other books, continues to find new readers via praise from the likes of Lena Dunham and the presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. The 88-year-old’s archived lectures have also found second lives as popular podcasts, and he has been the subject of multiple documentaries, including the life-spanning “Becoming Nobody,” which premieres on Sept. 6. “First I was a professor,” said Ram Dass, who in 1997 suffered a stroke that affected his speaking ability. “Then I was a psychedelic. Now I’m old. I’m an icon.” He smiled knowingly. “There are worse things to be.”

In “Be Here Now,”  I would never argue that the contents of “Be Here Now” have a ton to offer as a systematic philosophy, but there is something comforting about its litany of exhortations, like “When you know how to listen, everybody is the guru.” you write about going to an ashram in India and spending months in deep meditation. Most of us can’t drop out like that and can find it hard enough to not check our phones every five minutes or get away from work email for a day, let alone spend hours a night focusing on breathing, as you did. All of which is a preamble to asking: Is modern Western life anathema to the effort needed for the kind of spiritual development you espouse? Yes. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts: Those are the daily attention-grabbers that make it so that you can’t come from your mind to your heart to your soul. The soul contains love, compassion, wisdom, peace and joy, but most people identify with the mind. You’re not an ego. You’re a soul. You’re not psychologically full of anxiety and fear.

Ralph Metzner, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) in 1965 in Laredo, Tex., where Leary was standing trial on charges of marijuana possession. Lawrence Schiller/Polaris Communications/Getty Images

 

Speak for yourself. If you identify with the ego plane, you’ll find you’re in time, you’re in space, you’re a little body. But go to the spiritual heart, and there will be a doorway to the next plane of consciousness: soul land.  My guru  Neem Karoli Baba, whom Ram Dass refers to as Maharaji, taught from an ashram in the Himalayan foothills in northern India. Steve Jobs went on a pilgrimage to meet him in 1974, only to learn that he had died the previous year once called me over after I threw a plate of food at a Westerner at the ashram. Maharaji said: “Ram Dass! Is something the matter?” I told him my complaints about the Westerners who were hanging around, and he got a glass of milk and fed it to me, and he said, “Now, you do it for them.” So I fed the milk to every one of the Westerners. It made me feel good in my heart. Feed them. Love everybody.

Well, along those lines, your belief is that the universe is unfolding perfectly. So how do we, as human beings, make sense of that perfection given the impending awful catastrophe of something like climate change? Humans can have consciousness on two planes. For example, when you are a reporter at The Times, it’s a game. It’s a dance. How many people do you have to impress? It’s stuff like that. But the soul has in it the witness, and it witnesses our whole incarnation. The soul watches the game without judgment.

Am I playing the game the right way? Um, no.

Ah, Christ. Is there at least a “but” coming? But your intellect will keep you on track! I sense that you are in your spiritual work. You are a soul. Your baby is a soul. Your wife is a soul. The reader is a soul. The editor is a soul. I am a soul. But many of those people don’t identify with their soul. There’s a metaphor that Maharaji described for me: There’s a fisherman, and he’s got a pole, and you’re the fish and I’m the worm. In India, they say: “Don’t look for a guru. The guru looks for you.”

You believe that the “I” is an illusion, and in your most recent book That would be “Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying.” It was written with a co-author, Mirabai Bush. there are quick references to your being gay, which isn’t something I’d seen you mention before. But what does individual sexual orientation mean if the “self” is just a construct of the ego? It’s part of a dream. From when I was a teenager until I found Maharaji, I was homosexual in my head. In high school, prep school, I was attracted to men. That tendency shaped my life. Owsley — you know Owsley?

“A Discussion of LSD and Consciousness Expansion” poster for an event with Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass). The New York Public Library Digital Collections

Origins of “at either end of the social spectrum there lies a leisure class”

Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
2006
Just got this email from a very much alive Eric Beck this morning (May 4th) with the answer to the question in this thread about the origin of his quip. So Veblen does play a part in its genesis:”Hi Bruce;
Very nice to hear from you. Here’s the story. It is raining and many of us are sitting around Yosemite Lodge. Roper is reading Thorstein Veblen, THEORY OF THE LEISURE CLASS. In my usual smart ass manner, I happen to remark that there is a leisure class at both ends of the social spectrum. That’s it, apparently this caught on with climbers.

We have been in Bishop for 8 years. We go to Tuolumne often in the summer. Some of our favorites remain your old routes, Great Circle and Crying Time.

Eric and Lori Beck”

 

CU Cheerleader Squad To Host Tryouts In Coming Weeks

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Kappa Sigma Social Director & Assistant Spiritual Leader, Timothy Lane directing at a recent Rio Blanco social event. 

 

BOULDER – Tryouts for the University of Colorado Spirit Squad will take place in the coming weeks for the CU Cheer Team, Dance Teams and Handlers for Ralphie, (team mascot) the Buffalo.

Directed by CU Spirit Coordinator Tim Lane, the CU Spirit Squad consists of a co-ed cheer team, an all-girl cheer team, the dance team and handlers for Ralphie the Buffalo. All teams represent the University of Colorado on the sidelines of football and basketball, volleyball matches and all social events at the campo in Rio Blanco.

 

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Tim Lane with a new BUFF hoodie for the upcoming season cheering.

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Tim Lane (left center) veteran of CU cheerleading ‘Spirit’ squad & handler for team mascot ‘Ralphie’. young-ralphie.jpg

 

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Tim (left) with another ‘Spirit’ leader

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Kappa Sig frat house where Mr. Lane was at one time the Social Director and more recently (early 80’s ~ that’s 19) crashed on a couch until his brothers threw him out while auditing ‘The Beat Poets’ at Naropa Institute.

 

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The tradition began in 1934, three weeks after the selection of Buffaloes as a nickname for the University in a contest by the school newspaper, the Silver & Gold. Live bison continued to make sporadic appearances at CU games.

Ralphie I (1966–1978) was donated to the school in 1966 by John Lowery, the father of a CU freshman from Lubbock, Texas, when she was six months old. Initially, she was given the name “Ralph,” because of the noise she made while running. After a sharp-eyed sister of Colorado’s Delta Delta Delta pointed out that the bison was a female, however, the name was changed to Ralphie.[10]

The tradition of running Ralphie around in a loop on the field started October 28, 1967 during CU’s homecoming game.

Ralphie attended all football home games and bowl games until her retirement in 1978, a 13-year career. Her final game was on November 4, 1978 against Oklahoma, CU lost 28-7. She achieved national celebrity status and was voted homecoming queen in 1971.

 

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A more current photo of Señor Lane outside his meditation hut high in the Andes.