It’s weird how political climates shift from year to year. During major election cycles, I find myself extremely anxious–paranoid about everything. So many assclowns turn out for national office that even the fact of their existence in this stage makes my heart heavy and my whiskey glass full.
I’m reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 right now. Excluding his more hard journalism undercover Hell’s Angels, Campaign Trail ’72 is widely considered his best work. He was writing for the Rolling Stone in a time when youth and edge weren’t widely accepted as “Good Journalism” and was reporting with a perspective of brutal honesty and subjectivism–things he seemed to value greatly.
Thompson is known for his Gonzo journalism, which often had him on hallucinogen filled benders in exotic places. Two Mescaline, a drop of acid, and a pint glass of Wild Turkey, rolling down the highway in a giant, Made in USA convertible with a hippy lawyer tripping balls flying right seat. But his political journalism is where he puts his voice to use for something he truly cares about. He talks very lucidly about the candidates–their demeanor, persona, personality, platform, motivation–and does so with a transparently biased, fair voice. His candid tone implies that he’s being honest through his bias.
While I read Thompson, I’m actually trying my damnedest not to watch or read or consume anything related to national politics whatsoever. But it’s impossible to stay out. If you live in the world, and don’t have the heart to be a dick to someone who wants to use politics as a launchpad for small talk, or if you want to jump on to social media at all, you have to just suck it up and like the article that decries the rise of Kim Davis-Bates, The Donald, Bernie, Hillary, Huckabee, Another Bush, and any other fool getting more than two minutes of attention from a melodrama hungry public.
It occurs to me that this person–the candid yet depressingly honest, journalist–is what I’m lacking. I need to see who is looking to write the truth of the situation. How did Bernie Sanders stand after he was rolled off stage when he was accosted by BLM protestors? Did The Donald look at his advisor before he commented on the passion of the assault in Boston? What’s the feeling on the campaign trail. What are the other journalists saying to each other? How did that drunken fool who stole your press pass totally expose a candidate on a train?
These are the questions, America
It’s too early to really know some of that. These folks aren’t really on the trail yet. It’s far too early to say how any of this will shake out, and if ’72 is any indication, things change pretty quickly. And when the time comes, all of my sources for media coverage are web-based. Which means that instead of the asshats at Fox News or CNN feeling me slanted bullshit, clickbait from tiny, niche media companies is feeding me slanted bullshit.
And that’s why we need another Hunter. Not a guy who can drink a gallon of whiskey and write about the effects of adrenochrome. Someone who can read people when they’ve practiced, above all else, Image. Stoicism.
Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep drinking and writing to see where it lands me come February.