Hunter S. Thompson

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I consider myself a road man for the lords of karma.

Hunter S. Thompson (1937-07-182005-02-20) was an American journalist and author and was regarded by many as the author of the "greatest book on the dope decade" (The New York Times). He was known for his flamboyant writing style, known as Gonzo Journalism, which blurred the distinctions between writer and subject, fiction and non-fiction. Thompson died at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado, of what police officers stated was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

See also: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Film) (1998 movie)

Sourced

  • The hippies, who had never really believed they were the wave of the future anyway, saw the election results as brutal confirmation of the futility of fighting the establishment on its own terms. There had to be a whole new scene, they said, and the only way to do it was to make the big move — either figuratively or literally — from Berkeley to the Haight-Ashbury, from pragmatism to mysticism, from politics to dope... The thrust is no longer for "change" or "progress" or "revolution," but merely to escape, to live on the far perimeter of a world that might have been.
    • "The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies" (May 1967); republished in Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979), pp 392-394
  • I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.
    • Speech given to the University of Colorado Student Union (1977-11-01)
  • In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.
    • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
  • I returned to the Holiday Inn — where they have a swimming pool and air-conditioned rooms — to consider the paradox of a nation that has given so much to those who preach the glories of rugged individualism from the security of countless corporate sinecures, and so little to that diminishing band of yesterday's refugees who still practice it, day by day, in a tough, rootless and sometimes witless style that most of us have long since been weaned away from.
    • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
  • The only other important thing to be said about Fear & Loathing at this time is that it was fun to write, and that's rare — for me, at least, because I've always considered writing the most hateful kind of work. I suspect it's a bit like fucking — which is fun only for amateurs. Old whores don't do much giggling. Nothing is fun when you have to do it — over and over, again and again — or else you'll be evicted, and that gets old. So it's a rare goddamn trip for a locked-in, rent-paying writer to get into a gig that, even in retrospect, was a kinghell, highlife fucking from start to finish... and then to actually get paid for writing this kind of manic gibberish seems genuinely weird; like getting paid for kicking Agnew in the balls. So maybe there's hope. Or maybe I'm going mad... In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile — and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely... The Swine are gearing down for a serious workout this time around... So much, then, for The Road — and for the last possibilities of running amok in Las Vegas... Well, at least, I'll know I was there, neck deep in the madness, before the deal went down, and I got so high and wild that I felt like a two-ton Manta ray jumping all the way across the Bay of Bengal.
    • Comments on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979), pp 109 - 110
  • There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die. Who knows? If there is in fact, a heaven and a hell, all we know for sure is that hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Phoenix — a clean well lighted place full of sunshine and bromides and fast cars where almost everybody seems vaguely happy, except those who know in their hearts what is missing... And being driven slowly and quietly into the kind of terminal craziness that comes with finally understanding that the one thing you want is not there. Missing. Back-ordered. No tengo. Vaya con dios. Grow up! Small is better. Take what you can get...
    • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
  • Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested...
    Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.
    • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80s (1988)
  • It is all well and good for children and acid freaks to still believe in Santa Claus — but it is still a profoundly morbid day for us working professionals. It is unsettling to know that one out of every twenty people you meet on Xmas will be dead this time next year... Some people can accept this, and some can't. That is why God made whiskey, and also why Wild Turkey comes in $300 shaped canisters during most of the Christmas season."
    • "Fear and Loathing in Elko" Rolling Stone (1992-01-23)
  • There is a huge body of evidence to support the notion that me and the police were put on this earth to do extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with each other, except at official functions, when we all wear ties and drink heavily and whoop it up like the natural, good-humored wild boys that we know in our hearts that we are..These occasions are rare, but they happen — despite the forked tongue of fate that has put us forever on different paths...
    • "Fear and Loathing in Elko" Rolling Stone (1992-01-23)
  • Suddenly I was tired of Lotterman;He was a phony and he didn't even know it. He was forever yapping about freedom of the press and keeping the paper going, but if he'd had a million dollars and all the freedom in the world he'd still put out a worthless newspaper because he wasn't smart enough to put out a good one. He was just another noisy little punk in the great legion of punks who marched between the banners of bigger and better men. Freedom, Truth, Honour- you could rattle off a hundred such words and behind every one of them would gather a thousand punks, pompous little farts, waving the banner with one hand and reaching under the table with the other.
    I stood up. "Ed," I said using his name for the first time, "I believe I'll quit."
  • The city's frightening now. That's the basis of my reaction to Las Vegas. It's not the city I wrote about. It's not the same place at all. You'll notice that even the - what do you call them? - milestone or trademark casinos are now gone.
    • "30 years after FALILV: Hunter S. Thompson on Las Vegas Today'" Las Vegas City Life (2002-06-07)
  • Fiction is based on reality unless you're a fairy-tale artist, you have to get your knowledge of life from somewhere. You have to know the material you're writing about before you alter it.
  • But speaking of rules, you've been arrested dozens of times in your life. Specific incidents aside, what's common to these run-ins? Where do you stand vis-à-vis the law?
    "Goddammit. Yeah, I have. First, there's a huge difference between being arrested and being guilty. Second, see, the law changes and I don't. How I stand vis-à-vis the law at any given moment depends on the law. The law can change from state to state, from nation to nation, from city to city. I guess I have to go by a higher law. How's that? Yeah, I consider myself a road man for the lords of karma."
  • There was no time for scholarly details, and, besides, I have always believed that a man can fairly be judged by the standards and taste of his choices in matters of high-level plagiarism.


Hell's Angels (1966)

  • The hard core, the outlaw elite, were the Hell's Angels... wearing the winged death's-head on the back of their sleeveless jackets and packing their "mamas" behind them on big "chopped hogs." They rode with a fine unwashed arrogance, secure in their reputation as the rottenest motorcycle gang in the whole history of Christendom.
  • A man who has blown all his options can't afford the luxury of changing his ways. He has to capitalize on whatever he has left, and he can't afford to admit — no matter how often he's reminded of it — that every day of his life takes him farther and farther down a blind alley... Very few toads in this world are Prince Charmings in disguise. Most are simply toads... and they are going to stay that way... Toads don't make laws or change any basic structures, but one or two rooty insights can work powerful changes in the way they get through life. A toad who believes he got a raw deal before he even knew who was dealing will usually be sympathetic to the mean, vindictive ignorance that colors the Hell's Angels' view of humanity. There is not much mental distance between a feeling of having been screwed and the ethic of total retaliation, or at least the random revenge that comes with outraging the public decency.
  • Satan's Slaves, number three in the outlaw hierarchy, custom-bike specialists with a taste for the flesh of young dogs, flashy headbands and tender young blondes with lobotomy eyes.
  • Tiny hurts people. When he loses his temper he goes completely out of control and his huge body becomes a lethal weapon. It is difficult to see what role he might play in the Great Society.
  • But with the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right... and that's when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are the wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it... howling through a turn to the right, then to the left, and down the long hill to Pacifica... letting off now, watching for cops, but only until the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge... The Edge... There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others- the living- are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it's In. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place of definitions.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)

(1971)

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 (1973)

  • If the current polls are reliable... Nixon will be re-elected by a huge majority of Americans who feel he is not only more honest and more trustworthy than George McGovern, but also more likely to end the war in Vietnam. The polls also indicate that Nixon will get a comfortable majority of the Youth Vote. And that he might carry all fifty states... This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes... understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose... Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?
    • "September," from FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL '72 (Warner Books, 1973), pp 413–414
  • It was eerie, you'd walk out of the press room, through the lobby out of the elevators, into the bar... There'd be a huge crowd in the lobby and only one person talking and you'd hear this voice saying, 'The mood at the McGovern headquarters... is extremely solemn and shocked... one of shock and depression... right now... Illinois has just fallen... California is gone, New York is gone...' They'd read this list of disasters and you knew their faces and what they were saying was on TV screens all over the country... It was like a televised funeral... I was feeling depressed... And John Holum came in. I could see that he'd been crying... and... he's not the kind of person you'd expect to see walking around in public with tears all over his face... That was the only time McGovern cracked. For about a minute he broke down and... and... and couldn't talk for a few minutes. Then he got himself together... He was actually the coolest person in the place from then on. Other people were cracking all around... Stunned, wall-eyed... there was nothing to say... just a helluva shock... you know...a fantastic beating... I remember, when Agnew came on, throwing something at the television set. It was a beer can... That was the last flight of the Dakota Queen and also last flight of the Zoo Plane. It was the trip back to Washington from Sioux Falls, which borders on one of the worst trips I've ever taken in my life... Jesus Christ... it was easily the worst scene of the campaign... There was something... total... something very undermining about the McGovern defeat... There was a very unexplained kind of... ominous quality to it... weeping chaos. People you'd never expect to break down... stumbled off the plane in tears... It was such a shock to me that although I'd gone back to Washington to analyze... I saw how ripped up people were... I decided to hell with this... So I just went right around to the main terminal and got on another plane and went back to Colorado.
    • "November," in Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72 (1973), pp 450-457
  • The kids are turned off from politics, they say. Most of 'em don't even want to hear about it. All they want to do these days is lie around on waterbeds and smoke that goddamn marrywanna... yeah, and just between you and me Fred thats probably all for the best
  • Even that far-left radical bastard George S. McGovern — babbling a maddening litany of his most Far Out ideas — would be hard pressed to crank up a more than 30% animosity quotient.
  • The importance of Liking Yourself is a notion that fell heavily out of favour during the coptic, anti-ego frenzy of the acid era — but nobody guessed back then that the experiment might churn up this kind of hangover; a whole subculture of frightened illiterates with no faith in anything.
  • A nervous blonde nymphet who thought that politics was some kind of game played by old people, like bridge.
  • Anything that gets the adrenalin moving like a 440 volt blast in a copper bathtub is good for the reflexes and keeps the veins free of cholesterol... but too many adrenaline rushes in any given time span has the same effect on the nervous system as too many electro-shock treatments are said to have on the brain: after a while you start burning out the circuits. When a jackrabbit gets addicted to road-running, its only a matter of time before he gets smashed — and when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand.
  • 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.
  • There is nothing so unusual, they tell me, about coming back to your car and finding the radio aerial torn off, the windshield wipers bent up in the air like spaghetti, and all the windows smashed... for no particular reason except to make sure you know just exactly where it's at these days. Where indeed?
  • The massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy.
  • We've come to a point where every four years this national fever rises up — this hunger for the Saviour, the White Knight, the Man on Horseback — and whoever wins becomes so immensely powerful, like Nixon is now, that when you vote for President today you're talking about giving a man dictatorial power for four years. I think it might be better to have the President sort of like the King of England — or the Queen — and have the real business of the presidency conducted by... a City Manager-type, a Prime Minister, somebody who's directly answerable to Congress, rather than a person who moves all his friends into the White House and does whatever he wants for four years. The whole framework of the presidency is getting out of hand. It's come to the point where you almost can't run unless you can cause people to salivate and whip each other with big sticks. You almost have to be a rock star to get the kind of fever you need to survive in American politics.
  • The ugly fallout from the American Dream has been coming down on us at a pretty consistent rate since Sitting Bull's time-and the only real difference now, with Election Day '72 only a few weeks away, is that we seem to be on the verge of ratifying the fallout and forgetting the Dream itself.
  • Ed: Rip up the streets?
    HST: With jackhammers.
    Ed: With jackhammers?
  • Jesus man! you dont look for acid! acid finds you when *it* thinks you're ready

Generation of Swine (1988)

  • The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.
    • Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner (4 November 1985), this is often quoted as concluding with the statement "There's also a negative side." Research by David Emery, in Your Guide to Urban Legends indicates that these words, however were not included by Thompson himself in the published version.
  • It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die.

Welcome to the Big Darkness (July, 2003)

  • When I went into the clinic last April 30, George Bush was about 50 points ahead of his closest Democratic opponent in next year's Presidential Election. When I finally escaped from the horrible place, less than three weeks late, Bush's job-approval ratings had been cut in half — and even down into single digits, in some states — and the Republican Party was panicked and on the run. It was a staggering reversal in a very short time, even shorter than it took for his equally crooked father to drop from 93 percent approval, down to as low as 43 percent and even 41 percent in the last doomed days of the first doomed Bush Administration. After that, he was Bill Clinton's punching bag.
  • Richard Nixon could tell us a lot about peaking too early. He was a master of it, because it beat him every time. He never learned and neither did Bush the Elder.
  • But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of '03. By the summer of 2004, he might not even be living in the White House. Gone, gone, like the snows of yesteryear.
  • The Rumsfeld-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our eyes, along with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning to wax. They somehow managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a looting spree, between January and July, or even less. It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and every country in the world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers, and that is the one unforgiveable sin in America.

Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2004)

  • Morality is temporary, wisdom is permanent.
  • Paranoia is just another word for ignorance.
  • I shit on the chest of Fun.
  • I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.
  • The only difference between the Sane and the Insane, is IN and yet within this world, the Sane have the power to have the Insane locked up.
  • All political power comes from the barrel of either guns, pussy, or opium pipes, and people seem to like it that way.
  • We are like pygmies lost in a maze of haze. We are not at war, we are having a nervous breakdown,again.
  • I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.
  • The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It is the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic.
  • We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.
  • Now, years later, I still have trouble when I think about Chicago ('68). That week at the Convention changed everything I'd ever taken for granted about this country and my place in it... Everytime I tried to tell somebody what happened in Chicago I began crying , and it took me years to understand why... Chicago was the End of the Sixties, for me.
  • It was wonderful, a stunning happy ending to what began as just another tragic rock & roll story, as if Bob Dylan had been arrested in Miami for jacking off in a seedy little XXX theater while stroking the spine of a fat young boy.
  • I was also drunk, crazy and heavily armed at all times. People trembled and cursed when i came into a public room and started screaming in German.

On politics and politicians

  • There is no way to grasp what a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack Hubert Humphrey is until you've followed him around for a while.
  • We disagree so violently on almost everything that it's a real pleasure to drink with him. If nothing else, he's absolutely honest in his lunacy — and I've found, during my admittedly limited experience in political reporting, that power & honesty very rarely coincide.
  • 'Bill Clinton does not inhale marijuana, right? You bet. Like I chew on LSD but I don't swallow it.
  • There was one exact moment, in fact, when I knew for sure that Al Gore would never be President of the United States, no matter what the experts were saying — and that was when the whole Bush family suddenly appeared on TV and openly scoffed at the idea of Gore winning Florida. It was Nonsense, said the Candidate, Utter nonsense. . . Anybody who believed Bush had lost Florida was a Fool. The Media, all of them, were Liars & Dunces or treacherous whores trying to sabotage his victory. . . Here was the whole bloody Family laughing & hooting & sneering at the dumbness of the whole world on National TV. The old man was the real tip-off. The leer on his face was almost frightening. It was like looking into the eyes of a tall hyena with a living sheep in its mouth. The sheep's fate was sealed, and so was Al Gore's.
  • The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.
  • It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy... We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows?
  • This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now.
  • The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what's coming now. The party's over, folks. . . [Censorship of the news] is a given in wartime, along with massive campaigns of deliberately-planted "Dis-information". That is routine behavior in Wartime — for all countries and all combatants — and it makes life difficult for people who value real news.
  • This blizzard of mind-warping war propaganda out of Washington is building up steam. Monday is Anthrax, Tuesday is Bankruptcy, Friday is Child-Rape, Thursday is Bomb-scares, etc., etc., etc... If we believed all the brutal, frat-boy threats coming out of the White House, we would be dead before Sunday. It is pure and savage terrorism reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
    • "Domestic terrorism at the Super Bowl" (2002-02-11)
  • It ain't much, but it's the only weapon we have against the Greedheads.
    • On voting, in "My 49er Habit" (2002-11-4) published in Hey Rube
  • I had a soft spot in my heart for Ronald Reagan, if only because he was a sportswriter in his youth, and also because his wife gave the best head in Hollywood.
    • published in Hey Rube
  • We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear — fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.
  • It is hard to ignore the prima facie dumbness that got us bogged down in this nasty war in the first place. This is not going to be like Daddy's War, old sport. He actually won, and he still got run out of the White House nine months later.. . The whole thing sucks. It was wrong from the start, and it is getting wronger by the hour.
  • Three journalists have died in Baghdad... American troops are killing journalists in a profoundly foreign country, under cover of a war being fought for savage, greed-crazed reasons that most of them couldn't explain or even understand.
  • What the hell is going on here? How could this once-proud nation have changed so much, so drastically, in only a little more than two years. In what seems like the blink of an eye, this George Bush has brought us from a prosperous nation at peace to a broke nation at war.
  • But wow! This goofy child president we have on our hands now. He is demonstrably a fool and a failure, and this is only the summer of '03. The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. . . The Bush family must be very proud of themselves today, but I am not. Big Darkness, soon come. Take my word for it.
  • The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me... The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane, and has literally destroyed the lives of millions of American people and American families. Exactly. You and me, sport — we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be — the end of the world as we knew it.
  • I had a truly horrible dream last night. . . [Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Tyson and I] were on our way to a TV studio for a debate about his long-time working friendship with the powerful Bush family from Texas and how it might affect the next Bush presidency when The Terminator seizes power in Sacramento and tries to hand over the state's 54 electoral votes by election day in 2004. That is the basic plan behind Schwarzenegger running. He doesn't want to be Governor, he just wants the electoral votes to go to Bush this time.
  • Why are we seeing George Bush on TV every two hours for nine or ten days at a time, like some kind of mutated Mr. Rogers clone? Something is dangerously wrong in any country where a monumentally-failed backwoods politician can scare our national TV networks so totally that they will give him anything he wants.
  • I have never had much faith in our embattled child President's decision-making powers... I know that is not what you want to hear/read at this time, especially if you happen to be serving in the doomsday mess that is currently the U.S. Army.
  • I take no pleasure in being Right in my dark predictions about the fate of our military intervention in the heart of the Muslim world. It is immensely depressing to me. Nobody likes to be betting against the Home team.
  • If we get chased out of Iraq with our tail between our legs, that will be the fifth consecutive Third-world country with no hint of a Navy or an Air Force to have whipped us in the past 40 years.
  • This is no time for the "leader of the free world" to be falling asleep at massively-popular sporting events. . .Was [Bush] drunk? Does he fear the sight of an uncovered nipple? Was he lying? Does he believe in his heart that there are more evangelical Christians in this country than football fans and sex-crazed yoyos with unstable minds? Is he really as dumb as he looks and acts? These are all unsatisfactory questions at a time like this.
  • Is it possible that he has already abandoned all hope of getting re-elected? Or does he plan to cancel the Election altogether by declaring a national military emergency with terrorists closing in from all sides, leaving him with no choice but to launch a huge bomb immediately?. . . Desperate men do desperate things, and stupid men do stupid things. We are in for a desperately stupid summer.
    • "Bush's Disturbing Sleeping Disorder" (2004-02-18)
  • For myself, I would much prefer to be stuck with Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, than stuck with George Bush in the White House. It is the difference between losing your wallet at a cock fight and losing all your credit cards forever, along with your job and your house and your ability to earn enough money to pay off your sports-gambling debts or even a six-pack on game day. . .
    • "What's Better Than the Tournament?' (2004-03-18)
  • The 2004 presidential election will be a matter of life or death for the whole nation. We are sick today, and we will be even sicker tomorrow if this wretched half-bright swine of a president gets re-elected in November.
    • "The Big Finale Was a Big Disappointment" (2004-04-06)
  • Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these Abu Ghraib photographs did.
    • "Let's Go to the Olympics!" (2004-05-18)
      • (Later edited to read "These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected.") Drudge Report (2004-05-24)
  • These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport.
  • Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.
  • Today, the Panzer-like Bush machine controls all three branches of our federal government, the first time that has happened since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. And that makes it just about impossible to mount any kind of Congressional investigation of a firmly-entrenched president like George Bush. The time has come to get deeply into football. It is the only thing we have left that ain't fixed.

On Nixon

  • Richard Nixon has never been one of my favorite people anyway. For years I've regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad. The Nixon I remembered was absolutely humorless; I couldn't imagine him laughing at anything except maybe a paraplegic who wanted to vote Democratic but couldn't quite reach the lever on the voting machine.
    • Pageant (July 1968)
  • What we are looking at on all our TV sets is a man who finally, after 24 years of frenzied effort, became the President of the United States with a personal salary of $200,000 a year and an unlimited expense account including a fleet of private helicopters, jetliners, armored cars, personal mansions and estates on both coasts and control over a budget beyond the wildest dream of King Midas . . . and all the dumb bastard can show us, after five years of total freedom to do anything he wants with all this power, is a shattered national economy, disastrous defeat in a war we could have ended four years ago on far better terms than he finally came around to, and a hand-picked personal staff put together through five years of screening, whose collective criminal record will blow the minds of high-school American History students for the next 100 years.
  • Jesus! How much more of this cheap-jack bullshit can we be expected to take from that stupid little gunsel? Who gives a fuck if he's lonely and depressed down there in San Clemente? If there were any such thing as true justice in this world, his rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark.
    • Reacting to a Washington Post article on Nixon's life after resignation. Rolling Stone #171 (1974-10-10)
  • He was a crook.
    • Title of essay on Richard Nixon, Source: Rolling Stone (June 1994) [1] [2]
  • Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
  • He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time.
    • Rolling Stone (June 1994)
  • If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
    • Rolling Stone (June 1994)
  • It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie-doll president, with his Barbie-doll wife and his boxful of Barbie-doll children is also America's answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the Werewolf in us.
    • Rolling Stone (June 1994)
  • Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.
    • Rolling Stone (June 1994)

Unsourced

  • I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist, and returned a cold-blooded revolutionary.(referring to the 1968 convention in Chicago]])
    • Literal quote appearing in the editors note of Fear and Loathing in America, by Douglas Brinkley (ISBN 0747553459, p.xvi)
    • An alternate quote is "I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist, and returned a raving beast."[3]
  • Breakfast is the only meal of the day that I tend to view with the same kind of traditionalized reverence that most people associate with Lunch and Dinner. I like to eat breakfast alone, and almost never before noon; anybody with a terminally jangled lifestyle needs at least one psychic anchor every twenty-four hours, and mine is breakfast. In Hong Kong, Dallas or at home — and regardless of whether or not I have been to bed — breakfast is a personal ritual that can only be properly observed alone, and in a spirit of genuine excess. The food factor should always be massive: four Bloody Marys, two grapefruits, a pot of coffee, Rangoon crepes, a half-pound of either sausage, bacon, or corned beef hash with diced chiles, a Spanish omelette or eggs Benedict, a quart of milk, a chopped lemon for random seasoning, and something like a slice of Key lime pie, two margaritas, and six lines of the best cocaine for dessert…. Right, and there should also be two or three newspapers, all mail and messages, a telephone, a notebook for planning the next twenty-four hours and at least one source of good music…. All of which should be dealt with outside, in the warmth of a hot sun, and preferably stone naked.
    • America...just a Nation of two hundred Million used car salesman with all the money we need to buy Guns and no Qualms about killing anyone else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable
  • I have never been able to properly explain myself in this climate.
    • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?
  • Fear? I know not fear. There are only moments of confusion. Some of them are deeply stamped on my memory and a few will haunt me forever.
    • Kingdom of Fear?
  • A word to the wise is infuriating.
  • Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.
  • Good people drink good beer.
  • I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me. **Variant: I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.
  • I have spent half my life trying to get away from journalism, but I am still mired in it — a low trade and a habit worse than heroin, a strange seedy world full of misfits and drunkards and failures.
  • If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people — including me — would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.
  • In the old days it was just a matter of being caught smoking cigarettes in the band room or drinking beer at lunchtime in the parking lot — and those crimes were serious, at the time, but they were not so serious as to get you expelled from the system forever. That is the hallmark of the Reagan Administration — a Punishment Ethic that permeates the whole infrastructure of American life and eventually gets down to George Orwell's notion, in Animal Farm, that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
  • Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can't be objective about Nixon.
  • Publishers are notoriously slothful about numbers, unless they're attached to dollar signs — unlike journalists, quarterbacks, and felony criminal defendants who tend to be keenly aware of numbers at all times.
  • That was always the difference between Muhammad Ali and the rest of us. He came, he saw, and if he didn't entirely conquer — he came as close as anybody we are likely to see in the lifetime of this doomed generation.
  • The person who doesn't scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.
  • There were other outlaws who missed the brass ring in the fifties. Lenny Bruce was one of them; he was never quite right for television. Bruce had tremendous potential until about 1961, when the people who had been getting such a kick out of him suddenly realized he was serious. -Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga
  • Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of the rat race is not yet final.
  • When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
  • Some may never live, but the crazy never die.
  • Pray to God, but row away from the rocks.
  • The last train out of any station will not be full of nice guys.
  • Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.
  • Politics is the art of controlling your environment. That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that 'it doesn't matter who's President' has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World — or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property — or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons — or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.
  • He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer. I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humour. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn't pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I'd been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away.
  • I heard the music, and I wrote to it.
    Some people beat drums. Some people strum guitars.
    It’s all in the music you hear.
  • The music industry is a cruel and shallow money-trench. A long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side.
  • It’s a stupid, dangerous, HELLISH world . . . But don’t let it FRIGHTEN you!!

Suicide note

  • No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won't hurt.


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