Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"the outlaw who almost became sheriff" - from the chaos journals

you can blame chemical billy for getting me on a hunter s. thompson kick - so if you are offended bitch to her - personally, i find it fascinating, if slightly bizarre, to take your handle from the name of a can of mace dangerously perched in the hands of the likes of hunter s. thompson - i like it.

i can remember the first time i ever heard of this rampaging mad-journalist of such renown that i couldn't even get near his funeral - even if i tried. the great gonzo-fist carrying his ashes has come crashing down on my head and left me dizzy. but that's a different story.

it was the mid-nineties and i had just stepped onto the hallowed grounds of boulder high school where i was to have many adventures, some not proper for prime-time television. these were formative years in my developing mistrust of humans and their natures and i was wont to seek out freaks and grommets among the crowds of clones that the mostly white, mostly middle class school offered me as classmates.

we routinely staged fake fights and scream tests in the lunch room. i let friends push me down stairs in the science wing because it was a family tradition and one day smirf and I followed someone around for an entire day declaring loudly that he was the messiah. we got really mad when we realized he was just leading us astray.

so when told to write a history paper on the recorded actions of a prominent group in history, the young fresh-faced youth that i was, i chose the hell's angels. suddenly everywhere i turned was hunter s. thompson. sure there was one, maybe two books not written by our hero, but does it matter? into my little brain came the voice of history, of vice and virtue, of innocence and corruption and of course, the melodrama you read here is all his fault.

many years later i would watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while sitting on top of the tv painting the ceiling flesh colored, don't ask, and the man whom johnny depp mimicked so well, came home to me. there he was, bastion of vice and the american dream, pursuing the enlightenment of freedom to lift her skirt and let him ravish her. and this had already happened. this was all true. it gave me hope that the wild freedom could be reclaimed. that we had not lost all the marrow of democracy.

so now more than ten years after my first encounter with the strange and drug-enhanced non-fiction, i pick up the last book hunter wrote, The Kingdom of Fear, and read about his life in my country. it may be that he is the original inspiration for the chaos journals, because i can think of none earlier.

see, it is the nature of the chaos journals that as i read more insightful writing, there is less work for me to do. this blogging phenomena has opened up dialogues between insightful people all across the world and now that we have lost the outlaw who nearly became a sheriff, i think there is more work in america for the chaos journals than ever before.

america is still trying to figure out a way to censor websites from other countries, to lay our laws on their heads, as if america had the right to rule the world. america is no longer the golden land of dreams. america no longer is the place where, in a very zen way, an individual could listen to the voices within and be whomever came out as long as it didn't interfere with others.

we've over-defined 'interfere' in this country. somehow, if i do something you disagree with, my life may interfere with yours even if i live three states and 2500 miles away. the people have lost the ear of the leaders and the leaders have lost the common touch. no election has been democratic since we became locked into a two-party system, both of which are rich, white and old. old - this country is full of young people who want to taste the sweet freedom of democracy and feel the pain of their mistakes but are tied into watching out for everyone else's children.

hunter s. thompson brings up a very good point about protests, they're always about hope and faith that those we protest against are listening, even if they give no indication. that they are open to hearing our opinions. but Bush ignored the anti-war protests as the entirely inconsequential mutterings of cowardly pro-terrorists pagans who are no doubt, unpatriotic. i may be a pagan, but i am certainly not pro-terrorist and i'd like to think of myself as not being cowardly. i am however a nationalist and think that a protest is the ultimate show of patriotism.

but i have swerved somewhat from my point and really don't have the time to tackle what may have to be the next chapter: the "what do we do?" question.

4 little fish:

Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

i too am reading Kingdom of Fear...but in short bursts, otherwise--as mysfit noticed--i tend to start ranting & raving about everything. or get bitter.

i'm intrigued by this book because it's the first one of Thompson's work that's actually felt relevant to my life.

2:02 PM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

yes, luv, but unlike you i have always ranted and raved - hense the creation of the chaos journals - so i find it exhilerating and rarely get bitter.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Chemical Billy swam up to say...

mysfit, I've been lurking but somehow managed to miss this one until monkey 0 pointed it out to me.

Your high school experiences sound eerily similar to mine, also in a white, middle class, western U.S. community - not all that terribly far from Boulder, either - but displaced by about ten years (yep, I'm pulling age rank on you, young'un).

I came to Fear and Loathing... early, as I was born in Las Vegas, and how could I resist a title like that? Kingdom of Fear is sitting just beside my left elbow, and you've inspired me to open it again - HST providing a constant reminder to push things right to the crazy fucking edge, 'cause that's where shit happens.

And though a lurker, may I take the opportunity to say, good stuff, I follow the fish regularly.

12:40 PM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

HST always makes me think of one of my mom's favorite quote: "if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space" - i wish i could remember who said that

10:24 AM  

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