Hunting down „Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“, 40 Years after

Im November wird Hunter S. Thompsons Artikel/Buch „Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“ 40 Jahre alt, Zach Baron von The Daily hat Orte aus der Story besucht und einen langen, tollen Text darüber geschrieben. Ich hätte mir ja noch ein Foto-Essay gewünscht, aber sowas kommt sicher noch bis November: „In 1971, Hunter Thompson first published ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ in Rolling Stone. Forty years later, The Daily’s Zach Baron revisits the piece and the town in which it was born, chasing Thompson¹s ghost through crazy desert car races, a dying local economy and a massive and menacing hacker convention known as DEFCON.“

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was published in two parts in Rolling Stone, Nov. 11 and Nov. 25, 1971. Random House printed the article in book form the next year. The New York Times initially reacted with skepticism, but then ran a second piece reviewing the novel favorably, calling “Fear and Loathing” the “best book yet written on the decade of dope gone by.”

What Thompson had really done was write the decade’s epitaph. At a moment when hippie truisms about LSD and meditation being a path to enlightenment still ruled, Thompson pinpointed “the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody — or at least some force — is tending that Light at the end of the tunnel.” The counterculture of the ’60s, Thompson argued, had maintained a naïve faith that the cosmic forces that seemed to be governing things in those days were fundamentally benevolent. But what if that weren’t the case?

In fact, much of “Fear and Loathing” can be read as a point-by-point repudiation of the psychedelic ’60s dream — from the promise of chemical liberation (Samuel Johnson’s “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man” was the book’s epigraph) to the presumed decency of one’s fellow travelers, a presumption easily disproved in “grossly atavistic” Las Vegas, where “they kill the weak and deranged.”

Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Vegas - Retracing Hunter S. Thompson's famous steps, 40 years later, hier Teil 2 (via MeFi)