40 Jahre Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Heute vor vierzig Jahren veröffentlichte der Rolling Stone den ersten Teil von Hunter S. Thompsons „Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream“. Hier nochmal der Link zu Zach Baron auf The Daily, der Orte aus dem Text besucht und einen ziemlich tollen Artikel dazu aufgeschrieben hat. Die Illu oben ist eine der Original-Zeichnungen von Ralph Stead aus dem Stone, mehr der Illus gibt's hier.

“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