The Corona virus appears, when least expected, In this case in my memories of my first “real” job now 50 years ago. “O tempora! O mores!”,as that old windbag Cicero once exclaimed.
Today, I watched as a noted epidemiologist observed that each individual’s reaction to the pandemic is unique. You ain’t kidding bub. Enter Hunter Thompson and how his legendary infant terrible editor used all the money at his command, which briefly was a lot, to not only disrupt the Kentucky Derby but also to disrupt the next American icon on his hit list, the America’s cut.
Let’s start with Hunter Thompson, whose career exploded after we at Scanlan’s published this story written under the influence of lots of alcohol and illegal drugs.
Santayana did say, “What’s past is prologue.” His words are engraved in marble on the outside of the DC archives building which houses, in a nuclear safe container, the original of The Declaration of Independence.
ikipedia: “Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. He first rose to prominence with the publication of Hell’s Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in order to write a first-hand account of the lives and experiences of its members.”
“In 1970, he wrote an unconventional magazine feature titled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” for Scanlan’s Monthly which both raised his profile and established him as a writer with counterculture credibility. It also set him on a path to establishing his own sub-genre of New Journalism which he called “Gonzo,” which was essentially an ongoing experiment in which the writer becomes a central figure and even a participant in the events of the narrative.”
Editor Warren Hinckle, III decided to send Hunter, who had spent a year living with the Hells Angels to see what Hunter might do when reporting on a cherished American institution. Then, Warren called illustrator Ralph Steadman in the middle of the night in London and somehow convinced Ralph to immediately fly to Kentucky to join Hunter.
Enter Ralph Steadmen, May 1970, drawing the largest horse penis I have ever seen
[ Joel’s note. Temporarily, I am too pooped to pop.Too old to roll. This memory wave requires me to pause as I observe that, to paraphrase wildly President Trump, the microscopic virus has altered—trashed—our county’s established traditions in a way mere mortals, e.g.dissolute Hunter Thompson, try as he did, could not. ]
Wikipedia redux: “Steadman had a long partnership with the American journalist Hunter S. Thompson, drawing pictures for several of his articles and books. He accompanied Thompson to the Kentucky Derby for an article for the magazine Scanlan’s, to the Honolulu Marathon for the magazine Running, and illustrated both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.”