Sunday, July 26, 2009

There's A Book In There

The New York Times has a blog called Papercuts that deals with all things literary, and recently they had some excerpts from the new book on Hunter S, "Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews With Hunter S. Thompson."

I pity the poor reporters that had to interview him, not for his shenanigans, but because I rarely understood a damn word he was saying, and I'm a mumbler myself. Well, let's go straight to the good stuff. Right after Nixon's resignation-

Playboy: Do you think a smarter politician could have found a man to cover it up after the original break-in? Could Lyndon Johnson have handled it, say?

H.S.T.: Lyndon Johnson would have burned the tapes. He would have burned everything. There would have been this huge wreck out on his ranch somewhere - killing, oddly enough, all his tape technicians, the only two Secret Servicemen who knew about it, his executive flunky and the presidential tapemeisters.

He would have had a van go over a cliff at high speed, burst into flames, and they’d find all these bodies, this weird collection of people who’d never had any real reason to be together, lying in a heap of melted celluloid at the bottom of the cliff. Then Johnson would have wept - all of his trusted assistants - “Goddamn it, how could they have been in the same van at the same time? I warned them about that.” …

Wait a minute, stop right there. There's a book, right there, waiting to written.

HST: You know, I was actually in the Watergate the night the bastards broke in. Of course, I missed the whole thing, but I was there. It still haunts me.

Playboy: What part of the Watergate were you in?
H.S.T.: I was in the bar.

Playboy: What kind of a reporter are you, anyway, in the bar?

H.S.T.: I’m not a reporter, I’m a writer.

Ha, good one! And no, despite what he said, he was a reporter too. Certainly a writer first, but he was a reporter. There's a wonderful political story in the middle, but I'm sticking to writing on this post-

And in 2000, Douglas Brinkley, along with Terry McDonell and George Plimpton, interviewed Thompson for The Paris Review:

The Paris Review: Almost without exception writers we’ve interviewed over the years admit they cannot write under the influence of booze or drugs — or at least what they’ve done has to be rewritten in the cool of the day. What’s your comment about this?

H.S.T.: They lie. Or maybe you’ve been interviewing a very narrow spectrum of writers. It’s like saying, “Almost without exception women we’ve interviewed over the years swear that they never indulge in sodomy” — without saying that you did all your interviews in a nunnery.

Did you interview Coleridge? Did you interview Poe? Or Scott Fitzgerald? Or Mark Twain? Or Fred Exley? Did Faulkner tell you that what he was drinking all the time was really iced tea, not whiskey? Please. Who … do you think wrote the Book of Revelation? A bunch of stone-sober clerics?

Actually, I write sober 98% of the time, only because I can't write anything coherent (shuddap!) when juiced.

Check the whole article right here.


lakeviewer said...

Well, now I know I'm trying to do something so difficult while still sober. I'm too old to start drinking now.

John Donald Carlucci said...

I have a bottle oh honey bourbon that I plan on taking a finger each time I sell a story and a glass when I sell the book.

The advance for the book will buy me a crystal skull of vodka that Dan Ackroyd sells.
Thought it was fake until I saw one in my liqupr store.


Cormac Brown said...


More power to you.

Editor JDC,

Hic, hopefully you'll be able to drink up!

Creepy said...

Didn't Stephen King write most of his classics while under the influence? Can't imagine how, but it worked for him.

Cormac Brown said...


Stephen can write his better material in any virtually any state and certainly with "The Shining," any demented state or writer's block helped that project along.