Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunter S. Thompson - The Legend

Hunter S. Thompson - The Legend

I already put out one piece just a few weeks ago about the greatest man, Hunter S. Thompson. But let's further look at this man who you'll probably assume his only range was "That crazy guy writing about drugs." A side note, that was Timothy Leary. HST had a lot of great books out that weren't semi-fictional. Just check out the Gonzo Papers Vol 1, 2 or 3. You'll really start to dive into his writing with some critical attention. Just the other day I read all of the Salazar articles and was amazed at how incredibly relevant all of it was to today and how well it was written. I'm still vibrating with the whole "kill all of the police" energy

Just look at these two pieces he wrote post-9/11 and tell me that this man wasn't ahead of his time and on the center of the pulse;
"The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives." - 9/12/01
Then there's this one
"Generals and military scholars will tell you that eight or 10 years is actually not such a long time in the span of human history — which is no doubt true — but history also tells us that 10 years of martial law and a war-time economy are going to feel like a lifetime to people who are in their twenties today. The poor bastards of what will forever be known as Generation Z are doomed to be the first generation of Americans who will grow up with a lower standard of living than their parents enjoyed. That is extremely heavy news, and it will take a while for it to sink in. The 22 babies born in New York City while the World Trade Center burned will never know what they missed. The last half of the 20th century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what’s coming now." - 10/16/01
I love that the man had the foresight to deem Reagan worse than his own nemesis - Nixon, back in '71.

But I want to stay focus on the whole Los Angeles scene for a while more. He was pretty important in the Chicano movement. Or at least int he documentation of it. Just read the following and tell me how amazing that is.
The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat

Requiem for a Crazed Heavyweight.. An Unfinished Memoir on the Life and Doom of Oscar Zeta Acosta, First & Last of the Savage Brown Buffalo's... He Crawled with Lepers and Lawyers, but he was tall on his own hind legs when he walked at night with the king...

The following memoir by Dr. Thompson is the painful result of a nine-week struggle (between the Management and the author) regarding the style, tone, length, payment, etc -- but mainly the subject matter of the National Affairs Desk's contribution to this star-crossed Tenth Anniversary Issue....

And in at least momentary fairness to the Management, we should note that the term "star-crossed" is Dr. Thompson's -- as are all other harsh judgments he was finally compelled to submit..

"We work in the dark, we do what we can." Some poet who never met Werner Erhard said that, but so what?

What began as a sort of riptide commentary on "the meaning of the Sixties" soon turned into a wild and hydra-headed screed on Truth, Vengeance, Journalism and the meaning, Such as it is, of Jimmy Carter.

But none of these things could be made to fit in the space we had available -- so we were finally forced to compromise with The Doc and his people, who had all along favored a long, dangerous and very costly piece titled: "The Search for the Brown Buffalo."

It was Dr. Thompson's idea to have Rolling Stone finance this open-ended search for one of his friends who disappeared under mean and mysterious circumstances in the late months of 1974, or perhaps the early months of 1975. The Brown Buffalo was the nom de plume of the Chicano attorney from East Los Angeles who gained international notoriety as the brutal and relentless "300-pound Samoan attorney" in Thompson's book. 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." -- The Editors
Nobody knows the weirdness I've seen
On the trail of the brown buffalo

--Old Black Joe
I walk in the night rain until the dawn of the new day. 1 have devised the plan, straightened out the philosophy and set up the organization. When I have the 1 million Brown Buffalos on my side I will present the demands for a new nation to both the U.S. Government and the United Nations. . . and then I'll split and write the book. I have no desire to be a politician. I don't want to lead anyone. I have no practical ego. I am not ambitious. I merely want to do what is right. Once in every century there comes a man who is chosen to speak for his people. Moses, Mao and Martin [Luther King Jr.] are examples. Who's to say that I am not such a man? In this day and age the man for all seasons needs many voices. Perhaps that is why the gods have sent me into Riverbank, Panama, San Francisco, Alpine and Juarez. Perhaps that is why I've been taught so many trades. Who will deny that I am unique.
-- Oscar Acosta, The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo

Well.. not me, Old sport. Wherever you are and in whatever shape -- dead or alive or even both, eh? That's one thing they can't take away from you... Which is lucky, I think, for the rest of us: Because (and, yeah -- let's face it, Oscar) you were not really light on your feet in this world, and you were too goddamn heavy for most of the boats you jumped into. one of the great regrets of my life is that I was never able to introduce you to my old football buddy, Richard Nixon. The main thing he feared in this life -- even worse than Queers and Jews and Mutants -- was people who might run amok; he called them "loose cannons on the deck," and he wanted them all put to sleep.

That's one graveyard we never even checked, Oscar, but why not? If your classic "doomed the spice mines of kessel" style of paranoia had any validity at all, you must understand that it was not just Richard Nixon who was out to get you -- but all the people who thought like Nixon and all the judges and U.S. attorneys he appointed in those weird years. Were there any of Nixon's friends among all those superior court judges you subpoenaed and mocked and humiliated when you were trying to bust the grand jury selection system in L.A.? How many of those Brown Beret "bodyguards" you called "brothers" were deep-cover cops or informants? I recall being seriously worried about that when we were working on that story about the killing of Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar by an L.A. County Sheriff's deputy. How many of those bomb-throwing trigger happy freaks who slept on mattresses in your apartment were talking tot he sheriff on a chili-hall pay phone every morning? Or maybe to the judges who kept jailing you for contempt of court, when they didn't have anything else?

Yeah, and so much for the "Paranoid Sixties." It's time to end this bent seance -- or almost closing time, anyway -- but before we get back to raw facts and rude lawyer's humor, I want to make sure that at least one record will show that I tried and totally failed, for at least five years, to convince my allegedly erstwhile Samoan attorney, Oscar Zeta Acosta, that there was no such thing as paranoia: At least not in that cultural and political war zone called "East L.A.A" in the late 1960s and especially not for an aggressively radical "Chicano Lawyer" who thought he could stay up all night, every night, eating acid and throwing "Molotov cocktails" with the same people he was going to have to represent in a downtown courtroom the next morning.

There were time -- all too often, I felt -- when Oscar would show up in front of the courthouse at nine in the morning with a stench of fresh gasoline on his hands and a green crust of charred soap-flakes on the toes of his $300 snakeskin cowboy boots. He would pause outside the courtroom just long enough to give the TV press five minutes of crazed rhetoric for the Evening News, then he would shepherd his equally crazed "clients" into the courtroom for their daily war-circus with the Judge. When you get into bear baiting on that level, paranoia is just another word for ignorance... They really are out to get you.

The odds on his being dragged off to jail for "contempt" were about fifty-fifty on any given day -- which meant he was always in danger of being seized and booked with a pocket full of "bennies" or "black beauties" at the property desk. After several narrow escapes he decided that it was necessary to work in the Courtroom as part of a three-man "defense team."

One of his "associates" was usually a well-dressed, well-mannered young Chicano whose only job was to carry at least 100 milligrams of pure speed at all times and feed Oscar whenever he signaled; the other was not so well-dressed or mannered; his job was to stay alert and be one step ahead of the bailiffs when they made a move on Oscar -- at which point he would reach out and grab any pills, powders, shivs or other evidence he was handed, then sprint like a human bazooka for the nearest exit.

This strategy worked so well for almost two years that Oscar and his people finally got careless, They had survived another long day in court -- on felony arson charges, this time, for trying to burn down the Biltmore Hotel during a speech by then Governor Ronald Reagan -- and they were driving back home to Oscar's headquarters pad in the barrio (and maybe running sixty or sixty-five in a fifty m.p.h. speed zone, Oscar later admitted) when they were suddenly jammed to a stop by two LAPD cruisers. "They acted like we'd just robbed a bank," said Frank, looking right down the barrel of a shotgun. "They made us all lie face down on the street and then they searched the car, and --"

Yes. That's when they found the drugs: twenty or thirty white pills that the police quickly identified as "illegal amphetamine tablets, belonging to Attorney Oscar Acosta."

The fat spic for all seasons was jailed once again, this time on what the press called a "high speed drug bust." Oscar called a press conference in jail and accused the cops of "planting" him -- but not even his bodyguards believed him until long after the attendant publicity had done them all so much damage that the whole "Brown Power Movement" was effectively stalled, splintered and discredited by the time all charges, both Arson and Drugs, were either dropped or reduced to small print on the back of the blotter.

I'm not even sure, myself, how the cases were finally disposed of. Not long after the "high speed drug bust," as I recall, two of his friends were charged with Murder One for allegedly killing a smack dealer in the barrio, and I think Oscar finally copped on the drug charge and plead guilty to something like "possession of ugly pills in a public place."

but by that time his deal had already gone down. None of the respectable Chicano pols in East L.A. had ever liked him anyway, and that "high speed drug bust" was all they needed to publicly denounce everything Left of Huevos Rancheros and start calling themselves Mexican-American again. The trail of the Biltmore Five was no longer a do-or-die cause for La Raza, but a shameful crime that a handful of radical dope fiends had brought down on the whole community. The mood on Whittier Boulevard turned sour overnight, and the sight of a Brown Beret was suddenly as rare as a cash-client for Oscar Zeta Acosta -- the ex-Chicago Lawyer.

The entire ex-Chicano political community went as public as possible to make sure that the rest of the city understood that they had known all along that this dope addict rata who had somehow been one of their most articulate and certainly their most radical, popular and politically aggressive spokesman for almost two years was really just a self-seeking publicity dope freak who couldn't even run a bar tab at the Silver Dollar Cafe, much less rally friends or a following. There was no mention in the Mexican-American press about Acosta's surprisingly popular campaign for sheriff of L.A. County a year earlier, which had made him a minor hero among politically hip Chicanos all over the city.

No more of that dilly-dong bullshit on Whittier Boulevard. Oscar's drug bust was still alive on the Evening News when he was evicted from his apartment on three days notice and his car was either stolen or towed away from its customary parking place on the street in front of his driveway. his offer to defend his two friends on what he later assured me were absolutely avlid charges of first degree murder were publicly rejected. Not even for free, they said. A dope-addled clown was worse than no lawyer at all.

It was dumb gunsel thinking, but Oscar was in no mood to offer his help more than once. So he beat a strategic retreat to Mazatlan, which he called his "other home," to lick his wounds and start writing the Great Chicano novel. It was the end of an ear! The fireball Chicano lawyer was on his way to becoming a half-successful writer, a cult figure of sorts -- then a fugitive, a freak, and finally either a permanently missing person or an undiscovered corpse.

Oscar's fate is still a mystery, but every time his case seems to be finally closed, something happens to bring him back to life... And one of them just happened again, but came in a blizzard of chaos that caused a serious time warp in my thinking: my nerves are still too jangled for the moment to do anything but lay back and let it blow over.
Now if that's not something amazing to read at the day and age it was written, I don't know what you are expecting to hear. But it's clearly something wrong with your reading that is the problem here as these articles are amazingly written.

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