Discussing the book, "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72." with Hunter S. Thompson
BROADCAST: Mar. 14, 1973 | DURATION: 00:52:50
Discussing the book, "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72." Includes a clip of Ron Kovic speaking at the Nixon campaign headquarters, courtesy of KPFA/Pacifica Archives.
Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.
For years we've been hearing a lot about objective journalism. That was a myth that should be shattered it should be now and one of the shatters that methods and most remarkable journalists in the country today.
Hunter S. Thompson described as the master of gonzo journalism. Hear more about that later. Hunter Thompson is my guest. He's the roving correspondent you might say for Rolling Stone and his most recent book The soon to be published is fear and loathing. And along the campaign trail 72 Random House straight arrow covers straight out will publish. I'm thinking of Hunter Thompson and his writing that is real surreal as our times are in Hunter's seated now. Six years ago he was a guest on the first time first time only in radio I was 500 Thompson is here now. And each of us has a little beer with us but mostly Hunter's memories and thoughts supposedly go back and hear what you said some six years ago. It was a book about Hell's Angels and the question is Where have we gone up or down last six years and has Hell's Angels. Have they taken over. And so this is six years ago 1966 as it's 1967 when Hunter Thompson is talking about Hell's Angels.
You know there are very few people in this country other than 1 percent who could actually win over even less. I don't know what percentage who would hold up a book and say look they wrote a book about me because like Faulkner saying I made my mark on the wall. Kilroy was here. And now they have it's a monument to them. I suppose it's my fault. But my concern was I was just asked to write a truthful book.
I tried to do or not was but they were also becoming celebrated thanks to the weeklies and think oh you know they were celebrities long before I got here. But they as a result of which you have a funny to me very funny when Sonny biogas asked his opinion what do you think of Vietnam what do you think of civil rights. This is a celebrity like a used car dealer mentioned often in a column because celebrity What do you think of.
Like the mad bomber in New York the Boston Strangler. It's that sort of thing for the ask their opinions about that because it doesn't matter whether they have any sense of here.
Let's see if we get him my friendly sort of X prize fighter as he said he took an oath before God. So I'm an agnostic he says I took an oath for the high court never to honest day's work in my life to take money away from the under-qualified dilettantes or to nepotism and they're all on qualified they need us. And and I think he's talking in here.
It's guys like me in my element. They don't want to ostracize us from our society. They want to give us a job to find a place for myself for my brother or people like myself or my mom and we have to fight for it. They don't like this.
Yet they're the same people who read fiction and believe it. So why should we take it from them legally with a semi muscle. The greatest thing is to say my mother get me killed. But to be working right there's nothing stronger in the world. The marvelous phrase you didn't say much. You said said My my my my. Which makes it legal. Legal sure you put that fear to do help. Here's a here's a good example we're usually in debt to someone someone owns their money they're extremely fond of someone. Someone's got me on their girl. Their wife is an infidel. There are all kinds of conditions. They are afraid. Everybody's scared. Why do you do when you find out what that weakness. Exactly and I give them the security. They don't have as an example if their wife was an infidelity I must know guy she's making love with I run him off somebody on him money I go collect the money maybe on somebody's money somebody after him might chase him away.
Now this guy is in your debt and I'm already in debt to me. The truth of the matter is he's probably he's probably made the biggest mistake of his life he should have really paid him because now I've got him for the rest of his life along with some currency or another always going to your guy either muscled this guy off his wife or in one way or another saved his ego. Is that correct and there are so many people so insecure that it's absolutely amazing you just can't imagine. I just can't imagine how many insecure people we have. Everybody's scared of something. Are you scared of something absolutely nothing. I'm an agnostic to begin with and nothing frightens you. Nothing. Not a thing for me to go back to. How do you know. How do you meet these people. You know I've read that they must have money. You yes. Bad reputation and it's amazing I've got some good publicity as a prize writer in newspapers and I've gotten some bad publicity in the newspapers also. People believe what they read but I can't stop every pedestrian on the street and tell them my side of the story. It's always a two sided story. There's always a two way street along with these people who think this way the one way street with them. So people think that way. My brother is in trouble I'll give you a good example. All the newspapers had him on the front page. He was on television. He was scared. I said you fool you won't raise all the money in the world.
He came back and would you know I raised forty thousand I could make it 28 why 14 double it. People want to help people especially up guys. They need you.
They believe there's a line they need. And he spoke of his brother held a handkerchief over his face accused of being a Juiceman is you fool you've been on television you're a celebrity now and that's become to the Hell's Angels you accuse of what was he accused of all being a Juiceman or something you know. But we come back to Hell's Angels again now.
They became celebrities in this part. Well that's what it is what he says is true. This guy is operating on a much more sophisticated level and just from listening to him talk. You can tell it is a lot sharper and more sophisticated than a lot of the angels and almost all of them but probably quite a few the angels graduate into this kind of white tie kind of hoodlum underworld. And they're they don't go back around the angels because they were the sophisticated criminals or hardcore Karnow they become also in a sense a bit more respectable to criminal but respectable. Oh yeah. People don't dump on them anymore. People are calling them scurvy bums. Get this garbage out of the way.
So that's six years ago 100 Thompson My guest this morning your thoughts on hearing yourself talk and my acquaintance talk is now 1973 and you've written Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You have run for sheriff and almost one of Aspen your thoughts Hunter Thompson. I'm hearing this. Where are we. Six years.
Where have we gone a long way.
I think a lot of things to change. Six years. First that whole era died. I think that what the government wants to call it the free falling air you know 60s where people really do believe that if you're right these and we're flowers and you're here you prevail at the angels. I've gotten heavily into serious drug sales and it is one through one trial for murder I went another one you point out Sonny Barker is the head of angels.
The angels are changed. There's no more of that kind of whole whole thing on the road where you go out and freak the straight. They're too obvious. They getting in cars now they're selling drugs.
What I'm thinking of now hunter and you're the best guy to talk about it is that you covered the last presidential election campaign that's the basis of your forthcoming book and very much like the Hell's Angels. That's the point I'm asking you. How has the Hell's Angels approach to life now taken over in a broader way and in our society.
I have always wondered that's what I was trying to say when I was first and I never could quite get it straight. The angels themselves weren't important it was the fact that they were you know representing the people with nothing to lose. And you see that in a presidential campaign where you know it's sort of balls out. And. When you lose like McGovern did you really lose it's a power thing where you or nothing you know and you get that with the Angels are going to win big time politics maybe not in local politics. I'm
thinking just as you're talking about in the Rolling Stone there's been this remarkable coverage of yours Nicholas one half of my life history. You think you know most singular coverage of the campaign at a cost. Now we come to the question of you know the phrase we use that subjective journalism is against object. Well I say to you. Objective journalism first thought comes to mind up checked up journalism.
That's a nice notion. There's a current Columbia Journalism Review on the back page. Wes Gallagher is a business manager the president of A.P. says. To say that a journalist can't be objective is like saying a judge can't be fair but the very argument he makes is is belied by the fact that almost no good paper uses the AP anymore except as fillers and emergencies.
Has there ever been any such thing as objective journalism or unless a person or thing. I mean doesn't isn't every journalism some of the highest kind of journalism if you can do it.
Nobody that I know has ever done it. And I don't have enough time to learn. I think it took about four lifetimes.
Now think about yourself. You describe a perfect case in point in the July issue July 2008 Rolling Stone that will be part of your book you describe a scene your in a hotel in New York and you talk about aside from that campaign. McGovern and Nixon and the makers and shakers of the campaign and the deals and the way that you describe beautifully. You also speak of your own adventures with a snake. And so what did this happen. Didn't that happen. Let's talk about that. You had a snake. So the story goes so you're.
And something happened to that snake that was killed at random house. I've had trouble that ever since. It's kind of a weird psychological undercurrent in all of our dealings. I've got the snake an alligator farm in Florida. I wanted to wrestle an alligator and I guess that no you can't do that. And so I ended up having to buy a snake and then he disappeared down the toilet in Florida. And I thought he was gone. And he came back up the same toilet about four days later. I mean while I was in New York so the people who told him get back up send it to me and he got over it was a six foot blue indigo very intelligence like arm was totally harmless and it got out of the bag was it one of those airline bags and got out at Idlewild and I was kind of the stewardess volunteer to bring in the runabouts with Ted booking on it. It did scare the hell. And so I got in there I figured well we'll put a mouse in the box with it. Put a big Renovales dictionary on top of the box and feed the bugger you know Liebherr over and I'm going to take him to the hotel. But the mouse figured it out and it was going to happen to him. The mouth chewed through the cardboard box and the snake went right through the hole. The same hole enter the mouse.
And about dawn the next day the watchman came out of the white marble stairs and read them I was looking across at what was then curdles Melbourne's headquarters and saw these horrible six foot blue black serpent come. I stared at him. I'm sorry there was any animal bigger than a roach or a rat. And so he got the part of a vacuum cleaner and for about 20 minutes fought the serpent in the lobby. It you killed it. But I had a nervous breakdown as I'm gone and I was retired running my still owes me a good snack.
And so as a result of what you worried about expense accounts because of course Renacci lost your snake thread I've read up about $22000 and that's when I see the question will come up and this is the question.
Did you actually have a snake or is it in your imagination. And some people ask me this and I say does it really matter. Isn't doing in a surrealistic time.
Now you see what we probably do with this like in every one of every way every word of that is true.
Are you literally you literally had a snake. You know I read this as though you'd made it up but it didn't matter is he. I'm thinking that the campaign itself and the world we live in right now be more cheerful for a lot of people.
I thought it was made all this time. But no that was that's all true.
Yeah. And if you don't like to see your own stuff and then I got I for some reason someone would write me as Hamlet I am I read a paragraph a good example of Hunter Thompson is writing and the battle between the watchman and the snake lasted some 20 minutes a terrible clanging and screaming at the empty marble entrance way and finally the watchman prevailed both the serpent and the vacuum tube were beaten beyond recognition. And later that morning a copy editor found the watchman slumped on a stool in the basement next to the Xerox machine still gripping the mangled tube unable to say what was wrong with him except that something terrible tried to get him but he finally managed to kill it. At a sense retired they say Cardinal Spellman died and Random House moved to a new building. But the psychic scars remain a dim memory of corporate guilt that is rarely mentioned except in times of stress or in arguments over money. Every time I start feeling a bit uneasy I'm running up huge bills in a random house tab. I think about that snake. And then I call room service again.
Like I say we're up about 22 grand on that night and I still haven't done that book and you know political gambling.
But you understand my position as a reader of your work a site where you might have some trouble believing.
But unfortunately every word of it is true.
My mind is even more powerful and were untrue. That is literally it seemed to me this is true. We live in a world right now where strange things are happening see. So it's just as important even if it didn't happen. So it has its dangers.
Many think that's my that's normal life and that same the same issue you speak of buying a house trying to get uncommitted delegates. This is an add on. And you describe a scene that you could talk about that in which a guy named J.D. Swain. That's a that's a made up name.
Yeah. But he's trying to get a delegate. And he's trying to get this thing going. And he's going to meet him. And a silver haired beautiful girls at the door would you mind describe you remember. You remember that moment you wrote about here again I question did it happen didn't it. But it did.
You know in my mind at least probably had a number of those and you know there's some very eerie lines in there. Look I picked up where we were playing the book about skeletons in her closet. A lawyer from St. Louis which turned out to be kind of heinously prophetic with Eagleton and skeleton's and positive actually. It almost looks like a good thing for them that you got the kind of pressure at conventions too.
I mean can ask 100 because you're quite a marvelous writer a journalist and as you mentioned Eagleton and skeleton in the closet the phrase used was asked by Michael which apparently am you talking about literal.
See you make literal that what you're psychic in our lives with the word thing is and I said that even before my with us and that was that was painful even because St. Louis out of nowhere for some reason I don't know where it was so we live in at a certain moment now since you covered that campaign you covered way in the beginning didn't you.
This campaign you covered the 72 campaign. Where did you start.
You began when I moved to Washington for some reason which I never did quite figure out. I had some idea that in order to cover the campaign or to go to Washington. So I'm with that wonderful Colorado.
It was about November of 71 when Muskie was the assumption then was that we had to have somebody who could be next and we in the general sense of the opposition and everybody said well big words into it and all that to do is take one look at the good and two that he would have done the right.
You describe some remarkable scenes involving big get in the guy the great Boo-Hoo strange events. Peter Sheridan Well it was also. Now here's the part before Hunter Thompson by the way aside from being in the best sense of the word and advocate journalist where I happened to like because it's subjective at the same time covering the events. Also it has a tape of a paraplegic that would play that moment. But I thought in the 1968 campaign you find yourself riding in the back of a car with Richard Nixon. Not why were you chosen this is here are you outrageously dressed by their standards dangerous in a sense when you describe hostile white you set that scene. This is 1968 in New Hampshire. Is that it.
Yeah I remember running at the Holiday Inn and Pat Buchanan speech writer who was then. Sort of doing the front muscle work and also speech writing. That was when they were still calling Nixon the boss. Will to do in private. The phrase he was the boss and the boss and all of his campaign appearances were grilled like What's the drill for today. Well what drove me to drill is a boss doing it I say that slowly again. They would use a drill drill drill were to make a speech or shake hands. You know the boss is doing a drill at 12:30 at the diner in Nashua New Hampshire that of the press. We take him along to watch the boss do his drills. That was the language of that too when it was over. And after Romney had Baumgarten and Rockefeller hadn't come in it was clear that Nixon was going to win in New Hampshire. And I've been trying to like everybody also because of a private interview with him for a long time and there was no way this could get anywhere near it hustling to the lobby every morning at high speed with big phalanx of people around him. And finally I don't know why it happened but then or it was replaced the speechwriter he to me and said I hate to say this but the boss wants to talk football and I've tried everybody else in the press corps and they don't know football at all. And I know you do but you have to promise not to talk about anything else except football.
You can't mention Vietnam you can imagine people being gassed you can imagine people being beaten. You have it in midnight. We're heading back to his Learjet 68 and I am sure he was right at the end. It was really when he was home free. So we had about an hour back from wherever whatever town it was on the turnpike was about 10 below. And I knew what would happen if I mention the names of football I'd be better than them the freeway. So. Richard and I sat in the back and talk football while the cop and price and we got in the front didn't say a word but they were waiting. And the minute this little took we'll say something but you know that point I know that this big yellow marker would come to a screeching halt or be put out on the turnpike. Little of you know frozen like and the odd thing is that I kind of enjoyed it. He really knows what well listen here stone for.
This is the point perhaps that which things tied together. See your snake story. That's it's all Hunter Thompson made that up. It so happened is true. It doesn't matter. That is the conversation in the back of the. Car with the presidential candidate the president. And the serious talk about football is as surreal as a snake story.
But the thought that this is true.
Yeah absolutely. Very true. Isn't this what we're faced with now that the line that fantasy and fact become one.
Somebody said that that's an important interview. One of those sort of atavistic reviews that it really becomes a word that fiction was no longer possible. You had to turn it into journalism just in order to keep up with the madness. Yeah. Well I believe that yeah.
Catch 22 today would be considered a documentary wouldn't it. Not a satirical documentary isn't it. Well I was in the first documentary because I like the guys bombing thing has got to shoot back at us why are they doing that. Isn't it. So in a sense it's this is your approach isn't it. Then I suppose you describe your your your way of covering the campaign that you do.
Turned to actually you know wrap it up but it's clearly very subjective. And I think that one of the great mistakes I made and in this Rolling Stone coverage was something that I was doing supplementary coverage for people who were reading the you know the street papers all the time. And as the campaign drew to a close or when it was over I was made aware that most of the readers had never it anything else about anything at all. They must have a very strange idea well what the hell was going on in terms of presidential politics. But my my idea was to thinking in terms of supplemental coverage to do a totally objective view. And as much a participatory kind of gig as I could. But it's hard to participate in a campaign when you're not when you're a journalist because they are they have a great fear of seeing but they told me over the newsstands two weeks later and I did things like say that nothing is off the record and that would violate confidences and without any devious sort of thing I think that's the way it should be done. I think journalism should be that way.
As a result of what you see your writing in Rolling Stone in between covers of this forthcoming straight arrow book fear the title fear and loathing on my campaign trail 72 tells us more about the people involved and power and how power is you well worth it or and that's that's where it all.
And that's that's you know power corrupts but it's also it's a cliche but it's also a fantastic high and there's nothing that I've ever been into any kind of drug or anything else that compares to the kind of high you get off of almost any kind of political campaign and particularly a presidential vote.
But that's interesting. Powers the great high.
Oh my. Ever been. WILLIAMS So that what I remember after I left to San Francisco with them on Christmas Day in 71 and I'd just been trying to the press box and this retired owner of Washington Redskins and other legendary trial lawyer. And the week before I'd been thrown out of the press box at the Redskins stadium for not taking my head off during the national anthem and I was I was in sort of a rage about that. So I went out. The Redskins won the 49ers in the playoffs so I thought well I want to get into them stumped. You know just to get back at the buggers for throwing me to the press box at halftime of the game. And so I end up sitting next to the owner of the Redskins on the way out and I remember saying to him to morrow the hammer bugger's you throw me out. You know I'm Ammiano the karma here is going to break you down. Was going to kidding. But then it turned out he was working for Muskie and I was even then very strongly against Muskie and we went through but he was trapped item for about five or six hours and that and you know to see from the first class compartment during the whole time and he said finally that we're going to settle down that there's only one real game in this country. That's politics all the rest are kids games. And I felt some guys play it a lot.
But again it's funny you know Ellsberg guy talks about this a great deal. The guys that ran or the others didn't want to hang around and be part of it. They're not that important themselves what they want. I think that part of power and they walk the card is great ones and that's the high he speaks of that continuously as though there were no breaking pencils. This is part of it.
It's beyond any drug you know. It's like a. You know four month muscle and drip which I never had. I got it very exhausting. Well the campaign was a 16 month trip.
So either way I suppose the power trip that you're reliance takes you again was going through you're playing publicly. And every day it changes. You know it's it's like a monster game.
Hunter S. Thompson I'm talking to Dr doctor by the way the heading is Dr. Hunter. I like the word Doctor. Doctor of d g. Doctor of gonzo journalism what is gonzo journalism.
Boy it's basically what we were just muttering about a month ago. I guess the key words will be subjectivity total subjectivity out front bias and outright bias. All you have to say what you think. But participation on I guess is the key word. Where do you become. You are a part of the story. You're not covering it. You know watching it you get into it. Which was always frustrating to me during the campaign because you know tight thing like that playing with that kind of stakes. It's kind of hard to delve right megawatts that I should be included in the secret meeting it's like McGovern's running mate. If I had been they'd have been better off.
That was one of the few people well and the way they go and what you say to me do is something else here is that we leave it at the specialists who decide who are the experts you're saying then the experts we believe in so much whether they be a high office in the land or the big shots are not really experts.
Telling you to be an expert or just the artifact. You get the time to recognize that that's one of the great troubles with the journalists and writers in this country.
But by the time people begin to say what your son told him is good by the time he's raced over the hill in his head writing jibberish we're pretty himself no longer.
We go back to Sonny Barger of Hell's Angels on no longer a celebrity too. We'll come to that. It was already on trial for him repeatedly for murder. MARGARET Oh God. Oh by the way that makes him a celebrity doesn't do the whole thing. He's on trial for murder therefore I'm a celebrity. Charles Manson is a celebrity too. If you've been in much more serious. Well yeah. So we take a slight pause with Hunter S. Thompson as my guest and the forthcoming book he's the I would describe your roving correspondent for Rolling Stone title Masters is national affairs editor.
But. I have to drop you somehow because I'm getting the strangest mail anybody could ever get. Yeah people decide that if Thompson is crazy and the word for Rollingstone then I can to write about so much myself to Thompson so I could trailer 10 or 12 early manuscripts every day. And it's really it's bringing me down.
And the book will be forthcoming. Fear and Loathing along the campaign trail 72 straight arrow are connected with the Rolling Stone or the publisher's return in a moment. Ask her about what made him the voice of a young paraplegic veteran that he recorded and he'll set the scene and also maybe his reactions and thoughts reflections on running as sheriff in Aspen. More of this in a moment. Resuming the conversation with Hunter Thompson and fear and loathing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas the previous book had actually come across the title.
This is Fear and Loathing on the campaign trail 72. I guess they don't know if I to be able to tell you more about that than how did it come about. It was a total accident. I went through the cover a motorcycle race and Sports Illustrated and that didn't seem to work and I couldn't see it because it was too much dust. And I took this crazy lawyer up here with this friend of mine from L.A. and we got all bent and twisted and crazy and Glasvegas itself into more of a story. But I was right at the same time I was writing another very serious piece with the L.A. Sheriff's Department killing a Chicago journalist and it sort of kept me every night when I'd finished when I would get too heavy to keep on at 6 o'clock. I spent about two hours just having fun with this Vegas thing with this strange tale of two people going mad and it just kept growing and growing.
Of the words you know fear and loathing are not accidental words.
We were talking about that now too in almost every aspect and we have a fear and loathing we were to me but that is one of the letters or have you really the first saying what I've had in about four months came from a guy who said Now I know where if your clothing came from it that's there's a quote on the web and the rock walls thing that ends up with this great fear and loathing in his heart. And I had to write the guy and said No I never read that I'm sorry. Which was true.
Well I think that the fear that that was Fear and Loathing in the heartland of the American dream.
I felt that the only way you can look at lies like this is Wolf writing in the late thirties and he was wrong about North Carolina and his home. Asheville.
But there was Heartland so we talked to another heartland. You were in Miami at both conventions and you being hunter thompson also are there and you had a cassette and as I suppose you describe the scene this is outside.
This is during the Republican convention. Yeah. But as you said the scene was when the voice of a young paraplegic that you set the scene. What was this.
What was the monster hotel. It was the press headquarters and sort of the the vortex hotel or during the World or both conventions the Doral was the candidates headquarters McGovern and Durman governors I like them and it was open during Nixon's it was totally closed off like a police barracks was going to Fontainebleau as were all the press conferences were held and all the ceremonies went on. So that's what the demonstrations were. And it was on Tuesday afternoon when Nixon was coming into town. And there was also a glorified as some kind of credentials fight down the conventional. So the most the press was at either the convention hall or out at the airport waiting for Nixon to come in. I remember seeing mailer right before these guys these 12 veterans came up to the Fontainebleau and twelve hundred veterans Vietnam Well everybody was leaving you either go watch Nixon come in or watch the floor or fight about whether in 76 the liberals or conservatives would roll the film at them. And for some reason I figured that was a nice day for me to go swimming and I was starting out when I passed this incredible parade of dead silent twelve hundred veterans with moving up Collins Avenue which is the main and only you know big fear of her you know Miami beach without a word except that can readily contain tops and that thump of you know boot loader very orderly very disciplined and they had gathered in front of the Fontainbleau. But it took about an hour to march to it and said we want to come.
We want to come inside and they were facing about a thousand cops. So during his speech Ron Kovac said there were several speeches made news. There's always the demonstrators that have made too many speeches and it sort of peters out. This was the high point of it. And what you have to remember when you listen to this is that everybody in the crowd which would have been 10000 people there were like 2000 cops all fit you know elbow to elbow with their billy clubs held in port arms. And as Ron Kovac was paraplegic facing about six feet away but actually talking to the Fontainbleau world the delegates were in the press or whatever's left of the press and what they had said was that when we finish these breaches we're coming in. So the people were expecting was really a nightmare situation with the Florida state police would be filmed beating up these you know one legged paraplegics people you know a wounded Vietnam vets. These were the vets against the war. And as it turned out people Klasky was the only politician there who would go and talk to him and he sort of came out and it turned out they really did want to go in there anyway. They just want make to be turned away until on national television.
The irony of it was that there was almost no national television there asking why the speech we're about to hear was that heard or seen on national almost not at all on CNN. It's all just the marriage of the convention. This wasn't Harry. So is it. And there's a sound in the background or of helicopters that yourself the audience will know.
Well to tell the level of tension was so high and the kind of sense of horror of impending disaster and violence was so pervasive that they brought in Army helicopters to circle started drown out these beaches because they blocked off all six lanes of KREVLIN felons haven't you. And this was a very impressive group with no rag to go. Suppose we hear the and you tape this on a cassette.
You know actually I did and somebody from KPFA in Berkeley to this KPFA Pacific station did and this is this is the scene you just sent this guy around the times running over. He was a spokesman for the disabled vets. There were others further more political in him this is what happened that day. Want
to talk about the role of the wounded veterans. Or the plight of the disabled veteran. I
guess I'm supposed to say what it's like to be a disabled veteran know I can do is think about. It
about three weeks ago. When I was in the Los Angeles County jail I was in a Los Angeles County two weeks ago and I've never been to jail before. It's been a good boy.
All that you got to remember. That's.
What about a machine gun. That chills up and down my spine every night. But I thought that brain waves up and down that flag after the late late movie.
Stuff like Obama. Was always a good boy. Brother. I guess what you got to disabled veterans affairs. Tell me what many things made by the way.
Class it doesn't matter if you want me to curse or fight.
Not tell me that I you know you don't want this goddamn play. Out of the coach nothing more. I. And my brother. Started the Naval Research Station eight hours. Because we were sick of this goddamn war. We were sick and they found baby.
We were sick of having to kill in the name of freedom and democracy. Only knew what was a lie and a shame. Right.
And quite of it all brothers gobble down these American states with no no. We were sick and tired of believing in a government. That the US off the wall and forgot us when we came home. Want. To go to one of the stable but you're not going to fight for that lousy thing for two hours. My father was found out late from the neck down. I never saw that the congressman thought of putting it in another place. I never thought walking in with his dog you. The main.
Thing is up to this for all that know me. I never go. To sleep for them. The fight to stop this war. I think the whole wall of humanity with guns and bullets and helmets. I think that and I feel the fighting. I know David Brooks father code. Or they go away that day with a shiny shoe and you know we don't have to show is going to die down we don't have a really. All day. But that's for one reason.
Brothers you folks over there pull it off because my brothers and sisters are pushed by the suits to translate in your pockets. OK. Well it's for one reason they we're going to have to travel across the United States of America because we feel that it's obligation to tell the American people that you've got to live. And we feel great about. 3000 miles is nothing to us. And you know I'll tell you something my brothers and sisters. And I put them on the ground in desert Arizona up in Texas Louisiana on the ground.
We love the ground because the land belongs to the people of.
Well why don't we go to the table. When we do we do get a body taken off by.
Pretty powerful stuff and of course I think Hunter Thompson is my guest and this is the voice of a young paraplegic Matt Moran. Ron Kovic. Ron Kovach Marines are outside my town hall. And I'm thinking about media for the moment and all the networks and there are almost 24 hour coverage of every detail and every pimple of everything and no coverage of this so we you know that was something that all the way through the campaign and he somehow managed to get his side of the story covered.
The reason that all the networks had one you know sort of it grew bigger bigger was assigned to the fun little for that sort of thing you know the demonstrations were might turn up. The crew was almost always on whatever I'm going to add.
And I think it was going to be it was a mix and was going on at the airport and it was gone.
But you know I'm thinking more of the next. I'm thinking the media itself I'm beyond over beyond I'm talking about NBC CBS ABC the papers into the cover. I'm thinking about when we come back to that. Why your part just different. You know they come back to the non coverage of the campaign re in a sense it amounts to that doesn't it.
What you want when you go to the campaign. A lot of people in the campaign have a freakish development to me it was a very different. Again it was one of the high points of politics. I think it depends on your own point of view as to what the campaign was given rather than your time for ground he was there. Yeah I was going to come from here. Their mother lives in France and the Village Voice was there. Yeah but you namings the certain individual journalists who are very good and you know they're only about five of us there right. Yeah I was a journalist. That's the point. Because the main story is that they were the credentials Voight and Nixon's arrival with the four thousand six and youth choir singing at the Miami International Airport.
Hunter where does this written the book the coverage and where does this leave us. Now it's 1973 on the day of this particular conversation and actions come out in favor of capital punishment as he put it without pity. So where does this what do you see. I'm not actually a prophet.
Nostradamus what what what next what to what next you know Sandberg's phrase What are the last three days talking about that with Sam Brown who was the student coordinator for McCarthy in 68 and he's now in Colorado. Know any around the anti-Left Lubbock's campaign and he was over at the house and what do you Craig for rather we were trying to figure out just what we should do. And then you're running for the Senate in Colorado. You live in Colorado. I might run for the center of the Senate be a term.
Describe your campaign for sheriff in a moment.
It won't be like that. That was a little too heavy. But it seems there was one of the best organizers in the country by anybody's life that within two or three years will have to have internal passports and documents to move around which is why blacks have in South Africa you know and it is there is it.
It will be based on the airplane hijacking thing and all other movies have made or theories or no plans to try to stop it. It failed. And driven airplanes it was really a hellish thing and get to the point where it's it's a nightmare to travel. That sounds insane but you have to just think about it it makes perfect sense in a way.
You have internal passports. If yours is lifted Well you may need a job passport. Well travel from Chicago to Denver New York to L.A. You have to have the court to do that sort of.
So you and Sam Brown see that as a possibility.
I hadn't since we're talking about it. But it's hard to argue with it it's too logical and too easy. It makes perfect sense as a deterrent to having you know freaks Loney's unreliable people on airplanes. So we're trying to figure out whether we should try to launch a sort of a locally based radical left radical somewhat radical kind of campaign in Colorado. I really I'd hate to run like Mayor as I might when that one could hear that what you say you can run for state Senate right.
Oh no other state on the U.S. Senate. Oh absolutely. What makes you think you might. Well right now you're saying something interesting here. Could you give us a what makes you think that you might want to know. I mean I'm looking for hope. I mean I think you might have a chance just fine.
How do you govern blue. Tremendous advantage that he started off with by not appealing to the new voter youth vote. But there's Fred and his book on American politics makes the point that Nixon won in sixty eight with fewer votes being lost by 60 and that in his last campaign for the first time and I don't know how long. And I think three years in Syria right here and the words the number of voters is shrinking. And in this last campaign 39 states or more people voting for senator and governor for president. There is a fantastic drop out vote which is really what nobody picked up on this time. It wasn't it wasn't necessarily that 20 18 to 24 times as people just turned off politics. And that can be documented in any kind of cure.
You mean the voting turnout was quite low. Oh and much lower for president. Yeah.
People were going to actually pull that lever for other things. However I think McGovern blew the chance that he had in the primaries. When he was seen as the maverick partition it would actually get the system of yours and get money.
Oh he did things like endorsing and ran here in Chicago and Louisa in Boston when done to have these little chats with LBJ at the ranch and every campaign never had any real direction have the best troops ever and ever been put in the field politically.
So you're seeing some this is perhaps as we near the end of the hour some of you seeing it you're seeing that intangible or that pretty tangible vote that wasn't there that people are just looking for a change.
I think so. I think one of the points in that was you saw Wallace who picked up so much strength that he didn't have the time and the foresight to even get delegates to a representative.
But then we come to the question of a change that is pending. What it is you hit him with. You know people result knew the basic sense whatever it is are again something you don't need it anymore it must give up your answer.
I don't think even Ted Kennedy's are Connelly's what politics in this country has become as though you are a mockery and just a bad joke on what it was supposed to be in the first place. When you look back at the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence were we become a mockery of ourselves and all the while I said and he says that in a different way the energy that's out there to change the system in this country I think is almost immeasurable.
Perhaps this is it's frightening and it's also it's either way demanding upon the NBA go either way people are just tired of this same old Troy. You just said something happens to me at the end of the program.
Come and just me. The energy is there you see we're told a lot about apathy. You're seeing this tremendous energy underneath.
Well kind of Midwest channel if you're told you have a duty to her to buy a car tomorrow. But it has to be there for her. And that's that you know that would get me pretty empathetic.
All but what we need to do something else with that open every door and I went out on my choice and time on the question of justice system precludes that and something doesn't really do it as if it's the thing that precludes the choice.
You you in almost any kind of a strange platform and as long as it wasn't the know either dishonest or promise you know the body's pie in the sky things like the next big time national politician comes along and runs on a realistic platform to really check their system around because a lot of trouble he might not win but he will have a veto over when we're done.
One hundred Thompson is my guest. And the forthcoming book based upon his dispatches were excellent ones in Rolling Stone as fear and loathing along the campaign trail suddenly do tell us more about a campaign about it by ourselves at this moment in history. Any thought comes to mind hunter while we say goodbye once more.
The cover is one of my favorite kind of things. I want to describe it to a friend of mine too that what is I went through.
Well the cover will describe the cover. It's red white and blue stars and it's a skull to death death's head and illustrates Ralph Steadman there are illustrations in it by Ralph still.
Well he didn't do Tom Burton my friend of mine. I spun the cover and the theory is that as soon as he that the book Winsloe even though it might be good news I think is rising in the eyes.
I mean I hadn't thought about that. Yeah there you see the stars and stripes rocking it now. Are straight.
I mean how do we this is the thing for say on the bookstore or any sort of Office Building.
Oh I know the last. I just want to see safe and sound off. But you've played you travel first class on the plane and you had a cassette with you we heard the voice of Ron the paraplegic that you play it now and then it's heard over throughout the cabin not very long but yeah. What are their reactions.
Well it's a disturbing and a rude thing to do to insult these comfortable first class passengers with this paraplegic yelling at the Fontainebleau will almost always threaten you with being arrested or ostracized or both. Always play it through. And by the time I finish but by the time it finishes they're going to sort of a standoff. I want to play it for them and I to hear more of it.
So basically we come back 100 times and as I get Dr. Hunter S. Thompson I like you guys you know every Ph.D. was an educator administrator and you know the guy he was the hero. And I hear of Fred whiteman's high school these guys who've just deden hospital called doctor Dr. Herrod doctor. Her doctor is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and I just thought of the phrase you of course your disturber you're a disturber of the class and that's probably what a journalist is all about and should be about today.
That's not what the West Gallagher from a piece of bone or two very definite schools of journalism with coming coming almost to a heavy crossroads and that there's room for both. I don't know that I'd compete with the AP or James Reston but a lot of people are very insulted that my come to journalism. How can a crazy bastard get away with it. That's what it is.
But I'm insulted by someone because you are unsafe and you disturb. And thank you very much for disturbing.
Thank you so many times. Always good to get to go back and get in touch with the human beings.