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 Post subject: F&LILV Question #4 - The Younger Generation and Hunter
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:59 am 
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Douglas Brinkley, from Stop Smiling, 2005:

Look at Hollywood today: a lot of the actors my age – Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, John Cusack, Benicio Del Toro – are Hunter fanatics. He’s one of the writers they truly enjoy and honor. So it’s a generational thing. Sometimes when you’re in your own generation – Hunter’s equals in age, people in their 60s – you think of him as the guy who ran for sheriff of Aspen or as the pied piper of the counterculture. But I think it’s taken a younger generation, or generations, to embrace Hunter’s iconoclastic spirit and put it where it belongs – in the annals of American literature.


Why do you think that it takes a younger generation to understand and appreciate Hunter? Or is this true?



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:29 am 
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tought I just popped in here again,but funny enough tought something else when I saw the title.
I have a bit of trouble understanding hunter,and tought it might be a generation thing(and non american).
still could be,I am in my 30,maybe I just been born to late to really understand him.
greets,
es



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:56 am 
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I think Hunter wrote in a way that really resonated with Baby Boomers. Even though he was not one of them, being older, he was very much a part of Boomer culture in the 60's and 70's, and wrote so descriptively of what was going on culturally and politically during that time, that most of us can relate. Other people his age didn't participate the way he did. He also had the Peter Pan mentality of the Boomer generation. Even though Johnny is young enough to be only on the fringe of the Boomer generation, he was heavily influenced by his brother Danny, who was right in the middle of it. As we know, Danny had a strong influence on Johnny's interests and eventual beliefs, and probably introduced Johnny to Hunter's writings.

Thankfully, there are still people in even younger generations who appreciate not only Hunter's political and cultural observations, most of which I think still ring true today, but the incredibly witty way in which he wrote. I just started reading The Great Shark Hunt last night and couldn't put it down. It's as relevant now as it was then.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:02 am 
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Hi, es. :wave: Glad you joined the discussion.

Lumi, I know what you mean about his writing. I've been reading bits and pieces of Hell's Angels and, at times, have a hard time tearing myself away from it.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:24 am 
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I played the role of Danny to my younger brother (he is 40 now - so Johnny's age). I gave him a copy of "Fear and Loathing" when it first came out.....and he has remained a fan of Hunter.

My son is 23 and I gave him a copy of "The Great Shark Hunt" to read on the subway to work when he was home from university this summer. He is a Political Science major and instantly took to Hunter's humour and laughed out loud while reading it. He took it and 3 others of Hunter's work back to school with him last week.

His favorite movie is "Fear and Loathing", followed closely by "Blow" and "Chocolat" (Yes - he is a huge Johnny and Hunter fan)

My ex-husband is 61 and had never heard of Hunter (although he loves Johnny)

My Dad is 71 and had also never heard of Hunter (and my Dad has been a University professor for years). (He also likes Johnny - I took him to see Charlie at IMAx when he was visiting from Turkey this summer)

So I think lumineuse is right about the Baby boomer generation and younger people.

His political writings are also very American so even as a Canadian it is sometimes hard to relate unless you followed American politics back then. Some of his papers I love and some I have a hard time relating to because of this.

My two favorites are F&L and the Rum Diary.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:41 am 
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Welcome to the discussion, Dukie. :disco: I am a baby boomer and never heard of Hunter. I don't know why. I feel I should have. :-? I agree with you and es that it helps to understand Hunter if you are an American because he has written about our history.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:19 am 
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I do think that Hunter spoke to the younger generation, the baby boomers and that they were and are, the generation that could relate to his writing the best. But I am not sure if it is an age (generation) thing as much as an attitude and openness of mind issue. I am a baby boomer who had never heard of Hunter either Liz. But my husband, who is only 2 years older than me has been a fan since F&L was published in Rolling Stone. He has always been much more aware of the political culture that Hunter wrote about and of course the sports angle too. Looking back, I was always pretty narrow-minded about such things and didn't stray too far off the narrow path I had put myself on. :-/

I gave a copy of the Song of the Sausage Creature article to a gentleman I work with who is a big motorcycle buff. He's in his 60's and knew Hunter as "that acid freak". At least he had heard of him, although he didn't seem to be a fan. The other men I work with who are in their 20's and 30's had never heard of him at all. They seem to be a pretty conservative bunch so I'm thinking that, like myself at their ages, they just haven't been exposed to him. Likewise most of my friends, although I'm trying to change that. :capnjack:



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:24 am 
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Well maybe it is the male of the species that likes Hunter. Hunter writes like a man. He is a rebel, with and without causes. He is not afraid of saying what he thinks, he swears, he drinks and is open about his drug use. He also wrote about motorcycles, racing, football, what more would a guy need? I think men would find that refreshing, reading Hunter is probably alot like talking to him, or seems that way. I think Hunter is a man's man. Even though I had heard of him only in passing via Rolling Stone mag, and Doonesbury, Hunter did not attract me, he did not write for me.


Raven

edit: note to self, do not post before coffee


Last edited by Raven on Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:36 am 
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I think there's a sense of desolation about a lot of what Hunter writes. It's a feeling of anything being possible, but a great deal of possibilities being wasted. Think particularly about this reflective passage in F+L

Quote:
"we were riding on the crest of a high and beautiful wave...
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west,and with the right kind of eyes youcan almost see the high water mark- that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."


Would you say that the extreme highs and dreadful lows that the book describes applies more to the young? It's difficult to keep your life on an even keel when so much changes for you in your teens. Coming to terms with failures both in yourself and in others is a hard education. And I am sure that the bleak undercurrent of the book mirrors those same feelings in a lot of young people.

Therefore, I would say this is a book that the young would appreciate, but those of us looking at it from the longer perpective of age could also force a wry smile at the author's youthful hopefulness.


Afterthought: Dukie, have you read any P J O'Rourke? It could appeal to your son.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:13 pm 
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Endora wrote:
I think there's a sense of desolation about a lot of what Hunter writes. It's a feeling of anything being possible, but a great deal of possibilities being wasted. Think particularly about this reflective passage in F+L

Quote:
"we were riding on the crest of a high and beautiful wave...
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west,and with the right kind of eyes youcan almost see the high water mark- that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."


Would you say that the extreme highs and dreadful lows that the book describes applies more to the young? It's difficult to keep your life on an even keel when so much changes for you in your teens. Coming to terms with failures both in yourself and in others is a hard education. And I am sure that the bleak undercurrent of the book mirrors those same feelings in a lot of young people.

Therefore, I would say this is a book that the young would appreciate, but those of us looking at it from the longer perpective of age could also force a wry smile at the author's youthful hopefulness.


Afterthought: Dukie, have you read any P J O'Rourke? It could appeal to your son.


I always thought that the uneven keel of which he was writing was more descriptive of the culture of the time - of the roller coaster of the 60's and 70's - than a function of youth. But you've made a very interesting observation. Especially in that the times Hunter is describing in the book were the times of my youth. I doubt that I can extricate the two. Which may be a part of the reason that Hunter's work is poignant for many of us of a "certain age". Definitly food for thought, Endora.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:29 pm 
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Interesting thoughts, all. I too grew up in the generation that Hunter writes about and I was politically active so it is hard for me to look with complete objectivity. When my son came home from college and discovered my Johnnyitis, he said he and his room mate were huge fans of F&LILV (the movie). At first that scared me a bit :-O because I wondered what exactly appealed to them. (He assured me he wanted his kids to watch it as a compelling reason not to do drugs..color me relieved!) He said they thought the movie was hilarious but the freedom it expressed appealed to them as well. The sort of "damn the torpedoes" attitude and the way the characters did their thing in the middle of "normal" society. Without getting into a future question here...(The Wave Speech) I think Hunter appeals to the Don Quixote side of young people that see injustice in society and want to change it. His rebelliousness is appealing to those who haven't given up on change and still believe it is possible to correct the wrongs in the world. Perhaps that is why many people of our generation, who once had that mindset, are drawn to him and his writing as well as younger generations.

Luvdepp, I think you also have a point about his appeal to people with open minds. You don't have to agree with him to enjoy his writing but you have to be open to appreciating different points of view.


Rambling over.. for now :-)



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:31 pm 
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I too am a baby boomer. I also had not heard of Hunter. I believe the baby boomers and the younger generations "get" Hunter more, but I also believe liking or disliking Hunter is an attitude thing more than an age thing.

When I read his writings they bring back so many memories that I thought were long forgotten. I was not so much politically involved (except for anti-Vietnam stuff and all that Nixon era mess). I was just busy living life, which to be honest was not an easy thing to figure out in the 60s and 70s. When I was in San Francisco in the early 70s staying with my brother who just got back from Nam I really got a taste of how different things were becoming and not having had been taught to think for myself, was very confused.

I like Hunter now because his writings bring back lots of memories and fills me in on a lot of what I missed. He also emboldens me to be myself and to hell with the rules and other peoples opinions.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:40 pm 
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DITHOT wrote:

Quote:
He said they thought the movie was hilarious but the freedom it expressed appealed to them as well. The sort of "damn the torpedoes" attitude and the way the characters did their thing in the middle of "normal" society.


I like what you wrote here. That is the feeling I am experiencing now. Doing your thing in the middle of "normal" society. As minor as my "rebellion" is now at this time in my life, it is noticed! My family definitely sees the change. That makes me happy. Not sure how happy they are, but I feel very good about it!!!



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:45 pm 
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Gypsylee wrote:
I like Hunter now because his writings bring back lots of memories and fills me in on a lot of what I missed. He also emboldens me to be myself and to hell with the rules and other peoples opinions.


They're more like guidelines, anyway! :capnjack:



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:52 pm 
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I was born in 66 and never heard of Hunter til Johnny. I love his writing. I think it also can be just a certain kind of personality as well as a generation thing. I have a friend here at work, I told this story but he was born 72 maybe, I got him into Hunter. He writes his own stuff on a webpage. when I read it I thought that is gonzo. I then made him read Kingdom of Fear. He loves it & thanked me for making him read it. My neice, her boyfriend he is around 28. He is a Hunter fan, He has the gonzo logo tattood on his arm. So I think that it takes a certain kind of person to get the humor. Just like the JDOCD, It astounds me that everyone doesnt have it but only a certain kind of woman gets it. One of lifes mysterys! :-?



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