F&LILV Question #7: The Women of the Story

by Hunter S. Thompson

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:43 pm

I don't care for the treatment of women either. As I mentioned in the first question, I really had a problem with the scene outside the hotel room where Duke is painting a picture of how they can use Lucy to their advantage. It's not something I enjoy seeing joked about even if it was a joke and meant to knock some sense into Dr. Gonzo. Again, it was clearer for me in the movie that it was all in jest and meant to mess up (or clear up?) Dr. Gonzo's head. Duke was obviously trying to make a point that they should lose Lucy because she was a liability. The book didn't come through quite the same way for me. I agree with Dr. Gonzo when he said something to the effect of, "Don't talk that way." Ewww. :mort1:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Sands
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:28 pm
Location: Wales, UK

Status: Offline

Unread postby Sands » Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:51 pm

Yes I think the waitress scene is one of the key scenes in the book and the film. It still shocks me every time I see it. I think it's because however unpleasant the reality of their dealings with Lucy and the maid are, the descriptions are still humorous. But there's not an ounce of humour in the waitress scene. As someone said that's the point at which they've really gone too far. And I would say that it's there to make a point about the ugly nature of reality as experienced by Duke and Gonzo on this trip. Perhaps the real importance of this scene is that they're no longer amused doped-up observers of all this crazy reality, they're very much participants in it at that point.

I also agree with the people who've reminded us that Hunter was writing in pre-feminist times and grew up in even more pre-feminist times. And I think maybe it's harsh to judge someone's attitudes without taking into account the times.

Has anyone ever read any comments from Hunter about his attitude to women? I remember Johnny saying the first time he met him he was with Kate Moss and Hunter was asking him if he 'beat her enough', but I'm guessing that was a joke ;-)
'Well, it's a little difficult for me to tell right now because I'm kind of having a bad day'

User avatar
ThirdArm
Posts: 2999
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 4:43 pm
Location: Monterey Bay

Status: Offline

Unread postby ThirdArm » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:24 pm

I don't know specifically about Hunter's attitude towards women, but that comment to Johnny about Kate Moss that Sands mentioned gives you a clue, I guess; as well as how he wrote about the women in the book.

As an aside, Johnny once referred to Kate Moss as having 'high-water booty,' a comment that seems like it was the sort of thing Hunter would say. I can't see Johnny now referring to Vanessa in that coarse kind of way.
~No doubt the years have changed me.~

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:59 pm

With any luck, the men in the story had become more "enlightened" since this story was written. :eyebrow: What I felt about Gonzo and the maid as well as the waitress was his anger. With Lucy and the reporter I felt he was just using her in a sexual way. None of which was good. The female characters were somewhat incidental to the story, as gypsylee said the Mack truck effect, and I think our perspective is heightened many years later.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

Still-Rather-Timid
Posts: 1304
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:07 pm

Status: Offline

Unread postby Still-Rather-Timid » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:21 pm

I agree with those who have remarked that Duke's marginally better treatment of the women in the novel is one of the ways in which he demonstrates his ascendance over Gonzo, but I'm glad to have the chance to say that, in general, Hunter's treatment of women is pretty appalling, and not something I can excuse away. I saw the movie before I read the book, and I was amazed that three such talented and admired actresses of the 1990s would want roles in which women are demeaned so much. The book is a little better: even though she is presented as rather monstrous, Lucy at least has a certain ugly strength and power. And I'm afraid I have become in my dotage one of those tiresome feminists who can't see what's funny about the "joke," do you beat her? Even when Johnny describes his response, "I might have said something like, "--or some equally disowning phrase--"yeah, I beat her," you can tell he has the decency to be uncomfortable. But I can still admire and even love Hunter, and just overlook the bad that comes with the good--without ever excusing it. I guess Republican fans of Hunter's writings have to do the same with his political stuff!

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:26 pm

We had a similar discussion during The Rum Diary about the treatment of women in that book. I think it shows that he is a product of his generation in a way. There are a few areas where Hunter and I would vehemently disagree but I agree srt, overall I have to take the bad with the good and at the end if the day I still admire him.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
Veronica
Posts: 5951
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 8:42 am
Location: Ohio

Status: Offline

Unread postby Veronica » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:38 pm

I think the women in the story are just plain reality. The woman in the elevator started the conversation and wanted to gloat that she was in tv. they were ignoring her. Lucy same thing. She was a lost little girl being taken advantage of. Yeah the joke was crude that Duke made but He just wanted to wake up gonzo. He wasnt acting anything out. She wasnt that young that she didnt know what she was doing. The maid story was a wake up call for Duke. he was coming out of his hallucination when he realized that Gonzo was attacking the maid. I think his reaction was just to scare her enough so she would keep her mouth shut. The waitress part I agree was to show they had reached their limit. It wasnt funny and Duke didnt like what was going on at all. It was time to come down and get back to reality.
Everything is always okay in the end,
if it's not, then it's not the end.

Today is a gift....Have Fun!

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:28 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:We had a similar discussion during The Rum Diary about the treatment of women in that book. I think it shows that he is a product of his generation in a way. There are a few areas where Hunter and I would vehemently disagree but I agree srt, overall I have to take the bad with the good and at the end if the day I still admire him.


SRT and DITHOT, I'm in the same place you two are; and V, I would like to believe what you, Lumi and others are saying. So I will. It makes sense.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
dharma_bum
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Villa Incognito

Status: Offline

Unread postby dharma_bum » Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:28 am

I’m certainly not going to be a dissenting voice tonight. Hunter and women… for understanding so much about how the world works, he didn’t “get” us. Or, he got very few of us. And even the ones did “get” (Chenault in the Rum Diary) he couldn’t fully make sense of them print. I also agree with many of you who thought Duke (by default Hunter) was an equal opportunity abuser. He didn’t seem to modulate his behavior for either gender.

No one has mentioned Breakdown on Paradise Blvd., which I found wickedly funny. If it was meant to be a comment on the blissful ignorance of the underclass, it came across as borderline cruel—what does that say about me? Ironically, although the characters were women, the roles could have been interchangeable with men.
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp

User avatar
gilly
Posts: 6552
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:14 pm
Location: australia

Status: Offline

Unread postby gilly » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:21 am

The women were almost like caricatures..and ,I think, were a means to an end,to show the depths of Gonzo/Raouls' degredation..They were little more than a plot/story device..They never seemed real to me ,even in a book where reality was very subjective :-O
Life is beautiful.

I have faith in you.

User avatar
lumineuse
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 10:50 am
Location: Erie, PA, USA

Status: Offline

Unread postby lumineuse » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:42 am

I don't know how Hunter treated women. I think he skewered everybody, not just women. He cheated on Sandy, certainly. But he was able to inspire the loyalty of women like Laila, who were tough and independent of mind and spirit. He had close women friends and they were among his many lifetime correspondents. And he had a reputation among those who knew him best as a sensitive Southern gentleman.

I'm not sure it's fair to judge Hunter's opinion of women based upon two novels. For example - he may have objectified women in FALILV in order to show how drugs de-humanize those who abuse them. In the Rum Diary, women were treated in a manner similar to how they would have been treated during the time frame of the book. However much of FALILV is true, much of it is not, and it is imporatant to remember that it is a well thought out, well crafted novel, and Hunter's portrayal of woman may have been deliberate rather than a reflection of his personal views.

Just a thought.
Last edited by lumineuse on Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Oh, good!........ No worries, then."

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:29 am

lumineuse wrote:I don't know how Hunter treated women. I think he skewered everybody, not just women. He cheated on Sandy, certainly. But he was able to inspire the loyalty of women like Laila, who were tough and of independent mind and spirit. He had close women friends and they were among his many lifetime correspondents. And he had a reputation among those who knew him best as a sensitive Southern gentlemen.

I'm not sure it's fair to judge Hunter's opinion of women based upon two novels. For example - he may have objectified women in FALILV in order to show how drugs de-humanize those who abuse them. In the Rum Diary, women were treated in a manner similar to how they would have been treated during the time frame of the book. However much of FALILV is true, much of it is not, and it is imporatant to remember that it is a well thought out, well crafted novel, and Hunter's portrayal of woman may have been deliberate rather than a reflection of his personal views.

Just a thought.


I've thought many times about Laila, wondering about that relationship. She was obviously a loyal friend of Hunter's for many years while at the same time being a very indedendent and progressive woman. I believe Sandy remained a friend too.

And even though I cringe at some of the encounters with women in the book, I think they were deliberately portrayed that way--at least on some level.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Larkwoodgirl
Posts: 813
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:06 pm
Location: Texas across the pond
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby Larkwoodgirl » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:33 am

Liz wrote:
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:We had a similar discussion during The Rum Diary about the treatment of women in that book. I think it shows that he is a product of his generation in a way. There are a few areas where Hunter and I would vehemently disagree but I agree srt, overall I have to take the bad with the good and at the end if the day I still admire him.


SRT and DITHOT, I'm in the same place you two are; and V, I would like to believe what you, Lumi and others are saying. So I will. It makes sense.


I haven't researched this, but , it seems to me that Hunter himself had a history of less than stellar treatment of women. I think the record of how he treated his first wife (he seems to have been a serial adulterer) speaks to that. Also, i read a report from one his previous liasons that made reference to how abusive and frightening he could be at times, especially when intoxicated.
""We shall never cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T.S. Eliot

User avatar
Endora
Posts: 16513
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:03 pm
Location: Darkest UK~ Down in Albion

Status: Offline

Unread postby Endora » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:49 am

Interesting, Larkwoodgirl, that filled me in on some background I didn't know.

The issue of the women in the book is to me one of its most disturbing points, much more so than the drugs or violence. I, like many of us here, grew up when the treatment of women in society and in the workplace was changing, mostly for the better (in that the choices were broader, not that we necessarily made better choices.) Men's attitudes were changing too, and I have to say I have rarely met men who are completely unreconstucted in their treatment of women, but perhaps that's the academic world for you. So the way the two men treat the women in the book treat the various women seemed, and still seems, shocking to me, and contrasts strangely with their otherwise modern and free thinking attitudes. It is a paradox to me how otherwise intelligent men can behave towards members of the same species. Someone once said that if a person is going to be allowed to act freely, you've got to accept that they're sometimes going to act stupidly. Is this what he's getting at?

But maybe this is what he wants us to feel? Shock tactics? It's the trickiest topic so far, and why I couldn't answer it yesterday.

Sorry about the rambling, it really is a very disturbing question.
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

Solace in the flood

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:03 pm

Endora wrote: Sorry about the rambling, it really is a very disturbing question.


I agree. That's probably why I'm vacillating so. I don't really want to have to contemplate it. It makes me feel icky.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


Return to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests