F&LILV Question #14-Stoned, ripped, twisted..Good people

by Hunter S. Thompson

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:59 pm

Interesting discussion here. I agree with many of your different points. Interesting point you brought out, Suec. It makes a lot of sense. Interesting about what's responsible use--kind of an oxymoron to some, I'm sure. Personally, I suppose it's possible, depending on what it is--everything in moderation.

My opinion is that there was drug use of probably all of those substances during the period of time that they were in Vegas . The affects of adrenachrome are highly exaggerated, though, according to what I have read about the drug. And I would hope that the amounts and continuous use of them was highly exaggerated. I don't know if any of you have seen the CSPAN Hunter Tribute. In that tribute the former editor of the Aspen Daily News, Curtis Robinson, insinuated that it was not an exaggeration. :-O
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:28 pm

suec wrote:I think it relates directly to the Dr Johnson quotation used at the front: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man".

Yes, I think this quote is the key.. not sure I can get it to open the door, but here goes. I think the drugs were mostly real. I think the existential pain by Duke and Gonzo was as very real… as real as if Gonzo had cut Duke instead of grapefruit. I think FALILV is essentially a morality tale, a living breathing metaphor about how ugly the view from the edge can be—two guys on a drug binge in Vegas doesn’t add up to a hill of beans compared to the damage done when men make beasts of the themselves in the name of county, honor and duty. That’s where I think literary license applies. The most pointed Vietnam references HST makes are about the My Lai massacre—the ultimate point of deterioration to the level of dumb beasts. I also think HST was trying to say something about how selfish it is to numb your pain (or the pain of a nation) and not deal with it—whether you take drugs, cry in your scotch or simply put your head in the sand and put another quarter in the slot machine.
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Unread postby Raven » Mon Sep 19, 2005 11:35 pm

dharma_bum wrote:
suec wrote:I think it relates directly to the Dr Johnson quotation used at the front: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man".

Yes, I think this quote is the key.. not sure I can get it to open the door, but here goes. I think the drugs were mostly real. I think the existential pain by Duke and Gonzo was as very real… as real as if Gonzo had cut Duke instead of grapefruit. I think FALILV is essentially a morality tale, a living breathing metaphor about how ugly the view from the edge can be—two guys on a drug binge in Vegas doesn’t add up to a hill of beans compared to the damage done when men make beasts of the themselves in the name of county, honor and duty. That’s where I think literary license applies. The most pointed Vietnam references HST makes are about the My Lai massacre—the ultimate point of deterioration to the level of dumb beasts. I also think HST was trying to say something about how selfish it is to numb your pain (or the pain of a nation) and not deal with it—whether you take drugs, cry in your scotch or simply put your head in the sand and put another quarter in the slot machine.


well said DB!!

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:25 am

Raven wrote:
dharma_bum wrote:
suec wrote:I think it relates directly to the Dr Johnson quotation used at the front: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man".

Yes, I think this quote is the key.. not sure I can get it to open the door, but here goes. I think the drugs were mostly real. I think the existential pain by Duke and Gonzo was as very real… as real as if Gonzo had cut Duke instead of grapefruit. I think FALILV is essentially a morality tale, a living breathing metaphor about how ugly the view from the edge can be—two guys on a drug binge in Vegas doesn’t add up to a hill of beans compared to the damage done when men make beasts of the themselves in the name of county, honor and duty. That’s where I think literary license applies. The most pointed Vietnam references HST makes are about the My Lai massacre—the ultimate point of deterioration to the level of dumb beasts. I also think HST was trying to say something about how selfish it is to numb your pain (or the pain of a nation) and not deal with it—whether you take drugs, cry in your scotch or simply put your head in the sand and put another quarter in the slot machine.


well said DB!!

Raven


I concur. :cool:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:32 am

Excellent analysis, db! :cool:
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Unread postby Sands » Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:57 am

I agree, well put DB. As a Brit I'm finding the references to Vietnam very interesting as obviously that didn't have the same impact on Britain as it did on the US, so I don't think I would have picked up on the importance of that as a background to the story. That's what's so great about an international book club :bounce:

I think the question of whether books/films like this glamourise drug use is an interesting one. Strangely enough I think they do, and yet really it makes no sense, since what we're being shown is pretty dreadful and sordid. It ought to put people off and yet somehow I think it's more likely to have the opposite effect. But I don't understand why :-?

I remember an interview with Jerry Garcia where he talked about the Dead's song 'Casey Jones' and how a lot of people thought it advocated the use of cocaine. He couldn't understand it, he said, 'How can they think that? Those lyrics are dire!' (Driving that train high on cocaine . . . Trouble ahead, trouble behind . . . Take my advice you'd be better off dead . . . come round the bend, you know it's the end, etc) It's a strange phenomenon :-/

I'm about to 'go back to school' and start a university course in Humanities, which will include a unit on the 60's so all these threads are getting me really excited about that. This book is throwing up so many interesting discussions - it deserves credit for that alone :-)
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:46 pm

sands, I love the internatioal flair to our disucssions as well. It always adds an extra dimension. Your class sounds very interesting! Keep us posted... :cool:
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Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:15 pm

Sands, I find that interesting that the UK was not involved in Vietnam. I just don't remember the extent of involvement from other countries. However, I'm surprised because my husband lived in England in the mid to late 60's on or near an English Air Force Base while his dad flew C-141's in Nam.
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Unread postby Gypsylee » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:37 pm

CharlotteinCA wrote:I think he exaggerates the amount of drugs in the context of the book and for the story's purposes. I also think that he must have taken an impressive amount of them in reality.

That's the one aspect I'm not comfortable with in HST's writings and that's the drugs. It's almost like he's proud of the excesses.

Another piece I'd like to comment on and that's Vietnam. I agree with those who have said that those references are more important than they appear. Vietnam is probably the most divisive war this country has ever had and that includes the Civil War. My brother was a medic in VN and he wrote home one time that a large part of his work was dealing with drug problems; and this was on the battlefield. He felt that sometimes he was taken away from the business of trying to save lives after a battle because he was trying to salvage someone from a drug overdose. The drugs just added another layer of problems to an already horrible experience.


I too had a brother in Nam that started taking drugs there. He never did them before he went. He was a very sensitive type of person and couldn't handle what was happening to himself and those around him. That's what the Vietnam war did to a lot of the guys. They just couldn't handle it.

I am playing catch up here. I must admit reading all your comments is giving me a better clue into this book. I can't imagine anyone taking the amount of drugs or WHY someone would take that amount of drugs except to constantly go to the edge.........test the limits.
Last edited by Gypsylee on Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Raven » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:40 pm

Sands wrote:I'm about to 'go back to school' and start a university course in Humanities, which will include a unit on the 60's so all these threads are getting me really excited about that. This book is throwing up so many interesting discussions - it deserves credit for that alone :-)


I want to go back to school with you. sounds exciting!

Raven
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and the envious."

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Unread postby abigail » Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:47 pm

Liz wrote:The affects of adrenachrome are highly exaggerated, though, according to what I have read about the drug.

I swear I remember an interview with Hunter where he said that adrenachrome doesn't even exist - that the use of that drug in F&L was entirely fictional. I assume that he means that it does not exist as a hallucinogen - not that it doesn't exist at all.
Of course I cannot remember where I read this. :rolleyes: Figures.

Interesting discussion. I don't feel like I have much to add. I agree with much of what has been said already. Particularly this bit:
dharma_bum wrote:
..two guys on a drug binge in Vegas doesn’t add up to a hill of beans compared to the damage done when men make beasts of the themselves in the name of county, honor and duty.

Very well said, dharma_bum. :cool:
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:25 pm

abigail wrote:
Liz wrote:The affects of adrenachrome are highly exaggerated, though, according to what I have read about the drug.

I swear I remember an interview with Hunter where he said that adrenachrome doesn't even exist - that the use of that drug in F&L was entirely fictional. I assume that he means that it does not exist as a hallucinogen - not that it doesn't exist at all.
Of course I cannot remember where I read this. :rolleyes: Figures.


Here is the Wikipedia explanation, although I've heard you can't always trust Wikipedia:

Adrenochrome is an oxidation product of adrenaline. Adrenochrome semicarbazone, also known as carbazochrome, is used as a medicinal drug to reduce capillary bleeding. Neither compound is a hallucinogenic drug, contrary to common belief.

Author Hunter S. Thompson mentions adrenochrome in his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In the book it is derived from a living donor's adrenal gland (removing the gland kills the donor). As such, it is purported to be very exotic, and very intense: "the first wave felt like a combination of mescalin and methedrine". The adrenochrome scene also appears in the novel's film adaptation. In the DVD commentary, director Terry Gilliam admits that his and Thompson's portrayal is fictional hyperbole.


And this from Erowid.org:

DESCRIPTION
Adrenochrome is an oxidation product of adrenaline (ephinephrine, norepinephrine). It has achieved mythical status as a deliberately-ingested psychoactive -- boosted by H.S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- though it is debated whether is has any psychoactive effects at all.


http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/adrenochrome/adrenochrome.shtml
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Unread postby shame_about_rasins » Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:15 pm

Interesting information Liz.
I beleive the drug use is larger than life, but I do think this enlargement is purposful, perhaps it is too shock.
With reference to Vietnam, does anyone think the book has anything to do with censorship. Whenthey talk about the policemen at the drug convention, how they are not awware of the extent of the drug use. And how Vietnam was the the first war to be reported on quite accuratly, and propoganda could be seen as wrong. People saw the real effects of war on their tv. It was because of this that America cannot show bodybags on tv. And like the war in Iraq they do not tell the public how many people died. (which is interesting, at the end of the sbs news in Aus, they show a list of the American soldiers that died that day, not allowed to be shown in America). Does anyone else think there is a relationship between FALILV and censorship, or lack of censorship in Vietnam?
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Unread postby dharma_bum » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:10 am

shame_about_rasins wrote:Does anyone else think there is a relationship between FALILV and censorship, or lack of censorship in Vietnam?

I was traveling in Italy last year and was not surprised, but saddened, to find that the coverage of the war was quite different in Europe. There was a grimmer reality pictured in both the press and on TV. The US press really capitulated to Bush on Iraq… HOWEVER, I think the coverage of New Orleans ended that honeymoon. Vietnam… your comments actually reminded me of a JD quote because when I first read it I thought, this was me, this was my childhood too:

“When I was 5 years old, I saw the Vietnam War on television, I saw the children running down the streets through the havoc of the war. That war changed everything, the mind-set of the whole century.”

The relationship I see in all this is that voices like Hunter’s are not as welcome in today’s climate of “let’s pretend” censorship. Would Rolling Stone have published FALILV six months ago? I think not.
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Unread postby shame_about_rasins » Wed Sep 21, 2005 7:14 am

dharma_bum said:
The relationship I see in all this is that voices like Hunter’s are not as welcome in today’s climate of “let’s pretend” censorship. Would Rolling Stone have published FALILV six months ago? I think not.

I agree with that and, but I think it is not just today is censorship, there has been censorship before and after Vietnam, I think that the harsh reality of war was let out to the public, and the fact that America lost the war. I think maybe there is a connection there. FALILV points out the failures in the American Dream, or parts of America, and that is connected to Vietnam, America thought they were invincible, and Vietnam showed that they weren't, everything is not peachy. And I think FALILV shows the same thing to some extent. Anyone else think so?
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