Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

by Hunter S. Thompson

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Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 01, 2010 1:26 pm

Image
Pg. 134 (end of Chapter 12):

I was being paid twenty-five dollars a day to ruin the only place I’d seen in ten years where I’d felt a sense of peace. Paid to piss in my own bed, as it were, and I was only here because I’d got drunk and been arrested and had thereby become a pawn in some high-level face-saving bulls**t.

I sat there a long time, and thought about a lot of things. Foremost among them was the suspicion that my strange and ungovernable instincts might do me in before I had a chance to get rich. No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction—toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.


(Chapter 18) Pg. 185:

I slammed the door behind me and went to the kitchen to mix a drink. “Wake up and ponder the future,” I said over my shoulder. “I quit tonight and got fired about two minutes later.”

She looked up and smiled. “No more money?”

“No more nothing,” I replied, filling two glasses with rum. “I’m clearing out. I’m tired of it.”

“Tired of what?” she asked.

I took one of the drinks over to the bed. “Here,” I said. “here’s one of the things I’m tired of.” I shoved it into her hand, then walked over to the window and looked down at the street. “Mainly,” I said, “I’m tired of being a punk—a human suckfish.”


Pg. 186:

‘Well, you see, I swim around in murky waters until I find something big and bad to clamp onto—a good provider, as it were, something with big teeth and a small belly.’

(Chapter 19) Pg. 191:

The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. Hang out a shingle, I muttered: “P. Kemp, Drunken Journalist, Suckfish & Snake—hers. Noon to dawn, closed Mondays.”

Was Kemp a Suckfish, a Judas Goat or neither?
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.

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nebraska
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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby nebraska » Sat May 01, 2010 6:16 pm

I think Kemp was a bit of an opportunist, but he had a conscience and I didn't see him as a freeloader. He seemed to have a little higher ethics than most of the rest. He wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't think he was a bad guy. The fact that he even thought about these questions implies he was neither of those things.

Of course, since he is telling the story everything might be colored in his favor. :lol:

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat May 01, 2010 8:00 pm

I think Kemp thought of himself as a Judas Goat because he had to write a story he didn't believe in and was being paid for it. But does that make him a Judas Goat? I don't think so. I don't think of him as a suckfish either. He took advantage of situations - but did not suck onto "bigger fish". He was his own being - but in his words - a drunken journalist seemed to fit him best. Somehow he always seemed to survive and Judas Goats and Suckfish don't. As nebraska said - Kemp was an opportunist.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby gemini » Sat May 01, 2010 10:30 pm

The frist excerpt was Kemp fighting with his conscience. He wanted to get rich but knew that crazy streak he had would step in and blow his sweet deal because it was just wrong.
After his conscience won out, the second excerpt was being mad at himself for giving up his sweet deal. He quit his job and was clearing out and was mad about how things turned out, and as shallow as he was, he decided to take it out on Chenault.
Each of the comments about being a suckfish were his sad opinion of himself for playing along for the money. The snake comment was how he felt about stealing Chenault from Yeamon. He didn't stop in at Al's because he didn't want to face him.
Mad at himself for both he was leaving town.
Was he a Suckfish, or Judas Goat? No, he ended up doing the right thing but was disgusted because he was back to no job and starting over.
Last edited by gemini on Sat May 01, 2010 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 01, 2010 11:47 pm

Great answers! :applause2:

I don’t think that he was either of those things either. He did have a conscience. And that’s why these things bothered him. If anything, he was a tad naïve (or maybe just told himself lies) for falling for Sanderson and allowing him to use him.

I think he felt guilty for allowing a lot of things to happen…..

- Standing by while Yeamon physically abused Chenault

- Not rescuing Chenault in St. Thomas

- Stealing Chenault from Yeamon

- Not being able to resist the temptation of her
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.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby Buster » Sun May 02, 2010 10:47 am

nebraska wrote:
The fact that he even thought about these questions implies he was neither of those things.


I actually think he was both a Judas Goat and a suckfish, but as soon as he recognised himself as such, the remnants of his self-esteem kicked in, and he made changes. Somehow I suspect the alcoholic self-loathing that got him into (and out of) these messes will continue to get him into similar situations, no matter where he ends up,

Given Hunter's political bent, I wonder if this isn't a metaphor for American foreign policy - get involved in something that is none of your business; misread situations completely, add chaos and violence, and then feel remorseful. (Sorry, ranting)

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby Liz » Sun May 02, 2010 3:10 pm

Buster wrote:nebraska wrote:
The fact that he even thought about these questions implies he was neither of those things.


I actually think he was both a Judas Goat and a suckfish, but as soon as he recognised himself as such, the remnants of his self-esteem kicked in, and he made changes. Somehow I suspect the alcoholic self-loathing that got him into (and out of) these messes will continue to get him into similar situations, no matter where he ends up,

Given Hunter's political bent, I wonder if this isn't a metaphor for American foreign policy - get involved in something that is none of your business; misread situations completely, add chaos and violence, and then feel remorseful. (Sorry, ranting)

I see Kemp as being just the opposite. I see him as standing by and allowing things to happen. He doesn't seem to want to get involved.

I do think, however, that there was plenty of commentary by Kemp (in his head) on foreign policy and how the U.S. government involved itself in P.R.
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.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby deppaura » Sun May 02, 2010 8:14 pm

Here was a guy who could be REALLY hard on himself!! Talk about mea culpa! What a complexity. He really could get that whip out. Struggles and giving in to the Devil as it were, and then repentance!! He didn't need a judgment day.

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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby gemini » Sun May 02, 2010 11:37 pm

Funny, I had a poor opinion of him while he stood by and watched all the mayhem go by. The only time I felt any respect for him was when he saw himself for what he was and called himself names. He was a jerk so a little repentance did him good.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Re: Rum Diary Question #13 ~ Suckfish or Judas Goat?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon May 03, 2010 2:54 pm

Great answers all around! :applause2: I agree that at times he could be both but his conscience always pulled him back from being totally sucked in.
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!


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