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 Post subject: F&LILV Question #25 ~ The American Dream
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:30 am 
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Here we go!

The following is an excerpt from a letter Hunter wrote to Jim Silberman at Random House during a discussion of how his account of the Vegas trips would fit into his goal to write about the American Dream. He refers the first half of the book as Vegas 1 and the second part, the District Attorney’s conference, as Vegas 2. The letter is dated May 9, 1971 and can be found on pg. 382 of Proud Highway.


“Only a genuine freak could have created the Circus-Circus. Which is where I finally found the American Dream…not an easy thing to explain in a few words, as I think I mentioned earlier. This last rip got into far heavier and more serious things than we have in the (Vegas 1) section, enc. What began as a joke and a casual rip-off somehow developed into a serious quest that incredibly yielded up the Main Fruit. I’m fairly certain about what I finally discovered down there, but whether the combined narrative of Vegas 1 & 2 will support that kind of massive conclusion is something we can only guess at right now.”

On pg. 191 of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter writes:

“He seemed surprised. “You found the American Dream?”, he said. “In this town?”

I nodded. “We’re sitting on the main nerve right now…”


Did Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo complete their quest to find the American Dream?



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 1:58 pm 
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Hellooooo....hellooooo...hellooooo...hellooooo...hellooooo

:lol: Is this thing on? Anyone out there? :-O Calling Noodlemantras...



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:02 pm 
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I guess it could depend on how you define "The American Dream". I decided to look up the official definition of it. Here's what I found.

From Yahoo Dictionary:

NOUN:

An American ideal of a happy and successful life to which all may aspire: "In the deepening gloom of the Depression, the American Dream represented a reaffirmation of traditional American hopes" (Anthony Brandt).


From WordNet:

The widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did.

From Wikipedia:

The American dream is the idea (often associated with the Protestant work ethic) held by many in the United States of America that through hard work, courage and determination one can achieve prosperity. These were values held by many early European settlers, and have been passed on to subsequent generations. What the American dream has become is a question under constant discussion.

Just some food for thought. I'm holding off on my answer for the moment.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:27 pm 
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Liz wrote:
The American dream is the idea (often associated with the Protestant work ethic) held by many in the United States of America that through hard work, courage and determination one can achieve prosperity.

If that's the definition of the American Dream (and I'd say that it was pretty accurate) then I don't see how anyone could find it in the casinos of Las Vegas. Isn't the focus of a casino based in acquiring prosperity without hard work or courage? (I might give some people points for determination, if they sit for unending hours plugging quarters into slots.) Isn't Vegas then the antithesis of the American Dream? Money for free, no work involved? The maids, the waitresses, etc. were working hard, but I'd say prosperity was eluding them.

Or if Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo did find it in Vegas, then the Dream was dead.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:36 pm 
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Thanks for the definitions, Liz. :cool:

fansmom, I took him to mean that the guy who started Circus Circus symbolized the American Dream. He was a kid who always wanted to run away and join the circus and instead he was successful enough to build his own.
:eyebrow:



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:43 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Thanks for the definitions, Liz. :cool:

fansmom, I took him to mean that the guy who started Circus Circus symbolized the American Dream. He was a kid who always wanted to run away and join the circus and instead he was successful enough to build his own.
:eyebrow:


Forgot about him. And that was my tidbit. :blush: Good memory, DITHOT. :cool:

Edit: On the other hand, DITHOT, that's just too simple--too simple for Hunter. There's more to the American Dream and his story about it than that. (I keep editing here) I agree with Fansmom about Vegas.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:55 pm 
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Liz wrote: On the other hand, DITHOT, that's just too simple--too simple for Hunter. There's more to the American Dream and his story about it than that.


I agree! Noodlemantras, what say you all? :twocents:



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:39 pm 
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In response to the question.....what say you? My answer is....AYE.

I think the American Dream can be defined how ever the definer wants it to be. It can be whatever dream you posess within yourself. I think to put a definition on it, is difficult seeing as how it is defined in FALILV. In FALILV, it is defined as many roads, many many many adventures that take part for one specific purpose. The purpose of the American Dream is in the eye of the beholder, I think.

MY :twocents:

keep it REAL.

Hannah.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:54 pm 
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DeppLovesBananahs wrote:
In response to the question.....what say you? My answer is....AYE.

I think the American Dream can be defined how ever the definer wants it to be. It can be whatever dream you posess within yourself. I think to put a definition on it, is difficult seeing as how it is defined in FALILV. In FALILV, it is defined as many roads, many many many adventures that take part for one specific purpose. The purpose of the American Dream is in the eye of the beholder, I think.

MY :twocents:

keep it REAL.

Hannah.


So the question is: did Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo find THEIR American Dream--whatever that meant?



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:02 pm 
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Quote:
Liz wrote: So the question is: did Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo find THEIR American Dream--whatever that meant?


But I'm not sure they were looking for their American Dream. I think the were looking for the American Dream - or the essence of the idea of the American Dream.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:31 pm 
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Liz wrote:
DeppLovesBananahs wrote:
In response to the question.....what say you? My answer is....AYE.

I think the American Dream can be defined how ever the definer wants it to be. It can be whatever dream you posess within yourself. I think to put a definition on it, is difficult seeing as how it is defined in FALILV. In FALILV, it is defined as many roads, many many many adventures that take part for one specific purpose. The purpose of the American Dream is in the eye of the beholder, I think.

MY :twocents:

keep it REAL.

Hannah.


So the question is: did Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo find THEIR American Dream--whatever that meant?


opps, sorry I didn't touch upon that............... :blush: I don't know, exactly. I think they found it upon their own satisfaction. It wasn't meant for them to find a solid thing and say that's it! That's the American Dream and I found it, its that ROCK. I think they found it within themselves, through the experience they found it. Ya could say it was used as ..........DUN DUN DUN.........symbolism.

Hannah


Last edited by DeppLovesBananahs on Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:57 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Quote:
Liz wrote: So the question is: did Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo find THEIR American Dream--whatever that meant?


But I'm not sure they were looking for their American Dream. I think the were looking for the American Dream - or the essence of the idea of the American Dream.


Maybe it just means that we should be moving forward, as human beings, making America a better place, for everyone?

now I am confused!

Raven



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:24 pm 
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Well, it says right there on page 191 that Raoul found it. :lol: Now, what it meant to him and what he thought about it once he found it… that’s a whole different question.
Even the title says it’s a journey to the heart of the American dream. I think Raoul felt the purity of the American Dream was corrupted and twisted beyond human comprehension by the natural freaks (as opposed to the drug induced freaks) and greed and overpowering gaudiness and dog eat dog viciousness that he found in LV.

The weirdness that he found in LV, the home of the twisted American Dream, out-weirded any drugs he could consume.

Quote:
Vegas is so full of natural freaks—people who are genuinely twisted—that drugs aren’t really a problem, except for cops and the scag syndicate. Psychedelics are almost irrelevant in a town where you can wander into a casino any time of the day or night and witness the crucifixion of a gorilla—on a flaming neon cross that suddenly turns into a pinwheel, spinning the beast around in wild circles above the crowded gambling action.


Raoul’s version of the American Dream sounds more like a nightmare to me.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:39 pm 
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I see it as Las Vegas being the American Dream in the sense of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Going to LV isn't hard work and whatever, but it's the reward for the hard work you've put in elsewhere. In other words that's the best thing people can find to do with the free time and the money they've earned with their hard work, their ultimate idea of entertainment. Which is pretty depressing to say the least :-/

Ok now I'm gonna be getting into national stereotypes here, and bordering on racial prejudice, but please don't beat me up :freaked: . I'm not talking about my mature, intelligent, current view of American people here, I'm trying to convey the prejudices and stereotypes I was aware of as I grew up. I think it's always interesting to know how others see us, however unreasonable and inaccurate it might be. (Feel free to throw some British stereotypes and prejudices back at me ;-) )

Anyway, from a British perspective I'd say the concept of the American Dream has always been kind of a joke over here, certainly in my generation and later, and I'm intrigued to know whether Americans actually take it seriously? To me the idea of them being at the centre of 'the American Dream' in this meaningless, sleazy, glitzy, greedy, totally fake place seemed to make perfect sense when I read it. That's what I always thought the American Dream was, because that was my stereotypical view of 'America' and what Americans wanted. I think the down-home, hard work, courage and determination bit is maybe not so apparent from the outside :-? All we see is McDonalds and Disney and Hollywood.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:54 pm 
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Sands wrote:

Anyway, from a British perspective I'd say the concept of the American Dream has always been kind of a joke over here, certainly in my generation and later, and I'm intrigued to know whether Americans actually take it seriously? To me the idea of them being at the centre of 'the American Dream' in this meaningless, sleazy, glitzy, greedy, totally fake place seemed to make perfect sense when I read it. That's what I always thought the American Dream was, because that was my stereotypical view of 'America' and what Americans wanted. I think the down-home, hard work, courage and determination bit is maybe not so apparent from the outside :-? All we see is McDonalds and Disney and Hollywood.


wow Sands this is so sad! but if you only know what you read and see I could see how you would think this. I hope one day you can come over and take a good look at the US, and see not all is Micky D's.

Raven living in the Great Northwest.



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