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POETRYETC  2005

POETRYETC 2005

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Subject:

Re: Hunter S. Thompson

From:

Ken Wolman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 23 Feb 2005 11:28:15 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (70 lines)

Douglas Barbour wrote:

> Well, I'm both, too, Ken. In fact, I'm probably a real scaredy-cat when
> it comes to the kind of behavior Thompson apparently had to enact
> rather than just imagine. And you're right, McGuane is still here, &
> maybe because, although he considered Thompson a friend, he spent only
> so much time with him.

I was not a scaredy cat about "substances" but I seemed willing to
backpedal away because I made this discovery: I may not have LIKED my
life, but it's likely to be the only one I have unless I get my wish and
am reincarnated as an English horn.  With my luck I'd wind up in the
hands of a 5th grader who is tone-deaf.

Somehow Thompson seemed to be one of those men who could suck the air
out of a room after 10 minutes.  He's not the only one.  I heard the
same thing said about myself, and also about a far better human being,
Dorothy Day; that last came from a man who was part of the Catholic
Worker community in New York in the late 1960s.  Dorothy was always
right, and if you didn't think so, just ask her and she'd tell you.  I
suspect her cause for Sainthood does not rest upon her arrogance any
more than did Teresa of Avila's or Ignatius Loyola's, but nobody's about
to enter Hunter Thompson in that particular contest unless some
distillery needs a photo of him as their new logo:-).

> But as a reader, I admired Thompson's willingness to go all the way in
> his fiery satiric anger, & to call the assholes as they were, in
> public, so to speak, too. Sadly, in terms o that other discussion about
> the potential effects of any art/writing/etc, such Telling against the
> machine seems not to have all that much force -- although perhaps some
> of us saw a bit more clearly through his aviator glasses. Certainly,
> the rulers of today deserve someone at least as snarky & truthful (I
> mean something other than 'honest' there) as him & his prose...

The most curious phenomenon I've seen is radical religious publications,
online variety: Sojourners edited by Jim Wallace, and an Episcopal
magazine called The Witness (how good can they be, they published
me:-).  Wallis is a really interesting case: he is ordained to some
mainstream Protestant denomination, he is very conservative in the area
of abortion, but he believes in Gospel message of caring for the
poor--and he believes that Bush et al. have lied and committed a form of
treason against the God in whom they purport to believe.  The political
concept is indeed to tell truth to Power--to point the finger, to render
unto the Conservatives what they have earned, to be as "snarky" and
truthtelling as is required.  Yes, I grasp your differentiation between
honesty and truthtelling, the bound where at one level honesty morphs
potentially into treasonable activity or at least what could be
interpreted as "hate speech" (define for yourself).  The beauty and
curse of the Blog is that a lot of people are out there doing precisely
this: doing their version of truthtelling, exceeding honesty via
discourtesy and saying things someone else might rather not read or hear.

Probably there are people out there, or here, who would willingly
replace Hunter Thompson's positive qualities.  It requires you not to
give a damn about your reputation and employability, and probably
requires some degree of physical courage because the more like El
Salvador in 1980 this nation becomes, the more likely it is that they
will beat the hell out of you, if not kill you outright.  What it
doesn't require is frequent infusions of Wild Turkey, cocaine, dilaudid,
or peyote, thank you very much:-).

Ken

--
Kenneth Wolman
Proposal Development Department
Room SW334
Sarnoff Corporation
609-734-2538

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