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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas’ remains a classic read

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    “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.” Those are the immortal words that begin one of the finest books of the generation.

    “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas,” by Hunter S. Thompson, is both fact and fiction melded together, but it requires just a little bit of explanation. Raoul Duke, a journalist, his attorney Dr. Gonzo — a thinly veiled references to Thompson himself — and his attorney friend, Oscar Zeta Acosta, take off on a trip to Vegas when Duke/Thompson is invited to cover the Mint 400 bike race for a national magazine.

    Somewhere around Barstow the drugs begin to take hold, and for the rest of the book a wonderfully horrifying, doped-up stream of consciousness takes the reader on a long, strange journey across the width and breadth of the soul of America.

    If you’re a little confused about the plot of the book, that’s about the best explanation there is. Things happen, things might not happen and ultimately, perhaps, nothing happens. It’s the lesson that Thompson, the father of Gonzo Journalism, tries to teach with this surprisingly deep reflection. He and Gonzo/Acosta are orphans of the deceased hopeful movements of the 60s with little to do but watch the country they used to believe in elect Nixon. In Las Vegas, the squalid temple to all things American Capitalist, the characters’ dreams and nightmares collide in a druggy haze. It is a fascinating experience to watch one of America’s ostensibly favorite places transformed into a nightmarishly strange place filled with evil, insanity and things that are just plain wrong. Or maybe Thompson is just revealing Vegas as it actually was.

    This book is absolute, 100 percent required reading for college students, or anybody that is even slightly disaffected. For those in need of a philosophy that have discarded the Bible, Plato, or even Hobbes, “Fear and Loathing” is your last stop between Satanism and H.P. Lovecraft at the end of the line. If you’re a committed believer in anything, even the coherence of reality, this book will make you question it, at least a little bit. Just reading “Fear and Loathing” itself is like a bad trip in the best way, unveiling the everyday America we all live in as a screaming dystopia. Definitely partake, but handle with extreme caution if you’ve got something to lose.

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