Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood

Gonzovision 1970s: Hunter S. Thompson on the American Dream


Hunter S. Thompson, the originator of Gonzo Journalism on the American Dream, in a BBC documentary from 1978: “America could have been a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race. Instead, we just moved in here and destroyed the place from coast to coast like killer snails. Everybody wants power over a country that’s had it’s day.”

Hunter S Thompson Omnibus 1978

“Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood,” also known as “Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision,” is a documentary film produced by BBC Omnibus in 1978 on the subject of Hunter S. Thompson, directed by Nigel Finch.

Hunter S. Thompson Documentary: Fear and Loathing of the American Dream on the Road to Hollywood

Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), whose first-person subjective “Gonzo Journalism” made him a famous political and cultural commentator. He rose to prominence with the publication of Hell’s Angels (1967), a book for which he spent a year living and riding with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club to write a first-hand account of their lives and experiences. He went on the road to Hollywood in 1978 with a BBC film crew.

Hunter S. Thompson : “The third president, Thomas Jefferson, had a vision of America. He believed that this whole new country, this giant unformed continent offered a chance to start again. The premise was very simple. That human beings acting in a sense of enlightened self interest are smart enough to do the right thing and know the truth. America could have been a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race. Instead, we just moved in here and destroyed the place from coast to coast like killer snails. Everybody wants power over a country that’s had it’s day. I think we’re finished.”

On President Richard M. Nixon in his book Kingdom of Fear:

The Boss was a certified monster who deserved to be impeached and banished. He was a truthless creature of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover–a foul human monument to corruption and depravity on a scale that dwarfs any other public official in American history. But Nixon was at least smart enough to understand why so many honorable patriotic US citizens despised him. He was a Liar. The truth was not in him.

Nixon believed–as he said many times–that if the President of the United States does it, it can’t be illegal. But Nixon never understood the much higher and meaner truth of Bob Dylan’s warning that “To live outside the law you must be honest.”

STORY: The CIA and Psychedelics: From Timothy Leary to the Unabomber

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood
The blurring of Gonzovision distorts the vibrancy of Vegas and sets its sights on the road to Hollywood.

From an interview with William McKeen speaking on drug use and writing, also in Kingdom of Fear:

Obviously, my drug use is exaggerated or I would long since be dead. I’ve already outlived the most brutal abuser of our time–Neal Cassady. Me and William Burroughs are the only other ones left. We’re the last unrepentant public dope fiends, and he’s seventy years old and claiming to be clean.

Hunter S. Thompson On Gerald Ford and the Last Days of Saigon:

 Not even a criminal geek like Nixon would have been stupid enough to hold a nationally televised press conference in the wake of a disaster like Da Nang and compound the horror of what millions of US viewers had been seeing all week by refusing to deny, on camera, that the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam had died in vain. In addition to the wives, parents, sons, daughters, and other relatives and friends of the 58,000 American dead, he was talking to more than 150,000 veterans who were wounded, maimed, crippled, in Vietnam…and the net effect of what he said might just as well have been to quote Ernest Hemingway’s description of men who died in another war, many years ago–men who were “shot down and killed like dogs, for no good reason at all.”

Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo Journalism
Hunter S. Thompson – Losing his bid to become Aspen’s Sheriff

My memories of that day are very acute, because it was the first time since I arrived in Saigon that I suddenly understood how close we were to the end, and how ugly it was likely to be…Carpet bombing, massive ordnance, the last doomed snarling of the white man’s empire in Asia.

H-T Open Culture

Updated 19 March 2023

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  1. Pingback: Bukowski's 'Born Into This' - Treachery, Hatred, Violence, Absurdity | WilderUtopia.com

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