William Rivers Pitt | HST and the Proverbial 'Live Boy'

R.A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Thu Feb 24 05:16:10 PST 2005


    The Proverbial 'Live Boy'
    By William Rivers Pitt
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Monday 22 February 2005
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either
a dead girl or a live boy." - Edwin W. Edwards

[Author Hunter S. Thompson raises his arms to exhort the crowd of
supporters gathered on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol on
Monday, May 15, 2001, during a rally for Lisl Auman, who is serving a life
sentence in a Colorado prison for her part in the slaying of a Denver
Police Department officer in November 1997. Thompson, the acerbic
counterculture writer who popularized a new form of journalism in books
like 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,' fatally shot himself Sunday,
February 20, 2005, at his Aspen-area home, his son said. He was 67.
(Photo: David Zalubowski / AP)]

     In the same month the planet gets to know the 'journalist' James/Jeff
Guckert/Gannon, Hunter S. Thompson decides to make The Big Bit-Spit and
eject from the planet. This could be sacrilege, and I hope his family will
forgive me, but there is something wretchedly fitting in the confluence.

    Hunter was a drunk and a drug-sucker. He would go to cover an event and
slather himself with LSD. He went to the '72 GOP convention as a wild-eyed
liberal and elbowed his way into the activist bullpen, grabbing a sign
reading 'Garbage Men Demand Equal Pay' before charging the floor with the
Nixon-shouters to howl "Four More Years!" at John Chancellor. He wanted to
write about motorcycle gangs, so he went out and joined the worst of them,
and got his ass stomped in. And wrote about it.

    Hunter Thompson is the reason I write politics. Period. He was the most
honest man in the business. Everyone else had and has an angle, a
reputation, or a source to protect. Hunter stripped it down to the raw
throbbing nerve and let it fly. How is this for prose:

    "How many more of these goddam elections are we going to have to write
off as lame but 'regrettably necessary' holding actions? And how many more
of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before
we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national
election that will give me at the at least 20 million people I tend to
agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced
with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils? I
understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing, this
year, is Beating Nixon. But that was also the big thing, as I recall,
twelve years ago in 1960 - and as far as I can tell, we've gone from bad to
worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same."

    Or this:

    "It is a nervous thing to consider: Not just four more years of Nixon,
but Nixon's last four years in politics - completely unshackled, for the
first time in his life, from any need to worry about who might or might not
vote for him the next time around. If he wins in November, he will finally
be free to do whatever he wants...or maybe 'wants' is too strong a word for
right now. It conjures up images of Papa Doc, Batista, Somoza; jails full
of bewildered 'political prisoners' and the constant cold-sweat fear of
jackboots suddenly kicking your door off its hinges at four A.M."

    Or this:

    "The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally
brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an
orgiastic frenzy - then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor
bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece. Probably the rarest form of
life in American politics is the man who can turn on a crowd & still keep
his head straight - assuming it was straight in the first place."

    That's the stuff. Rip it down, Bubba, and let the fur fly. For the
record, the aforementioned is from 'Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail
1972,' possibly the most purely excellent book on politics to be found

    Amusing, then, that Hunter decides to cash his check in the same week
we learn about James or Jeff Gannon or Guckert or whatever. What would
Thompson have made of this feeble wretch? Of a man who reports on the White
House with a fake name? Who was so clearly the go-to guy for McClellan or
Bush when the questions got too hot? Who copied and pasted his 'news
reports' from boilerplate GOP press releases? Who somehow got within 20
feet of the President of the United States using a false name while
peddling his wares online as a male prostitute for $200 an hour?

    Hunter once wrote in 'The Great Shark Hunt' about walking in on two
Secret Service agents sharing a joint back and forth in a hotel room. Maybe
that's how Gannon/Guckert/Whoever got within pistol range of the leader of
the free world. No other explanation seems to satisfy.

    It comes down to this. The Bush crew has been caught in bed with the
proverbial 'live boy.' Someone in that White House either eased
Gannon/Guckert/Whoever through the 'hard pass' application process, which
requires a thorough background check, or else smoothed the way for him to
get day pass after day pass after day pass. Some complain that
Gannon/Guckert/Whoever is being victimized for his political views. This
misses the point. Someone let a working, advertising whore into the White
House, and then was stupid enough to let him walk around alive and free
after he blew his own cover. That's the point.

    My hero died tonight. He was a flawed man, a maniac, in so many ways
the antithesis of what a journalist is supposed to be. Worst of all, he
told the truth. There is now one less warrior on this planet filled with
Guckert clones, drones who get fed shit and regurgitate it wholesale for
the masses because that is what we are trained to eat.

    Rest in peace, Hunter. Thank you for everything. We're going to deal
with this Gannon/Guckert/Whoever person, and then move down the line and
deal with the rest of the whores. You died on the eve of the birth of a new
journalism, populist in nature, beholden to the truth and thanking the
Google gods every step of the way. I wish you had stuck around to see it,
but I'll tell you all about it when we meet at that clearing at the end of
the path. Until then...


) Copyright 2005 by TruthOut.org

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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