(stealing this from my other blog. If you can’t rob from yourself..)
Wednesday is the birthday of a journalism legend.
Here’s the thing. In most newsrooms and just about every journalism school on the planet, his name is mentioned only slightly less often than Lord Voldemort.
It’s Doctor Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday.
nWhile my buddy Curtis was out in Aspen over the weekend taking part in the festivities surrounding the 75th birthday of Doctor Hunter S. Thompson, I sat home and watched most of the weekend live-reading of “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” that was broadcast from the swanky Hotel Jerome.
There are additional festivities planned at his former home, the Owl Farm at Woody Creek., including a firing of the cannon that shot Thompson’s ashes all over the surrounding valley.
It seems everyone’s favorite passage of F/L Vegas is the noted “wave” speech, located in chapter 8. The Doc was talking about the feelings and the sentiment of the sixties, and his look back at those turbulent times. Here’s the snippet.
San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.… “
It continues, until that final paragraph. “There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda.… You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.…
And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
If any of that seems hauntingly familiar, blame the echo effect of history.
Today, we’ve entered the world of Quantum Physics Sixties Revival. We argue about the effect of health care legislation, and if it is or is not a tax, and the downstream effect this will have on the economy. It’s become the modern day “Schroedinger’s Cat” of physics, applied to the metaphysical world of greasy politicians.
For those not up on the cat question, here’s the brief. Put a cat in a sealed box with a radioactive isotope and a trigger that controls the release of that isotope. There is more than enough radiation to kill the cat, but since you can’t tell without looking in the box to see if the radiation has been released, the cat exists in that nether-world of quantum probability, neither alive nor dead, but in that mysterious no-mans-land between both.
If that doesn’t describe the “this is going to kill the economy/No it won’t it will save it” debate, I don’t know what does.
We’ve entered a period of American history where we can see the spot where the wave hit all those years ago, but fail to see the incoming wave, just as effective. Yes, it will crash, and the waveform will collapse… and we will see the effect.
I just don’t think we’re ready to truly see the collapse of the wave.