Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Abridged Audiobook)

We here at the Monkey recently stumbled across this long-out-of-print audiobook version of Hunter S. Thompson's classic exercise in Gonzo journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It's heavily-abridged and plays more like a radio drama from some parallel universe where Bob Hope dropped acid and Jack Benny was an axe murderer, but it's highly entertaining in its own right. Much better, in my opinion, than the Johnny Depp movie that followed it.

The late great Harry Dean Stanton reads Thompson's interior monologues and Jim Jarmusch and Maury Chaykin provide the dialogue.

If you've never read Fear and Loathing, it's Thompson's (ostensibly) non-fiction account of a long weekend he and his attorney spent in Las Vegas with a side trip to search for the American Dream.

They went well provisioned:

"We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers ... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls."

I say "ostensibly non-fiction" because as Thompson himself later admitted, nobody could have done all the things they allegedly did and lived to talk about it.

As twisted and irresponsible and depraved as their behavior was, though, it was nothing compared to what passed as normal in Nixon's America. "The Circus-Circus," he wrote, "is what the whole hep world would be doing Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war" — the implication being that the Nazis had won the war, just in 1968 instead of 1945.

That's a point of view that seems hilariously quaint in retrospect and I can only imagine what Thompson would have made of our current state of affairs. Oh, well.

Enjoy. Or not.

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