I’m not a fan of my own birthday. While I love to party and plan for others, I have always preferred a romantic getaway to a party. But as we still live in a reality of travel uncertainty linked to a pandemic, I marked my next turn around the sun with a backpack brunch at Crater Lake and an intimate dinner at Casa Tua to top it off.
Thanks to the most perfect gift from my partner, I got a different kind of trip this year – time travel. When I opened the box wrapped in New York Times newsprint, I saw Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic aviator sunglasses staring at me on a pristine copy of the September 1977 (my birth month and my man’s year of birth) from High Times magazine – purchased from Fat City Gallery’s online gift shop for probably a lot more than its newsstand price of $ 1.75.
The cover line reads: “Interview: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson on Carter, Cocaine and Gonzo Journalism. Inside, then journalist, now novelist Ron Rosenbaum got “the right doctor to say it all” in a nine-page Q&A with original images captured by acclaimed photographer and former Aspenite Lynn goldsmith (two full page ads for “the no bs mushroom grow kit” and hand painted marijuana cigarette cases included).
After devouring the article (and the entire issue) for the first time 44 years after its publication, I walked away feeling not only nostalgic, but also supernatural – many of the premonitory statements Thompson made have just hit more. strong today. While the movement has made stupendous progress – progress that Thompson perhaps even found it hard to believe could happen – since then, it’s been a stark reminder of the work that remains to be done. Rosenbaum described the candid and politically-oriented interview as groundbreaking, writing in the introduction: “He has never put his own role in perspective until now.”
In honor of those who risked everything to fight for legalization – High Times and Hunter S. Thompson topping the list – here are a handful of meaningful messages in what is now one of my most treasured possessions ( soon framed and hung above my desk).
Highlights : How have your attitudes towards politics changed since you wrote about the 1972 presidential election in “Fear and loathing on the country trail? “
Thompson: Well, I think the feeling that I have developed since ’72 is that an ideological attachment to the presidency or the president is very dangerous. I think the president should be a businessman; he should probably be hired. It started with Kennedy, where you had a kind of personal attachment to the president, and it was very important that he was okay with you and you were okay with hi and you knew he was to. your side. I don’t care if the president is on my side, as long as he leaves me alone or sends me to war or gets me crushed. The president should take care of the business, take care of the damn store, and leave the people alone.
Highlights : I once asked a friend of yours why you were so attracted to (Jimmy) Carter, and this guy said, well, Carter is basically a good old conservative boy in a lot of ways, just like Hunter. Do you think that is true in some ways, or that you are a good old boy who got weird?
Thompson: It sounds better. Good old boy turned weird. It’s a good line anyway. I wouldn’t deny it; You might as well admit it.
Highlights : Carter’s inner circle of people are serious drug users?
Thompson: Wait a minute, I didn’t say that. On the one hand, a term like “serious users” has a very strange and threatening connotation; and, on the other hand, we were talking about a few people from almost all the staff. Generally…. Not junkies or monsters, but people who were just as comfortable with drugs like weed, alcohol or coke as we are – and we’re not weird, are we ? No, we’re just overworked professionals who need to relax every now and then, have a little noise and laugh, right?
Highlights : Are there things in your notebooks that you can’t put in your stories?
Thompson: Not all the best stories are written. More and more, I find that I cannot tell the whole truth about the events. I’ve got a book I’d love to write, and the rest will have to be done to pay the fucking rent. This will be the one where there is no longer any question of anyone lying. Well, there will be questions, but the truth is usually a lot stranger than anything you can invent. I’ll make it doom as many people as possible – an absolutely true story, including my own disaster and disappearances. To hell with the American dream. Let’s write it down as suicide.
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com and follow on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.