I got back from a family reunion just yesterday. It was a fun time and I got to see one of my second cousins that I hadn’t seen in about 5 years. Brett was his name. He changed slightly since the last time I saw him, dying his hair black, peircing his ears and generally looking like a gay person. However, he had not come out of the closet and was far more the old Brett that I slightly knew years ago. Now, he is in Art School in Conneticut. I guess that CT sucks, according to him, it is a dead boring little puke of a state. But hey, it is on the ocean, which is cool, except when Hurricanes come ashore from it. But that’s too far north to be a real problem. In other news, I have gone on a Johnny Depp movie binge, watching From Hell and The Man Who Cried on Saturday, and falling asleep last night to the Criterion Collection Edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, an excellent film by wonderful director Terry Gilliam. The insane amount of drugs that that sick man used and the fact that he is still alive still boggles my mind. Of course, I am talking about Hunter S. Thomspon, a journalist who skipped out on the Vietnam war in order to have a good time smoking doobies, getting high and reporting on nothing much in the most lyrically vibrant way that any journalist has ever covered anything. Here is one of the first lines from the movie:
“We had two bags of Grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cacaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers…. also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls… but the only thing that worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge…” – Thompson, 1971
Holy crap. I guess it kind of stinks that he was so into drugs that his true potential couldn’t be realized. However, he had a strong political voice, and even ran for Sherrif once in Aspen County, CA. He almost won, even though the entire campaign seemed to be a kind of inside joke he was making. His faithful attorney, Dr. Gonzo, was just a depraved and strange as he was. There are some neat things that Mr. Thompson says… though they lack all semblance of objectivity, but I guess the beauty in that is that anyone can use them for anything… kind of like the way documentary makers can take what their subject says and make it mean the opposite in their film. Huh.
“History is hard to know, because of all the hired bull****, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.” – Thompson, 1971
But I like more what C.S. Lewis says about our world.
“It is by human avarice or human stupidity, not by the churlishness of nature, that we have poverty and overwork.”
–The Problem of Pain
The Vietnam War may have been an atrocity, a mistake, a hell on earth that inspired thousands of books to be written and films to be made, crippled men for life, enbittered their souls towards God, and enraged a nation bent on a myth of free love and world peace. Just take a look at Apocalypse Now (which I saw the other day, the Redux actually), Platoon, and The Thin Red Line.
Joel is peacing out now.