Love the man, hate the meme. Thompson is briliant, insightful, highly entertaining, frenetic, captivating and funny. The Raoul Duke persona crippled him, and I think it causes a lot of people to completely miss his thoughtfulness and just consider him EPIC DRUGS LMAO man.
Campaign Trail truly is great, but I wouldn't rank it that high myself. My favourite of Thompson's work is Hell's Angels. Thompson is insightful and thrilling, and the prose is masterful, smooth and captivating. The opening from Hell's Angels:
>California, Labor Day weekend...early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Fricso, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur...The Menace is loose again, the Hell's Angels, the hundred-carat headline, running fast and loud on the early morning freeway, low in the saddle, nobody smiles, jamming crazy through traffic and ninety miles an hour down the center stripe, missing by inches...like Genghis Khan on an iron horse, a monster steed with a fiery anus, flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter's leg with no quarter asked and non given; show the squares some class, give em a whiff of those kicks they'll never know...Ah, these righteous dudes, they love to screw it on...Little Jesus, the Gimp, Chocolate George, Buzzard, Zorro, Hambone, Clean Cut, Tiny, Terry the Tramp, Frenchy, Mouldy Marvin, Mother Miles, Dirty Ed, Chuck the Duck, Fat Freddy, Filthy Phil, Charger Charley the Child Molester, Crazy Cross, Puff, Magoo, Animal and at least a hundred more...tense for the action, long hair in the wind, beards and bandanas flapping, earrings, armpits, chain whips, swastikas and stripped-down Harleys flashing chrome as traffic on 101 moves over, nervous, to let the formation pass like a burst of dirty thunder...
If you haven't already, I urge you to check out Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone. It's a collection of his best articles.
Love his writing, the stuff he did for RS is really good. Rum Diary is a good read, Lono is super disappointing. I hope that Prince Jellyfish comes out some day, based on the bits and pieces that were in The Great Shark Hunt.
>When the great scorer comes to write against Oscar's name, one of the first few lines in the Ledger will note that he usually lacked the courage of his consistently monstrous convictions. There was more mercy, madness, dignity, and generosity in that overweight, overworked and always overindulged brown cannonball of a body than most of us will meet in any human package even three times Oscar's size for the rest of our lives - which are all running noticeably leaner on the high side, since that rotten fat spic disappeared.
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